Consider, if you will, a non-technical member of staff. They have been tasked with writing promotional materials for your organization’s new software offering. In order to do so, they will need to speak the technical capabilities and nuances of the product. They have entered… the Developer Zone.
Rod Serling may be gone, but his legacy lives on wherever there is a disconnect between two worlds. In our case, the disconnect is between technical and non-technical persons. The challenge is to connect those groups without alienating either one; non-technical people may find themselves overwhelmed with jargon, and technical staff may find it difficult to dedicate time to teaching nontechnical staff about the nuances of a product.
Knowledge Management can be the bridge between these worlds. Let us examine.
The goal of Knowledge Management is not simply to collect data; as we have previously discussed, the role of Knowledge Management is the consistent and considered application of information and ideology, in keeping with the ultimate goals of an organization.
When two different groups need to exchange information, Knowledge Management can act as a mediator. A robust Knowledge Management system allows for the asynchronous transfer of information; the two groups need not be in a room together. Instead, the Knowledge Management team should work with the engineering team to capture the relevant features and capabilities of the new software offering. It must be understood that this information is not transitory, but is a valuable piece of organizational information.
It is the responsibility of the Knowledge Management team to capture this information in a place and manner that will allow the marketing team to access and understand it. In other words, the institutional memory of an organization must be translated to a centrally located source of truth.
Subsequently, the Knowledge Management team must ensure that the information is available to the marketing team. The Knowledge Management team is not responsible for the veracity of the content of the knowledgebase, but is instead acting as the curators of a transmission and storage medium.
With all that being said, we can now address an obvious question: “why can’t the engineering team just email the marketing team?”. There are two reasons for this, both of which we’ve already touched on:
- Information exchanged in this way is not properly captured, and is not available to future interested parties.
- The way that this information is communicated from technical to non-technical persons may result in misunderstandings or reduced efficiency, as the two conduct a lengthy exchange in pursuit of understanding.
It is for these reasons that Knowledge Management is an essential and central part of the communications of any organization. Different teams have different strengths, and Knowledge Management serves to mitigate that disparity.