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How far Information technologies help improving the quality of knowledge?

While there are some who strongly feel IT is not important for KM, it might be true for start-ups. But as the size of operations grows it takes the front seat. It enables easy reach and access across people diversified geographically. In fact there is no way you can enable someone on the move to get hooked to a community without IT. It directly helps quality of knowledge.

Rob Koene

Knowledge Manager at Fluor Corp.

What IT needs to provide is an excellent search engine, 99.99% uptime (24/7). and a reasonably fast response. A nice user interface helps but is not the most important. Users need to find what they are looking for and post their questions/answers and share their knowledge without having to do much thinking about how (and if) it works. It has to make sense to the already time pressed users.

So yes......IT is a major player - the enabler. KM needs IT to make it work, but not the other way around. We have all seen In the end it is about people using the system. IT only helps them to share their knowledge. If IT helps to improve quality of knowledge will be hard to judge from any perspective although having a good and easy to use system in place surely helps people to share more.

Maintaining the knowledge database helps to weed out defective items. Approval processes for submitted knowledge provide "gate keeping" and increase quality. This is the human touch which can be IT assisted but not be replaced by IT. (it is still hard to mimic the human mind).

We have all seen KM initiatives fail hopelessly because of a lack of management and /or clearly showing the users the value for them.

Now while saying this.....there are many developments going on which indicate that at one time in the -not so distant- future AI will get "a mind of its own". I am wondering how that will work out. I hope someone is bright enough to implement Asimov's 3 laws.

David Williams


I would argue that technology improves the extent and quantity of knowledge, but not the quality to any real extent. My thoughts are that quality is enhanced by the richness of the activity, so is more likely to be improved through F2F contact and interaction.

Olga Kornyeva

Marketing Manager - DZGA

Chandrasekhar, I guess, role of software depends on company’s KM-style. Some companies tend to fix information, not knowledge. For example, they pay a strong attention to their CRM-data, but to receive the knowledge from these data, they use alive marketers ) In this case good search engine is enough, and software isn’t so important. But some companies use a special software to analyze the CRM-data, for example, to find clients, who may be in need of additional training services because they bought the new version of product last month. The result of such search is an knowledge itself: it's a list of people, from whom you can get more money. In that case IT-tool becomes the part of knowledge-development system, and role of IT increases.

Suresh D Nair

Technical Librarian at Tractors and Farm Equipment Limited

IT doesn't take the front seat.. we make it sit on front. I don't mean to say that IT is not important. IT has its role to play, but we should not be over emphasizing it. As regards to quality, I feel, IT makes things move faster... a good search engine will really make a big difference.

Arjan van Unnik

Former Global Head Knowledge Management Royal Dutch Shell - AAA KM

Indeed you need IT to get hooked to a company. But does that mean IT takes the front seat ? IT indeed enables easy reach and access across people diversified geographically.
In this respect I like to compare KM with other disciplines - the fact that IT facilitates or enables Engineering, Finance Management, etc. does not imply it takes the front seat. Or does it?
In my experience, being responsible for KM in a pretty large operation (100,000+ staff, worldwide operations), I would caution against IT taking a front seat in KM. Although it is an important enabler. I did have my own IT manager, and badly needed that.

Geert Willems

Expert Knowledge Manager & Knowledge Strategist - Innovation & Productivity Increase - Implementator - Public Speaker -

What do you need? The just the knowledge you want in your head, body and tips of fingers when you need it. IT should support that.
Adjusted to the 'what', the 'why and the cultural state and evolution of the company.

A true story: a company needed a solution - in the time of the document management systems. So they gathered all the features. And prioritised them. They invited salesmen of systems, and bought a system.
And asked me 3 years later: Geert, this is according to the specs, why is it not used?

So I introduced a new system - the financial part was even a no-brainer - also taking into account the required change management and training. A system less expensive, with even less features - but adopted by the staff.

So no - IT should not take the front seat. A knowledge manager or champion should. If that is someone by idea, fine - but make sure you avoid the pitfall thinking a good knowledge culture is created by a IT solution.

The IT solution supporting and enabling a good knowledge culture is a different IT solution than the IT solution which is believed to solve your knowledge problems. The latter does not exist.

Greg Cotter

Going to your question, I'm not sure that IT "improves the quality of knowledge", it's an odd statement. However IT is clearly a huge part of the Knowledge Management environment in terms of search, its ability to help connect people better and to make sense of the data. Social media can hugely improve the environment and support the flow of knowledge in people's heads better.

For sure IT isn't Knowledge Management but it is a tool in the box to do so and probably increasing in influence as time goes by.

I would certainly agree that if the company culture and the peole who work there are not open to Knowledge Sharing then no tool will help but where the doors are open, yes technology can make this happen and flow better.


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