It seems that Knowledge Management (KM) has come and gone as a key business focus, much like Business Process Re-engineering (BPR), and by many is now seen as an outdated fad. The danger of 'throwing the baby out with the bathwater', however, is that in labelling KM as outdated the unique principles and insights that emerged under that banner can be lost too.
It is interesting to consider the rather non-descript term Employee Comms which was around before KM emerged and remains well after its reputation has dwindled. Perhaps it would be fair to say that Employee Comms, however, is often sidelined by the perception that it is not 'business critical' and is in fact rather 'back office'. I would suggest there is something in a bland name, however; something in words that do not attract so much rhetoric and excitement and therefore do not get held up as the latest panacea.
Internal or Organisational Comms (I/OC) is also bland and I would argue is not the same as Employee Comms although I would suggest that it certainly forms a critical element of it. I/OC should not be located in HR just as KM should not have been located in IT. From experience I would claim that wherever a responsibility is located that function will take on the culture or focus of that department. KM being located under IT would definitely have made it predominantly technology focussed.
The internal connectivity of an organisation is vital for its wellbeing. I/OC must not predominantly be about downward communication from those who own the strategy, or communications about terms and conditions from those who manage all the people issues. Internal Communications has to be about the facilitation of connectivity that shares information, encourages collaborative working, supports the sharing of objectives and behaves somewhat like the neural network.
So where should Internal Communications be located? I would suggest it depends very much on the the structure and culture of an organisation and the answer to this question is 'one size does not fit all'. Wherever Internal Communications sits what remains is important is that it is not a controlling centre, but a hub that orchestrates that necessary connectivity.