The category of “Knowledge Management” has changed dramatically in the nearly three decades that I have been working in information technology. Early in my career, our knowledge management systems were mostly offline data repositories — not much more than indexed drives of backup data, with data accessed through a lengthy and formal request process. Knowledge management felt like an offshoot of database management, with gatekeepers managing what information was added — and who had access.

With the rapid growth of web-based social and collaboration technologies, our understanding of what constitutes knowledge management has evolved. The expansion of the category has pushed KM into the realm of “Big Data” as we’ve continued to capture massive amounts of information, such as Microsoft Office documents, CAD and other design assets, social conversations from numerous platforms, and even raw data from transactional systems. In the past, we focused much of our knowledge gathering through lists and libraries, but the boundaries of KM have been expanded, because we now understand that context sometimes requires an expanded view of the state, actions, and outputs of those systems. As a result, we’ve started to capture every possible data type from our tools and systems — from project management to social conversations, from ticketing systems to enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems.

In my latest video interview with KanBo CEO Michal Sobotkiewicz (@michalsobot), we discuss how document-centric knowledge collection is no longer acceptable. The reality is that the ways in which we capture knowledge and data often happen too quickly to rely on documents alone. Instead, knowledge is captured in wikis, conversations, mind maps, lists, and many other methods, all captured in real-time and tracked through the use of social graphs, which is the next evolution in modern knowledge management.


Knowledge-in-Context is Key

In the video, Michal and I talk about the rich web of contextual links between our content, conversations, and other information artifacts. The value of content is not so much about a single artifact but about its relationship (context) to other artifacts, such as how those artifacts connect to people within our network, or where they exist in a point of time.

Context is sometimes obvious, but one of the values of modern collaboration platforms is where they identify context where it is not obvious. That’s where tools like KanBo can help users create content and knowledge in context to work activities, helping to create links between otherwise disparate artifacts. But that’s always where the power of the social graph, and specifically the Microsoft Graph, is so important to the evolution of knowledge management by archiving and linking knowledge in an intelligent way, using machine-learning to identify patterns and surface content that is relevant to our consumption of that knowledge. The system understands what we need (or might need) based on our user profiles, based on our patterns of collaboration, and based on the people we’re working with to surface content and conversations and artifacts that are needed at the right time, in the right place, and using the right permissions — without us having to know where to search for that content.

Context is the key to the future of knowledge management, and the Microsoft Graph is at the center of this future. When all of the content we generate, the social and workload activities we participate in, and the transactional data that our tools and system create are tied together within the Microsoft Graph, we’ll begin to reap the benefits of this future.

KanBo Helps Organizations Collaborate in Context

One of the things that I love about the KanBo solution is that it fits perfectly into the knowledge management mindset, building context around specific, discrete activities within your project management activities, and adding to the rich content and data being stored within SharePoint, and therefore within the Microsoft Graph. As Microsoft includes more and more capability within SharePoint and Office 365 via the Microsoft Graph, solutions like KanBo will become even more integral to your knowledge management efforts.

In a recent webinar, KanBo demonstrated some of their latest innovations — which showcases what is possible today, and what will be coming in the future, because of the Microsoft Graph. If you missed the webinar, you can view an on-demand recording here.

And if you would like to learn more about KanBo, you can set up a quick Sandbox trial in minutes (no download required), or you can sign up for the free trial and deploy the solution on your own infrastructure, supporting both on-prem and online. Additionally, you can request a personalized demowith the KanBo team so that you can walk through the features and ask questions.