Managing a Business/ms 91
What are the benefits of Knowledge Management? Discuss.
3. What are the benefits of Knowledge Management? Discuss.
Knowledge is, "a fluid mix of framed experience, contextual information, values and expert insight that provides a framework for evaluating and incorporating new experiences and information." Notice that there are two parts to their definition:
o First, there is content: "a fluid mix of framed experience, contextual information, values and expert insight." This includes a number of things that we have within us, such as experiences, beliefs, values, how we feel, motivation, and information.
o The second part defines the function or purpose of knowledge, "that provides a framework for evaluating and incorporating new experiences and information." — we have within us a framework (one idea) that we use for evaluating new experiences (the second idea).
Explicit knowledge can be articulated into formal language, including grammatical statements (words and numbers), mathematical expressions, specifications, manuals, etc. Explicit knowledge can be readily transmitted others. Also, it can easily be processed by a computer, transmitted electronically, or stored in databases.
Tacit knowledge is personal knowledge embedded in individual experience and involves intangible factors, such as personal beliefs, perspective, and the value system. Tacit knowledge is hard to articulate with formal language (hard, but not impossible). It contains subjective insights, intuitions, and hunches. Before tacit knowledge can be communicated, it must be converted into words, models, or numbers that can be understand. In addition, there are two dimensions to tacit knowledge:
o Technical Dimension (procedural): This encompasses the kind of informal and skills often captured in the term know-how. For example, a craftsperson develops a wealth of expertise after years of experience. But a craftsperson often has difficulty articulating the technical or scientific principles of his or her craft. Highly subjective and personal insights, intuitions, hunches and inspirations derived from bodily experience fall into this dimension.
o Cognitive Dimension: This consists of beliefs, perceptions, ideals, values, emotions and mental models so ingrained in us that we take them for granted. Though they cannot be articulated very easily, this dimension of tacit knowledge shapes the way we perceive the world around us.
o Socialization: from tacit to tacit — Sharing experiences to create tacit knowledge, such as shared mental models and technical skills. This also includes observation, imitation, and practice. However, “experience” is the key, which his why the mere “transfer of information” often makes little sense to the receiver.
o Internalization: from explicit to tacit — Embodying explicit knowledge into tacit knowledge. Closely related to “learning by doing.” Normally, knowledge is verbalized or diagrammed into documents or oral stories.
o Externalization: from tacit to explicit — The quintessential process of articulating tacit knowledge into explicit concepts through metaphors, analogies, concepts, hypothesis, or models. Note that when we conceptualize an image, we express its essence mostly in language.
o Combination,: from explicit to explicit — A process of systemizing concepts into a knowledge system. Individuals exchange and combine knowledge through media, such as documents, meetings, and conversations. Information is reconfigured by such means as sorting, combining, and categorizing. Formal education and many training programs work this way.
Artifacts derived from knowledge creation are facts, concepts, processes, procedures, and principles.
KNOWLEDGE MANAGEMENT IN IT Cos. LIKE
INFOSY, TCS etc.
The role of the Chief Knowledge Officer (CKO) is to maximize the creation, discovery, and dissemination of knowledge in the organization. The CKO blends cultural, business, and technical responsibilities and ensures their co-evolution. The CKO focuses on improving productivity, profitability and customer value, rather than solely on knowledge management (KM) technology. The CKO drives the adoption of knowledge use in the organization. The CKO usually reports to the CEO or highest-ranking position in the company.
The performance of a CKO can be tied to his/her progress in many areas, such as increasing revenue, increasing corporate education and learning, and/or establishing and reusing best practices, increasing efficiency, and retaining employees.
The CKO position would comprise, but not limited to the following responsibilities.
• Create and sell the knowledge management vision.
• Communicate commitment to KM and strategy for KM to shareholders – articulate how establishing knowledge, as a true corporate asset, will benefit the business.
• Build a customer-centered KM operation and include customers as knowledge partners.
• Design and implement a knowledge-learning culture and a knowledge-learning infrastructure.
• Align and integrate diverse groups and functions in order to leverage knowledge management strategically across the entire corporation.
• Provide guidance and policy on processes to “institutionalize” KM practices.
• Develop strategies to make tacit knowledge explicit -- tie together the information in the corporation’s databases, historical records, file cabinets, and intranet, as well as employee’s information knowledge that has yet to be identified or recorded in a systematic way.
• Champion development of a KM budget and advocate and dedicate KM resources to on-going initiatives.
• Develop the measurements and standards to ensure compliance, to support continuous quantifiable productivity of knowledge efforts and to determine their strategic outcomes.
• Use technology to support knowledge capture, sharing, and retention.
• Keep abreast of the organization’s core business and departmental functions policies, procedures and business practices.
• Understand the benefits that technology can offer, but should also focus as much if not more, on changing the corporate culture to one that embraces and rewards knowledge sharing.
• Expertise in several areas, including: training and development, information technology, legal and technical knowledge, and corporate information.
• Experience in one or more disciplines such as management consulting, training specialist, technology expert, organizational development (OD), general management, or any one of many other business unit disciplines.
IT Cos provides professional BUSINESS services in a number of areas.
IT Cos uses the knowledge base strength
-to help companies in meeting the BUSINESS NEEDS.
-also takes the opportunity to seek more business opportunities
in clients in others areas like
*human capital management
*business strategic management
*continuous improvements in operation management
*control assurance services
IT Cos EXISTS BECAUSE OF THE STRENGTHS OF
ITS KNOWLEDGE BASE. [ the quality of its people]
IT Cos PROVIDES
BUSINESS PERFORMANCE MANAGEMENT
TO ALL ITS CLIENTS IN THE ABOVE AREAS.
Here it aims to increase organizational performance by radically re-designing the organization's structures and processes, including by starting over from the ground up.
Simply put, Business performance management includes activities to ensure that goals are consistently being met in an effective and efficient manner. Business Performance management can focus on performance of the organization, a department, processes to build a product or service, employees, etc. Here the KNOWLEDGE required includes concepts in performance management, organization performance management and group performance management.
Principles behind this approach is,
KNOWLEDGE can lead to UNDERSTANDING of the issues, which when focused into priority areas can deliver ACTION for the organisation enabling transformational change.
This calls for KNOWLEDGE orientated Business Reviews, Health checks/diagnostic tools, design and implementation plans.
Business reviews and Improvement reviews maximises the human factor.
Organisations need to improve to survive and knowledge management can often make a significant contribution.
Business improvement can be approached in many different ways. It may be ‘revolutionary’, changing the fundamental nature of a business or significantly altering the way that it currently operates. Alternatively, change may be concerned simply with doing certain things better. Improvement may be tackled in one step or implemented though a sequence of smaller adjustments. It may be ‘business-led’, directed by the goals of the organisation, or ‘opportunity-led’, taking advantage of innovations in technology. The introduction or enhancement of computing facilities may also be perceived in different ways. For example, it may be seen as a software engineering activity, or as a modification to an information system, or, more broadly, as an organisational change. People issues are also important, so the approach to change must adequately address social, political and cultural constraints. Regardless of the basic approach to improvement adopted, successful change must take all relevant factors into account, and where possible these should be made explicit through modelling.
HOW DO WE ACHIEVE THIS ??
USING KNOWLEDGE MANAGEMENT !!
Here it is clearly necessary for us to distinguish between 'information' and 'knowledge'
'Knowledge' is defined as what we know: knowledge involves the mental processes of comprehension, understanding and learning that go on in the mind and only in the mind, however much they involve interaction with the world outside the mind, and interaction with others.
Whenever we wish to express what we know, we can only do so by uttering messages of one kind or another - oral, written, graphic, gestural or even through 'body language'. Such messages do not carry 'knowledge', they constitute 'information', which a knowing mind may assimilate, understand, comprehend and incorporate into its own knowledge structures. These structures are not identical for the person uttering the message and the receiver, because each person's knowledge structures are, 'biographically determined'. Therefore, the knowledge built from the messages can never be exactly the same as the knowledge base from which the messages were uttered.
Knowledge management is a discipline that promotes an integrated approach to the creation, capture, organization, access, and use of an enterprise's information assets. These assets include structured databases, textual information such as policy and procedure documents, and most importantly, the tacit knowledge and expertise resident in the heads of individual employees.
Large number of Companies still see knowledge management as a purely technology solution
Organisations have adopted a number of relevant technologies for KM purposes.
- use the Internet to access external knowledge,
-use an intranet,
- use data warehousing or mining technologies,
- document management systems,
FROM THE ABOVE ANALYSIS, IT COMES CRYSTAL
THAT KNOWLEDGE MANAGEMENT IS THE
RESOURCE INPUT FOR
-BUSINESS PERFORMANCE MANAGEMENT
THE KNOWLEDGE MANAGEMENT IMPLEMENTATION
is a 4 step process.
• The first, is fostering policy, regulatory, and network readiness, by supporting the development of an adequate enabling environment for efficiency, competition, and innovation in knowledge sharing, and development of information and communication technologies.
• The second element focuses on building human capacity for the knowledge economy, by promoting training, education, development programs, coaching of new skills needed for information and communication technologies.
• The third element of the strategy focuses on continued efforts to expand basic connectivity and access, and invest in information technology applications. Key activities include mobilizing resources to improve information infrastructure, working on ways to reduce the cost of connectivity, supporting staff access programs, and developing local content and entrepreneurial information technology opportunities.
• The final key element of the strategy is focused on promoting the generation and sharing of global knowledge, through support for knowledge networking, global research, and communities of practice. This will focus on creating and applying the knowledge necessary to stimulate and facilitate the transition to the knowledge economy-as well as the knowledge necessary to reap its full economic and financial benefits.
IT CO's HR DEPARTMENT IS THE KEY TO
THE DEVELOPMENT OF KM IN ALL AREAS.
In other words, this 'knowledge management strategy' is a training and development programme.
Of course, it is wrapped up in the many of the modern jargons of the day:
THE SIMPLE PROCESS IS
• 'Development of a structure of competency types and levels;
• Defining the competencies required for particular jobs;
• Rating the performance of individual employees in particular jobs based on the competencies;
• Implementing the knowledge competencies in an online system;
• Linkage of the competency model to learning offerings.'
THERE ARE MANY TOOLS AVAILABLE TO IMPLEMENT
AND ENABLE THE PARTICIPANTS TO FULLY EXPLOIT.
After action review
A process that helps teams to learn quickly from their successes and failures and share their learning with other teams. Involves conducting a structured and facilitated discussion after a task or project has been completed to review what should have happened, what actually happened and why it happened; this allows participants to learn how to sustain strengths and improve on weaknesses in subsequent tasks or projects.
A business model developed by Kaplan and Norton as a tool to measure organisational performance against both short and long-term goals. The balanced scorecard is designed to focus managers' attention on those factors that most help the business strategy and so alongside financial measures, it adds measures for customers, internal processes and employee learning. Some organisations have used the balanced scorecard model in setting and measuring knowledge management strategies.
The practice of comparing the performance of your organisation, department or function against the performance of 'the best' - whether they be other organisations, industry standards or internal departments. The aim is to look at how well you are doing compared to others in the same field or industry, and to learn from their best practices as a basis for improving your own.
Best practice (or: Good practice)
A process or methodology that has been proven to work well and produce good results, and is therefore recommended as a model. Some people prefer to use the term 'good practice' as in reality it is debateable whether there is a single 'best' approach.
A one-to-one relationship that aims to bring about individual learning and performance improvement, usually focusing on achieving predefined objectives within a specific time period. The role of the coach is to create a supportive environment in which to challenge and develop the critical thinking skills, ideas and behaviours of the person being coached, so that they might reach their full potential.
Double-loop learning (or: Generative learning)
In contrast to singleloop learning , which involves using knowledge to solve specific problems based on existing assumptions and often based on what has worked in the past, double-loop learning goes a step further and questions existing assumptions in order to create new insights. For example,
the supply chain failures in an organization. <\l >
The use of electronic information systems (especially internet technologies) to deliver learning and training.
A website that links an organisation with other specific organisations or people. Extranets are only accessible to those specified organisations or people and are protected via passwords.
Computer software applications that are linked together by networks, and so allow people to work together and share electronic communications and documents
Data that has been organised within a context and translated into a form that has structure and meaning. (Note: while most people have an idea about what information is, it is rather difficult to define in a meaningful way).
A computer network that functions like the internet, but the information and web pages are located on computers within an organisation rather than being accessible to the general public.
Continuous --Learning organisation
An organisation that views its success in the future as being based on continuous learning and adaptive behaviour. It therefore becomes skilled at creating, acquiring, interpreting and retaining knowledge and then modifying its behaviour to reflect new knowledge and insights.
Mentoring is a one-to-one learning relationship in which a senior member of an organisation is assigned to support the development of a newer or more junior member by sharing his or her knowledge, experience and wisdom with them. Related term: Coaching (Note: While the strength of mentoring lies in transferring the mentor's specific knowledge and wisdom, in coaching it lies in the coach's ability to facilitate and develop the other's own personal qualities.)
The ability of an organisation to gain knowledge from experience through experimentation, observation, analysis and a willingness to examine both successes and failures, and to then use that knowledge to do things differently. While organisational learning cannot happen without individual learning, individual learning does not necessarily produce organisational learning. Organisational learning occurs when an organisation becomes collectively more knowledgeable and skillful in pursuing a set of goals.Single-loop learning (or: Adaptive learning)
Single-loop learning involves using knowledge to solve specific problems based on existing assumptions, and often based on what has worked in the past.
etc etc etc
KNOWLEDGE MANAGEMENT PLANNING& DEVELOPMENT
Step 1: Analyzing existing infrastructure
Focus on the following:
1. Understanding the role of your companys existing networks, intranet, and extranets in knowledge management. You will analyze, leverage, and build upon data mining, data warehousing, project management, and decision support system (DSS) tools that might already be in place.
2. Understanding the knowledge management technology framework and its components.
3. Considering the option of using knowledge servers for enterprise integration, and performing a preliminary analysis of business needs that match up with relevant knowledge server choices.
4.Integrating existing intranets, extranets, and GroupWare into your knowledge management system.
5.Understanding the limitations of implemented tools and identifying existing gaps in your company’s existing technology infrastructure.
6.Taking concrete steps to leverage and build upon existing infrastructural investments.
Step 2: Aligning knowledge management and business strategy
Focus on the following:
1.Shift your company from strategic programming to strategic planning.
2.Move your systems design practices and business decisions away from the seemingly rigorous, fallacious notion of making predictions using extrapolations from past data. You must shift this critical decision making dependency on knowledge that is both within and outside your company.
3.Perform a knowledge based SWOT (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats) analysis and create knowledge maps for your own company, your main competitors, and your industry as a whole.
4.Analyze knowledge gaps and identify how knowledge management can fill those gaps. Do a cost benefit analysis to prioritize filling such gaps.
5.Determine whether a codification or personalization focus is better suited for your com¬pany
6.Balance exploitation, exploration, just in time and just in case delivery supported by your KM system.
7.Before you can design your knowledge management system, determine the right diagnostic questions to ask.
8.Translate your strategy KM link to KM system design characteristics. You must articulate a clear strategy KM link and incorporate the critical success factors
9.Mobilize initiatives to help you "sell" your KM project internally.
10.Diagnose and validate your strategy KM link, and use it to drive the rest of the design process.
Step 3: Designing the knowledge management architecture and integrating existing infrastructure
Focus on the following:
1.Comprehend various components of the knowledge info-structure
2.Identify internal and external knowledge source feeds that must be integrated
3.Choose IT components to find, create, assemble, and apply knowledge
4.Identify elements of the interface layer: clients, server, gateways, and the platform
5.Decide on the collaborative platform: Web or Lotus Notes?
6.Identify and understand components of the collaborative intelligence layer: artificial intelligence, data warehouses, genetic algorithms, neural networks, expert reasoning systems, rule bases, and case based reasoning
7.Optimize knowledge object molecularity with your own company in mind
8.Balance cost against value added for each enabling component
9.Balance push[provision] and pull based[ demand ]mechanisms for knowledge delivery
10.Identify the right mix of components for searching, indexing, and retrieval
11.Create knowledge tags and attributes: domain, form, type, product/service, time, and location tags
12.Create profiling mechanisms for knowledge delivery
13. Validate your choices
Step 4: Auditing and analyzing existing knowledge
Focus on the following:
1. Develop a Knowledge Growth framework to measure process knowledge.
2. Identify, evaluate, and rate critical process knowledge on an 5 OR 7 point scale system.
3. Select an audit method out of several possible options.
4. Assemble a preliminary knowledge audit team.
5. Audit and analyze your companys existing knowledge.
6. Identify your companys Knowledge spot.
7. Choose a strategic position for your knowledge management system that is in line with
the strategic gaps identified in step 2.
STEP 5: DESIGNING THE KNOWLEDGE MANAGEMENT TEAM
In the this step on the KM road map, you create the knowledge management team that will design, build, implement, and deploy your companys knowledge management system.
Focus on the following:
1. Identify key stakeholders: IT, management, and end users; manage their expectations.
2. Identify sources of requisite expertise.
3. Identify critical points of failure in terms or unmet requirements, control, management
buy in, and end user buy in,
4.Balance the knowledge management team’s constitution
organizationally, strategically, and technologically.
5.Balance technical and managerial expertise that forms a part of this team.
6.Resolve team sizing issues.
STEP 6: CREATING THE KNOWLEDGE MANAGEMENT SYSTEM
Focus on the following issues in this step:
1. Customize the details of the several layers of the knowledge management architecture to your own company.
2. Understand and select the components required by your company: integrative repositories, content centers, knowledge aggregation and mining tools, the collaborative platform, knowledge directories, the user interface options, push delivery mechanisms, and integrative elements.
3. Design the system for high levels of interoperability with existing IT investments; optimize for performance and scalability.
4.Understand and execute repository life cycle management.
5.Understand and incorporate the several key user interface (UI) considerations.
6.Position and scope the knowledge management system to a feasible level where benefits exceed costs.
7.Make the build or buy decision and understand the tradeoffs.
8.Future proof the knowledge management system so that it does not "run out of gas" when the next wave of fancy technology hits the market.
This step integrates work from all preceding steps so that it culminates in a strategically oriented knowledge management system design.
STEP 7: DEVELOPING THE KNOWLEDGE MANAGEMENT SYSTEM
Once you have created a blueprint for your knowledge management system (step 6), the next step is that of actually putting together a working system.
Focus on the following:
1.Develop the interface layer. Create platform independence, leverage the intranet, enable universal authorship, and optimize video and audio streaming.
2.Develop the access and authentication layer. Secure data, control access, and distribute control.
3.Develop the collaborative filtering and intelligence layer, using intelligent agents and collaborative filtering systems. We took at options to buy intelligent agents versus easy and free tools that can be used to build your own.
4.Develop and integrate the application layer with the intelligence layer and the transport layer.
5.Leverage the extant transport layer to take advantage of existing networks that are already in place in your company.
6.Develop the middleware and legacy integration layer to connect the knowledge management system both to true legacy data and “ recent," inconsistent legacy data repositories and databases left behind by custom systems that your company needs to retire for reasons of cost or lack of functionality.
7.Integrate and enhance the repository layer.
STEP 8: PiLOT TESTING AND DEPLOYMENT USING THE RDI METHODOLOGY
A large scale project such as a typical knowledge management system must take into account the actual needs of its users. Although a cross functional KM team can help uncover many of these needs, a pilot deployment is the ultimate reality check.
Focus on the following:
1.Understand the need for a pilot knowledge management system deployment, and evaluate the need to run one; if it is needed, select the right, nontrivial, and representative pilot project
2.Identify and isolate failure points in pilot projects
3.Understand the knowledge management system life cycle and its implications for knowledge management system deployment.
4.Eliminate all wastages.
5.Understand the scope of knowledge management system deployment
6.Use the RDI methodology to deploy the system, using cumulative results driven business releases
7.Decide when to use prototypes, and when not to use them
8.Convert factors to processes
9.Create cumulative results driven business releases by selecting releases with the highest payoffs first
10.Identify and avoid the traps in the RDI[ results driven increment] methodology
STEP 9: THE CKO, REWARD STRUCTURES, TECHNOLOGY, AND CHANGE
Focus on the following:
1.Understand the role of a chief knowledge officer and decide if your company
decides not to appoint a CKO, who else can best play that role?
2.Organize the four broad categories of the CKO's or knowledge manager’s responsibilities. To do so, you must understand the CKO's technological and organizational functions.
3.Enable process triggers for knowledge management system success.
4.Plan for knowledge management success using the knowledge manager as an agent for selling knowledge needs.
5.Manage and implement cultural and process changes to make your knowledge management system as well as your knowledge management strategy succeed.
STEP 10: METRICS FOR KNOWLEDGE WORK
The tenth step measuring return on knowledge investment (ROKI) must account for both financial and competitive impacts of knowledge management on your business.
Focus on the following:
1.Understand how to measure the business impact of knowledge management, using a set of lean metrics
2.Calculate returns on investment (ROI) for knowledge management investments
3.Decide when to use benchmarking as a comparative knowledge metric
4.Evaluate knowledge management ROI using the Balanced Scorecard (BSC) method
5.Use quality function deployment for creating strategic knowledge metrics
6.Identify and stay clear of the seven common measurement pitfalls, and identify what not to measure
7. Review and select software tools for tracking complex metrics.
Knowledge management is essentially about getting the right knowledge to the right person at the right time. This in itself may not seem so complex, but it implies a strong tie to corporate strategy, understanding of where and in what forms knowledge exists, creating processes that span organizational functions, and ensuring that initiatives are accepted and supported by organizational members. Knowledge management may also include new knowledge creation, or it may solely focus on knowledge sharing, storage, and refinement. For a more comprehensive discussion and definition, see my knowledge management definition.
It is important to remember that knowledge management is not about managing knowledge for knowledge's sake; the overall objective is to create value and to leverage, improve, and refine the firm's competences and knowledge assets to meet organizational goals and targets. Implementing knowledge management thus has several dimensions including:
• Organizational: The right processes, environments, culture, and systems.
• Managerial/Leadership:The right focus, strategy, implementation, etc.
• Cultural: The organizational culture, as well as national culture for multinational firms, influences the way people interact, the context within which knowledge is created, the resitance they will have towards certain changes, and ultimately the way they share (or the way they do not share) knowledge.
• Technological: The right systems, tools, and technologies - properly implemented.
• Political: The support to implement and sustain initiatives that involve virtually all organizational functions; that may be costly to implement (both from the perspective of time and money); and which often do not have a directly visible return on investment.
Defining Data, Information, and Knowledge
Below, I have included the definitions that will be used throughout this site:
Data: Facts and figures which relay something specific, but which are not organized in any way and which provide no further information regarding patterns, context, etc. I will use the definition for data presented by Thierauf (1999): "unstructured facts and figures that have the least impact on the typical manager."
Information: For data to become information, it must be contextualized, categorized, calculated and condensed (Davenport & Prusak 2000). Information thus paints a bigger picture; it is data with relevance and purpose (Bali et al 2009). It may convey a trend in the environment, or perhaps indicate a pattern of sales for a given period of time. Essentially information is found "in answers to questions that begin with such words as who, what, where, when, and how many" (Ackoff 1999).
IT is usually invaluable in the capacity of turning data into information, particularly in larger firms that generate large amounts of data across multiple departments and functions. The human brain is mainly needed to assist in contextualization.
Knowledge: Knowledge is closely linked to doing and implies know-how and understanding. The knowledge possessed by each individual is a product of his experience, and encompasses the norms by which he evaluates new inputs from his surroundings (Davenport & Prusak 2000). I will use the definition presented by Gamble and Blackwell (2001), based closely on a previous definition by Davenport & Prusak:
"Knowledge is a fluid mix of framed experience, values, contextual information, expert insight, and grounded intuition that provides an environment and framework for evaluating and incorporating new experiences and information. It originates and is applied in the mind of the knowers. In organizations it often becomes embedded not only in documents or repositories, but also in organizational routines, practices and norms."
In order for KM to succeed, one needs a deep understanding of what constitutes knowledge. Now that we have set clear boundaries between knowledge, information, and data, it is possible to go one step further and look at the forms in which knowledge exists and the different ways that it can be accessed, shared, and combined. I will examine this in the section titled "The Different Kinds of Knowledge".
KM is about making the right knowledge available to the right people. It is about making sure that an organization can learn, and that it will be able to retrieve and use its knowledge assets in current applications as they are needed. In the words of Peter Drucker it is "the coordination and exploitation of organizational knowledge resources, in order to create benefit and competitive advantage" (Drucker 1999).
Where the disagreement sometimes occurs is in conjunction with the creation of new knowledge. Wellman (2009) limits the scope of KM to lessons learned and the techniques employed for the management of what is already known. He argues that knowledge creation is often perceived as a separate discipline and generally falls under innovation management.
Knowledge management consists of the initiatives and systems that sustain and support the storage, dissemination, assessment, application, refinement, and creation of relevant knowledge.
It involves the understanding of: where and in what forms knowledge exists; how to make the right knowledge available to the right people; what the organization needs to know; how to best generate or acquire new relevant knowledge; how to promote a culture conducive to learning, sharing, and knowledge creation; how to manage all of these factors so as to enhance performance in light of the organization's strategic goals and short term opportunities and threats.
Knowledge management must therefore create/provide the right tools, people, knowledge, structures (teams, etc.), culture, etc. so as to enhance learning; it must understand the value and applications of the new knowledge created; it must store this knowledge and make it readily available for the right people at the right time; and it must continuously assess, apply, refine, and remove organizational knowledge in conjunction with concrete long and short term factors.
From this knowledge management definition we can see that it depends upon the management of the organization's knowledge creation and conversion mechanisms; organizational memory and retrieval facilities; organizational learning; and organizational culture. These concepts will be explored in more detail in the following sections.
Why is knowledge management useful?
I have been asked to write this piece by someone who was not entirely familiar with the knowledge management (KM) discipline. Looking back at the work I presented on this site, I can see how a beginner, and particularly a manager new to the subject, might not easily understand why knowledge management is useful for their particular situation.
I will keep this concise and to the point. Knowledge management is responsible for understanding:
• What your organization knows.
• Where this knowledge is located, e.g. in the mind of a specific expert, a specific department, in old files, with a specific team, etc.
• In what form this knowledge is stored e.g. the minds of experts, on paper, etc.
• How to best transfer this knowledge to relevant people, so as to be able to take advantage of it or to ensure that it is not lost. E.g. setting up a mentoring relationship between experienced experts and new employees, implementing a document management system to provide access to key explicit knowledge.
• The need to methodically assess the organization's actual know-how vs the organization's needs and to act accordingly, e.g. by hiring or firing, by promoting specific in-house knowledge creation, etc.
So, why is knowledge management useful? It is useful because it places a focus on knowledge as an actual asset, rather than as something intangible. In so doing, it enables the firm to better protect and exploit what it knows, and to improve and focus its knowledge development efforts to match its needs. In other words:
• It helps firms learn from past mistakes and successes.
• It better exploits existing knowledge assets by re-deploying them in areas where the firm stands to gain something, e.g. using knowledge from one department to improve or create a product in another department, modifying knowledge from a past process to create a new solution, etc.
• It promotes a long term focus on developing the right competencies and skills and removing obsolete knowledge.
• It enhances the firm's ability to innovate.
• It enhances the firm's ability to protect its key knowledge and competencies from being lost or copied.
Unfortunately, KM is an area in which companies are often reluctant to invest because it can be expensive to implement properly, and it is extremely difficult to determine a specific ROI. Moreover KM is a concept the definition of which is not universally accepted, and for example within IT one often sees a much shallower, information-oriented approach. Particularly in the early days, this has led to many "KM" failures and these have tarnished the reputation of the subject as a whole. Sadly, even today, probably about one in three blogs that I read on this subject have absolutely nothing to do with the KM that I was taught back in business school. I will discuss this latter issue in greater detail in the future.
Knowledge Management Processes
This section will deal with the actual knowledge management processes. So far, I have presented an introduction to knowledge management as well as several frameworks. Now it is time to talk about the different processes and initiatives.
This section, as well as the subsequent one on knowledge management strategy, will be structured according to the layout of the integrated knowledge management model presented earlier.
Under the initiative referred to as "act", the integrated model outlines a series of knowledge management processes. They will be used as headings for the subsections presented here, and can be accessed either through the menu on the left or via the links below:
• Knowledge Discovery & Detection
• Knowledge Organization & Assessment
• Knowledge Sharing
• Knowledge Reuse
• Knowledge Creation
• Knowledge Acquisition
These form the backbone of knowledge management processes as they outline all aspects involved in the actual management of knowledge.
At the end of the section on knowledge management strategy, a subsection titled knowledge management best practices will summarize all the aspects discussed thus far
Knowledge Management Strategy
While the knowledge management processes section dealt with the general ways knowledge can be managed, this section tackles long-term knowledge management strategy. Strategic investments represent the company’s choices/options so as to enable and enhance the processes outlined earlier (e.g. knowledge sharing) and to offer help define which knowledge is relevant (i.e. in line with strategic objectives) and which is not.
This section is based on the strategic part of the integrated knowledge management model, which includes:
• Knowledge management strategic initiatives:
• Invest: Support of existing structures, competencies, culture, external network, and knowledge management systems
• Invest: Implement changes to structures, competencies, culture, external network, and knowledge management systems
• Divest: Remove obsolete knowledge
Why we need knowledge management now
Why do we need to manage knowledge? This list identifies some of the specific business factors, including:
• Marketplaces are increasingly competitive and the rate of innovation is rising.
• Reductions in staffing create a need to replace informal knowledge with formal methods.
• Competitive pressures reduce the size of the work force that holds valuable business knowledge.
• The amount of time available to experience and acquire knowledge has diminished.
• Early retirements and increasing mobility of the work force lead to loss of knowledge.
• There is a need to manage increasing complexity as small operating companies are trans-national sourcing operations.
• Changes in strategic direction may result in the loss of knowledge in a specific area.
• Most of our work is information based.
• Organizations compete on the basis of knowledge.
• Products and services are increasingly complex, endowing them with a significant information component.
• The need for life-long learning is an inescapable reality.
In brief, knowledge and information have become the medium in which business problems occur. As a result, managing knowledge represents the primary opportunity for achieving substantial savings, significant improvements in human performance, and competitive advantage.
It’s not just a Fortune 500 business problem. Small companies need formal approaches to knowledge management even more, because they don’t have the market leverage, inertia, and resources that big companies do. They have to be much more flexible, more responsive, and more "right" (make better decisions) — because even small mistakes can be fatal to them.
Do you believe that KM can improve the competitiveness of a firm?
THE FOLLOWING ARE THE AREAS IN AN ORGANIZATION
WHERE KNOWLEDGE MANAGEMENT CAN BE USED
to make it more competitive.
1.KM can help to manage the CRITICAL ISSUES/ hence the competitiveness
[the issues that needs constant attention to grow the business]
how can we manage the critical issues affecting the organization
2.KM can help to strengthen the DRIVERS OF COMPANY PERFORMANCE/hence the competitiveness
[critical elements that help to grow the company business like R&D]
how can we manage the drivers for excellent performance
3.KM can help to develop the KEYS OF SUCCESS/hence the competitiveness
[keys which helps the success of the company like TRAINING/DEVELOPMENT]
how can we increase the profit level/ profitability, using the drivers.
4.KM can help the HR DEPARTMENT FUNCTIONS to be more competitive
-recruitment / selection USING KM
[ for effective recruitement could help to bring in talent , at the least cost]
[for effective induction reduces attrition rate ]
[for effective orientation improves the effectiveness of staff introduction]
[for effective training improves effectiveness on the job ]
[for developing people for promotions]
-compensation development and management
[for effective compensation programs helps to retain promising talents]
-performance appraisals / performance management
[for helping to improve the effectiveness/ productivity for performance]
-career planning and development
[for helping to prepare people for transfers/ promotions]
KM can increase the effectiveness of the HR DEPARTMENT and make
significant contribution to the competitiveness.
5.KM can help the MARKETING DEPARTMENT FUNCTIONS to be more competitive
-Market Geographics USING KM.
[ by helping to understand the geographical spread of company sales]
- Market Demographics
[by helping to understand the buyers of the company products]
[by helping to understand the buying behaviors of consumers of your company products]
[by helping to understand the customer needs,which helps to produce the right product]
[by helping to market the products more effectively]
[by helping to prepare for the marketing programs]
[by helping to develop the marketing strategy/budget]
[by helping to plan for the marketing programs]
[by helping to focus on the right customers at the right place ]
KM can increase the effectiveness of the MARKETING DEPARTMENT and make
significant contribution to the competitiveness.
6.KM can help the PRICING FUNCTIONS to be more competitive
[by helping to devise price/ trade terms in the market
KM can increase the effectiveness of the PRICING FUNCTION and make
significant contribution to the competitiveness.
7.KM can help the DISTRIBUTION FUNCTION to be more competitive.
[by helping to devise strategies / plans to improve channel penetration]
KM can increase the effectiveness of the DISTRIBUTION FUNCTION and
INCREASE THE MARKET COVERAGE / make
significant contribution to the competitiveness.
8. KM can help the SALES FUNCTION to be more competitive.
[by helping to direct the sales team and get the sales volume]
[by helping to set sales team target and improve performance]
[by helping sales planning and development]
KM can increase the effectiveness of the SALES FUNCTION and
INCREASE THE CUSTOMER COVERAGE / make
significant contribution to the competitiveness.
9.KM can help the PROMOTION MIX to be more competitive.
-MARKETING COMMUNICATON OBJECTIVES
[by helping to maximixe the awareness of products]
-SALES PROMOTION OBJECTIVES
[by helping to create better impact at the point of sale/ customers]
[by helping to maximise the media coverage]
-PUBLIC RELATIONS OBJECTIVES
[by helping to improve the company image in the community/market]
KM can increase the MARKETING MIX EFFECTIVENESS
and make significant contribution to the competitiveness.
10. KM can help the MANUFACTURING function to be more competitive
[by helping to improve the production effectiveness/ efficiency]
-raw material inventory levels
[by helping to control the holding cost]
-finished goods inventory levels
[by helping to meet the sales requirements and control holding cost]
[by helping to improve the warehousing operation effectiveness/effeciency]
-customer service objectives
[by helping to improve the customer satisfaction level ]
KM can improve the manufacturing process / and the productivity
AND HENCE make significant contribution to the competitiveness.
11. KM can help the PURCHASE function to be more competitive.
-purchase dept. objectives
[by helping to keep the production level / remove material shortages]
[by helping to economise the purchases]
KM can improve the procurement effectiveness and reduce costs
AND HENCE make significant contribution to the competitiveness.
ALL THE ABOVE STEPS HELP TO MAKE THE ORGANIZATION
COMPETITIVE AND HELP TO MAKE HEALTHY
[ultimate goal of the company, which drives the company]
[helps to grow the sales and helps to control the total expenses]
[helps to control the operating expenses]