A recent report on Nonprofits use of Management Tools found that Knowledge Management tools had the lowest adoption rates by smaller organizations (The largest organizations used knowledge management systems at twice the rate of smaller nonprofits (55 percent compared with 26 percent).

Why are KM tools not being used?

My theory is that this lack of adoption is caused by the myth that KM has to involve elaborate and expensive systems.

But for small organizations, these complex systems just aren’t necessary.

Any organization with an intranet likely already has all of the technology they need to integrate a KM strategy into their existing systems. The largest investment a smaller organization needs to make is time.

Yup. Sorry, but it’s true. Time to consider where KM is most necessary. Time to analyze how to best support current and future staff members in their work. And time to adjust their tools to make knowledge management part of the everyday.

So, is Knowledge Management worth your precious time?

Yes.

Smaller organizations don’t struggle like large organizations do to get their people together and talking. Small in-person teams connect and communicate extensively on a daily basis. But, the problem they do have is a lack of depth and cross-pollination of skill sets between staff members and tendency for individuals to develop processes in silos-of-one.

And often there is no office, with a geographically dispersed group connecting only online or at occasional meetings. Even if there is an office, small organizations are just as challenged in today’s market to enable staff to work away from it. At home, on their smartphones, at off-site meetings. Having a strong and considered KM system enables staff to effectively access the organization’s knowledge from any location and at any time.

Small organizations equally need to ensure that the decisions they make are shared and accessible by their staff both at the time they are made and in the future (I wager you’ve experienced one of those tedious deja-vu moments when you, or someone around the table says “I could swear we made a call on this issue a few years ago?”).  A strong KM strategy and supporting tools can ensure that policies and decisions are systematically shared and available.

So YES. KM is worth tackling, for an organization of any size.

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