Monday, September 19, 2005

Where to start

After many years in the IT world of KM, DCM, etc, etc I started to realize that there was something not working quite right, a very persistent issue I perceived from every project outcome, something telling you that after all those 'successful' projects there was a major problem. Even in the best planned projects, the outcome was not the expected. There was a lot of resistance from people to knowledge projects (Websites, information management, workflows, etc... that made me ask why? I started to observe in my assignments that I was called most of the times to put out fires. Big fires. Implementations that went sour because technology was implemented but there was not 'buy in " from people (the real users of the system). The technology usually was implemented, but many users where trained as if it was yet another application, and not something that would touch and change their lifes every day from then on. Even though everyone in the team knew the solution was about having people coming together, the emphasis was always on the tool, not on people. We believed the technology was right, some believing it was the right "solution".

The way I discovered it: going backwards. From the consecuences, I started to look at the causes, going as far as looking into what knowledge means.

Normally should be the other way, but not everyone knows about history or viceversa, those having a lot of information in history but not knowing what is happening today are at a learning disadvantage . The fact of the matter is KM is too new to many and a very fuzzy and confusing topic even in the corporate world.

Today (2005) we see facts and statistics like these:

  • "Companies wasting billions on knowledge management because they fail to figure out what knowledge they need, or how to manage it ". writes Thomas A. Stewart,
  • •International Data Corp., a research group that focuses on technology, estimates that poorly managed knowledge costs the Fortune 500 about $12 billion a year.
  • •>80 % (or more) of KP'’s are deemed as failure even though some look the opposite. "Only 38% of larger European corporates have an effective document management strategy "( Gartner Jan 2005)
  • •“"Leaders can no longer keep information under lock and key, nor should they: Networks are faster and more productive than hierarchies".” Business 2.0 Jan(2006) Issue
  • •Office politics -- a proxy for selfishness -- is the second most common reason people give for quitting a job.

I was curious to learn if there was a connection between these facts , there might be others. The main one is the staggering amount of money companies are wasting in KM and other "solutions" without realizing major benefits --aka people resisting the use of them. The other very important reason is why people quit their job. They deeply affect what knowledge projects are about. That is what we are going to put on the table. The Why and the How.


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