Archive for the ‘Organizational Memory’ Category

Knowledge Leakage:..

Thursday, August 22nd, 2013

Knowledge Leakage: The Destructive Impact of Failing to Train on ERP Projects by Cushing Anderson.


This IDC study refines the concept of knowledge leakage and the factors that compound and mitigate the impact of knowledge leakage on an IT organization. It also suggests strategies for IT management to reduce the impact of knowledge leakage on organizational performance.

There is a silent killer in every IT organization — knowledge leakage. IT organizations are in a constant state of flux. The IT environment, the staff, and the organizational goals change continuously. At the same time, organizational performance must be as high as possible, but the impact of changing staff and skill leakage can cause 50% of an IT organization’s skills to be lost in six years.

“Knowledge leak is the degradation of skills over time, and it occurs in every organization, every time. It doesn’t discriminate based on operating system or platform, but it can kill organizational performance in as little as a couple of years.” — Cushing Anderson, vice president, IT Education and Certification research

I don’t have an IDC account so I can’t share with you what goodies may be inside this article.

I do think that “knowledge leakage” is a good synonym for “organizational memory.” Or should that be “organizational memory loss?”

I also don’t think that “knowledge leakage” is confined to IT organizations.

Ask the nearest supervisor that has had a long time administrative assistant retire. That’s real “knowledge leakage.”

The problem with capturing organizational knowledge, the unwritten rules of who to ask, for what and when, is that such rules are almost never written down.

And if they were, how would you find them?

Let me leave you with a hint:

The user writing down the unwritten rules needs to use their vocabulary and not one ordained by IT or your corporate office. And they need to walk you through it so you can add your vocabulary to it.

Or to summarize: Say it your way. Find it your way.

If you are interested, you know how to contact me.

Managing Knowledge in Organizational Memory Using Topic Maps

Friday, July 8th, 2011

Managing Knowledge in Organizational Memory Using Topic Maps by Les Miller (Iowa State University, USA); Sree Nilakanta (Iowa State University, USA); Yunan Song (Iowa State University, USA); Lei Zhu (Iowa State University, USA); Ming Hua (Iowa State University, USA).


Organizational memories play a significant role in knowledge management, but several challenges confront their use. Artifacts of OM are many and varied. Access and use of the stored artifact are influenced by the user’s understanding of these information objects as well as their context. Theories of distributed cognition and the notion of community of practice are used to develop a model of the knowledge management system. In the present work we look at a model for managing organizational memory knowledge. Topic maps are used in the model to represent user cognition of contextualized information. A visual approach to topic maps proposed in the model also allows for access and analysis of stored memory artifacts. The design and implementation of a prototype to test the feasibility of the model is briefly examined.

Apologies for not finding a more accessible copy of this paper. Please post if you locate one.

The use of topic maps with organizational memory highlights one of the advantages (and costs) of topic maps.

Test yourself this way:

Take a blank sheet of paper and write down one fact you needed or process that you followed for three work related activities yesterday.

How many of those facts or processes would be known by someone outside your department?

I would be willing to bet none of them. Why? Even if you are in something as common as fast food, you still have to know which supervisor to call if there is an emergency, the correct process for storing supplies at your site and any quirks in your local machinery. All of which contribute to the smooth running of the operation. All of which would be unknown to someone outside your particular location.

Gathering that level of information about an organization is incredibly useful, the up side being lower impact from supervisor or staff turn over. The down side is that it requires management to create a culture of preserving organizational memory. That in part involves giving staff a stake in that preservation. The “local” knowledge part can be managed by topic maps.