KMWorld 2024 Is Nov. 18-21 in Washington, DC. Register now for Super Early Bird Savings!

How (and when) to update your KM strategy

Article Featured Image

Thinking about updating your KM strategy? You’ll confront a plethora of considerations in the process. You definitely want a strategy that is sustainable, cost-effective, and minimally disruptive to the business. As a knowledge manager, you also face some practical concerns. Timing is one, and relevant budgetary implication or limitations is another. Aligning the KM strategy with changes to your parent organization’s strategy is essential, particularly if that strategy has changed since the last time the KM strategy was updated.

Then there are specific strategic elements—at the tactical level—that you may want to emphasize or de-emphasize, prioritize, or eliminate entirely. You should also scrutinize how modernization of KM strategies impacts the current relationships with vendors, or if they even do so at all. Finally, there are the change management realities of implementing the new strategy so that it’s successfully propagated to all the relevant parties throughout the enterprise.

Most of all, it’s incumbent upon organizations to ensure that “any strategy for knowledge management is driven by what the organization is trying to achieve,” reflected David Kamien, Mind-Alliance CEO. “When I work with large law firms and their heads of knowledge management, I always start by getting them to say what their strategic business priorities are. I want to make sure that the KM strategy is supportive of those business priorities.”

When to update

The telltale indicators for when it’s time to update a KM strategy can be exhaustive—particularly in a discipline that is prone to change as much as this one is. According to Laserfiche senior customer success manager Kristen Petruzzelli, “Things are always changing. It’s vital to look at the strategies that are going on and, when updating, consider your stakeholder needs, both internally and externally.” At a minimum, organizations should establish a regular schedule for assessing and reassessing their KM strategies. Antti Nivala, M-Files CEO, advised doing so every couple of years. According to Nivala, “Nothing’s preventing you from doing it on an ad hoc basis as needed. But, if you rely on that, then you’ll probably notice that 5 years went past and you’re behind.”

Kamien enumerated several factors indicating it’s time for organizations to update their KM strategy. Prominent ones include emergent technologies (such as generative AI), competitive pressures (like when competitors adopt those technologies), and the failure of current capabilities to adequately support a strategy, along with changes emanating from regulations, partnerships, and mergers and acquisitions. “You’ve got to update your KM strategy so that it’s aligned with the organization’s goals, leverages the latest technology, meets users’ needs, and addresses any new partnerships or challenges or opportunities that have arisen since the last time,” Kamien summarized. Moreover, the strategy must coalesce with budgetary requirements which, pragmatically, dictate the scope of the KM strategy. Budget requirements “should definitely be something long term,” Petruzzelli explained. “The hope would be that short-term budget changes are not affecting the strategy too catastrophically.”

Vendor relations and implications

In some instances, adopting a new KM strategy can affect vendor relations because customers require capabilities that vendors may—or may not—necessarily support. The quintessential example of those capabilities currently pertains to applications of generative AI (GenAI) models. Vendors may also supply newfound capabilities (which an organization previously hadn’t had access to) that warrant updating a KM strategy to avail organizations of new possibilities. “Previously, knowledge management strategies were mostly geared toward humans using the knowledge within the organization,” Nivala observed. “Obviously, that continues to be super important. But, I think everybody realizes in their next or current content management strategy update that there’s a whole new viewpoint of how AI will be able to use the knowledge that is collected, gathered, and organized within the organization.”

KMWorld Covers
for qualified subscribers
Subscribe Now Current Issue Past Issues