Knowledge Management and its Role in the Federal Government

16 October 2014 image

Since the dawn of the services sector, and now the digital and internet age, Knowledge Management (“KM”) has been an often misunderstood topic in the Federal Government. KM is usually associated with the IT field, though it easily encompasses IT and nearly every other branch of a department or agency. KM is simply a practical, process-orientated approach to how agencies and departments capture institutional knowledge and learn from it. KM’s primary goal is to measurably improve individual and organizational performance.

The Federal Government, via the Office of Personnel Management (OPM), has its own definition of Knowledge Management which is critical to understanding how the Federal Government views Knowledge Management:

[KM is] “A system that ensures continuity of leadership by identifying and addressing potential gaps in effective leadership and implements and maintains programs that capture organizational knowledge and promote learning.”[1]

To be truly successful in implementing effective KM strategies, Federal Government departments and agencies need to be prepared to implement knowledge solutions that support change by storing knowledge in a central repository, providing secure access to support agents, employees or citizens, and allowing easy access to the knowledge that’s appropriate for each user community.

As a part of this process, the Federal Government needs to build a strategy which includes plenty of training and communication with various departments to prepare for the new model of working and tracking measurable changes within the organization. The Government needs to manage dated solutions which federal workers use to get their job done because these avenues have been defined as inefficient, ineffective, or too costly to maintain.

In implementing these processes, the Federal Government enables itself to manage changes to its workforce, prepare for new and existing technologies, reduce costs, remain flexible and nimble as missions change, and allow their workforce employees to grow in their careers.

In this series of posts, I’ll be sharing some top tips on how to best implement knowledge management services in Federal Government. In next week’s post I’ll be providing some guidance on how to select the best KM tool for your workforce.