How to use Knowledge Management to control a pandemic

Since March, I have been asked how can Knowledge Management help me (or my company) to control this or any pandemic. The answer I give them is to treat this pandemic like any other operation your company was in prior to the pandemic but your environment now has some more barriers to overcome before your clients can get to purchase your goods or services.

Part of this is to be aware of the environment we are all facing. Be aware of the trends and where the outbreaks are occurring. A good source of information is the John’s Hopkins University COVID-19 Tracker

Another source of information is the Center for Disease Control where they give advice on how to protect yourself and others from this disease. Also your state and local governments have policies in place to help prevent the spread.

So what are other ways Knowledge Management can help contribute to the larger fight against this particular problem. The work from home or remote work policies for companies need to be reviewed and updated to make sure both quality of service as well as the internal information the employees share can be accessed wherever they are located. Even after this pandemic has run its course, companies should practice how to operate outside of the office spaces. This is something the corporate world can learn from the military.

Having operated in Iraq, Kuwait, Korea, Malaysia, Japan and other areas in the world I can honestly say that the most meaningful take aways were those times we operated outside of the normal headquarters and worked in either a combined environment with the host nation or joint environment with the other services. We all learned from each other and this was also done in remote areas away from the cubicles.

Knowledge Management Community of Austin (KMCA)


Back at the first of the year, I had a meeting with Benjamin Anyacho, a Knowledge Manager from the Texas Department of Transportation, at a local restaurant in Austin. I mentioned to him that we need to pool our collective resources and start having a conversation with other Knowledge Managers within the Austin and Central Texas area.

With the COVID-19 pandemic and the transition of many of us to work from home, we have been delaying the start of this KM Community. After talking with each other for the past few weeks we decided that it is actually a good time to start up and have conversations and possibly share ways we as a community can get to a place of the new normal.

On June 25th at 11:30 AM until 12:30 PM Central Time (in the US and Canada) will start the Knowledge Management Community of Austin (KMCA) Knowledge Cafe. We want to brainstorm with other Knowledge Managers within the Austin and Central Texas community towards a possible knowledge exchange. Knowledge management practice is increasingly becoming a sine qua non for business success. Several smart cities and regions are organizing themselves around KM practice and community.

Please register in advance for this meeting:
Zoom registration: After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting.
Information on Eventbrite:

Benjamin also created a LinkedIn group for this new community of professionals and is located at the following web site:

Remote work and Knowledge Management

remote work

Over the past few weeks, a lot of companies across the globe have had to change their views on “telework” or “remote work” policies due to COVID-19, just to stay in business. After all of this, are we going to learn how to transition from the “9-5” work environment of office buildings and cubicles? Are there going to be more “remote work” jobs available in the workforce?

My experience working from home since the COVID-19 “shelter in place” orders started to roll through Texas has been both positive and negative. Here are some of my personal observations over the past month working from home.



Spending time with my wife and kids
Home Schooling Kids
Developing ways to organize my business live and home life
"Honey Do List"
Declutter my digital documents
House Upkeep
Finding more opportunities to create a business network
Lack of focus time
Look at my business from a consumer aspect
Not able to study in a quiet environment
Connecting with old friends from high school and college
Not able to go out with friends to catch up in person
Look at my capabilities away from the office
The internet at my house cannot support my business needs and my kids school needs at the same time

One of the major things I have learned from this experience is that is what service can I bring to the table to other companies that are going through the same thing. How are they communicating with their employees (Zoom and Microsoft Teams appear to have increased use quite a bit since this has started)? Not only talking to each other about work but the social interaction with each other is another reason why we work. One of my peers just hosted a videoconference about bringing the team together (completely optional) and just talk about whatever is on their mind (school, hobbies, family, etc.). This company truly cares about their employees well being and being able to do this has actually brought the team closer together.

How is business being done now? How are decisions being made (or are they)? Spending over 21 years in the military there were plenty of times where I had to work outside of the “office space” and still was responsible for reporting up to my leaders as well as coordinating my teams.

As an organization you have people and with that, you must plan on how to interact with them to be able to get your mission and vision accomplished in order to have the business survive. Developing a strategic level Knowledge Management plan for your company in a remote work situation. This can answer questions your employees may have when they are forced to work from home.

When developing this plan some things you want to keep in mind are connectivity, access, capabilities, benefits, and expectations.

Connectivity is not only is your business connected but are your employees able to connect to the company’s internal site to work. Access, is your internal portal, collaboration sites, communities of practice available while working from home? What are the capabilities your employees of working remotely (desktop, tablet, mobile, etc.). What benefits is the company willing to offer while working remotely? Finally, what are the expectations (not only from the CEO but the VPs, Division chiefs, Middle Managers, etc.) to ensure the work is being done

Knowledge Management during COVID-19

covid-19 image

During this time of social distancing, quarantine, and working from home. A simple question must be asked. Was your company or business ready to do work outside of the business space? Or did you have to rush to find possible ways to have your workforce able to work from home? Did you have to layoff or fire employees just because your company could not adjust to these times?

There will be some businesses no matter how well they plan for something like this they will have to close up shop (at least temporarily) due to not being an emergency essential type of business. So the next question is what can you do during this time?

One of the many activities I have been doing is some Personal Knowledge Management in terms of how I organize and maintain information on my home system (the same can be done with your organization artifacts as well). I call it my digital spring cleaning. This is where I take a hard look at the artifacts, images, documents, etc. to see what is stuff that I have collected over the past few years. Of course, I retired from the military in February 2019 and I still have pay stubs from 2000 and certificates from 1998.

Some of the information I will keep and put in an archived state (pay stubs, official awards, and recognitions, tax records) and other stuff (bill statements, irrelevant articles, random pdf’s from places I have visited) will be disposed. Other artifacts I will transform what their current media (Word documents, Excel sheets, PowerPoints (if I had a dime for every PowerPoint I made in the military I could retire a very comfortable lifestyle)) and change them to pdf’s or in some cases in custom lists in SharePoint in order to me to track trends on particular information.

One of the other things I have been doing on my own information is developing a naming convention that I can stick with so that I can pile and metatag my artifacts without building out folders in my portal site.

If you have any questions on how to do this on your local portal, page or even hard drive please feel free to contact me at

Global Survey of Knowledge Management


Invitation to take part in the KnocoAustin 2020 global survey of knowledge management

Take part in our 2020 survey of Knowledge Management, and we will give you a free copy of the reports from the previous surveys, as well as sending you the results from the 2020 survey when these are prepared.

The survey closes at the beginning of May

In 2014, and again in 2017, we organised one of the most comprehensive surveys of global knowledge management ever devised. The results were fascinating, with input from over 700 KM professionals worldwide. The survey reports give insights about the maturity of KM by region and sector, the size and composition of KM teams, the value delivered by KM, the technologies, processes and governance processes applied, and details of communities of practice, lesson learned systems and best practice approaches. They also identify trends and changes over the three year period.

This year we are running the survey again, to see what has changed in KM over the last 6 years. Anyone who takes part will be rewarded (on the final page) with a link to a free copy of the 2014/2017 results, as well as being sent a set of 2020 results when the survey closes.

If you can answer on behalf of an organisation that does KM, or has done KM, or plans to introduce KM, then please follow this link and take the survey.

Bear in mind that the comprehensive nature of the survey means it may take up to an hour to complete, but this also means the results are equally comprehensive and rich, so your time is well worth investing. The final page of the survey contains a link to the 2014/2017 report.

If you really want a copy of the reports from the previous surveys but cannot answer on behalf of an organisation, then please order a copy from our website rather than putting made-up answers into the survey (Seriously, it does happen!)