GraphLast week, I had the pleasure of joining TSIA’s VP of Technology and Social Research, John Ragsdale, for a webinar about the state of knowledge management. During his lead-in discussion, John posed a series of questions to TSIA audience members that paint a telling picture about KM practices in place today.

The broader findings show that organizations are not getting the full value from existing knowledge – and their efforts to remedy their knowledge management problems are ongoing and seemingly perpetual, in many cases.


When asked, “Do you believe your organization is getting the most from all of its knowledge assets, across systems, the web and social media?” 87% of the audience said, “Not even close to all of it.”

When asked if they were working on a knowledge management initiative currently, 93 percent of respondents said that they were.

When asked, “Are you ALWAYS working on a knowledge management initiative?” 65 percent of the audience said “Yes, it sure seems like it.”

What does this mean? Well, John divides KM projects into two groups, judged by the broader goals the project is designed to accomplish (separated by a Big K and little k, to be exact). “Little k” projects aim to capture new knowledge gleaned through solving customer problems and sharing them with employees and customers, while “Big K” projects are much more broad.

In our area of expertise, which John defines as “Big K,” we’re finding that organizations are truly struggling to leverage information housed in an increasingly diverse and populated amount of internal and external systems. This means that KM projects are always ongoing; the systems in place to house relevant knowledge are never fully up to date.

To quote the late management consultant Peter Drucker, “You can’t manage knowledge. Knowledge is between two ears and only between two ears.” Knowledge is both personal and contextual. No two individuals will take the exact same path to achieve knowledge as each will always have different experiences and levels of understanding. Because knowledge is not able to be codified and curated, as it is always changing, companies need to leverage all information and allow agents and customers to use it within their own context. This contextual information will drive better decisions and better service for customers.

Advanced indexing & insight technology can serve up information from any system – which has been consolidated and correlated in real time to uncover information relationships – directly into the context of the user. Indexing is the only technology that can fulfill that promise, because it’s the only technology that keeps information from its native systems and federates it in an intelligent format. If you’re one of the organizations facing a current or even perpetual knowledge management initiative, we suggest talking with companies that have done this, such as Tokyo Electron, CA Technologies or Rembrandt, a division of Rabobank.

Is your company among the two-thirds of TSIA members who no longer rely on a standalone knowledge base for knowledge management?