A problem with many businesses today - large and small - is that it is hard to know what the firm has done in the past and what it is currently doing. By that I mean that many projects are started, conducted and completed without the knowledge or information gained from that project being shared throughout the organization. If you consider that most firms have multiple initiatives and projects underway at any time, you can quickly see that there's a lot of information and data generated and knowledge gained that resides in the heads of just a few people.
Too often, we re-invent the wheel. We don't know what others in our organization know, and we start a new project or kick off a new initiative since we don't know or can't discover that the information already exists somewhere in the organization. In any large organization, if you or your team confront a business challenge, it is likely that someone in the firm has encountered the same problem before. It will save time and money if you can find out what their learnings were, and what they felt they did well and what they could have done better. Problem is, how do you find out about that knowledge?
Most businesses don't "Know what they know" and therefore lose a lot of productivity and competitive advantage since they can't capitalize on the knowledge they have internally. In most cases, the lack of knowledge sharing is not a turf issue, but a storage and categorization issue. How many times have you sent an email to "ALL at company X" asking for information about a particular subject. In a firm I consulted with recently, it was not unusual to get one or two emails like that a day. Unless the sender and receiver both agree on how we define knowledge and the business challenge, we won't connect.
If a project is worth doing, the knowledge gained from that project is worth collecting, publishing and storing. At the end of any project, major task or initiative in a business, there should be a step in the process to sit down, capture what we learned (good and bad) and decide how that information should be categorized and where it should be stored. Once that information is stored, it should be searchable through categories and key words, and should reference the team members who created the information. This solution could be as simple as a blog like the one you are reading, or could scale to a true knowledge management system.
Probably 80% of the people in your organization know something about a project, a task or a business process that could be valuable to someone else. Our collective intelligence is distributed in islands of information walking around for the most part in people's heads. In fact - what's the last thing we ask someone to do before they leave our company to take a new job - a brain dump. If the information was important before, why not get some of it written down?