Tacit Knowledge

When you manage work in a rapidly advancing and complex environment such as cloud ITSM and digital innovation you discover that there is a huge amount of tacit knowledge. Either that or too many people are not able to search and access the published knowledge or even worse, the codified knowledge is pay per view!

For KMS in this environment we need to build the machines that reduce the requirement for tacit knowledge and searching. Either self healing platforms or platforms that are expressive enough to tell us what’s wrong and what needs to be fixed. ITSM must continue to merge with devOps under the structure of SRE until the potential of cloud computing can be fully realised I think. The reason for this is the complexity; no one person on their own can be entirely useful and responsible for any but the smallest systems. Multiple individuals are needed to build, monitor, manage and maintain systems and each develop a bit of tacit knowledge along the way that makes them part of the team but limits the team in being fully able to exploit the systems or develop new ones. KMS in this way needs to get more and more integrated to the ITSM and SRE processes, it’s really vital for success that the KMS itself has to be a product of devOps and SRE to turn tacit knowledge into formal knowledge accurately, quickly and efficiently.

tacit knowledge

Look at the last phrase in this knowledge pyramid, often thought of as the knowledge iceberg, “not handled well by IT” – that is the elephant in the room that no one wants to face up to but in order to be truly digitally innovative, this problem needs to be reversed. The explicit knowledge shouldn’t be the tip of the iceberg, it needs to be an island growing larger by volcanic eruptions beneath!

Some research is necessary to work out some of the opportunities and practices that could lead to this progress developing.

I’d start this by categorising KM systems by knowledge process something like this:

KMS categorisations

The non sustainable situation at the moment is that organisations tend to favour a knowledge integration approach, sometimes called the personalisation or process based approach. This links up people in an environment, preferably a cozy, friendly environment for people to share, brainstorm and learn from each other. This is a good and effective KMS that is supported by technology to provide and capture the sharing environment.

The opposite is the defined process of externalising and capturing tacit knowledge into stored explicit knowledge in the codification approach. When ITSM knowledge was more sparse, this approach was popular and effective but nowadays it is proving more expensive and showing it’s weakness that no matter how much is captured, there is still more to be found.

We are at a tipping point where decisions need to be made about investment and research needs to be done about solutions. Europe in particular, despite adopting the common business language will have quite a problem using the integration approach across borders. Codification may need some inspiration to take it above the current expensive state of the art!

Some aspects of the technical KM System include:

  • At the top of the tree; search engines.
  • Taxonomies for classification and retrieval.
  • Collaboration systems
  • Enterprise portals are personalised collaboration systems
  • Electronic document management systems (EDMS) help  to manage documents, assign workflows, assist people for reviews, annotation and approval of documents throughout the workflow (important to understand the definition of a document!) THey would also include privealged access mangement.
  • Intelligence Systems like linked data, semantic technologies and big data. (A topic worth focused future discussion)
  • Intranet, Web 2.0
  • The technical processes of creation, initiation, searching, retrieving, sharing distribution and measurement.



Written by logicscience1

Husband, father, brother, spiritual philosopher, techno leader, drum n bass DJ, long distance runner and sometimes human.

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