The Human Element: Knowledge Managements Secret Ingredient

On the other side of the index and classify everything mantra is the belief that humans do it better.

Unfortunately, some companies tend to paint an elegant, exaggerated, and over-simplified picture of the benefits of implementing KM software. They claim that new software can capture an entire enterprise’s documents and email messages quickly and, then, simply by applying a common indexing scheme and search functionality, enable anyone to find anything quickly. Indeed, there is value in implementing robust search and index functionality across large document volumes. However, does this type of implementation alone enable companies to manage and leverage intellectual capital? Rarely.

A KM initiative that overemphasizes aggregation and indexing can overlook the human side of knowledge management. Central to understanding knowledge in human terms is identifying knowledge that is truly sharable by people. Sharable knowledge—knowledge that people can reuse and apply to novel situations—isn't contained wholly in the documents and email messages of an organization.