When knowledge flows like cement: Live from KM World 2018

Thinking about KM World 2018, I considered my expectations for knowledge management today, and compared it to my days working as a project manager in government, working with communities to deliver programs and services. Today, I would ask a lot more questions as an IT director driven to improve business processes and the availability of the right information for knowledge workers.

For most of my government career, my peers used a collection of subject experience, compliance knowledge and documents to make decisions. Some of this was in their heads, but the availability of the knowledge related to the actual projects and services we delivered was trapped in paper until someone had the time to get that knowledge into our many data systems.

And, if anyone needed to know about a project, application or task that wasn’t theirs, it was impossible to be sure of anything.

Fast forward to today, and my own evolution in thinking through knowledge management. Now, I am smart enough to ask the following questions and would search for solutions and tools that address them. I think my investments would be better for it and as an attendee at KM World, they should resonant with the broader goal of making sure that users have the information they need, when they need it.

4 questions you need to answer

1. How does knowledge flow through your organization?

Paper at the door, in the mail, at the fax, in your email, etc. It all needs to be considered by your team and it needs to be readily and quickly available to impact your programs and service delivery.

This reality screams for good data capture hardware, a spectrum of capture tools and capture software that facilitates the movement of paper and other content into repositories with little manual work. The thought that our documents can be swiftly and easily digitized and integrated to our data systems is exciting and it could make a big difference in your users’ work life and a profound difference to your programs and services. Great capture hardware and software with a secure central repository makes information available faster and eliminates the low-value tasks associated with printing, filing and shredding paper documents.

Moreover, paper-based knowledge is not good knowledge flow. Inevitably, you will find yourself asking where does our knowledge get stuck? Followed by, when does it get stuck?

Great upfront capture hardware and software means you’ll never have to ask those questions. Capturing at the door or close to the customer means fast knowledge ingestion and faster business processes.

2. Can you leverage knowledge better?

One reason that business processes increase speed with faster capture of knowledge is that we are wasting time with paper-based tasks or manual data entry or disparate silos. When we have to wait for the information to take the next step, our processes slow down. When we are asked to stop processing to answer questions about the status of something, our processes slow down. And, when we jostle between multiple technology tools to do our job, our processes slow down.

When these realities are added to the fact that we are perpetually understaffed, you realize that making sure you abandon paper is critical to streamlining your agency. The data trapped in files can only be leveraged if it is captured and stored in a platform that automates, makes processes more transparent, secures content and serves it up for knowledge workers carefully.

3. Can you access knowledge easier?

There’s no better way to make friends with your knowledge workers than to find a better way to be sure they have the information they need when they need it. If it happens with mobile devices or through integrations to GIS or Outlook, even better.

That’s where content services platforms come into play. They often offer better options for accessing information and act as a bridge between files and data systems, process and data systems and even between different data systems.

The faster the information is available, the faster the process can be and, importantly, the more complete the information is, the better your decisions will be. Dispensing such key knowledge easily and in a timely way is one of the most profound ways your IT investments can support your organization.

4. Can your knowledge management platform fight IT sprawl?

I confess that I may have bought too many solutions in my time. Now we ask about IT sprawl and realize that the more solutions we purchase, the more we have to support, secure, update and maintain. There are budget costs associated with this, but it also adversely impacts our ability to offer solutions more quickly.

This is why a content services platform is the critical solution you need to support efficient knowledge management. In one solution, you get capture of data, quickly. Then, you hold the data securely. When users need to access information, they can find everything with robust search tools that connect content to processes and their data systems.

And, with case management tools, you can develop the unique solutions that government needs without purchasing a custom-code solution again and again. When capture is connected to data that can be accessed easily in solutions that can be developed quickly, your IT efforts suddenly look much easier.

If your organization is struggling with knowledge that flows like hardening cement, good and early capture and a content services platform is the answer. If you want to learn more about content services and how it supports knowledge management, stop by our booth at the 2018 KM World Conference!

Terri Jones

Terri Jones

Wondering what goes into a document management or ECM software deployment in government? Terri Jones, Hyland's government marketing portfolio manager, has your answer. In her 10 plus years in both state and local government, she's managed IT departments, implemented ECM strategies and written legislation and program policies. If that isn't enough to prove her IT expertise in government, she has also designed and implemented data systems and websites to manage compliance and funding in excess of $90 million annually. Have a question for her? Contact her at terri.jones@onbase.com.

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