I’ve just spent the day in Canberra, doing some consultancy work for one of the government departments. With the plane flight there and back, it makes for a long day, but well worth the effort.
The organisation currently has an intranet, of sorts. It has grown organically, and is developed using Frontpage. Each group has been trained to use Frontpage, and has gone away and created themselves a little subsite. Every section of the intranet looks completely different, and all changes are made directly to the live version.
A scary system all round. Needless to say, they are looking at implementing a real content management solution. Luckily, the team working on the project is very enlightened, skilled, and understands the importance of people, processes, information design, etc.
There is a huge amount of work to do. They are so far from a functional system, and the culture is not one of information sharing. This leaves them with a lot of activities ahead of them, such as:
- Determing user and business goals
- Content analysis and audits
- Information architecture
- Interface design
- Usability testing
- Content migration
- Technical design, implementation and deployment
- Change management
And that’s just the brief list.
Now, this is a pretty common story, and I think few readers will find it surprising. What I find interesting, though, is looking at this in the context of my recent KM experiences.
Now, I’ve been reading a lot of material, and heard a lot of talks. These have covered KM approaches such as: communities of practice, KM-centric organisations, knowledge sharing, knowledge cultures, etc. All good stuff.
However, in organisations such as the one I was working with today, they are miles away from being ready for these sorts of approaches. This is not a matter of “walking before running”, more “crawling before walking”…
Before attempting to implement broad KM initiatives, it is necessary to have in place basic foundations, like a functioning intranet. Now, none of the organisations that I have worked with in the last year even have this.
So I ask: am I just dealing with backward organisations, or is there a lot of work to be done before we are ready for advanced KM approaches?