Breaking the silos between collaborative working and knowledge management

How often do you hear the words “Collaboration” and “Knowledge” used together?


“Collaboration” can be defined as the action of working with others to produce something. “Knowledge” can be described as the understanding of information about a subject that you get by experience or study, either known by one person or by people generally.


In our working world, collaboration and knowledge go hand in hand. The two are so closely associated that they fit together like a horse and carriage, or my personal preference of strawberries and cream! It’s not possible to create and share knowledge without collaborating with other people. Gartner predicts that by 2018, the rapid creation and retrieval of relevant knowledge will be a key attribute of leading enterprises (1). IDC have also found that 44% of the time, employees cannot find the answer they seek, and 61% of employees have to search four or more systems to find the knowledge they need (2).


In business, we talk a lot about collaboration and a lot about knowledge. But why are we not talking more about the two together – collaborative knowledge?


I think this is primarily due to how we view structured information as rigid and inflexible – static documents or files that should remain unaltered. Let’s take the example of a public library; as a visitor, you would expect to find the book you wanted filed in a specific category. Similarly, a business’s information tends to reside in siloed databases.  


At ClearPeople, we define collaborative knowledge as “best-in-class digital workspace capabilities that bring together collaboration and structured knowledge, thereby enabling the experience for both employees and customers to be engaging and rewarding.”


Collaborative Knowledge

The job of collaboration is to combine various forms of communication together with structured knowledge gathering and storage. More than ever before we have the tools to do this but do organisations really understand the best approach to enable it? 


They need to turn collaborative efforts into repeatable knowledge and this process requires capturing the information from collaborative working and then surfacing this so that it is easy to find and digest. The aim is to make knowledge capture easier without hampering collaboration.  Once this is in place, organisations can then take collaboration and knowledge sharing a step further by bringing clients into the mix.


With the convergence of technology this is more than ever easier to achieve, whereby document management, social networking, communication tools and process management activities are forming a new breed of knowledge worker enablement tools.


With the global rollout of Microsoft Teams this week, the chat-based workspace in Office 365, collaborative knowledge to improve business productivity is a key item in the business news agenda. Technology is at the heart of delivering these real-time conversations to empower employees to make better informed business decisions. Here at ClearPeople, we understand the right technology and processes to bring the workforce together to collaborate and share knowledge in the most efficient ways. I’d love to take the conversation further so feel free to drop me a line.


(1) Gartner Research, Knowledge Management Will Transform CRM Customer Service

(2) IDC, Unlocking the Hidden Value of Information Survey

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Author bio

Katya Linossi
Katya Linossi
Co-Founder and Managing Director
My job is to shape the vision, strategy, culture and performance of ClearPeople. Other than being passionate about helping our clients digitally transform, I enjoy planning our next travel adventure or trying out a new recipe. You will also find me on a yoga mat most mornings.


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