Originally posted 26-Mar-20

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Technology, user, and program independence are all important to the success of a knowledge management initiative. In this first part of a three-part series, I’ll explain how to work effectively with the IT function while maintaining independence for the knowledge management program.

Technology independence for a KM program means configuring the platform without relying on IT, integrating tools into the flow of work, and customizing systems whenever needed. To achieve this independence, a strong, collaborative working relationship with your organization’s IT department is needed. You must work with IT to plan and implement technology projects.

Working with IT

  • Identify one or more representatives from IT and add them to your team. Treat them as if they are a valued and key direct report, even though they report elsewhere.
  • Ask IT to put you, or one of your team members, on their team. Ask them to treat your representative as if they are a valued and key direct report, even though they report elsewhere.
  • Hold a regular call or meeting, either weekly or biweekly, so stay in touch, review progress, set priorities, and resolve any problems. Attend each other’s regular staff meetings and calls.
  • Get IT to regularly use the tools being used by the KM program. Ask key IT people to act as champions for these tools and the KM program in general. They can do through their communications, by providing training, and by encouraging others to follow their example.
  • Work together on vendor selection, relations, and support. You should understand and respect IT’s processes and policies, and IT should not make decisions or take action without your agreement and participation.
  • Participate in each other’s budgeting. When IT prepares its budget, you should participate, offer suggestions, and agree to the parts that relate to your program. When you prepare the KM budget, IT should participate, offer suggestions, and agree to the parts that relate to IT.
  • Work regularly with IT to identify opportunities for integration, improve the user experience, increase functionality, optimize performance, and lower costs. Review existing applications, consider whether to migrate from one vendor to another, discuss whether to buy or build new software, and determine if the design and development processes can be enhanced.
  • Collaborate with IT to evaluate, test, pilot, and implement new technologies, or apply any KM approaches, that support the business objectives of your KM program.

Independent Technology-related Actions

Here are technology-related actions you can take on your own without needing to involve IT each time.

  • Design and edit intranet pages.
  • Create and configure collaborative team spaces.
  • Configure and use virtual meeting rooms and web conferencing.
  • Customize portals and digital workplaces.
  • Populate and maintain repositories and knowledge bases.
  • Create and moderate threaded discussions and Enterprise Social Networks.
  • Set up and manage expertise locators.
  • Define and apply standard metadata as part of the enterprise taxonomy.
  • Monitor and tune enterprise search.
  • Configure content and document management systems.
  • Establish and monitor blogs and wikis.
  • Record and publish podcasts and videos.
  • Manage workflow applications and process automation.
  • Integrate and administer gamification applications and digital badges.
  • Enable automated analytics and cognitive computing applications.

Roles and Responsibilities of KM and IT

A recent discussion thread in the SIKM Leaders Community included responses to this query: “What is your experience in delineating the different roles and responsibilities for the work that KM and IT share?” Here is one of the replies, this one from Nirmala Palaniappan:

“In one of the organizations I worked with, the IT team interacted only with us, the KM team, and was answerable only to us (as opposed to the end users). KM was responsible for the features, search, user experience and everything else. We had small subset of members comprising both IT and KM to carry out research, analysis, and design for new features and modules. In another organization, IT simply project-managed requirements from KM and participated in technology discussions in the capacity of a consultant with expertise in architecture, product roadmaps, and server administration.”

In the second part of this series, I will discuss enabling user independence.

Read my posts for Lucidea’s Think Clearly blog.

Written by

Knowledge Management Author and Speaker, Founder of SIKM Leaders Community, Community Evangelist, Knowledge Manager https://sites.google.com/site/stangarfield/

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