Standing up a Knowledge Management Office

Maybe “Office” is not the right word, since these “offices” turn out to be really just sections within a larger true business office; a KM section within a Finance Office or a KM section within a Project Management Office or a KM section within a Procurement Office are examples.

KM is a such a broad field, too, that it is uncommon for a KM section to appear organically within an organization. Often, new leadership, having seen KM work elsewhere, arrives and directs the establishment of a KM section when one comes out of nowhere.

Simply stating the proper layer-upon-layer process necessary for a KM program to succeed without giving some qualifying explanation requires a level of trust that may not yet have been established. Forgive me for pridefully explaining that the approach explained here has led to the successful creation of KM offices in three different government organizations, two different DoD organizations, and a non-government financial institution. Many factors facilitate each of those implementation: Hands-off government supervisors, knowledge of government and commercial information governance guidance, and an in-depth knowledge of information systems.

It must be said from the start, also, that KM would not even be a subject of discussion if not for the advance of electronically managed information. Non-digital, non-electronic information has been around for centuries without many more than Aristotle giving the idea of “What is knowledge?” much thought. Electronically based information, however, now gives new potential and new possibilities to information. Remote collaboration is now possible.

With all that said, it should stand as no surprise that Content is the foundational building block of KM.

Knowledge Management requires a deliberately deployed content management approach designed to support maximum collaboration. The content management system/method/approach/etc. must be established, tested, and accepted as the standard content method across the organization.

Only then can other KM segments besides content be layered above.

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