Friday, October 1, 2010

The collaboration side of Knowledge Management - seminar by Sharon van Biljon

We had the privilege to attend a seminar hosted by the Department of Information and Knowledge Management at the University of Johannesburg. Sharon van Biljon, Knowledge Manager of Global Business Services at IBM South Africa presented “The collaboration side of Knowledge Management”
 We found the seminar very thought-provoking, especially the fact that collaboration is seen as part of the employees’ role within the organisation. IBM has an Intranet that encourages collaboration with vast sets of tools, such as blogging, and IM (Instant Messaging). The use of social media such as Twitter and Facebook were not really discussed, and there seems to be an area where they can still improve their collaboration.
No business can survive without collaboration. No matter how you look at it, socializing has become a means by which corporations conduct their business. The more employees collaborate, the more connections are made which leads to an increased number of insights or knowledge - exactly what companies are looking for. The sheer value of connecting to knowledge sources is coming into its own after a shaky start in the early nineties. The overly formal business style of the time stifled a natural inclination among employees to find like-minded people, whether peers or mentors.   The days of doing only what you are given to do, is long past. Today, you need to fulfil given tasks, but in such a way that it will render you unique when it comes to quality and adding value to your company or organisation. Who other than your friends to help you socially and in business terms, who other than your peers, mentors and colleagues to render the same type of assistance when you need it?  Businesses are enabling business socialization as never before and reap the benefits in a number of ways, among them, financial, of course. Employees stand to gain from this, but moreover, they derive a deep satisfaction in branding themselves as experts within a collaborative network of like-minded experts. It remains a win-win all round. And who would have thought that collaboration could be fun, as well?
The following pointers were also very valid. Change is essential for progress. Only businesses that respond and change themselves through reinvention have survived. The need is there to effectively respond to social changes.

Collaboration is crafted with a governance framework, where there is
  • No need to ask approval
  • Self-regulatory
  • Openness is crucial.
It extrapolates back to the SABC Media Libraries which has embarked on a Web 2.0 campaign to effectively collaborate with our colleagues as well as our audience and users of our services. We started on the project last year when no clear mandate was available of how to proceed. A year later and the directive were only now released to become more socially visible on Facebook and Twitter. We have been moving in the right direction, it seems.

The challenge now is to get everybody involved and excited as well. How do you get you personnel involved?

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