The importance of Enterprise Social Networks in Knowledge Management
Estimated reading time: 4 minutes
After two months of meetings with external suppliers, when you realize the guy from the Marketing Department, that same one you always find at the water cooler, is capable of developing that software component you need so dearly, you start to think maybe the knowledge in your organization isn’t being utilized or isn’t being distributed like it should.
Of course, in changing and competitive times like these days, it is impossible to survive without knowing how to manage knowledge correctly in our organizations. Part of that knowledge implies guaranteeing that everyone has fast access to that knowledge. This is where Enterprise Social Networks can lend us a hand.
Taking the example given in the first paragraph of this post, correct corporate knowledge management would have shortened the time-to-market considerably in the project in question. It probably would have improved the quality of the result too.
Part of the definition given in the Wikipedia on “Knowledge Management” refers to the need to distribute knowledge, through insights or experience, within our organization:
Knowledge Management comprises a range of strategies and practices used in an organization to identify, create, represent, distribute, and enable adoption of insights and experiences. Such insights and experiences comprise knowledge, either embodied in individuals or embedded in organization as processes or practices.
One way of aiding the discovery and distribution of knowledge within our organization is by having users with a “rich” profile.
If everyone in your enterprise social network spent 10 minutes in filling out the information on their profile page, like for example: ask me about… previous projects… skills… discovering people who can drive or help the completion of a project would be much simpler or at least would improve greatly.
This in turn would bring us closer to the basis of all Knowledge Management: Ensuring that people convert implicit knowledge into explicit knowledge.
This exercise could be later applied to different circles of action. For example, we could offer detailed information on projects and the information generated at Department level, which for a start would allow us to see the Departments not as Cost Centers and start to see them instead as Results Centers.
Once again, Enterprise Social Networks, like all IT tools, are only mechanisms or means that enable companies to achieve their goals. With this, I mean that before implementing an Enterprise Social Network to share and distribute knowledge, companies need to reconsider their Knowledge Management strategy on which this tool will be based. But that’s another story…
Doroteo Quiroz, a Mexican living in Barcelona for almost 7 years. A loyal believer that the correct implementation of technology can help to change the way people collaborate and work in companies. Currently he directly collaborates in the design and definition of IT solutions at MRW. My philosophy: Live like you are going to die tomorrow, learn like you are going to live forever (M. Gandhi).