Records-Management: The foundation for high-quality KM

Posted on October 25, 2011

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Only when efficient records management policies and practices are in place can an organization hope to fulfill its enterprise-wide knowledge management goals. This approach has at its core the principle that “knowledge management” is really more of a conceptual ideal than an operational model. In other words, “knowledge management” is the way an organization says: ”Here is all of the information I have. Here is the purpose this information serves. Here is how my people interact, interpret, and use it.”

Knowledge management allows for the establishment of an environment that promotes knowledge to be created, shared, learned, enhanced, organized and utilized for the benefit of the organization. Therefore, without properly structured records and a file plan, knowledge management is an unthinkable step for any organization. True knowledge management cannot reach fruition if an organization has not reached a suitable and committed comfort level in the management of its records.

So, on its surface, although knowledge management does not necessarily require a file plan or records series to exist, the components must be in place in order for “knowledge” to be used effectively within an organization. Without a strong records management practice, sources of knowledge cannot be easily identified or distributed.

After an organization has reached a comfortable level in the structuring of its records, it can then move on to implement a knowledge management strategy. So, in a way the natural progression is document management to records management to knowledge management.

Knowledge management puts a strong emphasis on people and joins people to records, records to experiences and experiences to people. Records management, then, is really the most immediate, tangible way in which an organization sees, uses, and understands the knowledge is has in place. At its core, records management is the pragmatic face of knowledge management.

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