What many organisations fail to realise is that a true digital workspace is a combination of all three and it is the integration of these platforms, and indeed many other systems such as your CRM and public-facing website, that collectively become a digital workspace.
We define the digital workspace as a collection of evolving technologies designed around your user’s needs that will give them the space and freedom to work securely anywhere and on any device. It optimises their experience and engagement with the tools and resources they need to help them be more effective and productive.
In this blog post we aim to unravel the differences between a document management system (DM), a knowledge management system (KM), and an intranet to demonstrate the strengths of each when starting your journey to an enhanced digital workspace.
Let’s begin with DM and KM. It’s quite easy to get the two confused. And the fact that both these solutions can be surfaced from an intranet adds another layer of complexity. To understand the difference between them, it’s first important to understand exactly what knowledge is.
Knowledge can be described as the understanding of something which is acquired through experience or education.
A great metaphor for the difference between information and knowledge is the use of a map of a city to navigate (document containing information) compared to what a London taxi driver possesses (knowledge). If we think about London’s black cabs, ‘The Knowledge’ is a phrase that represents the hard work and hours of learning put in to memorising the ins and outs of London’s streets. In contrast, maps, route plans and landmark descriptions are the information that help the cab drivers accrue that knowledge.
So, we can therefore state that most documents are not knowledge as they don’t fully capture the insight and experience that a person can hold. Documents are usually written as a version of events that meet the requirement of organisational procedures and policies, rather than what happened. Knowledge can only be volunteered, and is a very social and collaborative thing, and so the way it is captured and handled needs to reflect this.
Knowledge can come in many forms and assets from written accounts to videos to pictures which can be shared, and more importantly, edited and improved upon, so that knowledge grows and develops as your organisation does.
How this knowledge is stored is only one part of the puzzle. The real challenge lies in extracting knowledge from your teams and then using the right technology to surface the right information at the right time to the right people.
Typically it is used as a reference system and so there is a big emphasis on how content is surfaced. It may therefore require additional taxonomy to a DM system, possibly on multiple dimensions in order to be able to configure search appropriately. There is an emphasis here on noting the owners of pieces of knowledge with review workflows typically on 6 to 24 month periods.
ClearPeople has a tried and tested knowledge management approach that incorporates a lot of discovery and planning that allows you to reduce complexity and risk at defined milestones, and incorporate feedback in an agile way.
Document Management on the other hand, is the way in which electronic documents are stored, managed and tracked within an organisation. A document management system organises documents into easy-to-find electronic formats allowing users to:
- search by different criteria, which is achieved through the metadata stored within the documents
- keep a record of various versions created and modified (history tracking)
- retrieve a previous version of an edited document
- restrict access to certain (confidential) content
- monitor who is viewing documents and when
- edit and collaborate on document versions
ClearPeople’s experience in optimising findability, internal workflows and processes means that your document management requirements are in safe hands.
So far, so similar, but what are the main differences between these to help you make the right decision for your organisation when investing in the tools to reach your digital workspace objectives?
- Key focus is on communication and employee engagement
- Can be used to drive cultural change
- Can also be used to enable knowledge-based activities such as communities and social networks
- Contributors normally limited to the Communications and HR team. Staff may contribute if there is the facility available to do this
Knowledge Management System
- Key focus is on enhancing and retaining organisational knowledge
- Knowledge has a shelf life and so needs to be reviewed and updated frequently
- Contributors are more likely to be wider – employees, partner and perhaps even customers
Document Management System
- Primary use is for publishing, storing and retrieving documents
- More of a long-term archive
- Used to transform work from paper-based documentation to paperless
- Compliance and governance is high
If you would like to know more about how this technology threesome can work together to help your organisation retain knowledge, store information and provide greater collaboration and communication amongst your workforce, we’d be happy to discuss with you the right approach to take.
Call us today on 0203 376 9500 to speak to one of our consultants.