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Three components for knowledge management

If you want to manage knowledge, or maybe better phrased, record the current state of knowledge within you organization it is nowadays a rather difficult task. We used to think that by just having a knowledge manager or a group of knowledge managers we would be able to maintain a certain level of quality. These managers were reviewing the content and decided if something should or should not be listed in the knowledge repository.

Knowledge leaks
The big downside of this is that there a few people who are deciding or the complete what assets are useful and that you need to have any assets in the first place. The knowledge that wasn't shared in assets or wasn't approved by the knowledge manager simply evaporated and was in best case just not listed in the repository but in worst case the information was lost. If you want to prevent knowledge leaking like I just described it is most likely you will need three components: A repository A social networking platform A social collaboration platform These three components are tightly linked and enables a continuous process of knowledge recording. There is no small group that is deciding for everybody what is useful. It is everybody that decides what is useful for everybody: in some cases explicitly as in uploading and rating assets in the repository and other cases much more passive by just having a conversation on the social networking platform.

Continuous recording
The repository is used for storing documents and other assets that are of a persistence nature (most deliverables in a project are of this nature) and often offers a way to rate and review documents. Documents that aren't viewed for a long time and/ or with a very low rating will be removed over time to keep the valuable information and to prevent any clutter. The social networking platform is used for day to day communication, providing updates on deliverables, sharing successes and issues and collaborate on an ad hoc basis on these issues. Information is fluent and of a nonpermanent nature, though all information is searchable and discussions and decisions are traceable and can directly (or indirectly) linked to certain deliverables in the repository or to certain activities on the social collaboration platform. The social collaboration platform is used for structured collaboration on deliverables with a team. Input is structured, and changes are tracked on a permanent basis as well as discussions around the deliverables. Deliverables created on this platform can be moved towards the repository if it the result is something that is rather persistant of nature.

Overall these three components together facilitate continuous recording of knowledge being shared, plus an overview of all information over time on which decision in the project where based, enabling full traceability. It

doesn't depends on the few deciding for everyone what is good for them, it is about everyone who is sharing the information without holding back. Relevance is always in the eye of the beholder.

Microblogging at Capgemini By Andy Mulholland - Technology Innovation at Capgemini Co-Authored By Rick Mans July 18, 2011 at 10:37am
Summary

A few years ago we launched a microblogging system called Yammer at Capgemini. Yammer is a private and secure enterprise social network that allows colleagues to hold conversations, read posts and actively collaborate with co-workers in real-time. It is contributing to the collective consciousness of the 25,000 people who subscribe to it, a consciousness that is continually shifting and updating, as those people constantly learn and share new experiences.

Context

Capgemini has over 110,000 employees dispersed across the world in high level consulting, technology and outsourcing positions. Many of these people are based on site at client locations. The IT consultants in particular, who form about half of the workforce, are in an environment where much of the information they use goes out of date very quickly, yet is also very specific to a product, or a situation

A key challenge for us is how to keep our disparate colleagues up-to-speed, and able to benefit from all of our massive amount of in house knowledge in order to optimise delivering value to our clients. Does social networking provide part of the answer?

Key Innovations & Timeline

Back at the end of 2008 some colleagues had locally founded a small Yammer community, and based on their successes, and the growing numbers by early 2009 it looked a more promising approach than our then practice of using email community lists to exchange information. The then members were carefully using the externally hosted Yammer service for pure technical topics in their own time as our Enterprise rules forbad using an external service for Capgemini or Client business. Discussions up to and including our CEO, and CIO, resulted in the establishment of a code of practice on use and the decision to allow the membership to increase organically by those who personally decided that Social Networking would help them. From these small beginnings by the end of

2009 there were more than 5,000 members and the benefits achieved warranted a mention in the Capgemini annual report for 2009 in the spring of 2010.

How has Yammer made a difference to the Collaborative Experience that we seek to provide to our clients as a way of differentiating ourselves? In large part it is about decentralising the information flow, to create greater collaboration from the outside in. Whereas previously information dissemination was all about the centralised business and knowledge management, social networking has caused a shift in the way we communicate: its about an event, a topic, a specific information need at the point of service delivery, such as on site at a client facility.

It is those consultants at the edge who are posing the questions and using Yammer. Theyre encountering a lot more variability in what theyre being asked to do than perhaps those at the centre of the organisation who are driving the more structured approach of our business to the market. Theyre using i t as a service enabler; a tool to help them do more by tapping into a corporate knowledge bank in real time. Of course, its also vital that those of us at the centre climb aboard as well. The threads (conversation streams) that are generated on Yammer provide vital insight into whats going on across our business. They are our best chance to see whats happening on the front line and for our executives to ask questions that might help shape future strategy.

The concept of threads, or streams of conversation on a specific topic, is a key feature of Yammer. A thread shows all the replies to a specific message underneath the original update, making it easier to follow conversations. In fact, Capgeminis CEO is known to regularly go on to Yammer and check out who the top thread followers and creators are and what theyre discussing. Other board directors have made YamJams, webcasts where Yammer works as a back channel for people to hold ask questions while the executive concerned is presenting, or to send comments directly to the presentation during the YamJam in real time. The benefit of this is that the thread members see each other and it allows new relationships to form around aspects of the YamJam.

Interest in Yammer amongst a wider and less directly technical community increased after it was used by the head of internal communications to provide real time summaries of sessions at the bi-annual Capgemini senior management meeting, and to permit users to directly add their questions to those of the attendees at the end of a session. In short the use of the tool as a major part of real time communications improvements also began to feature senior managers using the capabilitiy though in truth most of them are still wary of the format for their everyday personal use. We have a wide range of threads, largely business-focused, but a number with more social intentions. Today studies have shown that more than 80% of the messages are strictly business, 4% can be truly classified as nothing to do with business, and the balance are discussions, but thats okay too, as you do need some social interactions to make a social network interesting!

People who use Yammer have become a social group in themselves meaning that what and how they interact has evolved with social rules to optimise the medium. They use it to ask the pertinent questions online in real time, such as who is responsible for a particular project or whether anyone has experienced a similar technical issue, and then at a certain stage if it is a detailed matter the three or four people actively supporting the thread may move off Yammer to use a further collaboration tool set for real work. Equally threads may link to and tell others that the required information is in the Capgemini Knowledge Management system, the social networking integrates to the other tools. Though increasing it seems it is the Social Network element that acts as tthe social glue that holds it all together.

There are three distinct groups of users within Capgemini: hugely active; regular Yammers; and listeners. The hugely active group comprises around 50 people, many of whom were involved when Yammer was first piloted within the organisation. They tend to be top Capgemini smart technology people who are keen to stay on top of their game by constantly asking questions and responding to Yammer threads. Theyre managing communities and ensuring that Yammer is an active place and working all the time. The group of regular Yammers is comprised of about 800 users. Theyre not as passionate about Yammer as the active users but are likely to feel that if they havent been on for a couple of weeks, theyre missing out on something. Then there are the listeners, those users who perhaps use Yammer for a specific purpose, to follow a thread about a topic that resonates with them, but without the need to add their own comment unless something particularly of personal value occurs. They know its there and can dip in and out as and when they need to.

These ratios seem to be about normal for successful social networks and they hide the huge importance of the so called core people in making a network successful. Social Networks fail without a core group making them active and interesting, yet all to frequently this core is seen as too dominant and limiting therefore allowing an unenlighted management to state that a pilot is unsuccessful as the active numbers are too low.

Problem solving is the biggest area of usage, with Yammers asking for support or help in tracking down a colleague or information resource. One thread starts with the request: We need more Level 3 and 4 Certified Software Engineers the discussion becomes how to encourage training and certification from colleagues. Other threads revolve around building communities of interest on a particular topic, such as We are working on Technovision 2011 (a thought leadership publication). What Technology trends should we absolutely not forget to include? There is also a sense that Yammer can support innovation.What we see is ideas from one part of the business being picked up and applied in different sectors. So its stimulating innovation in a certain way, through the reuse of best practices but in an entirely different context.

One surprise has been the speed at which threads grow. Its almost a kind of outsourcing allowing questions to be asked outside the constraints of your business group whereby you ask a question and one, two or three or four people will come back with some take on the answer. And unlike email, which is targeted to a group of people you already know, a Yammer request goes out to anyone interested in a topic. Very quickly, youll have a discussion underway that may involve six to ten people as they debate the issue and work it. The speed with which people

join and extend the thread is remarkable. This sort of interaction is simply not possible within the constraints of email.

Challenges & Solutions

We have to adhere to a few controls put in place to safeguard client information and competitive intelligence. As social environments change so fast, a traditional set of governance policies would strangle the benefits of flexibility. Instead, we have developed a code of conduct to make employees aware of the consequences of using a tool such as Yammer. The code starts with a mission statement: Yammer is a source of instant inspiration to strengthen and empower its members to face their daily impediments and foster the development of international social networks around common areas of interest. It builds on such values as honesty, boldness, trust, freedom and fun. And, importantly, because Yammer is hosted by an independent company, not by a central IT department, no confidential or client-specific matters are discussed.

Usage tends to be self governing, so if someone Yammers with information they shouldnt, other users will urge them to stop. We cant control the growth of Yammer but if it does continue to expand, we may need to increase the level of formalisation in some way or another, currently we are looking at improving the integration with other internally hosted tools for collaboration to move specific and detailed discussion forward in our secure internal systems. Capgeminis use of Yammer has evolved as membership has increased, for instance with the introducti on of a benefit tracking mechanism; a thread that elicits a good or rapid response or a clear benefit can be tagged to draw it to other users attention. The clear point is that it is driven by the users developing the direction and capabilities to suit their needs.

Lessons

Understand the limits of technology. No single technology will ever meet the full array of needs that a large company. The evidence is that Yammer is good for solving specific problems, sharing information quickly, and generating immediate buzz on a topic. But it is not so good for other things. Yammer isnt very well suited for distributing traditional structured information that doesnt change very often; and for most colleagues to really collaborate with each other in a structured way is also difficult.

So if you picture a spectrum of increasingly complex and interactive tasks in a big company, Yammer works best in the middle of that spectrum at the low end, the basic sharing and archiving of structured information is done best using traditional knowledge-management databases, and at the high end, if you want to brainstorm about developing a new service offering or solving a tricky problem, a face-to-face meeting is likely to be your best bet. But there is an increasing range of tasks in the middle of that spectrum which require too much interactivity for traditional IT systems, and where you cannot justify the cost of a face-to-face meeting. This is the sweet-spot for social networking tools, and it corresponds to the shift that we see in the market towards the success coming from optimising responses to real time events around unstructured information.

Managements changing role. Consider the list of things that we use Yammer for: aligning activities, problem solving, information sharing, providing clarification. Now think about the things managers do for a living and you quickly end up with a pretty similar list. Social networking technologies, in other words, are increasingly being used to provide the support and input that employees used to get from their managers. In other words, they are taking away some of the more mindless activities that managers used to perform, freeing up their time to do the real value-added work such as motivating their employees, structuring their work to make it more engaging, developing their skills, securing access to resources, and making linkages to other parts of the organisation. Interestingly many managers today feel unable to perform this role as they are too busy with email so its important to note that among many of the top technical staff (including ourselves), email has dropped substantially with 40% reductions being about the norm in this group.

Blurring the boundaries between work and play. When social networking sites first came on the scene, most companies banned their use at work they were seen not only as a security threat, and they were also seen as a distraction from real work. But the boundaries between social networking sites and corporate Intranets are blurring all the time, and Yammer is just one of many technologies that sit in this grey zone between the two worlds. And the boundaries are murkier still in the minds of employees, many of whom feel it is entirely appropriate to blur their work and home lives. The Capgemini CEO used this change as a topic for his prestigious keynote early in 2011 at CeBit, Hanover.

Indeed, Yammer encourages a mix of the practical, the profound and the trivial. One thread started with the question When did anyone last buy a tie? And the World Cup 2010 attracted a great deal of traffic. Its the equivalent of the local water cooler or coffee machine in promoting interactions and most people when asked where they get information from quote these as sources amongst others!

So we dont see the social use of Yammer as so mething that will interfere with work. This is perhaps a sign of the maturity of our communications platform in that were happy for a sporting or other interest group to be part of Yammer. It is, after all, social networking technology.

As a means of connecting a disparate workforce Yammer is proving its worth at Capgemini. It maintains a largely business focus, acting as a pool of best practice and offering experience from the front line. It allows people working on similar assignments to connect with colleagues they may not have been aware were working in the same field. It acts as a conduit, feeding in information from the edge of the business to transform the whole process of internal communication. This is social networking with an enterprise signature.

Social Media and Knowledge Management

1. Microblogging for knowledge management Microblogging is the form of communication that allows users to post short updates about their current status via emails, web, cell phones, PDAs and IM. Twitter is the well-known Microblogging tool since it was launched 2006. Microblogging is characterized by the following properties as opposed to blogging: Faster mode of communication compared to traditional blogging.

Microblogger can post multiple updates in one day while a blogger may post updates once in few days on average. Short and to the point Recent social phenomena of Web 2.0. (Passant et. al)

Internet users contribute their knowledge to different web 2.0 tools without incentive expectation. These web 2.0 tools include wikis, microblogs, and blogs. The availability of web 2.0 services is motivation enough for experts in different areas to contribute their knowledge. In recent years, microblogging has gained a lot of popularity and has been used for knowledge management by organization, educational institutions and individuals for different purposes. We shall then discuss issues associated with microblogging for knowledge management as well as the benefits. Issues associated with Microblogging for knowledge management Most microblogging tools act in a closed world. i.e. Linking Twitter updates to your Flickr pictures is impossible unless using traditional HTML links or RSS. Twitter uses microformats to describe follower lists, but has no mechanism to disclose followers updates (e.g. who did the update and when). Microblogging platforms have no semantics (Twitter uses hash tags # that cannot be processed automatically by computers). No links to other sites with similar content and microblogs non-reusable. Therefore published data cannot be reused on other microblogging sites. Information on microblogs is abstract and has not external links to related content besides traditional HTML. Not all information mined on microblogs is actually reliable.

Benefits of microblogging for knowledge management

These are the key benefits for using microblogging for knowledge management purposes: Interaction in virtual teams for information sharing all over the world. Organization can use this tool for decision making purposes since it stores history of conversation for revision purposes. Project team members situated in different geographic locations can use microblogging as fundamental communication tool. Information gathering is not limited to location.

Allows multiple inputs i.e. One can post a question and friends can post their views on that particular subject Microblogging tools are simple in social engineering view point Microblogs are easy to read because of the small number of characters in each microblogs Instant response and quick interaction if followers (e.g. twitter) are online

Useful tools for decision making in many organizations. Microblogging keeps track of conversation at an executive level and can be used as a form of reference. 2. Mining Knowledge Bases for knowledge Multiple individuals contribute their knowledge for public access via different online tools. These tools include social networks, educational websites and other web2.0 communities. The first platform visited by researchers for any kind of information is the web. Web is a repository for all information that is stored in different databases located in different servers. These databases are used by multiple knowledge bases and are available through multiple search engines (e.g. Google). Knowledge bases such as Google scholar, Science direct are the well known knowledge bases for advanced and detailed academic research. They are repositories for journals, articles, encyclopedias, conference papers, thesis and others. The user types in key phrase for search and the search engine produces results associated with key phrase. Benefits of these knowledge mining tools are as follows: Ease of use Extensive HTML links to related content

Extensive html links to citations. (e.g. cited by # is displayed on most Google Scholar journal articles that have been cited) Reliability of these sources because of the nature of information contained

Drawbacks of using these are as follows: You may have to read the entire article for small piece of information Some articles are not free The choice of search phrase may not give desired results

The next category of knowledge mining is Video sharing sites (e.g. YouTube). YouTube is also used for knowledge mining in the form of multimedia. YouTube makes use of categories to group related videos. Videos are grouped into education, sport, technology and other categories. This arrangement has the following benefits on knowledge mining. Videos with similar content are grouped together Simplicity of knowledge mining is enhanced Knowledge mining is made fun through multimedia Understanding of concepts is made easy through body language in videos

YouTube can be associated with one major drawback. Access to videos via mobile devices can be costly as opposed to microblogs. Web2.0 communities are also considered to be good source of knowledge. Wikipedia is one of those web2.0 services which offer extensive knowledge to the community. Information posted on Wikipedia has a number of links that are used to enhance understanding. Every word that is used in to explain a concept is further explained by linking it to another Wikipedia page. The major benefit of using this tool for knowledge mining is ease of navigation through multiple pages within the Wikipedia website and thus enhancing knowledge. This website is normally located within top 3 pages of Google search. All tools discussed in this article form bases of knowledge mining for multiple purposes. Link to all these tools can be obtained through Google search. Google scholar, Wikipedia and YouTube always appear on the first page of Google search when they form part of search results. These 3 pages share these common strengths: Simple navigation to related content via HTML links.

They all form part of Google Search Engine

They all are widely used and are good source of knowledge mining. 3. Mining Microblogs for knowledge Since introduction of Twitter in 2006, Microblogging has grown popular. This popularity is enhanced by its simplicity, ease of use and access through multiple devices. Organizations have extensively adopted use of microblogging as communication medium for information sharing. Microblogging can thus be considered as one of the major tools for knowledge storage and distributing for individuals and organizations. This is knowledge can then be mined by multiple users with access to microblogging communities for different purposes. In this article, we shall explore mining of microblogging for knowledge. Individuals can start discussions that allow all registered individuals to contribute their knowledge. In this way, information is distributed and can be mined by others. These are the key benefits associated with the use of this tool for knowledge mining. The pace of knowledge mining is increased because of simple user interface and ease-of-use of these communities without extensive learning required for these tools as opposed to browsing an entire article. Multiple views of a single post as one individual can post a blog and others can comment on it thus contributing their knowledge (An article in traditional knowledge mining can be an individuals effort). Posts are short and precise (e.g. 140 characters on Twitter) as opposed to traditional knowledge mining (e.g. articles) All microblogs are dated and outdated information can be ignored by a researcher

Access to microblogs via various devices implies easy access to knowledge as opposed to access to YouTube and other academic search engines(e.g. Google Scholar) The following are the key drawbacks of using microblogging for knowledge mining Not all information found on microblogs is correct (Articles are well examined before they are published in traditional knowledge mining) Related content is not grouped together and thus navigation is difficult. (In traditional knowledge mining, like YouTube, related videos are grouped under single category)

No links to external sites for detailed explanation. (Wikipedia has links on almost every aspect of explanation to enhance understanding) Twitter uses hash tags (e.g. #public) that cannot be automatically processed by the computer for similar data grouping. No search function within the community (YouTube allows searching of videos within the site)

Microblogs do not form part of Google Search Engines as opposed to Google Scholar, YouTube, Wiki and other traditional knowledge mining tools that normally make top 3 results in Google search results. The more blogs are posted, the more difficult it is to find desired information

Conclusion Microblogging is a very useful tool for instant communication status and aspect discussion. It is convenient for all users and organizations. However, the traditional knowledge mining tools are considered more convenient than microblogs for knowledge mining purposes and they are still widely used than microblogs for this purpose. The major issues associated with microblogging for knowledge mining is navigation and content grouping. Should these issues be addressed by microblogging tools, Microblogging will be convenient for knowledge mining purposes.

Knowledge Management Must Be Social


Everything is faster. The way we consume information, the way we digitally access informationeven the way we talk is faster than a decade ago. We have access to an abundance of information and yet the old knowledge management problem is still the same: how to get the right information to the right people at the right time. While some businesses are adding a social networking component to their existing systems, others see it as a risk. They worry that giving employees the ability to share and consume freely will distract them from focusing on whats important. This is where theyre wrong. Heres why: Conversation is still the best form of knowledge transfer. We are inextricably bound to social: storytelling, conversation, and discourse. It is our most natural way of learning. The old way of managing knowledgedatabases, data mining, document repositories, directories etc.is simply not enough. But, lets dive deeper

Social Increases Learning Its not just a matter of getting the right information to peoplepeople need to engage with it to learn. It is the social context of the scenario that gages interest, motivates informed responses and ultimately drives the best answer. Social Helps Us Make Decisions Faster - Think about all those times you needed to ask a colleague a question or gather everyone for a meeting before you could decide the next step. Social networking facilitates decision making across all the right stakeholders. Take for example, I just uploaded the latest version of a video to Box.com from our private social network. From there, I also posted a message to our marketing team asking for feedback. Wherever they areBox.com, their email, the network or even their mobile devicethey should be able to weigh in so I can make final changes before it goes to press. Social Connects Employees to the Right Experts For some decisions, we dont need to involve everyone, but we do need to know who is the best person to involve. For example, I just entered a purchase requisition that needs final approval from legal before were ready to launch our new pay-perclick campaign. Rather than try to find the right person in legal to ask them for a status update, I simply post a question in the context of the procurement system and the right person responds. Its really about connecting people in the context of their workflow. Social Harnesses Collective Knowledge Sharing Beyond the in-context, knowledge sharing, private social networking provides a stream of insights from employees, increasing innovation and better business outcomes.

Social Media versus Knowledge Management


On the surface, social media and knowledge management (KM) seem very similar. Both involve people using technology to access information. Both require individuals to create information intended for sharing. Both profess to support collaboration. But there's a big difference. Knowledge management is what company management tells me I need to know, based on what they think is important. Social media is how my peers show me what they think is important, based on their experience and in a way that I can judge for myself. These definitions may sound harsh, and biased in favor of social media, and to some extent they are. Knowledge should be like water free-flowing and permeating down and across your organization filling the cracks, floating good ideas to the top and lifting all boats.

But, really, is that anyone's KM reality? KM, in practice, reflects a hierarchical view of knowledge to match the hierarchical view of the organization. Yes, knowledge may originate anywhere in the organization, but it is channeled and gathered into a knowledge base (cistern) where it is distributed through a predefined set of channels, processes and protocols.

Social media looks downright chaotic by comparison. There is no predefined index, no prequalified knowledge creators, no knowledge managers and ostensibly little to no structure. Where an organization has a roof, gutters and cistern to capture knowledge, a social media organization has no roof, allowing the "rain" to fall directly into the house, collecting in puddles wherever they happen to form. That can be quite messy. And organizations abhor a mess. It is no wonder, then, that executives, knowledge managers and software companies seek to offer tools, processes and approaches to tame social media. After all (they believe), "We cannot have employees, customers, suppliers and anyone else creating their own information, forming their own opinions and expressing that without our say. Think of the impact on our brand, our people, our customers. We need to manage this. We need knowledge management." This is exactly the wrong attitude for one simple reason: It does not stop people from talking about you. Your workforce, customers, suppliers, competitors, etc., will talk about you whenever, wherever and however they want. Even pre-World Wide Web, these conversations were happening. We're long past the time to seek control; it's time to engage people. Business leaders recognize that engagement is the best way to glean value from the knowledge exchanged in social media and not by seeking to control social media with traditional KM techniques. That only leads to a "provide and pray" approach, and we have seen more than our share of "social media as next-generation KM" efforts fail to yield results. So how do organizations gain value from social media, particularly in situations where they have not been successful with KM? The answer lies in a new view of collaboration: mass collaboration. Mass collaboration consists of three things: social media technology, a compelling purpose and a focus on forming communities. Social media technology provides the conduit and means for people to share their knowledge, insight and experience on their terms. It also provides a way for the individual to see and evaluate that knowledge based on the judgment of others. Purpose is the reason people participate and contribute their ideas, experience and knowledge. They participate personally in social media because they value and identify with the purpose. They do so because they want to, rather than being told to as part of their job. Communities are self-forming in social media. KM communities imply a hierarchical view of knowledge and are often assigned by job classification or encouraged based on work duties. Participation becomes prescribed, creating the type of "mandatory fun" that is the butt of many a Dilbert cartoon and TV sitcom. Social media allows communities to emerge as a property of the purpose and the participation in using the tools. This lack of structure creates the space for active and innovative communities.

Creating mass collaboration involves more than building technology and telling people to participate. It necessitates a vision, a strategy and management actions we will discuss in subsequent posts. The point here is that while they may seem similar, social media and KM are not the same. Recognizing the differences is a crucial step toward getting value out of both and avoiding a struggle of one over the other.

Where Knowledge Management and Social Media Meet


Most organizations today struggle to effectively manage their rapidly growing volume of vital corporate knowledge which is being trapped in information silos like email inboxs. They have a limited understanding of organizational expertise (talent), the right information either is not collected or not available to the right people at the right time to make the right decisions, or knowledge is lost when employees leave the company, etc. On the other hand organizations are increasingly depending on knowledge & information technology as assets to innovate and create value. Several major trends have been identified and analyzed regarding the transformation of knowledge management into social business Increased adoption of social technologies, e.g. Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc. Increased adoption of mobile platforms & other tablet devices. The rise of Gen-Y in organizations who were born digital. Basically they know what social collaboration is and they are bringing the concept to life in their workplaces. Many organizations are moving their business systems to the cloud to reduce costs which also helps in the adoption of social media & mobile gadgets. A HBR Blog written by Anthony J. Bradley and Mark P. McDonald from Gartner states, Social media & knowledge management (KM) seem very similar. Both involve people using technology to access information. Both require individuals to create information intended for sharing. Both profess to support collaboration. But theres a big difference. Knowledge management is what company management tells me I need to know, based on what they think is important. Social media is how my peers show me what they think is important, based on their experience and in a way that I can judge for myself. Research shows that employees who frequently interact transfer knowledge more effectively, supporting the opinion that community networking is an important part of knowledge management especially for unstated knowledge. Integrating social networking into knowledge management systems can increase interactions between employees, which can in turn increase their level of trust and encourage more effective collaboration and communication. Knowledge should be like water free-flowing and permeating down and across your organization filling the cracks, floating good ideas to the top and lifting all boats. The knowledge of each employee at an organization is an invaluable company asset and the combined knowledge of a company is truly the engine that drives results. Lets explore some of the ways that your Enterprise Social Networks [ESN] can help businesses master knowledge management;

Information today needs to be searchable, and it needs to be accessible anytime, anywhere. Relevance is subjective. The real-time access to your organizations knowledge and the content including mobile devices makes teams efficient, productive & successful. Moving beyond email and file systems, ESNs combines all collaboration capabilities including brainstorming on ideas, sharing & customizing documents, creating microblogs, asking questions or feedback, etc. The knowledge being shared on your ESN would never have been shared via email, as the social nature of enterprise networks makes it effortless for users to share and consume. If each employee can spend few minutes in filling out the information on their profile page, for e.g. about, previous projects, skills, etc. discovering experts who can drive or help with project would be much simpler. Experts across your company can share expertise in real-time. Knowledge sharing becomes infinitely easier when centralized, since it uncovers hidden knowledge resources to solve everyday business challenges through its searchable repository of communications, documents, comments, etc. ESNs retain the knowledge of your organization in linear threads, organized projects and groups, and easily searchable document repositories so that newcomers can come up to speed in the shortest amount of time.

Still havent discovered the advantages an Enterprise Social Network can bring? Try some powerful new enterprise social apps and manage the knowledge in your company more productively!