KM Tools and Culture

In his Notes on Productivity blog, Eric Mack makes the following observation about technology and culture:

In the mid 1990s many of us thought of and promoted products (e.g. Lotus Notes) as Knowledge Management (KM) “solutions”, rather than “tools”.

For organizations that did not develop an underlying methodology or knowledge sharing culture, they blamed the “solutions” [read: tool] for failing to transform the organization, while other organizations that did develop a knowledge sharing and collaborative culture thrived with these same tools.

While his initial focus is on Lotus Notes, his conclusions have wider application. He rightly points out that Microsoft’s SharePoint may be headed for trouble if it continues to be marketed as the silver bullet KM solution, rather than a capable tool that can advance productivity in an organization that has an established knowledge sharing culture.

Which leads to an interesting question: if you’re at the point of considering a substantial investment in a tool like SharePoint, how do you first assess the quality of your Organization’s knowledge sharing culture?

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