Monday, October 30, 2006

KM Course - Post #4

Having said that KM, simply put, is a management philosophy that deals with leveraging on existing knowledge and creating new knowledge from old knowledge...we went on to see that a good starting point would be to understand how to make best use of existing knowledge by aligning our activities with the business goals. What could be the business goals (and corresponding road-blocks) that need to be considered in the context of KM...and especially in the context of existing knowledge? Which of the typical business goals can be achieved with KM as an enabler? Which of the corresponding road-blocks can be cleared with the aid of KM?

Let's take some examples: Typical business goals would concern themselves with revenue growth, cost-cutting, innovation, productivity, employee satisfaction, customer satisfaction, and brand image. Logically speaking, cost-cutting, productivity improvement, employee and customer satisfaction are areas which involve making best use of existing knowledge in an organization. Making best use of existing knowledge simply means making knowledge accessible to the right person at the right time and in the right format. This will ensure that employees are able to go about their duties without unnecessarily wasting time, effort and money. They end up reusing artifacts already prepared by others in the organization thus not only improving productivity and cutting costs but also improving employee satisfaction and customer satisfaction in case the activity concerned has a direct impact on services provided to the customer!

The underlying KM principles among others would be:

- Designing and executing processes so as to identify the importance of the knowledge being handled and capturing/sharing the same. Systems need to be designed to capture explicit components of the knowledge and alert concerned people about the availability of explicit knowledge. Systems also need to remember the people who can provide more information on the project when needed thus capturing information about the availability of tacit knowledge

- Making knowledge capture and sharing a way of life for each and every employee by not only designing processes appropriately but also providing them with the right tools to do so. These may be sophisticated tools that are on a network 24*7

- Most importantly, people need to educated about the importance of (and opportunity loss involved in not) capturing and sharing the knowledge. They need to be encouraged, acknowledged, appreciated and celebrated for such activities.

Next post: Continuation of the discussion on how to leverage on existing knowledge

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