I’ve been thinking about how Generative AI (GenAI) is revolutionising knowledge management. I recall visiting a McKinsey office maybe 15 years ago and being very impressed by their structured approach to organising knowledge. Same as EY, who, according to a 1999 HBR article, had a 250-strong team dedicated to their Center for Business Knowledge. Such a large team, and such continued dedication can only be sustained by really large companies.
And even for them it was never easy, as I witnessed first-hand at a global IT company that installed a new knowledge management system every five years because each time the previous one had become a total mess. What are you supposed to do when the document you know exists cannot be found? How to read a Japanese document that appears as the number one search result?
Today, McKinsey is still on top of the knowledge game with their own GenAI tools and global law firm Allen & Overy is ahead of the curve with their collaboration with Harvey.
BUT HERE IS THE THING
They no longer need hundreds of people to do this. GenAI can do the classification, summarisation, translation and key information extraction all by its lonesome self. Plus, this tech does not cost a fortune and is therefore available to all businesses, regardless of size. The speed of commodisation is astounding. What is cutting edge today is mainstream in six months. That is the adoption speed we are looking at.
Knowledge management isn’t just for the few anymore; GenAI redefines how businesses can make knowledge more accessible, effective, and impactful.
What is your experience with knowledge management?