Modern KM Needs Both Man and Machine, KM World Connect Speakers Maintain
The COVID-19 pandemic has challenged just about every business and industry over the past 18 months or so, but it has also given businesses a great opportunity to expand their organizational intelligence and decision-making, speakers said during today’s opening keynote of the 25th annual KM World conference, which this year is being held virtually.
It is within this unsteady business climate that companies need to place a premium on intuition and experiential learning, said Jay Liebowitz, a visiting professor at the Stillman School of Business at Seton Hall University and the main keynote speaker.
He also emphasized the need for companies need to react more quickly and collaboratively.
A big part of that is creating greater synergies between corporate knowledge and other technologies and processes, Liebowitz said.
For knowledge management to survive, it needs to continue to learn and borrow from other technologies, like cognitive computing, analytics, process mining, and strategic intelligence, Liebowitz said.
Greater synergies are needed, he added, between basic knowledge management and intuition-based decisioning making and experiential learning, data analytics and visualization, entrepreneurship and innovation, organizational strategies, artificial intelligence and machine learning, augmented reality and gamification, the Internet of Things, and intelligence amplification, according to Liebowitz.
Liebowitz also maintained that over the past 25 years or so, the knowledge management industry has gone through four stages.
The first generation of the technology, he said, centered on personal knowledge, focused on individuals and how they gather and share knowledge. The second generation was centered around organizational KM, with a focus on collecting and codifying corporate knowledge. The third generation focused on collaboration and networking, and we are now in the fourth generation, which has brought in artificial intelligence, machine learning, Internet of Things, analytics, and other emerging technologies.
"We are now toward the end of this fourth generation," Liebowitz said. And in this generation, technology has become very good, but people, processes, and strategies cannot be overlooked, he added.
"Technology is an important enabler of KM," Liebowitz added, noting that people and process are just as important.
People, he explained, are important because a key element of knowledge management is personal trust and confidence in the data and the decisions made using it.
To that end, Liebowitz outlined what he called his 10 rules of the road for knowledge management, fully aware that tech is just one piece of a larger corporate structure essential for effective knowledge management. The 10 rules are as follows:
- You need to have a champion among senior leadership and alignment with corporate goals.
- You need a well-designed KM implementation plan.
- You need a formal knowledge retention strategy.
- You need to incorporate KM as part of other strategies.
- You need to be thoughtful in your application of KM.
- You need to align KM to corporate culture.
- You need to celebrate your successes.
- You need to have the right metrics in place.
- Don’t force-fit the technology.
- Know that KM is just one part of strategic intelligence.
Strategic intelligence, Liebowitz maintained, entails not just KM, but also business intelligence and competitive intelligence.
But through it all, human intelligence is key, added Dave Clarke, co-founder and CEO of Synaptica. "Today you really need that human in the loop," he said.
But, that also comes with some concerns, according to Scott Parker, director of product marketing at Sinequa.
"With the Great Resignation that we’re going through now, you hope your people left some of their human knowledge behind,: he said.