We've discussed a number of facets to Knowledge Management and one of the biggest is technology. Now, while a portion of you practicing KM out there might feel that technology has no place in KM I still feel that in this day and age creating a robust technology platform that can support a KM initiative is one of the most important milestones you can set for your company.
Let me be very clear about the meaning of my statement above, technology is not Knowledge Management. However, I've seen a number of cases where a warped understanding of the term “Knowledge Management” have led a large number of companies to re-christen their information system initiatives under this umbrella. This aside, I do feel very strongly that unless you have a strong technology framework your KM initiative will not be as widespread as it should.
A prime example would be in the area of communications. The single biggest challenge in sharing knowledge in any organization are its barriers to communication. Once you’ve opened those up knowledge automatically starts flowing.
Technology helps to overcome personal limitations as well. A considerably large number of people are not very outspoken in the workplace these people are just as smart, if not more, than the outspoken ones. Creating a communications framework to allow them to contribute should be an organization-wide goal. A technology solution, something as simple as a discussion board, would solve this problem almost instantaneously.
One thing that you need to keep in mind when creating a technology framework is, do NOT over-engineer. While you might build the most advanced KM system, at the end of the day what determines the application’s success is how well it's received by the end-users. Engineer the system around their requirements and there is a good chance you’ll walk away with an application that truly helps with knowledge management.
Companies around the world have started realizing how using newer emerging technologies can help in achieving business goals. Social networking tools have been enormously successful with creating platforms for knowledge sharing.