Decisions made within the Enterprise are best made when adequately informed. The ability to access knowledge in a timely manner, to categorise, analyse and prioritise its importance is essential.
Capturing knowledge both explicit and tacit can be an endeavour in its own right but once captured it needs to be recorded in a format that is accessible to all who need access.
It is a common approach to keeping record in document form. Word processing documents, spreadsheets and presentation packs are stored within a directory structure on a shared network drive with an organisation. One advantage of this is that practically everyone within an organisation can have easy access and have the tools to create more content. The disadvantage is that version control and copy management often lead to confusion as to which documents should be regarded as a source of truth. Also visual models are usually created as diagrams and neither have interactivity or the ability to navigate from one model to another.
When an organisation does go down this path they should seriously consider engaging a document librarian who maintains a document register. Documents should also be created so that they are shareable and accessible by multiple users simultaneously where possible.
Characteristics of a good Knowledge Repository
A Knowledge Repository should:
- be accessible by multiple users (on multiple devices);
- have built in version control;
- be able to be queried;
- be readily updateable;
- have dependencies between components automatically update when there is a change;
- supports both structured and unstructured data;
- be truly interactive
The are a significant number of tools in the market place that support these characteristics.
Many software vendors provide Knowledge Management solutions with Knowledge Repositories represented as in the form of Wiki’s such as Atlassian’s Confluence or Microsoft’s SharePoint or as databases within Enterprise Architecture tools such as Sparx Systems Enterprise Architect.
With an effective and maintained Knowledge repository decision made affecting all or part of the Enterprise should be better than those made with inadequate knowledge support infrastructure.