To create and maintain an effective and useful KM system, visibility of the KM professional within an organisation is a key attribute.
State of the art technology to back your KM system is desirable. But at the end of the day a KM system will only be as useful as the quality of its content.
Maintaining a KM system is much like tending to a garden – it requires hard work and dedication. You must:
- provide it with sufficient ‘fresh nutrients’ on a regular basis in the form of quality and up-to-date materials and information;
- ‘weed’ it diligently by removing (or updating if appropriate) old, outdated materials and information; and
- from time-to-time ‘replant’ and redesign old and ‘tired’ components to ensure that the way materials and information are categorised continues to be appropriate for the needs of the business and to ensure that access is straight-forward and intuitive (appropriate emerging technologies can be of great assistance in this respect).
However, if you fail to tend to your KM ‘garden’ you may soon find it ‘overgrown’ with outdated and useless materials, which will cause users to turn away from the KM system.
You can ensure that your KM system contains relevant and up-to-date materials and information by maintaining high visibility and staying close to the business, including key leaders. You must know what the business is doing to identify and collate relevant and significant materials for your KM system. The business must be familiar with you and must trust you to come to you and share their knowledge so it can be captured.
Further, you must ensure that the categorisation of the materials and information in your KM system is always matched to the needs of your users and that access is intuitive and user-friendly. The best and most up-to-date materials and information will be at best of reduced usefulness if it is difficult to access or find.
Once again, you can achieve this by being close to your users, knowing what their needs are and how they are accessing and using the KM system on a day-to-day basis.