“We are drowning in information but starved for knowledge.”
John 8 wrote this passage in his bestseller,Megatrends: Ten New Directions Transforming Our Lives, published in 1982. Nearly 40 years later, this quote still rings true regarding the present state of information management. Gathering data today is as easy as pie, but acting upon the data has been a tall hurdle.You’re completely aware of the situation, but you hesitate to do something about it.
At this rate, the means will leave the intention in the dust. One Seattle-based company is currently looking into augmented reality (AR) as a method of knowledge sharing. If it works, gone will be the days of waiting for an expert to arrive on the field. One look through the AR lens, and relevant information will appear in plain sight, allowing the user to act upon any issue as soon as possible.
The cesspit of negativity known as 2020 has forced the world to take one hard look in the mirror. More people are becoming aware of the problems plaguing the current system, from the healthcare failings during the pandemic to the shortcomings of classroom education. With this knowledge, people would be hard-pressed to overhaul the system to prevent similar crises moving forward.
Here is where knowledge management is poised to shine, specifically knowledge sharing. Fixing today’s broken systems warrants inviting the right people for the job and keeping them in the loop. Knowledge sharing does just that and more, communicating with people and fostering cooperation and trust among them. After all, trust is vital in getting anything done.
Here’s an in-depth look at knowledge sharing and the tools that make it possible in today’s climate:
Researchers define knowledge sharing as the ‘exchange of experience, skills, and tacit and explicit knowledge among employees,’ as well as the ‘ability to transfer framed experiences, information, and expert insights into practices.’
This article is a rough but valid example of knowledge sharing, collating information into a report that anyone can read. The only downside is that it can’t provide real-time information; by the time this article’s published, some parts may already be outdated. In a fast-paced climate, organizations demand that they get their information as it happens.
Knowledge sharing software aims to fulfill that demand by integrating tools into a single platform. Live chat, task manager, predictive search, and file transfer are some of the tools found in a typical software designed by competitors of Bloomfire and other providers. Some platforms can also work in conjunction with independent software (as plugins or extensions).
Even if knowledge sharing software fulfills a specific niche, no two platforms are the same. Some lean more on one feature, like focusing more on live chat, though it can perform other jobs just as well. However, knowledge sharing software, in general, shares at least eight key features. These include:
- Search Engine –The software comes with search capabilities, such as Google, but can work with little to no tags. It works by evaluating the number of times a keyword appears among shared knowledge and its location, among other factors.
- Q&A Engine –The software allows users to ask questions and get answers from subject matter experts. Like the search engine, the Q&A engine indexes keywords and other details to make them easily searchable in the future.
- Content Analytics –The software produces reports that show information, such as the most viewed content by users and how it contributed to productivity. They improve upon current search metrics for the software to deliver more efficiently.
- Accessibility –The software should be accessible through any device, whether desktop or mobile. It should tailor to work-from-home setups, where the user’s device might not be as powerful as what they use in the office.
- Integration –The software should contain all the necessary tools and eliminate the need to switch between apps. Communicating with other members, transferring files, and looking for information should all be doable within the platform.
- Tailor-Made –The software is flexible enough to suit an organization’s specific needs. The administrator must have more control over the platform to configure the platform’s tools for efficient use, such as creating categories or filters.
- Scalability – The software must grow to meet the organization’s growing needs. The bigger the organization gets, the greater access to knowledge it requires to maintain its operations. Some experts argue that this is the most significant feature.
- Technical Support –The software allows easy access to technical support from any issues or problems. Users can’t afford to get bogged down at work by bugs as the platform is the only means of sharing information.
Work Smarter, Not Harder
The adage, “Work smarter, not harder,” can’t get any truer than in the current context. Despite the workplace moving from office to home, workers feel like their burden hasn’t gotten any lighter. They still admit to performing habits that should’ve been rendered obsolete by efficient solutions, which organizations continue to face.
Productivity, in this case, is no longer limited to raw efforts and results. The virtual workspace has grown to encourage and reward innovation, clarity, and efficiency. Knowledge sharing meets these criteria, fostering new ideas and finding ways to apply them. The challenge of adapting to this new environment is up to the organization itself.
If the AR lens from earlier is any indication, it’s that information will only grow in significance in the coming decades. Access to information should be more seamless for an organization to remain relevant in these changing times. Aside from adopting new technologies, organizations should also help promote a culture of acceptance among their staff. While they’ll probably face a steep learning curve at first, the benefits will undoubtedly manifest the more they use these technologies.
Beyond 2020, the world will take the first of countless steps, armed with the knowledge gained by learning hard lessons. The new systems coming online will be better prepared to withstand another crisis of the previous year’s magnitude. Among the key players making this possible is knowledge sharing, which is growing to become the norm.