What is your Knowledge Strategy? Written Once, read never…You know those documents written with fervour to communicate an important policy but no one ever reads them, no one has access or no one cares. Why? Perhaps because they can’t be found, they are not presented well, How does your organisation curate information? Do you have a Wiki, a sharepoint library, a directory on a server to store and access files. Outside of a staff handbook, where would the person lowest on your companies ladder find information on your policies. Do you have a policy or process, or even better firmly embedded governance for naming files and where they are stored?
Or…do you have systems, but the HR office stores their HR files in an HR way, the Finance people, name files in an accounting way and the IT dept are a law unto themselves. Even worse do some individuals have an individual way of storing everything. What happens then when they leave? I have been there when this happened and finding files or understanding file systems means information is lost. So what do we need to do?
- Knowledge maturity. Where are you or your organisation on the information development scale? What do we have now and where is it? Is it out of date, does it use different naming styles, is it in different locations, is some of it digital some hard copy, is it in closed or open access points, can digital be accessed via mobile tech. So we must obtain this understanding and be honest about the situation, then we can gauge realistic targets and expectations about knowledge management.
- Which System? With our new awareness, we ought to probably detail some sort of system to get a procedure and approach set up where one may not presently exist. Use of Sharepoint web-based systems, naming of files and folders, having a Knowledge Wiki for policy, even a properly indexed hard copy of all organisation policy. Knowledge must be curated and collated but access should be self-service, items found easily, named simply and so on
- leadership. We need leadership buy in, because without it nothing will change. Certainly it will be harder to get resources allocated to make change. However we don’t just need buy in, we need a commitment for leadership teams to discuss and talk about, at all levels, the Knowledge Strategy.
- Scope. Firstly Identify your team to focus on knowledge management, it can be small but it must be focussed so as not to be put on a back burner; second identify the scope for your knowledge policy. Any policy to be used needs simplicity, clarity and realistic/achievable objectives; finally identify the documentation you already have for validity, currency and usability. All else can go to an archive directory.
- Benefits. To make your hard work pay off, you and your leadership team should be communicating to everyone tHRough out the organisation why knowledge management is important. Of course there is GDPR, but also communication, digital transformation, professionalism and the simple matter of finding things quickly and quietly.
- Hard work. Knowledge management can be separate, a central plank or partner of a digital strategy is often hard work; especially where an organisation has grown organically and file naming or organisation alone is something done in an ad hoc way. There will be duplication and complication so it will be a tough task to review and change. It may take some time.
- Essential strategy No document should be Written Once Read Never (WORN) in your Knowledge Strategy, it’s why you need strategy.