Knowledge management sounds like an abstract concept, and yet for the sake of our profitability, we do everything we can to transform it into a tangible commodity. Some definitions of knowledge management systems (KMS) treat systems as something that exists independently of people as a sort of knowledge reservoir. Oscar Berg of the DZone believes this is a mistake. He finds that emphasis on human communication is the ticket to developing better-functioning KMS.
Very large enterprises operate across multiple organizations. Lines of communication must exist between these various organizations in order to align their processes. For financial and practical reasons, the line of communication between one organization to another is often one singular person who is in a good position to travel. When one person is responsible for the flow of communication between two large entities, it creates a bottleneck in which rate of communication is slow and availability to communicate is low. Even worse, when the wrong people are selected, it is entirely possible they will start to abuse the power that comes from being in such a unique and vital position.
Berg finds that the solution to creating better KMS lies in making all of the layers of the enterprise as open and transparent as possible, both because it frees up bottlenecks and because it fosters more creativity. Lack of transparency in layers spells bad results immediately:
The ability of the enterprise to quickly adapt to its environment and respond to external stimuli, such changing behaviors of the market, will be limited. If there is not enough inflow and exchange of information within the system, few ideas will be created within the enterprise and it will be hard to make the ideas which are created reach those who can make them happen. Teams will become silos and revert to group-thing which lead to suboptimal decisions and keep their knowledge and ideas to themselves, operating as an enterprise of their own with their own purpose and goals.
Resources must be invested in creating more lines of communication between organizations using all of the options available to us. Berg notes that knowledge is often passed along and creativity spurred merely as a byproduct of working together on challenges. It is when each layer of the enterprise is in sync and the lines of communication are drawn that KMS will come to life in the best way.