In our previous post, we looked at how knowledge management can solve your information overload.

More isn’t always better. Deep down, you know it’s true.

But it’s easy to forget, especially when it comes to collecting data.

Technology advances have made it easy to quantify things that would’ve been unthinkable to measure just a few years ago (we’ve all heard how “big data” will change the world). As a result, many organizations and agencies collect way more data than they’ll ever use – just in case.

And so people get pulled into believing that more data is better, when the focus should be on:

  • Is the data relevant to our work?
  • How trustworthy is it?
  • Will we be able to find it when we need it most?

The more data you have, the harder it becomes to quickly find dependable, relevant data to inform decision making for specific situations or even to get a high-level strategic overview. It’s information overload, and it’s a real problem for a lot of organizations.

Does that mean the answer is less data? Not so fast…

There’s nothing wrong with collecting tons of data…as long as you have a system in place that helps you distill it down to what’s important. And that’s exactly what knowledge management does.

Data Management: What You Can Do

When you’re in the middle of a project or a situation, you’re often faced with two options: either lose valuable time searching for data to inform your decisions, or move forward knowing you may not have the best information.

Knowledge management processes help avoid both of these issues. It starts with a willingness to exclude subpar data sets and re-evaluate how you’re collecting data. From there, try these three steps to identify the best data for your mission:

  1. Identify the information gaps you need to fill to move forward.
  2. Find relevant data you currently have. (Do you need outside sources to fill the gap?)
  3. Rank and prioritize your data sets so it’s clear to all team members which sources are dependable.

By standardizing some of these internal processes, you can drastically improve the way you find and utilize data for your mission.

Data Management: What a Strategic Partner Can Do

Developing internal systems and processes to organize and evaluate your data is a great first step. But you can take it to another level when you find a knowledge management partner with the experience and expertise to be a true asset to your mission.

However, not all knowledge management companies are created equal. So don’t look for any partner, look for the right partner – one that understands the central questions and environment of your mission, with the ability to collect, manage and deliver relevant information as a result.

Distilled Data in Action

Let’s say you’re overseeing a reconstruction project in a conflict area. Before spending millions of dollars, you need a clear idea of what you’re in for. Your internal data can give you some idea, but it’s not the full picture.

But when your knowledge management partner has experience in that conflict area and similar projects, they know the challenges you’re going to face and can find data that gives you a clearer picture of potential roadblocks.

Even better is when that vendor has an extensive network of international contacts, and you’re no longer limited to your own internal information. Instead, you gain access to new sources and technologies that can bring in highly relevant data sets to inform your decisions.

With this approach, knowledge management becomes far more than just a system for organizing files…it becomes a vital asset to the success of your mission.

Shifting Focus and Getting Results

Once you’ve solved your information overload and distilled your data down to what’s important, you’re able to shift your focus. No more wasted energy searching for the right information or the best data sets.

Instead, focus on analyzing data that you know you can trust, advancing your mission with confidence.

See your data more clearly than ever before.

Reach out today.


Once you’ve solved your information overload and distilled your data, how do you use and share data in a way that actually moves the needle? Check back next week to find out how to Curate your data for better outcomes.