There room three crucial questions come ask when arising a understanding Management (KM) strategy: where space you, where perform you want to be, and how execute you ensure you get there successfully? These space the three pillars crucial for the development of a sound km strategy. In ~ Enterprise understanding (EK), we specify these as the present State, Target State, and Roadmap. As basic as these terms might sound, arising a complete understanding of every is no little challenge. In this white file series, among EK’s kilometres strategy experts, Yanko Ivanov, addresses every step, beginning with the current State Assessment.

You are watching: The first step in developing a knowledge management system is to

Step #1: recognize the present State


The an obstacle with developing a kilometres strategy that works is that one size does not fit all. In reality, your kilometres strategy have to be intimately tailored come your certain environment, an innovation ecosystem, and also business goals. In bespeak to build a practical, realistic, and successful km strategy, you require an in-depth grasp that the current situation.

We are frequently approached by clients who, in their attempt to develop their km strategy in-house, fail to fully grasp the fundamentals of their present challenges. Having a sound kilometres strategy is no only about having a SharePoint or Drupal installation with a nice interface or a collection of km policies documented. There are many critical factors that influence how KM becomes a true and working part of one organization, plenty of of i m sorry have little to execute with technology.

To cover these miscellaneous factors, in ~ EK we strategy the current State evaluate from five perspectives: People, Processes, Content, Culture, and also Technology. We purposefully list an innovation last, as it reinforces a key point for our work, that an innovation is an enabling tool for KM, not the finish solution itself.

1. People

Organizations regularly make the mistake of focusing exclusively on modern technology and underestimating the world aspect. However, no matter just how cutting edge and also cool an innovation is, if it no cater come the really needs and preferences of your users, adoption will experience drastically.

With the in mind, below are some critical questions to ask when developing your kilometres Strategy:

Who space your users: demographics, business units and also structure, roles, etc?What information do they require on a daily basis?How do they connect and communicate currently? how would they choose to do that in the future?Are there created thought leaders? If not, what is avoiding that?Do they choose sharing expertise? If not, what is avoiding them?Are there any kind of informational and/or functional silos in ~ the organization and what is the root cause for them to form?

It is crucial to recognize the ingredient of her staff, their communication patterns, and their preferences, and also the details they need. For example, in a past project v a worldwide Fortune 500 company, we discovered the very same search interface was walking to it is in used in different ways by executives contrasted to directors and also even more junior associates. Executives were more focused on most relevant outcomes of a particular topic and form while associates were interested in relevant results across topics, company units, and file types. In other words, depth matches breadth.

Understanding who your audience is, their communication channels, and also any present or potential barriers to information flow will guide the following step that your kilometres strategy development, the Target State Definition.

2. Processes

Organizational processes are moved by information. Every action in a process consumes some kind of data, and produces some type of output, be it a document, the number of produced items, or a basic email. Together such, evaluating organizational processes is integral for arising a working kilometres strategy.

When evaluating current processes in an organization, we deal with questions like the following:

What space the main company processes because that the organization, and also for each organization unit?How space the procedures instantiated, applied, and followed? What space the gaps, and where deserve to they it is in improved?Does your staff perceive the existing procedures as effective or an ext cumbersome than necessary?How space the processes being followed in “real life?”Are there developed roles and well characterized staff to fill these functions in each procedure step?

It is essential to note that knowledge an organization’s procedures goes much deeper than what they have documented as “official” processes. Plenty of organizations have produced processes that work-related at various levels, yet have however to be expanded enterprise wide or developed as “official” to the organization. A vital component of our procedure discovery job-related is finding out what is gift done the is working and could potentially be broadened upon.

Understanding your processes and their data demands feeds necessary information come the following step the the kilometres strategy development: developing a Target State where a mutually useful relationship between your KM and also business processes leads to improved efficiency and also retention of organizational knowledge; whereby capturing, finding, and also sharing details is one integral component of the business process rather 보다 a burden.

3. Content

Hand-in-hand with understanding organizational processes, examining the information and content that flows through these processes and also how, is another vital aspect for forming the present State Assessment and also guiding the Target State definition. There is much more to knowledge content than just a straightforward content evaluation effort. If diving right into the actual content analysis, likewise consider the following:

How “fresh” is your content and what space the obstacles for keeping it current? how much go your staff trust the contents they discover on interior systems?Where is this content housed? exactly how is that organized and also accessed? Is over there a defined accessibility control in place? are there security and confidentiality involves that must be addressed?Do world collaborate in contributing new content? room there approval workflows with developed roles in location or space they not needed?What are the current procedures for understanding retention when staff leaves?Do you need to collaborate or share some of your contents with exterior audiences?How has the contents been enhanced (with tags, formatting, etc)?Again, what silos exists and why?

Much that the discussion on content is tightly intertwined with the analysis of processes and vice versa. Expertise objects room the building blocks of knowledge retention and dissemination through developed processes. Performing content evaluation will help you recognize gaps, stale content, potential security risks, missing or deficient processes, and other areas that must be addressed in the Target State Definition.

4. Culture

Another important element that has an important impact on companies KM, yet is often overlooked, is company culture. Along with processes and also procedures, company society shapes staff’s behavior and attitude toward capturing, managing, and sharing information. For example:

Is knowledge sharing promoted by her company’s culture? space there incentives for thought management contributions?Do people like come share or do they like to store their intellectual property to themselves?What around sharing throughout business units?Further, go your employee feel pressured to keep high utilization and does “data entry” hinder that?

These are simply a couple of questions, however the answers will aid guide a realistic kilometres Target State for her company. Because that instance, if collaboration between business devices is important, yet there is information that demands to be protected, then centralized sharing and also content security are 2 important factors to be thought about in the next procedures of the kilometres strategy development, namely the Target State Definition and the kilometres Roadmap.

5. Technology

Covering the over aspects, through this suggest you would have heard the most essential technology-related pains points. The is important, however, come thoroughly recognize the existing modern technology ecosystem and also the limitations it implies. We method this effort by addressing questions favor these:

Is there an currently IT design plan? What is the level that integration in between systems, e.g. User account management, content and record management, intranet, search, taxonomy management, marketing and finance applications, etc.What is the technology stack choice of the organization? Microsoft, open up source?What room the modern technology development and maintenance capability of the organization? Is there dedicated IT staff? What space their skills?Where in your lifecycle are existing systems? Are any of castle planned to it is in sunset? are any brand-new ones currently in the procurement process?What room the cost factors? do license restrictions reason inefficiencies?Is over there an accessibility control setup for the full technology ecosystem? If not, what concerns does that cause?

Depending on company size, technology infrastructure deserve to be minimal or overwhelmingly large and complex. Because that instance, on a past project, we found that there were at the very least three separate content management systems with their own search engines and various integrations. The led to significant confusion among staff regarding where to search for what form of content. The overwhelming sentiment was the they wanted to use outside systems to execute their research. Having actually a number of KM systems with overlapping features strongly hinders adoption.

It is vital to obtain a solid understanding of all current systems, their functionalities, users, restrictions, as well as where they space in their lifecycle. Because that example, if your agency recently purchased the latest variation of SharePoint or SalesForce, opportunities are great that these systems will do an illustration in your Target State Definition.


In addition to the above themes, having a clear photo of how your organization’s km capabilities stack as much as the industry deserve to be a beneficial tool to accumulate support and leadership for her KM revolution effort. To aid visualize organizational kilometres capabilities, in ~ EK we execute a benchmarking analysis of the company’s kilometres maturity based on our proprietary KIM Maturity Model. We use a selection of category to determine the present level the the company’s km maturity contrasted to industry standards. This approach not just helps friend visualize your current KM state, yet it also identifies locations where your organization lags behind the market benchmark, i m sorry in turn deserve to spur essential actions.

Concluding Remarks

Gaining a an extensive understanding the the existing State that your km is paramount because that the km strategy development process. However, that is just the an initial step. In upcoming posts, us will discuss steps two and three:

Define an achievable kilometres Target State;Develop a realistic km Roadmap.

See more: Us State Nicknamed The Pine Tree State, Maine State Nickname


About the Author: Yanko Ivanov is highly-skilled administration consultant concentrating on company analysis, system design, and integration. Yanko is passionate about developing valuable knowledge and information monitoring strategies that help organizations achieve their vision.