Knowledge management and technology – but what sort of technology?
When we think of KM and technology, we usually think of IT. But is this the wrong sort of technology to concentrate on?
|image from wikimedia commons|
Knowledge Management as a discipline was born in the 1980s as a combination of Organisational Learning and the technological revolution sweeping through organisations. In BP, where I worked at the time, Knowledge Management went hand in hand with, and was enabled by, the development of a common operating system, personal desktop computers for all, email and video conferencing. In fact, the KM program was a direct successor to the Video Telecommunications project.
Information and communication technology (ICT) is another/extensional term for information technology which stresses the role of unified communications and the integration of telecommunications (telephone lines and wireless signals), computers as well as necessary enterprise software, middleware, storage, and audio-visual systems, which enable users to access, store, transmit, and manipulate information.
It was not so much the availability of information processing power or the ability to store information that sparked the birth of KM, so much as the networking of computer systems and the ability to communicate far more widely. Suddenly, through ICT, we were connected with so many more people, so many more knowledgeable people.
It was primarily the communication technology that enabled KM, and its worth remembering this as we look at out technology tools.
Let’s focus not so much on IT and more on ICT, because that C makes all the difference.