The appearance of the Big Data phenomenon is forcing companies to implement more comprehensive data management systems. Paradoxically this implementation is not being helped by the arrival of the "Digital Natives".
Interview with Aurélie Dudézert, author of the book Knowledge Management 2.0: Organizational Models and Enterprise Strategies
L'Atelier : In your title, you attach the term 2.0 to Knowledge Management. How does this differ from traditional Knowledge Management ?
Aurélie Dudézert: First of all we can say that Knowledge Management used to be carried out on a far more local basis. That’s to say that information management and communication within a company was handled within the various departments via their own information systems. For example, knowledge pertaining to a given piece of work was stored and then sent to each new arrival. But around 2005-2007, companies started to think of information on a more comprehensive basis, starting from the principle that all departments are sources of added value. So information management is now being carried out using new tools such as, for example, internal social networks. Basically, organisational structures have changed, and nowadays information systems are more about enabling people to link up with each other than storing information. Knowledge Management has become 2.0 as a result of all these new ways of working.
L'Atelier : Has this change been brought about by the advent of new technologies together with the arrival of digital natives in the workplace? Or did the new technologies come first ?
Aurélie Dudézert: There’s no doubt that this change would not have been as wide-ranging were it not for the arrival of the Digital Natives and the new social tools. However, the Big Data phenomenon, which necessitated the change in data management practices, came before this new generation. The need to re-think the organisation of information is in fact independent of any outside influence. It arises from companies’ initial failure to anticipate the increase in the amount of data available, and hence the need to adapt the way the company is organised. It seems to me that the current situation is a lucky coincidence. Both the tools and the people have come on to the scene at the right time to trigger positive changes in working practices.
L'Atelier : Does this combination of factors help companies to implement the new tools faster ?
Aurélie Dudézert: Paradoxically, that’s not necessarily the case. These new information management methods are in fact driven by a very simple logic - creating value for the company, and only for the company. Now, Digital Natives are for the most part in the habit of using these networking tools for their own purposes. As a result, when they find themselves working within a company, they don’t use them appropriately, or at least not with the aim of adding value to the company per se. Basically we find that it’s even harder to get Digital Natives to use Knowledge Management 2.0 tools properly than other more experienced staff. So as a first step, companies now have to get these newcomers to unlearn the ingrained habits of a decade or so before they can get them to take on board the company approach. This is the real challenge of Knowledge Management 2.0.