What is the future of knowledge management?

Originally answered Sep 6, 2016

From What are new ideas in knowledge management?

From Is knowledge management on life support in most organizations?

  1. The fundamental requirements for KM don’t go away, even as organizations eliminate some KM programs. The need to share, innovate, reuse, collaborate, and learn is timeless.
  2. Many IT departments don’t get the idea of KM or social business; they are trying to cut costs, consolidate, and survive. So a separate KM program is needed to champion collaboration, communities, and connections.
  3. Communities are not a new concept, but they still have great potential for enabling conversations, group learning, and the asking and answering of questions. Sometimes, the old proven, but not cutting-edge, approaches work best.
  4. KM is a relatively stable profession, but does not grow very much.
  5. Most people have still not heard about KM.
  6. Google replaces the need for some internal KM.
  7. The term “knowledge management” is still around, unlike “Enterprise 2.0.” Other terms such as big data, cognitive computing, and analytics may also change or fade away in the future, but KM seems to have stubbornly survived.
  8. Social business has great potential for KM, but it has to overcome problems
  9. Many people are reluctant to use social tools, including most leaders
  10. Enterprise social networks are viewed with skepticism: something else you have to do, a waste of time, and/or not serious
  11. Internal blog and wiki usage never took off in most firms
  12. Email is still the killer app for collaboration. In most organizations, 100% of the people use email, while fewer people use more modern technologies. Social tools need to integrate with email.
  13. These trends have emerged in the past 10 years
  14. Knowledge retention — the aging workforce will soon retire, and to take advantage of their knowledge and experience, we need creative approaches like keeping them connected to their former communities
  15. Analytics — data mining, trends, statistics, and correlations should be used to make better business decisions.
  16. ESNs — connecting people, giving them a voice, and allowing them to express their individual personalities increases trust and enables better collaboration.
  17. Aggregation — using tags, activity streams, and API calls to deliver relevant information feeds through multiple channels.
  18. Customization — allowing individuals to interact with potentially overwhelming flows of information in an optimal way, filtering out the noise and delivering just what is most needed.
  19. Changing the name of KM is often suggested, but the term “knowledge management” has stuck for the past 20 years. It will probably be with us for the foreseeable future, and what we call it is not as important has how we do it.

Saying “KM is dying” is like saying “email is dying.” Some may be tired of it, and it may seem like yesterday’s news, but the need for KM, and the opportunity to respond to that need, are persistent, even as the supporting approaches and technologies evolve.