Thursday, 29 January 2009

How to tell when IM gets confused with KM

Pople often confuse KM with information management. Sometimes they do this innocently, sometimes I think it's an attempt to "sex up" IM by using KM as a sort of fuzzy buzzword.
There's an easy test to tell whether they have confused the two. Look at their website - how often in the first two or three sentences does the word "information" appear?

Here's an anonymous example -

"Acme Knowledge Manager allows you to share information from your website or Intranet with an enterprise-grade knowledge base, reducing customer support, improving staff productivity and eliminating time wasted searching for information across disparate systems such as shared folders and paper documents"

Information appears twice in the first sentence. Thats pretty confused. Another example

Key Advantages of Acme2 Knowledge Management Software

Customer care improvement. Staff receives feedback information and takes appropriate measures in time

Customer support costs decreasing. Customers receive sought-for information without staff involvement.

Staff is able to find or receive necessary information faster.

Information appears 3 times in 6 sentences. No mention of Knowledge. And they call this "knowledge management software"?

Alternatively you can look at their KM definition or description. Here's two more examples

One of the key goals of knowledge management is to ensure that staff have the information they need, at the time they need it.


Knowledge Management is the systematic process of finding, selecting, organizing, distilling and presenting information in a way that improves an employee's comprehension in a specific area of interest.

There's still a lot of confusion out there, apparently. All of these people are talking about information management, not knowledge management. Check the definitions, check the website, and you can tell when IM and KM have been confused.

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