What does a knowledge auditor do?

What is the role of a knowledge auditor, and what is knowledge auditing?

Every so often, a company may hold a
knowledge audit
.

The objective of the audit is to look at the knowledge within the company, and see whether it is being properly managed.  The purpose of the audit, and the job of the auditor, is to reassure the company and the shareholders that the intangible asset that is Knowledge is being properly looked after, much as a financial audit provides reassurance that money is being properly managed.

A Knowledge Auditor has a much tougher job than a financial auditor. The invisible nature of knowledge, and the lack of a paper trail for knowledge transfer, compared to the fully documented and counter-signed world of money, makes knowledge auditing less of a science and more of an art. However a structured and evidence based approach works wonders.

The knowledge auditor will look at the state of management of each of the main knowledge domain areas. Through conversations with staff and review of systems, they will seek for evidence that

  1. the explicit knowledge is well documented, complete and up to date
  2. the knowledge topics are owned
  3. the knowledge is sufficiently well spread round the organisation
  4. there are sufficient subject matter experts 
  5. the risk of loss of these experts is manageable
  6. there is a sufficiently effective community of practice in place (the auditor may also assess the maturity of the CoP)
Any gaps thrown up by the audit will be flagged, and the organisation will put together a Knowledge Action Plan to address these gaps. The action plan might include, for example:

Perhaps it’s time you considered a knowledge audit in your organisation? Contact us for more information

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