For the 15+ years I’ve been working in knowledge worker roles, knowledge management has been much spoken about, but never seen.
I’m currently working with a virtual team of nearly 10 consultants. The firm has had 0ver 80 clients since its founding in 2001, so there is a treasure trove of experience in the firm. Unfortunately, its in people’s heads, on their laptops, and to a lesser degree on the shared network drive. Sound familiar? It’s the classic enterprise knowledge management problem. You want to tap into the experience of your peers, but there is no easy way to do it.
For example, if I need to run a requirements session, and I know my colleagues have done many, I currently have to phone each one and rely on their memory and availability to send me what they have, or I can browse through the network client folders one-by-one randomly opening documents. Inefficient and time-consuming. A Google appliance would help, but the success of that approach depends on the discipline to save relevant files to the network drive.
We need a system which reduces the barriers to storage and search – organization with minimum overhead. It seems the new abundances of storage, computing power and bandwidth would be amenable to cracking this decades old problem. Perhaps a version of Google that can search nominated folders and Outlook files on everyone’s laptop that’s working on the same project? How cool would it be if you could just do a Google quality search of the team members’ laptops, maybe with an interrupt alert that seeks their approval of which folders and what results to share? Even cooler if a wiki or other centralized collection of notes and links was auto-created and updated on desired topics again with people’s approval of the search and results. Any takers? (We could certainly use the help!)