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Knowledge Management During Difficult Economic Times October 30, 2008

Posted by stewsutton in Knowledge Management.
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How many are thinking about the economy of knowledge under the current world economy?  We notice that some percentage of investments (buying) is emerging as traders speculate about a “bottom” to the market valuations of many.  Is there a parallel for buying and selling of knowledge?  What kind of “investments” are being made in the corporations that with high probability, will weather this economic storm?  We see movement by some corporations to capture market share by investing in marketing.  Buying exposure when the marketing dollar gets you more mileage.  Do marketing dollars compete with dollars spent on corporate knowledge management?

When the economy gets tough, it seems that the resources directed at improving the knowledge transfer and retention at a corporate level are often seen as luxury items – things that are best financed when your core infrastructure costs have been allocated.  Buying a few more blackberries for corporate staff gets traded against financing administrative startup costs for knowledge communities.  The blackberry purchase usually wins.  Then you get to the more difficult trade offs of technology infusion, quotas on information technology resources, disparity on where to publish knowledge across an increasingly mixed set of destinations (blogs, wikis, cms, doc management, web sites, etc…).  The ambiguity of multiple copies within the information enterprise forces the question of “which destination is authoritative?”

So KM has a role in these constrained economic times.  It seeks to establish pathways to knowledge assets that are valued by a peer community. Really knowing what knowledge assets matter becomes even more important when the costs to produce results have been constrained.  KM is not something that is a luxury during difficult economic times, it is a way to improve the economic efficiency of knowledge-based transactions.  Just be sure to tell that to the person that want’s a blackberry upgrade.