Utilizing existing organizational resources as a leverage for new Knowledge management solutions

Organizations are constantly reaching decisions to upgrade the organizational Knowledge Management system.

The system upgrade's natural context is replacing the current system with another: a newer one, featuring more advanced abilities that is commonly used by other organizations. This system must be purchased, money must be invested, and time must be spent in characterizing and selecting a supplier; also, results aren't immediate.

Yet replacing the system isn't necessarily the key to success.

The quantum leap may stem from the current system, either by implementing a new ability, reorganizing the information or by embedding it.

When an organization already owns an organizational Knowledge Management system, it doesn't have to feature the most advanced abilities and does not have to be the most expensive system. It doesn't even have to be the system commonly used by most organizations. Its success might depend on optimally answering the current/rising needs.

When I work with KM projects in organizations, I usually tell the customer that their job is to present the need while mine is to suggest a solution.

An in-depth understanding of the current system and optimal comprehension of the need the organization faces can lead to creative solutions using the current system. Even if the system doesn't provide a precise solution, we now have an available solution and an optimal one; we can present the customer with two alternatives and let them choose between them.

The solution is still not compatible with the need? We can pay and develop a solution for the current system. Make sure the development answers future needs as well.

Always study the solution well so that you can exploit it for future needs.


What are the advantages of using the current system?

  • Purchase costs? None.
  • Investing time in learning how to operate the system? only newcomers require training. Workers that have been using the system won't need to invest time in learning how to operate a new system.
  • Implementing among edge-users? The users do not need to adapt to the new system. They do, however, require an embedding plan for unfamiliar applications or abilities.
  • Require a solution for a need not optimally answered by the current system? invest time and development costs only on this solution.


Hereby are two ideas for utilizing an existing resource:

Want to upgrade the organizational portal? Prepare the "most urgent needs" list, either most common or those that solving will be considered revolutionary in the organization. Meet with the supplier and review how to best answer said needs. A minimal investment of time and money might lead to the desired solution.

Want to set up a knowledge management service center system? Review whether the organizational portal can serve as an apt alternative for a knowledge directory, even if it is not regarded as one. You might find yourselves surprised.

And if you've decided to nevertheless purchase a new tool?

  • Try to cooperate with other units in the organization- you might be able to characterize a shared needs list that can be answered via one tool. You might gain a substantial reduction of costs and greater commitment on behalf of your supplier.
  • Choose a system that can display data from other systems in the organization. Even if you don't require this ability at first, you might require it in the future. It is important you know the meaning of this development in the future.
  • Consider the future- what can you or other units in the organization benefit from this system? can it serve as another KM solution in the organization?

In conclusion, the innovation presented here (which might be obvious to some) is the innovation of using existing resources for new solutions.