The Role of Social Collaboration in Knowledge & Document Management #socialbiz

Doc Mgt, knowledge managementSocial business is a real buzzword, but what does it mean, and will it impact your business or organization?

In organizations there is often confusion between terms such as Knowledge Management, Document Management, Social networking or communications (Lync, Yammer etc) and more recently Social Business or Social Collaboration.

Whilst preparing for a presentation on using Social business tools, I came across this excellent blog (http://alanghamilton.com/2013/12/02/the-role-of-social-collaboration-in-knowledge-document-management-socbiz-km-e20-ibmconnect-ibmsocialbiz/) by Alan Hamilton.
I liked the ideas so much that it prompted me to develop this article and share his view.

First some definitions or simple explanations

Enterprise social networking focuses on the use of online social networks or social relations among people who share business interests and/or activities

Knowledge management (KM) is the process of capturing, developing, sharing, and effectively using organizational knowledge. It refers to a multi-disciplined approach to achieving organizational objectives by making the best use of knowledge

A document management system (DMS) is a computer system (or set of computer programs) used to track and store electronic documents. It is usually also capable of keeping track of the different versions modified by different users (history tracking)

Social collaboration refers to processes that help multiple people interact, share information to achieve any common goal. Such processes find their ‘natural’ environment on the internet, where collaboration and social dissemination of information are made easier by current innovations.
Sharing concepts on a digital collaboration environment often facilitates a “brainstorming” process, where new concepts may emerge due to the contributions of individuals, professional or otherwise. A crucial concept behind social collaboration is that ‘ideas are everywhere.’ Individuals are able to share their ideas, as it is not limited to professionals, but rather the general public who wishes to become involved.
…source wikipedia

So what is different?doc-mgt-knowledge-management-collaboration

One of the significant limitations of “Document Management” is that you need to understand the structure of the filing system and architecture. Fine if that is all you do, but what about casual users of such data? How do they recall complex and sometimes conflicting structures?

Social Collaboration

The magic that social collaboration (or social business) brings both Document Management and Knowledge Management is that of context. It provides the context FOR and OF the user. Without example of application we just do not know what to do with the knowledge provided
There is little point in having knowledge if you do not know how to apply or use it. Talking to peers and others that have had experience in applying this knowledge leads to social collaboration.
Humans are naturally social animals
Humans need society, and interactions with others. From both clinical research and lessons from history in both war and penal situations, we know that isolation has a negative effect on the human psyche.
Social collaboration tools, when used appropriately provide a depth understanding and association with others. The tools allow people to share their stories (examples) with others. In these social collaboration environments stories can be easily enhanced and guided by others in similar contexts.
Collaboration…More than team working
Working together to achieve a common goal is what team building is all about, collaboration is wider. It is about using the knowledge and skills from people in different teams to leverage the learning. For example, in one country or department a team may have solved a particular problem, but who know this? Then when a person in a different team, department or country has a problem, they pose that question either to recognised subject-matter-experts (SMEs) or to like-minded populations. Then that experience gets shared. Better than that, the question and answer remain documented and searchable so that if others have a similar issue they can find this knowledge directly.

It’s a habit.. a learnt behaviour

Using social collaboration environments effectively requires new habits and behaviours. In the early days many managers and individuals will believe it is a waste of time. For sure it is rate to get a “quick win” unless there is a very specific set of business problems that need addressing. Knowledge and skills are built over time. It takes practice to build confidence, confidence leads to new habits and ways of working. Above all it requires the belief of senior leaders that the payback will come, if effort is put in. Certainly examples in the public domain are dominated by freelance professionals and practitioners sharing experience and creating leverage. Inside larger organisations the same leverage should be possible, but of course there is not the WIIFM (What is in it for Me) that exists in the lone practitioner space, and of course culture is often geared to activity and results today, bit infrastructure for tomorrow. Few people disagree that railways are an effective and efficient way of travel, but universally people hate the disruption and time scale of building new lines & routes. Social collaboration is more akin to building a railway than many other traditional business metaphors!

Social business is a real buzzword, but what does it mean, and will it impact your business or organization?

How do you collaborate in such a way that your knowledge is available for others in the future?

 


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About Mike Morrison

Mike Morrison is a consultant and change agent specialising in developing skills in senior people to increase organizational performance.
Mike is also founder & director of RapidBI, an organizational effectiveness consultancy.

Comments

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  1. […] "Social business is a real buzzword, but what does it mean, and will it impact your business or organization? In organizations there is often confusion between terms such as Knowledge Management, Document Management, Social networking or communications (Lync, Yammer etc) and more recently Social Business or Social Collaboration."  […]

  2. […] Social business is a real buzzword, but what does it mean, and will it impact your business or organization? In organizations there is often confusion between terms such as Knowledge Management, Document Management, Social networking or communications (Lync, Yammer etc) and more recently Social Business or Social Collaboration. Whilst preparing for a presentation on using Social business tools, I came across this excellent blog (http://alanghamilton.com/2013/12/02/the-role-of-social-collaboration-in-knowledge-document-management-socbiz-km-e20-ibmconnect-ibmsocialbiz/) by Alan Hamilton.I liked the ideas so much that it prompted me to develop this article and share his view. First some definitions or simple explanations Enterprise social networking focuses on the use of online social networks or social relations among people who share business interests and/or activities Knowledge management (KM) is the process of capturing, developing, sharing, and effectively using organizational k  […]

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