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Managing all that Information
Given the fact that we are all subjected to information overload, it's not surprising that someone came up with a term to describe the quest to tame all that information and make it useful. The term "knowledge management" is used to describe a variety of practices, but most definitions of knowledge management have something to do with taking the information in your organization and making it available and useful to people who can make use of it to give your organization a competitive advantage.
What exactly is knowledge management? One answer might be that it depends on the organization and what kind of information and knowledge are important to it. "Although there is no commonly agreed upon definition of knowledge management, companies, governments, institutions and organizations are demonstrating an increasing interest in the topic."*
Knowledge management is a hot topic. A Google search on 3/27/01 yielded nearly 2.5 million results. Adding "legal" to the search only cut the number to 1.2 million!
Rather than worrying about exactly what it is, a better way to approach it might be to think about the kinds of information you manage in your office and how it might be managed better. Even if people can't agree on a definition, almost everyone knows that they could do it better. Even incremental steps toward office organization can yield some of the benefits of knowledge management. For example, practice management is certainly a component of knowledge management, and the adoption of a practice management system, in conjunction with a well-thought-out document and information-management plan, will go a long way toward moving your department farther down the knowledge management path.
An in-depth discussion of knowledge management is beyond the scope of this site. For a list of knowledge management resources for lawyers, go to Dennis Kennedy's Knowledge Management for Lawyers Resource Center. For general information, try the Knowledge Management Resource Center.
Components that can be a part of a knowledge management system:
Last Updated: 05/04/02
Copyright 2001-2005 David A. Munn