KM in the cloud
I remember working in the oil and gas industry many years ago and walking past a PC/server that had a paper sign taped to the screen that said, "Do not switch off," and nobody did, for years. The person who wrote the message had apparently left the company the same day he taped it to the screen. I don't treat knowledge workers as stupid or lazy, but I do try to be realistic about their needs, wants and capabilities. The truth is we only want access to relevance, and, moreover, we don't particularly want to go looking for relevant information or tools. We want them given to us, ready to eat.
A more relevant option
The cloud changes the general computing structure for organizations; it opens a network environment that is almost limitless and without boundaries. That, in turn, enables a mobile working environment, and into that environment comes a different form of system and information interaction. So many organizations around the world are considering updating their first-generation intranets, but my question to them is why bother? Maybe now there is a better and more relevant option to provide your workers with the tools and information they need to complete knowledge-based tasks, one that leverages the cloud, not your intranet.
The world of KM has been with us a long time now. It grows year after year and shows no signs of slowing down. Yet, at heart, KM is simple enough. It provides the means to manage the lifecycle of a piece of information from its creation to its ultimate destruction. It's the sheer volume of the information that makes the job hard, and there is always an appetite for easier to use, easier to manage, cheaper systems. But the truth is all information doesn't need to be managed or ever even accessed; most of it is junk.
Separating the information that is of value and needs close control from the junk remains the hardest nut to crack. Cloud offerings with their tempting promises of unlimited storage do little to resolve that core dilemma. But what they do offer is the possibility of unchained connections, a freer, more open way of interacting, processing and making use of our undervalued knowledge assets, and that alone seems like a step in the right direction to me.