When Janet Craycroft joined Intel Corp.’s legal department 13 years ago, the department already had a knowledge base where she could find information about company policies and practices. Over the years, as the demands for sharing knowledge expanded with the growth and dispersal of the legal team around the globe, this rudimentary knowledge management (KM) system continued to evolve, using new technology tools as they became available.
This year, the department’s KM program took two giant steps forward. In February, the department appointed a lead counsel-global knowledge management to focus full time on advancing KM practices. Then, in mid-July, it launched the Legal Portal, an information management system using various tools from third-party providers. It integrates KM with content, document management and Wiki capability to provide a one-stop solution for Intel lawyers seeking information. The portal enables microblogging and includes an “Expertise Finder,” allowing lawyers to quickly find others in the department with the experience they are seeking.
One key to enabling “actionable knowledge” is facilitating access to tacit knowledge, the knowledge in-house experts carry around in their heads that isn’t written down anywhere. That can be a challenge in a large, global department.
Often in-house departments consider KM to be too expensive a proposition, and MacEwen says full-blown systems can cost $2 million to $3 million. But Owen says even small departments can benefit from developing KM.