I am an avid OneNote user. I’ve been using Microsoft OneNote for several years, and it’s a must-have application for me. It helps me stay organized amid the chaos of competing priorities, fast-moving projects, and a busy family. In the meantime Microsoft has been making serious investments into OneNote, making it available across several mobile platforms and integrating it with OneDrive and SharePoint Online. The OneNote user experience is now quite smooth between mobile and desktop, and the value proposition for OneNote has never been greater.
At the same time, when I look around I see that many individuals and organizations have access to OneNote (it comes preinstalled with several flavors of Microsoft Office and the mobile app is free). However, they’re not using it to capture notes or organize their information. They’re not using a competing product, either. For most people, pen & paper is still the preferred method for taking notes. Information arriving electronically is captured in email or in folders or documents which makes it difficult to find information and keep it updated. For many people, things that they know or want to keep are spread across multiple sources and repositories, and it takes a lot of mental effort to find and retrieve information. Old habits die hard, I suppose…
Our mission here at ITKM Systems is to help our clients capture and organize their informal knowledge assets. OneNote provides a great platform for accomplishing this goal. Over the next few months, you will see some new content on this blog related to how to leverage OneNote for best results and achieve maximum productivity. We will be spending more time with OneNote, figuring out the best layouts, the best templates and the best ways to capture, organize, and retrieve your knowledge.
I believe that we are standing at the edge of the next big thing in enterprise management – using technological tools to capture, preserve, and maintain the intellectual capital of organizations. I believe that corporations will begin realize that they are investing large sums of money in their employees, but they’re not capturing, preserving, and leveraging the output of these workers. Doing so was very difficult in the past, but it’s doable with today’s tools and platforms such as SharePoint.
I look at it this way… Let’s assume we have a generic mid-level employee who is paid $50K per year. She starts on January 1st, works 50 weeks, and quits on December 31st. At the end of her tenure, this worker has accumulated a year’s worth of knowledge, skills, and experiences about the organization. The company has invested $50K into this individual plus training costs, benefits, etc. After the worker leaves, what does the company have to show for their investment? Maybe some documentation, maybe some training and some skill transfer to another employee, done in a disorganized fashion and varying from manager to manager. And that’s it?? This is an outrageous waste of money and resources. From the first time I saw it even to this day, I can hardly believe it’s happening. Do you find it outrageous too?
If you and I purchased a machine or a product that only lasted a year and which did work for us and also collected information and knowledge about our company, and we paid $50K to use it for only one year – we would want to see some information in the end, wouldn’t we? We would DEMAND to see some reports and graphs and statistics. But not so with employees – we let them work, accumulate knowledge and skills, and then we let them leave… And what about an employee who stays for 5 years and then leaves? Or a higher level employee who makes $100K per year? Or how about a 5-year employee who makes $100K per year? What’s the price tag on that?
We need to have systems and platforms in place that capture, organize, and preserve the intellectual capital produced by today’s knowledge workers. These systems need to be transparent and intertwined with the organization’s business processes and LOB systems. You can’t expect a knowledge worker to go into a separate system and consistently record their knowledge – it just won’t happen. You’ll get output from workers who have a lot of free time on their hands and are probably not the best sources of knowledge. KM needs to happen behind the scenes, in such a way that people don’t even realize they’re doing KM.
I believe that Microsoft SharePoint and other similar technologies offer a platform that will enable organizations to do effective knowledge management. And we’re going to see major changes in how organizations manage the knowledge of their workers…
I came across Susan Hanley’s site today. She’s a KM guru with expertise in portal solutions and content management. It turns out, I am reading a book that she contributed to, “Essential SharePoint 2007”. (I didn’t realize this until I saw the book’s cover on her site.) Check out her site for lots of good info on things like 10 My Site Best Practices and Sample SharePoint Style Guide. My favorite is Sample Stakeholder Interview Guide – we need more docs like that one!
Her blog is located here. I’m definitely adding it to my Links.