Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Relationship between knowledge management and information management

For those of you having a holiday season, I hope you are enjoying it. Although I am working this week this time is very precious for me. There are no customers calling and no one is asking me a million questions so I get time to catch up on reading, strategizing and getting energized for the new year.
Part of the reading catchup took me to this listing where Liz Orna posted this description about her thoughts on the relationship between KM and IM. This is an SLA listserv so these people work with information everyday and I figured she knew a thing or two about it. Here is her post. It made sense to me and gave me a way of looking at both the relationship between KM and IM and the longevity of KM when coupled in this way with IM.

" is right to say that 'knowledge is a process and a way of life, not
represented by a db. So, the combination of IM and KM works for me, but not
KM by itself'

KM got overblown because there wasn't enough thinking about what
constitutes the knowledge that needs to be managed, how it differs from
information, and where the two are interdependent.

The distinction and the interdependence lie in the fact that knowledge
lives inside individual human minds. Only human beings can know, and what
each of us knows is invisible and inaccessible to other human beings until
we've turned it into another form - which we call information - and put it
into the outside world. Once it's there, other people can get at it, assess
whether it's useful, and, if it is, transform it back into knowledge inside
their own minds.

So each of us has to be the knowledge manager of our own knowledge. If we
understand that, we can then define what KM in organisations has to do.
Its role is to:
support individuals in managing their own knowledge;
minimise the intellectual and financial costs to them and the organisation
of contributing their knowledge to the organisation's information resources;
promote knowledge exchanges under conditions of mutual trust;
help individuals and the organisation to define and keep their knowledge

KM can't fulfill that role without IM, which has the essential complementary
job of:
acquiring, storing, co-ordinating and making accessible information to
maintain the knowledge the organisation needs;
providing new information resources to meet changes in the knowledge needs
of the organisation;
managing the information that emerges from knowledge exchanges
using the ICT infrastructure innovatively to support interactions among
people about knowledge, and the finding, diffusion and communication of

Those roles mean that KM and IM have a shared territory too; it includes:
organisational policy and strategy for using knowledge and information to
support business processes; the value added by using knowledge and information
monitoring changes in the internal and external environment for K and I
implications bringing the results into central strategic decision making.

Liz Orna

Unfortunately this post was not carried any further.