Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Web 2.0 and Knowledge Management

Though Web 2.0 was first coined by O'Reilly Media way back in 2004, it is in 2006 that we can see a lot of possiblities of Web 2.0 actually becoming more enterprise ready. Organizations have seen the potential of web 2.0 since it's inception but I guess have been waiting for the clouds of uncertainity to clear away. I guess for us knowledge managers Web 2.0 provides us an opportunity to use these developments to address the inherent weaknesses that organizations have faced with how Knowledge Management has been implemented in enterprises. Second generation of Internet-based services - such social networking sites, wikis, communication tools, and folksonomies that emphasize online collaboration and sharing among users are basically going to transform how knowledge management is going to look in enterprises in the near future if not already. Let's face it, knowledge management has long been a glorified content management exercise in many organizations. The true value of knowledge sharing is yet to be realized in organizations. People go back to using efficient, direct conversations - through meetings, or phone calls, or emails, or instant messages to exhange useful knowledge. Organizations have realized this as can be seen by the various initiatives being carried to tap the potential on Web 2.0. But then I also see a potential for organizations to actually get carried away with implementing collaborative tools made available through Web 2.0. Launching thousands of blogs and shot gunning information all over the intranet will not lead to benefits that we envisage from Web 2.0. The best way to benefit from all these blogs and provide knowledge is to aggregate it. Combining posts from different people on similar topics and grouping them in adhoc manner. One excellent example of such aggregation is the wikipedia, though it is more than a aggregation of isolated blogs. It would be great to have a enterprise wikipedia which captures knowledge in an organized manner with the ability to link to individual blogs of employees. Organizations do have to keep in mind to have a strong business case for Web 2.0 before jumping into the implementation steps. The Web 2.0 truly has a potential to launch a KM 2.0 - A move to focus on practices and outputs of employees than on capturing knowledge itself. New challenges will arise ofcourse with newer ways of knowledge sharing. I will cover some these in forthcoming articles. For now 'Goodbye 2006' - you have done enough - now let's see what 2007 brings us!

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