Friday, May 2, 2008

Corporate Knowledge Management in a Web 2.0 World

I watched a webinar sponsored by GoLightly on Corporate Knowledge Management in a Web 2.0 World. The presenters were Abby Shaw, Web Channel Management, Fireman's Fund Insurance Company and Christopher Dworin, Vice President of Business Development, GoLightly, Inc.

Abby started off with her take on what is Web 2.0. She included the usual suspects of blogs, wikis, user comments, discussions, ratings and rankings, community contact tools, file sharing, federated search and mashups. She pointed out that this is not the right way to present Web2.0. Her take is creating an efficient, resourceful and engaged communities of interest.

How has Web2.0 changed knowledge management?
  • Facilitate, don't manage. You have been willing to let go. Remove control.
  • Higher value knowledge is smaller, flatter and broader in scope. Small chunks of information.
  • Reduces overhead. The capture, catalog and distribution of KM can be part of ordinary work activities
Some participants were concerned about review prior to publishing. She had her lawyers look at it. Her lawyers said that they are protected from liability as long as they reviewed content regularly and remove the offending content.

Abby focused on the importance of social networks outside the hierarchy of a firm's structure. This recognition of social networks was especially important during a merger. It was key to keep those social and communications channel open. She also emphasized that employee profiles should be opened up for employees to add content. HR could not effectively add enough information.

Abby laid out some hard benefits:
  • improved work quality and cycle time
    - improve employee access to employee expertise
    - improve usefulness of public (intranet content)
    - speed time from question to answer
  • employee engagement and retention
    - informal knowledge transfer is cheaper and more effective than formal training
    - recognize key players in informal knowledge-sharing networks
    - much more effective than handing out company swag
    -Picture on the front page of the intranet was one of best rewards in a poll of employees (more so than cash).
  • corporate compliance
    - Automate governance and document business process
    - if information is more available outside the company then they will go there instead of your internal sources
    - better to have employees using an internal social network and keep the information inside the firewall, rather than all of that information and communication happening outside
Knowledge is power; but the sharing of knowledge is even more powerful. Knowledge hoarders just end up out of the loop.

How do you validate the information if you are not reviewing information before it is published? People are using inaccurate information already: outside sources, email notes that are now outdated, etc. It is easier to monitor and address bad information if it is in a public space.

How do you deal with personal opinions? - Opinions are knowledge. You need to stop bad behavior. Abby's example: are you worried about employees in your lobby pushing each other around.

Chris took over to talk about the GoLightly products and their upcoming webinars.
It gives you everything you need to get your online community up and running. Includes: Community Home Page (easy to update), Searchable Member Directory, Unlimited Groups, Unlimited Email Lists, Resource Library, Forums/Bulletin Boards, Unlimited Blogs, Unlimited Wikis, and Training. And all of this with your Branding!

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