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Knowledge Management Training and Technology

This past week I attended the CKM training in Toronto, hosted by the Knowledge Management Institute and Knowledge Management Institute Canada. I attended, not because I felt I needed training (although I don’t have enough ego to think that I know it all, I have been doing KM for 12+ years, and certainly know a lot) but because I was curious to hear about their model and their approach. KMI has trained over 4,000 people worldwide over the last 10 years so they are onto something.

Just to backtrack for a minute, I come to KM from a technology perspective, because that is how I first came to KM. The processes and people part of KM are absolutely necessary and critical, and are the hardest part of KM, but technology enables it all, and poorly designed and implemented KM technology is the death knell for KM in a lot of organizations.

Okay, so back to my training. I did training with APQC when I was first getting going with KM when I was at Hewlett Packard, it was what was available to me at the time. It talked about the phases of KM implementation and how to mature KM in the organization, something I still use/refer to in my work. KMI’s CKM training provides a much more comprehensive model for KM, it introduces a lot of concepts and ideas about KM that I have learned over my 12 years of doing it. But because KM as a discipline is based on the experiences of its practitioners, and isn’t mature enough to have standardized/coalesced its terminology I was frustrated with the descriptions by times.

As much as I enjoyed the course, meeting everyone, and hearing the experiences and challenges that they all face and have faced, I tired of KM technology being the great evil of KM and that is something that needs to be addressed going forward. I have no hesitancy in recommending the course to people just starting out in KM, it’s a great start. However as technology ever embeds itself in our lives (work-wise and otherwise) understanding how KM technology can enable KM activities is critical.

The poor implementation of KM technology is the reason why KM has a bad name in the minds of many, but it is a necessary component of the KM puzzle, ignoring it does not change this. The sooner KM practitioners understand this, the sooner it will get better.

Alas, I think I am a lone voice in the wilderness on this one.

3 thoughts on “Knowledge Management Training and Technology

  • Stephen Bounds November 13, 2011 at 10:24 PM Reply

    Hi Stephanie,

    I would guess that ultimately the disdain for KM technology partly arises because adopting technology can become a “tick-box” exercise: “Have we got that KM system in yet?” “Yes.” “Mission accomplished – let’s move on.”

    This hasn’t been helped by the carpetbagger KM consultants (and more recently social media software suppliers) who sell the magic bullet approach of technology to organisations.

    Ultimately if you don’t have a strong understanding of the objectives of KM and the specific goals of your organisation in the KM space, then technology will be a crutch rather than an enabler.

    • sbarnes November 13, 2011 at 10:31 PM Reply

      I agree. The technology vendors and consultants who sell the magic/silver bullet approach to anything, including and I would say especially KM don’t do anyone any favours, but those organizations that are gullible enough to believe them are just as bad. We all want something for nothing and in the case of KM technology, there has to be a strong understanding of the requirements and expectations of the organization and appropriate time and efforts put into picking the right one to support the KM activities.

      Maybe I’m not the lone voice in the wilderness I thought I was 😉

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