When Enterprises are faced with the need to maintain knowledge the jolt action is to call the Knowledge Manager, get some practices in place and buy some expensive Collaboration environment with all the bells and whistles and send emails to all employees with incentives to put information on it, usually some form of a long term competition.
This is great! but only if you get the people on board after the competition is over. most cases you get a half updated system with some information there.
But how do you solve the problem oh lord of the data? he has no answers.
I call darwin! lo and behold people do transfer knowledge in the current environment, they use some mediators like email groups or some other web tools that existed or were in place long ago. some time it could be missing all together and then you need to see how the individual gets his share of the guru. the idea is first to observe the company, it made it up to here some how.
From this point you have some pattern of behaviour, some form of information flow patterns that match the culture of the company.
Here we have another jolt, lets mechanise it and use some tool that they will need to use to do the same form of pattern but through the tool. this will destroy the pattern and will eventually create a new pattern so the whole observation period will be repeated.
The trick is to eavesdrop, do the FBI thing and tap the phone. yes it is easier said then done and it will be some times even impossible.
When it is possible, for example when most of the communication is done via email groups we need a way to capture and retain the groups content, representing the threads in a meaningful way and indexing the content in an extensive manner.
This method of eavesdropping will keep the information flow intact and create a knowledge base containing the real live companies information.
If we have not eavesdropped we would create an interference, assuming all communication is done by email and we mandate a requirement of adding a certain email manually (i know we can automate most of this and even capture it but i am making an example) you will get slippedge and thus only partial information will be stored in the email.
But if we want to entice people to stop using word and email as their main way of transferring information and move them to a collaborative environment, some place where you post your documents and have wiki pages that enable you to edit information as a group, what will be the means to drive the workers to that place?
In my experience it takes time to change the habit unless you create a physical limitation for the other communication way, lets say you block word documents on internal emails, and give the same security that a personal email gives.
Solution should always keep the same capabilities that make it the preferred choice or else it is doomed to be useless, if the security in personal email is not kept in our document management system no one will use it as they will feel expose.
The way to judge the solution is the same as any software solution which is purchased to enhance the organisation, we need to look at the benefits each feature brings to the organisation and not who has more, matching these behaviors and features to the organisation’s will produce the best result. If you can POC the solutions from the companies then do that for a couple of months and even do a face-off between the final candidates.
Social Media is proving to be a useful tool to companies when interacting with the world, make it a great tool for internal communication.