VIM and Vigor—The Secrets to a Great KM Application

December 02, 2016
People at organizations with underperforming KM platforms can really struggle to find information; unfortunately, they pretty much need to know exactly what they want and where it is, before they can find it. A great KM platform solves that problem.

If your organization relies on a shared drive or a DMS—or an underpowered knowledge management system—to house or reference critical information assets, that’s a real handicap. It means you can only retrieve valuable content if you know exactly what you want (and where it is), and that means you often have to rely on institutional memory.

Keepers of the Keys

Certain people who have been with your organization a long time know where the good stuff is, as do the creators of the content. If you work for a professional services organization, there may be practice managers, and those people might also know where that fantastic article on transfer pricing is, or where the biographies of your firm’s founding partners are. But what do you do if you aren’t sure who might know, or you are sure but they are on vacation, or too busy to help you?

Virtual institutional memory

The fundamental value of a great KM system is that it acts as “virtual institutional memory;” which I like to think of as VIM. Merriam-Webster defines “vim” as “robust energy and enthusiasm,” and when you apply those qualities to knowledge exchange, how can that be a bad thing?

Selecting and implementing a rich and comprehensive KM application delivers the benefits of “virtual institutional memory” long after the creators of the content (and the guy in the corner office who remembers that the annual reports from 1975–1990 were scanned and saved to a shared drive named “AR 15”) have gone on to other things.

A great KM system delivers the following enduring benefits:

  • Advanced searching across your internal databases and your external resources
  • Faceted and federated search for easier navigation
  • Browsable directories with real world information groupings and categories
  • Creation and use of an accepted organizational taxonomy and crowd sourced tagging
  • Persistent URLs for linking to full text, to external resources, and to collections of content built by your subject matter experts
  • Multimedia attachments that let you keep related materials together
  • Multiple points of access to all content

When you are selecting a KM platform for your organization, look for one that offers all the above. You can still benefit from valuable human intervention, because sometimes you just need to know it’s in the 3rd box from the left on the second shelf of the working papers room… but you’ll always know you’ve got VIM on your side.

<a href="https://lucidea.com/author/sarahnichols/" target="_self">Sarah Nichols</a>

Sarah Nichols

Sarah L. Nichols is an experienced knowledge manager with expertise developed in a variety of professional services and nonprofit organizations. She is skilled in research, enterprise social networking applications, marketing of library and knowledge management services, contract negotiation and vendor relationship management. Now, as a writer, editor and principal of her own consulting practice, Sotto Voce Communications, Sarah writes about issues facing librarians, knowledge managers and other information professionals.

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