After many years of working in the Knowledge Management (KM) arena, it continues to be clear to me that KM technology–really, typically, IT-driven KM initiatives often stall at the gate or flat out fail.
While these efforts can be implemented perfectly, meeting–or even going well beyond–all of the "defined requirements," adoption is often a big challenge.
This is especially true in organizations where there are many levels of management or where accountability is weak. It is also true of organizations that do not place a premium on collaboration, which may be cultural in nature for one reason or another.
Sure, we can install off-the-shelf content management solutions that are highly flexible, with taxonomic and "folksonomic" tagging structures and sophisticated search capabilities, but that is not enough.
People do not think about information in those contexts. They think about information providing insight, informing them. They think about who has the knowledge. They think about who can solve a problem. Sometimes, they just go to the web and hope they stumble on an answer.
And so, how does an organization improve the probability of a KM initiative being adopted? Or if a stalled implementation is already in place, how does an organization increase its utilization?
One key, I think, is extending off-the-shelf technology with a layer of smartly designed, targeted tools that provide the proper context to an organization's KM workers. These tools are often easy to find or to build and deliver. And, today, these tools can be implemented without risking the underlying technology.
For example, our Application Impact Analysis (AIA) app is designed to provide a dynamic view of some pretty dry organizational data. By giving a visual representation of the relationships between an organization's applications, people can become better informed about those applications and the impact that they might have on one another in certain circumstances. In addition, multiple people can do this at the same time, seeing these relationships from each's own unique perspective. This capability encourages discovery and, possibly, discussion. It may increase their knowledge, too.