Why do we struggle to make knowledge management work?

  • 10 August 2021
  • 4 replies

Userlevel 4
Badge +2

Knowledge is a key element in service quality and improvement, to support shift left and reduce escalation and to improving customer experience. Yet we regularly see organisations struggle to make this work and fail to achieve the benefits that can be expected. Why is this? What experiences and learnings do you have - successes and failures - that can help to contribute to this discussion?


Some suggestions:

  • Do people not like to give up their knowledge (and ‘power’)?
  • Is knowledge management just difficult to make work?
  • is it tricky to get information into the right format for re-use?
  • How do we keep knowledge up to date?
  • Does this type of project just always get side-lined due to operational priorities?


What are your thoughts and experiences?


4 replies

Userlevel 1

In my expereince, I’ve found that in many organizatons, knowledge management isn’t proactively acted upon because nobody is assigned direct onwership (despite it’s undisputed significance in service quality)

It’s pretty much what your last point also indicates as well.

Userlevel 4
Badge +2

Yes although we should be clear that the upkeep of knowledge should be a shared and distributed responsibility, not just done by one team. Like most area of service management however, this usually needs some dedicated resources initially to get it moving.

Userlevel 1
Badge +3

We’re just at the start of our journey with this and we’ve put in place a ‘quality’ team which is quite large and involves people from all our customer experience teams. They are responsible for acting on feedback and creating new articles in knowledge base. We also created a ‘quality audit’ to ensure the upkeep of info. One thing we’ve found already useful is ensuring that we remove any content from any other places to ensure usage of one platform as such. It’s very new to us and I’m intrigued to see how we get on!

Userlevel 7
Badge +10

Some of the most interesting insight I’ve seen is a good few years old but still holds true. These research-based statements from Dave Snowden are super-helpful for KM success:

  1. Knowledge can only be volunteered it cannot be conscripted
  2. We only know what we know when we need to know it
  3. In the context of real need few people will withhold their knowledge
  4. Everything is fragmented
  5. Tolerated failure imprints learning better than success
  6. The way we know things is not the way we report we know things
  7. We always know more than we can say, and we will always say more than we can write down.

Source: https://www.cognitive-edge.com/rendering-knowledge/

So much has been learned about knowledge management, and getting people to share what they know with others, over the years especially the importance of KM being about so much more than the technology, with the need for organizational change management given that it’s a change to the traditional way of working.