I’m not going to lie; I like it when we get things right at Deep Analysis 🙂 Back in 2019, we published a note on what seemed to be a re-emergence of KM (Knowledge Management), and over these past few years, it has come back with a vengeance. KM had been languishing in the shadows for over a decade. Still, frustration that employees couldn’t find the information they needed to do their job or connect with experts within their organizations grew. Advances and easier access to AI-fueled new technology approaches to KM, the big downer of the pandemic, and the rush to hybrid work and WFH added further fuel to this rebounding sector.
Today, the market is flooded with options from Microsoft Viva, GetGuru, Interact Software, Slack, etc. In addition, established enterprise search vendors such as Sinequa and SearchBlox have been pivoting and rearchitecting their technology and marketing to embrace this rise of interest. It’s a vibrant technology market, with many different options available. It’s one we expect to grow considerably over the coming years, but it’s not without its challenges. Though the technology is leagues ahead of where it was a decade or so ago, the messy, practical, and often directionless real-world tends to play havoc with KM initiatives. Though not comprehensive or scientific, we can categorize these real-world issues into a few different buckets.
1: Overly ambitious KM projects (Digital Transformations)
2: Chaotic and ungoverned data silos
3: Wrong-way round thinking
The first two are pretty obvious if you have spent time in this industry. KM projects that want to solve every internal corporate communication problem are doomed to failure before they begin. Similarly, if you have no idea where any of your information and data assets are, do not have access to them, or can’t identify the junk from the gold, you’re unlikely to make much progress. But the third bucket is probably the most intriguing and arguably the easiest to resolve. What we mean by “the wrong way round thinking” is starting a KM project from the perspective of what you, the management, want to tell your employees. Rather than building a system around what your employees want. It is the same thing that plagued the CX (Customer Experience) world for decades, deciding what a customer needed to know and being surprised when they wanted something different.
What you can’t do is ask your employees for a long wish list, which will just produce a fantasy list. If you do that, you will end up with the KM equivalent of ”The Homer“. But you do need to understand how your employees work. Tools and methods such as Task Mining or Journey Maps can help here but always remember that KM aligns directly with the concept of EX (Employee Experience). Furthermore, all the hard lessons that companies have learned in the CX world apply to the EX world. Journey Map, your employee experiences, use Task Mining to understand the minutia of how they search for and access information, and you are off to a good start.
We are not here to shill for technology vendors, but trust us when we tell you that KM technologies today are good, very good indeed. The challenges of implementing sound KM systems are less with the technology and more with knowing where to start.