Where Knowledge Management and Social Media Meet

Thursday March 21, 2013,

4 min Read

Most organizations today struggle to effectively manage their rapidly growing volume of vital corporate knowledge which is being trapped in information silos like email inbox’s. They have a limited understanding of organizational expertise (talent), the right information either is not collected or not available to the right people at the right time to make the right decisions, or knowledge is lost when employees leave the company, etc.

On the other hand organizations are increasingly depending on knowledge & information technology as assets to innovate and create value. Several major trends have been identified and analyzed regarding the transformation of knowledge management into social business

  • Increased adoption of social technologies, e.g. Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc.
  • Increased adoption of mobile platforms & other tablet devices.
  • The rise of Gen-Y in organizations who were born digital. Basically they know what social collaboration is and they are bringing the concept to life in their workplaces.
  • Many organizations are moving their business systems to the cloud to reduce costs which also helps in the adoption of social media & mobile gadgets.

A HBR Blog written by Anthony J. Bradley and Mark P. McDonald from Gartner states, Social media & knowledge management (KM) seem very similar. Both involve people using technology to access information. Both require individuals to create information intended for sharing. Both profess to support collaboration.

But there’s a big difference.

  1. Knowledge management is what company management tells me I need to know, based on what they think is important.
  2. Social media is how my peers show me what they think is important, based on their experience and in a way that I can judge for myself.

Research shows that employees who frequently interact transfer knowledge more effectively, supporting the opinion that community networking is an important part of knowledge management—especially for unstated knowledge. Integrating social networking into knowledge management systems can increase interactions between employees, which can in turn increase their level of trust and encourage more effective collaboration and communication. Knowledge should be like water — free-flowing and permeating down and across your organization filling the cracks, floating good ideas to the top and lifting all boats.

The knowledge of each employee at an organization is an invaluable company asset and the combined knowledge of a company is truly the engine that drives results. Let’s explore some of the ways that your Enterprise Social Networks [ESN] can help businesses master knowledge management;

  1. Information today needs to be searchable, and it needs to be accessible anytime, anywhere. Relevance is subjective. The real-time access to your organization’s knowledge and the content including mobile devices makes teams efficient, productive & successful.
  2. Moving beyond email and file systems, ESN’s combines all collaboration capabilities including brainstorming on ideas, sharing & customizing documents, creating microblogs, asking questions or feedback, etc. The knowledge being shared on your ESN would never have been shared via email, as the social nature of enterprise networks makes it effortless for users to share and consume.
  3. If each employee can spend few minutes in filling out the information on their profile page, for e.g. about, previous projects, skills, etc. discovering experts who can drive or help with project would be much simpler. Experts across your company can share expertise in real-time.
  4. Knowledge sharing becomes infinitely easier when centralized, since it uncovers hidden knowledge resources to solve everyday business challenges through its searchable repository of communications, documents, comments, etc.
  5. ESN’s retain the knowledge of your organization in linear threads, organized projects and groups, and easily searchable document repositories so that newcomers can come up to speed in the shortest amount of time.

“Still haven’t discovered the advantages an Enterprise Social Network can bring? Try some powerful new enterprise social apps and manage the knowledge in your company more productively!

About the Author:

Vipin Thomas is the Product Manager with MangoApps (www.MangoApps.com), an enterprise social app platform. He can be reached @vipint7

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