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Spurred by the Pandemic, 2022 Will See Firms Adopt a Global, Multi-lingual Approach to Knowledge Management Capability

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Javier Magaña García, Technical Director at Lexsoft Systems, offers his views on the drivers of knowledge management (KM) in the professional services sectors in 2022:

- Firms will expand their KM systems into centralised, yet multi-lingual repositories

The KM function undoubtedly delivered significant benefits to firms during the pandemic. At the same time, it brought to light the function’s limitations, mainly due to configuration and structures as country-specific repositories. The sudden switch to remote working and now the new hybrid work environment, has created a business need for firms to expand their KM systems so that they serve as centralised global, yet multi-lingual-enabled knowledge repositories, working as effectively and intuitively in each of the identified languages.

In 2022, multi-jurisdictional firms will focus on revisiting the taxonomies and document classifications in their KM systems so that searches for knowledge deliver results equally and effectively, regardless of the language in which the search is conducted. For example, if a document is classified or labelled as “tax”, the same document must surface if it is searched for in Spanish as “impuestos” or in Italian as “le tasse”.

- Firms will focus on integrating internal and external knowledge sources to facilitate unified search

Professionals search for ‘knowledge’ that is generated internally, but equally routinely explore external third-party content resources, legal databases, the web, and such for relevant information – which can be anything from documents and legal precedents to named experts and online articles. Often, in most organisations, due to a lack of integration of technologies and resource repositories, professionals have to look for information in different resources individually. This is time consuming, but more crucially, it restricts a 360 degrees view of the subject matter that they are searching on. So far, establishing this kind of integrated KM capability has been lacking due to the technical challenges it poses to technology providers and firms alike.

In 2022, firms that have reached a reasonable level of maturity in their KM functions, will actively work with technology solutions providers to attempt to create enterprise-wide knowledge portals to facilitate holistic searches across all repositories and resources.

- Firms will actively leverage analytics to drive improvements and adoption of the KM function globally

The proof of a pudding is in its eating. For KM departments to ensure that the function is tailored to the needs of its professionals across the enterprise, insight into how the KM system is being used and where the gaps exist, is essential. Intelligence such as what kind of searches are conducted, the differences in focus by country, do professionals find the information that they are looking for, in what subject areas is knowledge lacking, and so on, are important insights to help drive improvements in the KM function.

In 2022, KM departments’ focus will expand beyond maintaining the technology and software – i.e., the KM system – to actively leveraging reporting and analytics to monitor adoption of the function and the value that it’s delivering to the firm. Additionally, with a move towards global, multi-lingual KM functions, analytics will be indispensable to ensuring that KM is geared to meet the needs of all departments and jurisdictions equally.

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