Knowledge Management Will Finally Find its Place Among Business-Critical Business Functions in 2021
Javier Magaña García, Technical Director at Lexsoft Systems, offers his views on the drivers of knowledge management (KM) in the professional services sectors in 2021:
• The business imperative for collaboration will drive KM higher up the Board agenda
With the overnight switch to a dispersed workforce, firms have come to starkly realise the business importance of collaboration, in the absence of office-based interactions. Additionally, in many firms, access to important documents, information and the collective ‘experience’ was restricted – be that due to poor VPN and connectivity issues, security and data protection protocols embedded in firms’ document and wider content management systems, which were configured for an office-based work environment, or a lack of a formal and structured approach to enterprise-wide KM.
In 2021, the imperative for secure access to and re-use of intellectual property for business efficiency and meaningful collaboration, will drive the need for KM. Recognising the importance of KM at par with the other business-critical functions in the organisation, this function will move higher up on the Board agenda – alongside a secure, cloud-first strategy to facilitate seamless access to information, regardless of where employees are physically located.
• KM processes will be embedded in professionals’ day-to-day activities to drive cost efficiencies
The historic approach to KM, where existing, has been limited to facilitating high performing content search mechanisms to help surface information that resides within firms’ document and content management systems and knowledge databases. It has also relied on professionals to contribute their ‘best work documents’ to these repositories in a timely manner, to facilitate information sharing. This approach is inadequate in a dispersed workforce environment.
As firms embark on formal KM programmes, utilising KM tools and AI technologies, firms will seamlessly integrate their KM systems with a variety of third-party web and content services to automate and embed this function in the day to day activities of professionals to drive productivity gains and cost efficiencies. For example, documents worked on by professionals could automatically undergo a process via a web service, that utilising AI and cloud, extracts key clauses or locates specific laws that have been used, for addition to the extended profiles of the documents in order to enable future reference and search.
• KM adoption will significantly grow in mid-tier law firms
Long considered a luxury that only the large law firms with deep pockets could afford, technology will level the playing field for mid-tier law firms. With the availability of highly affordable KM and AI technologies today, these growing firms will consider the adoption of this business function as they navigate through the uncertainties in the current economic environment. The ability to detect, structure and re-use valuable pieces of knowledge across information repositories (e.g. document management system, practice management, external sources, CRM, etc.) and access them at the ‘point of need’ and ‘on-demand’ – much like the Netflix and Amazon environments – will become business critical.