Hiding knowledge to share. At first it seems like a contradiction in terms. Yet this is not the case. So let me explain to you why this is becoming increasingly important now. How can you be sure that knowledge is not out in the open too soon? How do you ensure that the knowledge sharer only shares that information with people with whom he or she wants to share it? Because otherwise knowledge remains hidden for sharing.

Set up Document Management system

Knowledge to share - set up the document management system

For me, the idea started about 15 years ago with the project we did for Heineken. Setting up a global solution that manages Heineken’s intellectual property. With this solution it was very clear.

We are not just going to put the recipe for brewing Heineken or Amstel into a document management system. Especially if we are not sure that it is properly secured. This is not that difficult with tools such as Documentum, but it was not a great success at first. But why? What was the reason and how should we solve it?

Sharing knowledge in corporate organizations

Let me give you some other examples first. To show why this has become so important now. Recently, for example, I was in a call with a large animal feeder that has branches and factories worldwide. Until recently, many of the branches could be run locally and most decisions were made locally. Only central management flew around the world to steer the branches in the correct global direction. But sustainability is very important within this concern. It may sound logical and like a good commercial move, but I am very impressed how these kinds of large multinationals take part in the responsibility to ensure that the world and we as humans will still be here in 100 years.

The amount of money and resources that are used to investigate exactly what the problems are in the different areas and in different animals that stand in the way of sustainability and then do tests and trials to find out how it can be done is impressive. This gives me a lot of hope for the future. But to implement the same vision throughout the group in all the different locations with their own dynamics and cost structures requires a great deal of international knowledge sharing.

Improve quality data management

Knowledge to share - Improve quality data management

I saw the same thing with another customer, the supplier of ball bearings. With a very large, central and expensive research center to make the best and strongest ball bearings, it is very important that this research center can make use of all available knowledge worldwide.

To do the right research and test improvements. It must be possible to share this information within the group with the right people, but it must not just end up with the competitor. So ensure the improvement of qualitative data management.

Withholding data from sharing it

In addition to global organizations, I see the same challenges at a local level. For example, at a municipality it is difficult to share a file that has not yet been made public. How does the writer or sharer know that the knowledge is not out in the open too soon? Or is deliberately made public quickly? Especially in these times when remote working is taking a rush, it is important that the knowledgesharer has a very good sense of control over the shared knowledge. It is precisely here that I see that there are more and more questions. Questions that need to be resolved before information is shared.

  1. Which groups can see this knowledge?
  2. Which groups / persons can share this knowledge further or perhaps no one at all?
  3. Who has already seen the knowledge and when?
  4. What knowledge seems to be the information I want to share now?
  5. How is my knowledge qualified / categorized?
  6. For whom could this knowledge be useful or even mandatory?

Questions when sharing knowledge

Knowledge to share - Questions for sharing knowledge

This set of questions provides a different interpretation of a knowledge management system. This is not just about storing information. It is also about keeping track and simply showing who is doing what with that information. It is about mandatory and optional sharing of information.

After all, it is all about the wish of knowledge workers that their information is used in a useful way. And certainly not misused. On the one hand, how do I ensure that the sharer feels safe about the knowledge he or she wants to share? If I put my document in Microsoft 365 (Teams), what happens to it? Who can see it? How do I know that someone will not email or change it further? And on the other hand, how do I know that the people that I think they should read are also aware that it exists?

Knowledge sharing management and security

Answering all these questions made the solution for the examples described actually work. As a result, it is required that the protection of the knowledge that you have, works easily and properly, so that sharing can also be simple and safe. So that the knowledge is hidden from anyone you do not want to be able to see it and it is only made available to the group that is allowed to. And even that is pointed out. In these new times of remote working and many people who work from home, we see that the demand for this control is increasing. People don’t all fly around the world anymore. And many meetings are conducted online. As a result, sharing knowledge is much more important, but less simple and must therefore be better structured.

Information security is crucial

Knowledge to share - Information security is crucial

The solution consists of several parts. First of all, the mindset of people. Because they must want to create and share knowledge. And have confidence in the means provided to share knowledge. Because if the system is not trusted, it will never work.

The second solution is to set up the document management system. Step one here is a central storage of knowledge. In this day and age of Microsoft365 where everyone immediately points to Teams and SharePoint as the solution. This solves the problem of central storage, but it is not possible to quickly retrieve knowledge in it. Just as it is also impossible to properly classify knowledge to promote reuse. In addition to a good and structured central storage, the content of the document must also be secured. Not only should the document be provided with an easy and clear protection of who can view it and who can change it, but the content itself must also be protected. So that the divisor knows that parts of the document cannot be cut, changed and shared just like that.

User-friendly rights management

Knowledge to share - User-friendly rights management

Now to make it even easier for the user, you would want to use all these handy things from your primary interface. While many people on the one hand now meet via Teams, it is obvious that you do want to use Teams and Office as applications.

On the other hand, you want to save the information directly and be able to edit it in the knowledge management system. So that classification, security and structure are immediately automatic.

Knowledge Protector

How to ensure that people may actually use the information, but in a controlled way, up to a certain set level? In short: making your information easily available, everywhere and on each device, but still prescribing the moment and place in which documents are (not) available for inspection. With Knowledge Protector, Informed Group offers a user-friendly solution that allows your company to control when and where the user has access to documents and the content of the documents. Obviously the starting-point remains sharing information, but only in an optimally secure environment as the rights are controlled and managed by your DMS. Hiding the knowledge in order to share it is then done automatically and easily under clear visibility of the sharer. Want to know more, we are happy to explain it to you personally.

Would you like to know more about secure information management?
  • Knowledge to share

About the Author: Jeroen Jansen

CEO/Founder Informed Consulting BV/Informed Group. A visionair to help make your information management (EIM) a success.

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