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Business Knowledge Management:
Making Connections - Acquiring Knowledge

Your best marketing person has left your company. Did her knowledge leave also? You've discovered that three different departments have all ordered an expensive reference book that could easily have been shared by all. Can you afford the cost? Your employees are spending way more time on the Internet than the information gained justifies. Don't mind paying them for this wasted time? You need the background materials on that project your company did in December of 1999. Do you have it? And, if so, where is it?

Knowledge sharing throughout you organization and efficient, timely access to actionable information; this is knowledge management. Making connections between employees and co-workers who have the necessary knowledge, making connections between employees and needed information resources - these are the goals.

Strategically, the first step is to find out what information and knowledge already resides in the organization, what information is needed for the success of the business, and to identify the gaps. In other words, a formal or informal "information needs assessment " may be helpful.

Tools of KM

Will an "experts" database - one that identifies the skills and employees - be helpful? Does the culture of your business encourage the sharing and collaboration of knowledge? Are there spaces, virtual and/or physical, for employees to connect and share?

Are you making the best use of the Web for information access? Are you aware of fee-based online services that make up in time what you will spend in dollars for their use? Internal and external data must be deposited in cataloging or database systems and utilize taxonomies or other controlled vocabulary for efficient information retrieval.

If you need to share knowledge among more than a few people an internal Internet - an "Intranet" - will allow your company to provide current information to all members of your organization quickly.

A bit overwhelmed? You many find the assistance of an "information professional" of great benefit. She will help you look at the overall picture of information access, organization and dissemination in your organization.

Publications and articles

KM World Magazine

Brint Knowledge Management Channel

Sample System

Connex: HP Knowledge Network database was developed by Tony Carrozza to help HP employees all over the world find each other based on expertise. For a description of the development of this system, read: "If only HP knew what HP knows"

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