Knowledge Management and Birthday Presents

One of the things I want to discuss is the concept of Knowledge Management?  Yes! that generic catch all statement that techies dismiss as meaningless waffle and business process people find hard to give tangible benefits.  How do we actually show metrics on what has been gained from a knowledge stand point.

Breaking it down. Lets just quantify what we actual mean by Knowledge as a term of reference.

A few words are banded around interchangeably like:-

  • Information
  • Data
  • Knowledge

And in generic terms they are all thought of as the same thing.  But in reality they are not and have separate boundaries.

A little story

Every year I buy my father some rare or unknown Whiskey for his birthday. It’s sort of my thing. trying to find the most weird version of his favorite tipple.

So, Data Information and Knowledge. How to categorize.

Data perspective:

Rare Whiskey can cost up and over 160 GBP. This is the facts and pure information.

Information perspective:

Every year, for my fathers Birthday –  I give him a bottle of rare or unusual whiskey. I normally pay up to 60 GBP for the single bottle. I buy the Whiskey online and have it delivered direct to his house. This is the contextualization of the data and holds relevance and purpose on the data.

Knowledge Perspective:

I have given my father some Rare whiskey for the last 5 years for his birthday.  Rare and unusual Whiskey is available online from Sadly he has not opened the last 2 bottles I bought from him. This is the is understanding of the data implied, explicit and even tacit information not part of the facts and figures.

See the difference.

Knowledge gives insight into the information. It makes the information and data more useful. And more more importantly it involves tacit understand.

Now if you apply the same principal to how for instance Contracts  or even Human Resources  deal with issues.  The Knowledge gives so more power and scope to the factual data.  Sharing this data and understanding enables better business.

The data in the HR system might say that this valuable person has been late 3 times in a row.  But the knowledge might have other insights which could have an effect on the retaining of staff and have an impact on the business.