Current Awareness Strategy Blog

4 reasons why should we invest time and money in knowledge management

The world historically used to depend on visible capital in the form of land and labour, but as economies have developed we have shifted to a knowledge economy. We are less concerned with what we have and instead think more about how we use it. Knowledge management emphasises discovering the real needs of end-users within an organisation - as well as clients - through collaboration and consultation.

Relationships are the future of society

In a knowledge economy, the emphasis is placed upon how resources are utilized, how efficiently labor is able to produce, and new technologies to attain the greatest result at the minimum effort. Such a dependency upon knowledge does not come easily, it is imperative that it be managed. Content plays an integral part in this, by contributing to information flows and the development and enhancement of said knowledge.

“Relationships are the future of society and business and rich knowledge exchange will be at their heart.”

Source: Ross Dawson - The Future of Knowledge Management (2)

It was in the mid-1990s that the concept of focused knowledge management became prominent. In 1997 Thomas Steward published Intellectual Capital: The new wealth of organizations. In this he showed how knowledge has become our global economy’s most important factor in the new Information Age.

As our societies evolve and the abundance of knowledge grows, managing it becomes increasingly complex. New technologies mean that we have a wealth of knowledge available at the touch of a button. Yet such ease of accessibility also brings inherent confusion. For what is deemed to be relevant? To be accurate? Or even, to be necessary?

Quality over quantity 

Benjamin Franklin once said “An investment in knowledge pays the best interest”, and today that has never been more true. No matter the quantity of content available to you, for it to be of value it must be of high quality and that quality is determined by the reader in accordance with their particular needs.

Knowledge is becoming increasingly recognized as a corporate asset, impacting upon requirements for Information Specialists, Librarians and Knowledge Managers. In turn, there is then a need for knowledge to be managed with the same due care and attention that other assets receive in order to reap the greatest return on investment.

The knowledge management trend

Though perhaps most visible within the traditional law library, knowledge management has seeped across into other departments and industries. We now see business intelligence, competitor intelligence and market awareness increasing in importance. Content curation forms an integral part of this, with content feeding into an organization’s knowledge base.

The knowledge sector has developed around this demand, with information specialists such as knowledge managers and law librarians auditing content and curating newsletters for their end users. Whilst previously the mere existence of a knowledge or information management department was sufficient a buffer between lawyer and the chaos that is the world’s external content, this barrier is slowly crumbling.

Knowledge drives competition

Societies have become more and more career focused, with hours worked steadily rising as budgets tighten in line with the cut throat economy. As such, the demand for legal knowledge management has grown, with it becoming increasingly known that knowledge management boosts lawyers’ productivity and efficiency in a time short business world.

The effect of the COVID-19 pandemic on knowledge management is yet to be seen but there is clearly pressure for firms to remain as competitive as ever. The quality of the service delivered is one of the few ways left to differentiate in the modern legal industry. A recent article said,

Right now, it’s difficult to pry additional tech spend from law firms as they weather COVID-19′s economic uncertainty. But knowledge management innovation doesn’t have to suffer during lean months, panelists said during the ILTA>ON virtual conference...Law firms should be thinking about different ways to use existing or readily available technologies to meet this new knowledge management demand

It is no longer enough to say that technologies are constantly changing; change is now the norm. Firms once had a choice of sticking to a traditional way of working, but thanks to the seismic changes of 2020, that is no longer an option. Do you have the knowledge management systems in place to thrive and survive?  

From reluctant end-users to technology superstars?

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