Employees often receive a great deal of unstructured information in the form of e-mails. For example, employees may receive policies, announcements, and daily operational information via e-mail. However, e-mail systems typically make poor enterprise wide knowledge management systems. New employees don't have access to e-mails predating their start date. Employees typically aren't permitted to search others' e-mail files for needed information. Organizations lose productivity when each employee spends time reviewing and organizing his or her e-mail files. Lastly, the same information may find itself saved across thousands of different e-mail files, thereby ballooning e-mail file storage space requirements.
Microsoft's Exchange server, IBM's Domino server, and Interwoven Worksite, along with a wide variety of open-standard Web-based products, aim to address an organization's need to share unstructured information. These products provide common repositories for various categories of information. For example, management may use a "Policy" folder in Microsoft Exchange to store all their policy decisions. Likewise, sales representatives may use a "Competitive Intelligence" database in IBM's Domino server to store information obtained during the sales process about competing products, prices, or marketplace rumors. Work Site users categorize and store all their electronic documents in a large, searchable, secured common repository. Organizations using these systems can secure them, manage them, and make them available to the appropriate personnel. Managers can also appoint a few specific employees requiring little technical experience to manage the content.
However, these systems cannot benefit an organization if its employees fail to contribute their knowledge, if they fail to use the system to retrieve information, or if the system simply isn't available where and when needed. To help managers better understand how employees use these systems, knowledge management systems include usage statistics such as date/time, user name, reads, writes, and even specific document access information.
Research each of the products mentioned above and answers the following questions:
a. What steps might a manager take to encourage his or her employees to use the organization's knowledge management system?
b. Should managers set minimum quotas for system usage for each employee? Why or why not?
c. Aside from setting employee usage quotas, how might an organization benefit from knowledge management system usage statistics?