During the pandemic, organizations quickly shifted to remote work with the help of communication and collaboration platforms like Slack, Google Docs, and MS Teams.
But over time, the limitations of these tools became apparent. They’re not useful for capturing and storing information in a structured way, integrating multiple datasets for a product, or for sharing work and deliverables with people outside your team. Soon many organizations started seeing information silos even though everyone was connected through these tools.
Why the Slack honeymoon is over
Everyone was excited about these platforms when they were first introduced. And why not? They decreased the number of emails in your inbox and seemed to improve communication and collaboration.
But then the supposed solutions started causing their own problems as ceaseless messages and notifications came at you from all directions.
The trouble began because no one established protocols for each tool’s use, for example:
- When do you use email to communicate?
- When do you use Slack or Teams to communicate?
- Which tasks do you manage in Slack?
- When do you use a project management tool instead?
- Where do you store project files?
- What file naming conventions do you use for each platform and for One Drive or Google Drive?
Even when you establish protocols, you can still run into difficulty managing information on different platforms.
Let’s say a colleague shared a must-read article with you, but you can’t remember when or where it was mentioned. You’ve searched and scrolled through Asana, Slack, and email, but can’t find it.
Wouldn’t it be better if you only had one place to search, not multiple platforms, to find the information you seek?
The consequences of information silos
Collaboration tools are causing you to unintentionally hoard information and knowledge. Plans, progress, discoveries, insights, decisions, lessons learned — they can be found somewhere, but just not anywhere people would think to look or can look.
When work, reports, and projects are out of sight, they’re often out of mind for people outside your team. So, what happens? People waste time in a fruitless search for what they need. They may or may not find it, or they find an outdated version. They duplicate someone else’s efforts by researching, sourcing, or recreating the same information.
It’s especially frustrating when they learn the information was there all along, just not somewhere they’d look. Why must everything be so hard?
In workplaces with siloed information, the people who end up suffering the most are the ones who keep getting interrupted because they’re the subject matter expert or keeper of institutional knowledge. It’s so much easier to message or email them to find what you need, although you might have to wait a long time for a reply. These frequent requests frustrate and exhaust subject matter experts. Isn’t there a place to share this information where people can find it and stop bothering me?
A knowledge management system prevents siloed information
A Deloitte study found that 75% of organizations believe creating, preserving, and sharing knowledge with team members is very important for their success over the next 12-18 months. But preserving and sharing knowledge won’t happen if your organization relies solely upon popular communication and collaboration platforms. This problem is now exacerbated by hybrid workplaces where information silos also develop between in-person and remote staff.
Email was never intended to be a repository of information, and neither are its replacements. Slack and other communication and collaboration platforms aren’t designed and structured for knowledge storage and sharing, but a knowledge management system (KMS) is. A KMS is a searchable, single source of information and a collaborative knowledge-sharing solution.
A KMS prevents silos because everyone (with permission) can find the information and knowledge they seek within it: policies, reports, standard operating procedures, best practices, and institutional knowledge. You can trust the information you get from the KMS is up to date. You no longer have to spend time scrolling through emails and chats on Slack or Teams, or bug the people who always seem to know the answers.
A knowledge management system helps employees in remote, in-person, and hybrid work environments become more productive since knowledge and expertise become assets accessible to everyone and shared by all. Find out how Tesla Government can help your agency with our guided approach to organizing your digital assets and creating a sustainable information repository with a knowledge management solution.
Collaboration tool selection doesn’t solve your knowledge silos. See how we organize your digital assets, making them optimally accessible and shareable with MissionConnect: Launch.
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See what we can do for you.