Who owns knowledge management?

IT owning knowledge management is like the stadium builder coaching the basketball team.

I was working with a disability and life insurance company a few years ago, and was talking to their director of knowledge management. She was livid. “You’re not going to believe what the IT director just told me,” she said.

“What’s that?” I asked.

“He came into my office with a big smile in his face. Then he said, ‘We did something for you last week. We heard that there were complaints that the knowledge base search function wasn’t really useable, so we fixed it! It used to be if you searched for life plus VT plus individual you would get 700 hits. Now you get over 2,000!’”

“I can’t believe it,” she added. “The reason we got complaints was the wild number of false positives. Who can work with 700 hits? Now he tripled it? And, of course, being IT they didn’t ask us what the problem was – they simply assumed in their infinite wisdom that they knew better than anyone else and went ahead and fixed it.”

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