The term “knowledge management” has been used – and misused – in many different ways over the years, but I agree with Jonathan Reichental’s definition of it as the identification, retention, effective use and retirement of institutional insight. I really, really agree with his further insights about knowledge management in the age of social media:
The days of the single, authoritative voice are coming to an end. The community has prevailed.
I’m writing a white paper right now on social BPM for enterprise transformation (not the same white paper that I referred to in yesterday’s post on a spectrum of process functionality), and I’ve been reviewing some of my research and presentations on social BPM from the past five years as well as those of others. One thing that jumps out at me, and was reinforced by a comment made by my client, is that there is a paradigm shift happening in the way that organizations understand control. Control no longer means that management dictates every action that every employee takes, but rather that appropriate levels of control are given to everyone so that they can control their environment and make it most effective for their tasks at hand.
The other thing that comes to mind, prompted by the quote above, is that harnessing collective intelligence is fast becoming the most important feature from O’Reilly’s original Web 2.0 definition as it applies to organizational knowledge management, as well as community efforts like the PKBoK. In social BPM, features such as collaborative process discovery and modeling are allowing the community within an organization to define the business processes, rather than relying on a much smaller group of “expert” process designers. That’s not to say that you don’t want some of those expert process designers involved – after all, they are likely trained and experienced and spotting inconsistencies and inefficiencies that others might miss – but you’ll ultimately see better quality of processes by allowing the community to participate in their definition.