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Where Does Knowledge Management Fit In The Fourth Industrial Revolution?



Where Does Knowledge Management Fit In The Fourth Industrial Revolution?

What is the fourth industrial revolution?

Technology may revolutionize how we live, work, and interact forever. The transformation’s extent, scope, and complexity will be unprecedented in human history. We have no idea how it might turn out. Nonetheless, one thing is sure: a comprehensive and integrated response is necessary, involving all stakeholders in global politics, from government and business to academia and civil society.

Water and steam power we6re harnessed to mechanize production during the First Industrial Revolution. By harnessing electric power, the Second enabled mass production. In the third, electronic and information technologies were used to automate production.

A fourth Industrial Revolution is forming, building on the third, the digital revolution, which began in the mid-nineteenth century. It is characterized by a technological convergence that blurs the lines between the physical, digital, and biological realms.

In addition to its velocity, scope, and system effect, today’s revolutions are not just continuations of the Third Industrial Revolution but are the start of a new one. The Fourth Industrial Revolution progressed exponentially rather than linearly compared to prior industrial revolutions. Furthermore, it is wreaking havoc in almost every industry across the globe. And given the scope and complexity of these changes, a comprehensive redesign of production, management, and governance systems is in the works.

The potential of billions of people connected by mobile devices, with unparalleled processing power, storage capacity, and knowledge access, is limitless. Emerging technological developments in disciplines including artificial intelligence, robots, the Internet of Things, autonomous cars, 3-D printing, nanotechnology, biotechnology, materials science, energy storage, and quantum computing will multiply these possibilities.

Artificial intelligence is now everywhere, from self-driving vehicles and drones to virtual assistants,KM tools for customer service, chatbots, and investment software. From software used to discover new treatments to algorithms used to anticipate our cultural preferences, AI has made impressive progress in recent years, fuelled by exponential gains in processing power and the availability of massive amounts of data. In the meantime, digital fabrication technologies interact with the biological environment regularly.

Engineers, designers, and architects are merging computational design, additive manufacturing, materials engineering, and synthetic biology to create a symbiosis between microbes, our bodies, the goods we consume, and even the structures we live in.


Knowledge management in 4IR

The new Industry 4.0 paradigm is changing industrial processes, how businesses create value, and how they engage with suppliers and customers. Manufacturing firms may now collect massive volumes of data that they can use to adjust production, generate personalized products and services, and increase operational activities in terms of efficiency, productivity, and flexibility thanks to modern technology. Service firms can use customer data to optimize their processes, thus improving customer interactions by providing a personalized and customized solution for each customer.

New digital skills and competencies (e.g., data management) become vital in this new technology context because they can help new knowledge manufacturing enterprises gain a competitive advantage. Such fresh understanding is dependent not only on the deployment of Industry 4.0 technology but also on relationships with suppliers and customers and personnel competency upgrades.

It is vital to build organizational knowledge to adapt the organization to new conditions. Knowledge should be managed and communicated throughout the company once developed. With the automation of the organization system, artificial intelligence will be required to handle the automated systems that have been established and the knowledge base that has been developed. Furthermore, different models for knowledge management may be used by other organizations.

Still, with the changing organizational contexts, new models are needed to enable knowledge mining, management, and dissemination in the digital era. It is also vital to emphasize security, which is critical because the digital age comes with the difficulty of being able to offer people access to information, perhaps jeopardizing the organization’s privacy and corporate secrets.

As a result, digital transformation is altering client expectations dramatically. Customers place expectations on organizations for developing new products and services and developing novel ways to suit their needs due to an organization’s ability to customize products. Organizations must develop new methods to adapt to changing situations due to rising demands from organizational contexts and rapid changes caused by new technologies.

By adapting, the firm develops organizational knowledge, leading to the long-term development of competitiveness.

Is there a one size fits all criteria for Knowledge Management in today’s era?

The demand to increase organization efficiency and effectiveness necessitates the development of a new knowledge management paradigm.

Organizational management is always on the lookout for new models that will allow them to leverage existing organizational knowledge for growth and development. Parallel to the growing need for knowledge management models in organizations, many new models have emerged, focusing on a particular aspect.


Furthermore, organizational knowledge management methods enable the distribution of existing information across all levels of the business. Which model a company chooses is determined by its needs and existing knowledge management strategy. Although knowledge transfer in an organization is a complex process that assumes that knowledge differs depending on the employee’s career stage and can be divided into individual, group, and organizational.

Inter-organizational relationships that relate to understanding partners, suppliers, competitors, and other stakeholders can be divided into individual, group, administrative, and inter-organizational relationships. As a result, the amount of knowledge is determined by one’s career advancement and the information that can be expressed and tacit.


The organization must establish and apply various knowledge management models to secure its growth and development and long-term viability. Different knowledge management models focus on other aspects. Its type and characteristics determine the model that an organization will use. Strategic knowledge management should be given special attention in a disorganized environment since it might allow the business to adapt to new requirements.

One of the issues that today’s businesses face due to environmental changes is the need to generate new IT-based knowledge. Because organizational knowledge can be a competitive advantage, the necessity of having an information system within an organization that will enable the transmission of gained knowledge and data protection in an integrated information system is continually highlighted.

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Why Internal Customers Will Kill Your Content Strategy



Why Internal Customers Will Kill Your Content Strategy

I see one mistake derailing great content marketing strategy again and again in my consulting practice.

Businesses set up their content teams as internal agencies to serve internal ‘customers’ in other departments.

Why is that a problem?

Sometimes this approach incorporates some priority planning. Usually, this planning involves internal “stakeholders” who decide the significant themes or the priority for tackling content requests.

But just as often, no planning or prioritization occurs. The content calendar is a to-do list based on ad hoc requests from various other teams. And the content team becomes Kinkos, racing to churn out assets as orders pour in.

Eventually, the content team fails to live up to expectations, the content is imbalanced, and the creators and producers burn out.

So, when the content strategy needs a reboot – and it will – how do you align the new content approach with internal customers’ expectations?


First, stop thinking of them (or letting anyone else think of them) as your customers.

To reboot your #ContentStrategy, stop thinking of internal teams as customers, says @Robert_Rose via @CMIContent. Click To Tweet

Stakeholders are investors, not customers

In marketing, we throw around the term stakeholders to refer to people affected directly by your efforts. That list is long – content and marketing touch almost every other function (business leaders, IT, sales, communications, public relations, product, and external groups like partners and investors).

But a funny thing happens when I ask the content team if they consider themselves to be stakeholders in sales or comms. The content team leaders laugh softly and say, “Oh no, they’re our customers.”

That’s not ideal. I once worked with a B2B company where the content marketing team existed to respond to the product marketing team’s requests for “thought leadership” to accompany new product launches. But the product marketing team viewed thought leadership as lightly veiled customer success stories or fact-filled technical schematics of how their product worked.

How did this approach work? Not well. The product marketing team loved the content. But the potential real customers didn’t.

Content teams achieve consistent success only when they’re elevated to stakeholder status. In other words, content strategy and content marketing teams only succeed when they lead strategic content efforts alongside their peers instead of serving as on-demand content production resources.

#ContentMarketing teams succeed only when they lead strategic content programs instead of producing on demand, says @Robert_Rose via @CMIContent. Click To Tweet


Marketing and content teams are skilled practitioners of a professional discipline. They’re not there to “service” the stakeholder groups but to learn, align, and work with them. Those groups are invested in content’s success because it means that, as a result, they succeed.

Internal stakeholders (also like investors) can serve as independent sources of information. They can offer details to inform priorities and insight to improve processes, and cooperation to attract new investment. Or they can also sabotage every effort you make and profit from your misery.

So, interviewing and getting stakeholder alignment is critical when implementing a new approach to content strategy or content marketing.

Here are three steps you can take to treat stakeholders as investors in your process and get alignment on your proposed approaches.

1. Segment your investor stakeholders

One of the keys to getting alignment is to identify the different types of stakeholders that will be critical to ensuring traction for your new content approach:

Influencers. Get input from and align with stakeholders who hold an influential position or control your budget. Influencer stakeholders may not have much to do with the content or even care much about it. But unless you win them over, your cause is sunk.

Champions. These cheerleaders will stand behind you, support your efforts, and be early adopters of new ways of doing things. Identify these quickly (some might also be part of the influencer group).

Detractors. You’ll potentially encounter two categories of these naysayers. One set includes people who oppose change because they see nothing in it for them. The other set consists of those who are apathetic. When you ask about their participation or agreement, they say something like this: “Well, it’s not no.” They sit back and see how the politics play out before helping or actively detracting.


Decision makers. Decision makers are just what they sound like – they’re the people who make decisions that help or prevent your efforts from turning into success.

Participants. These individuals have an active stake in your approach and will be responsible for making it work. They have functional expertise in one of the adjacent areas your content strategy will affect.

As you might expect, people may share multiple attributes. You may have champion influencers or detractor participants. The key is to not view them in terms of how to get their nod of approval or “buy-in” to the content team process. Instead, see them as investors in an additive piece of your shared process.

2. Design discussions, not interviews

Once you’ve identified who’s who, it’s time to meet with them to gather information and gain alignment.

Remember, every objection to change is an explicitly stated fear of uncertainty.

A common mistake in stakeholder alignment is to hear objections from detractors as “customer” requirements that you must meet to pass their approval. But the objections may be simple concerns about their own challenges that, once addressed, disappear.

Another mistake is to consider approvals from champions as full-throated agreements. The approvals might be lukewarm – like the “not no” detractor response.

Stakeholder interviews aren’t focus groups that show you what your customers need. If you treat them that way, don’t be surprised when those same stakeholders don’t care about all the features you added to your service – even if they were the ones to suggest them.


So don’t design your discussions solely around what information or requirements you need to gather to complete your business case or plan. Instead, use the chance to uncover what each stakeholder needs to become an investor in your mutually beneficial approach.

With that understanding, you’ll gain the ability to lead them, leverage them, or learn from their needs.

3. It’s a process, not a project

The investor relations part of your job begins once you get your initial buy-in and continues throughout your tenure in whatever role you have.

You’ll have multiple discussions with stakeholders before you’ve built your case, once your case is approved, after implementation has begun, and again as you manage your overall process.

I remember one successful, award-winning content marketer hearing her project invoked as a best-in-class case study for the zillionth time at Content Marketing World and saying to me: “I wish somebody would tell my stakeholders that. I’m still fighting for budget, relevance, and buy-in every single day.”


All customers are stakeholders, but not all stakeholders are customers

Now, of course, customers are the one missing group in my list of stakeholders. And they’re the critical stakeholder in any marketing content strategy.

But they’re a different class of stakeholder. Don’t conflate them with internal stakeholders.


Don’t conflate internal stakeholders with customers, says @Robert_Rose via @CMIContent. Click To Tweet

The strategist and author Eli Goldratt once wrote, “Tell me how you measure me, and I will tell you how I will behave. If you measure me in an illogical way, don’t complain about illogical behavior.”

Seeing content teams as internal vendors built only to delight internal customers sets the wrong objective. It encourages the idea that all internal stakeholders are the same as customers – and that success means meeting all their needs.

But while all customers are stakeholders, not all stakeholders are customers. Most are better treated as investors – a key constituency that benefits from a co-created approach to content as a strategy.

Don’t serve them. Instead, lead them. That’s how you’ll make their investment of time, money, effort, and information more and more valuable.

It’s your story. Tell it well.

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Cover image by Joseph Kalinowski/Content Marketing Institute

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