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KNOWLEDGE MANAGEMENT SYSTEMS (KMS) FOR LIBRARIES: THE IMPLEMENTATION STRATEGY AND DEVELOPMENT ISSUES FOR MANAGEMENT By Mr.

Ruzaif Adli Md. Daud Faculty of Information Technology Universiti Utara Malaysia, Sintok Kedah, Malaysia & Ms. Norehan Dato Ahmad Faculty of Information Management Universiti Teknologi Mara (UiTM), Shah Alam, Selangor, Malaysia & Mr. Wan Abdul Malik Wan Abdullah Faculty of Information Management Universiti Teknologi Mara (UiTM), Shah Alam, Selangor, Malaysia ABSTRACT The purpose of this paper is to outline the KMS implementation strategy for libraries. In addition, its also highlights the KMS development issues for management. Designing the KMS strategy for the library would be the first step towards the implementing the KMS as total solution. This KMS would never be successful until a proper goal is set and then a strategy is designed accordingly. The KMS implementation strategy must be aligned with the libraries business strategy, or else its will fail to accomplish goals that are tangible to the library. KMS implementation strategy approaches basically deals with business domain issues and Information Systems (IS) domain issues to capture, store and disseminate organizational knowledge both tacitly, explicitly and electronically so that this knowledge can be utilized across the borders. Recent research has focused more on implementing Knowledge Management (KM) and Knowledge Management Systems (KMS) in corporate sectors, which identify knowledge as a new weapon in competitive market. However, there is a paucity of study concerning the KM and KMS implementation in the libraries, despite the fact that KM and KMS practice is demanded in knowledge society. Most of libraries have already employed IT to support various activities from administrative jobs to user education. They have begun using IT, which reflects some of the characteristic of KM processes without labeling it as KMS. For example, they used email to share and exchange information, they capture data and store it in organizational database and some of them put user education notes in websites. These activities are part of KM processes that are facilitated by IT which could be referred as KMS. Keywords: Knowledge Management (KM), Knowledge Management Systems (KMS), KMS Implementation Strategy, KMS Development Issues.

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INTRODUCTION

To define KMS, it is first essential to define knowledge and Knowledge Management (KM). It is important to define knowledge in the first place since how you define knowledge determines how you manage knowledge (Allen, 1998). Knowledge is something that is contained in a persons head and is revealed in skill to operate in certain conditions that is the ability of adaptation to changing conditions (Pawar & Weber, 2002). Knowledge even goes beyond the concept of information, which is generally defined as data which has been aggregated and processes into a more usable form (Alter, 1992, p. 81). KM is the name given to the set of systematic actions that an organization can take to obtain the greatest value from the knowledge available to it (Davenport & Prusak, 1998). Systematic means that KM projects are intentional actions in an organizational context. Value means that KM projects are measured according to how KM projects contribute to increased organizational ability (Prieto & Gutierrez 2001; Goldkuhl & Braf 2002). To add value to KM, there is a need for KMS, which facilitate the generation, preservation, and sharing of knowledge (Duke et al., 1999; Bonner, 2000). Realizing the importance of knowledge as an organizational asset that enables sustainable competitive advantage, many firms are developing KMS designed especially to facilitate the sharing and integration of knowledge, thus making a distinction between data and information (Bolloju, 2002). Like KM, a KMS has also been defined in a number of ways. Alavi and Leidner, (1999) defined KMS as a broad way or approach to deal with the generation, preservation, and sharing of both tacit and explicit knowledge within and outside of the organization, which essentially involves the applications of IT systems and other organizational resources. 2.0 KMS IMPLEMENTATION STRATEGY

Designing the KMS implementation strategy for the library would be the first step towards the total KMS implementation in the library. This KMS would never be successful until a proper goal is set and then an implementation strategy is designed accordingly. For a successful KMS, the implementation strategy is required for: Devising and managing an implementation plan Administering a common vision Defining knowledge requirements Based on the feedback further refine the strategy

Kamara, Anumba and Carrillo (2002), have suggested that when deciding upon a strategy for implementing KMS in any organization, a basic framework should be followed for the selection of an appropriate strategy. The stages of this framework are shown in Figure 1.

Analysis Of Current Situation Problem Definition Identification of Needs & Desired Position Identification of Organizational Enablers/Resistor Selection of Technique/Strategy & Implementation

Figure 1: Framework for KMS Implementation Strategy a) Analysis of Current Situation

The first step in designing a strategy for the library is to carry out a complete analysis of the current situation. This analysis should primarily consider the status of the services/products that the library is currently providing and the resources that are available for providing these services/products. This would identify the gap between what is available and what is required. During this analysis, it has to be identified as to what type of knowledge is currently available to people in the organization and what tools and techniques are being used for managing this knowledge. Are there any set procedures for disseminating this knowledge? and what type of KMS is currently being running in the library?. b) Problem Definition

Once the thorough analysis of the current situation is done, and then it would be easier for the organization to identify any problems in the KMS. The major problems associated with the KMS in a library are: Knowledge creation Knowledge sharing/transfer

Identification of Needs Once the problem is identified then the next stage is to identify the library needs for the problem of knowledge creation and sharing both. Needs associated with Knowledge Creation in case of the library, is to create both the tacit as well as the explicit knowledge. Hence, it needs to define procedures for creating tacit and explicit knowledge and converting the tacit to explicit knowledge. They also need to emphasize on creating and sharing tacit knowledge so that it is not leaked out with the people leaving the library. In case of needs associated with Knowledge Sharing/Transfer, the library should identify from where the knowledge would be transferred and to whom and also what type of knowledge is to be shared/transferred. The organization needs to use its existing tacit and explicit knowledge and make it available for sharing. The more the knowledge is shared the more it is used and ultimately the more tacit knowledge would be created. Internet and other online resources can also be used to its maximum to gain more and more explicit knowledge. They can also benefit from the external sources of tacit knowledge, like business organizations. Identification of Organizational Enablers/Resistors

c)

d)

At this stage, the library needs to identify that once the KMS is established then who would be the enablers or resistors in the KMS. These enablers and resistors would one way or the other affect the KM process, hence they need to be identified and tackled accordingly. Some common resistors and enablers for the organization are identified as: 1. 0 Resistors Resistors are all those people, situations, and issues that act as barriers in the KM process. In the organization these resistors would create a negative effect on the creation and sharing of knowledge, therefore, they need to be identified and handled accordingly. Some examples of resistors are: 1.1 Rank Disparity: It is human nature that if anyone junior in status tries to explain something then the senior does not listen. For example; senior employees dont like to share of junior employees because the senior employee thinks that (s)he is more experienced than the other person is so, in any case he does not need any further knowledge sharing. This is resistor to tacit knowledge. 1.2 Recognition of Knowledge Sources: In certain situations, the source of knowledge is not identifiable. Employees do not know

where the required piece of knowledge is available then this situation act as a resistor to knowledge creation and sharing. 2.0 Enablers Enablers are all those people, situations, issues, etc. that facilitates the knowledge creation/sharing process and make the implementation of KM a smooth task. Some examples of enablers that may exist in an organization are: 2.1 Well Recognized Knowledge Sources: When the knowledge sources are clearly identified then employees would know exactly when and where their required knowledge would be available. This hastens the knowledge creation/sharing process. 2.2 Donor Readiness: If the donor or supplier/owner of the knowledge were well prepared and willing to take part in knowledge creation and sharing then the knowledge would be properly disseminated and shared. e) Appropriate KMS Tools and Techniques

The choice of appropriate KMS tools and techniques play a vital role in knowledge dissemination. If the library already were using some KMS tools/techniques then it would be appropriate to enhance the same techniques rather than bringing entirely new techniques. f) Selection and Implementation of Techniques/Strategies

Few techniques that are identified for knowledge creation and sharing are: 1.0 Shared Communications: Communications among employees of the library give way to sharing of ideas and knowledge. This is a very effective means of knowledge creations, especially in case of tacit knowledge. The more the employees interact the more tacit knowledge is created. 2.0 Knowledge Sharing and Transfer Technique/Strategies: Knowledge creation is not sufficient for a learning organization. It has to be complemented by Knowledge Sharing as well. Knowledge created and hot shred is just like putting a jewel in a lockup. Though it would be safe but of no use to anyone. The more knowledge is used, the more it grows. Therefore, proper knowledge sharing techniques should be implemented for the growth of the organization. Once the knowledge creating and sharing techniques have been identified, then there is a need to implement these techniques. Based on the size and culture of the organization, a

number of strategies can be used. Some of these implementation techniques/strategies are: Informal and Self Organizing Group Discussions, Formal Group Discussion with Industry Experts, Integrating the Learning Program and Material, Categorizing Learning Programs, Knowledge Preserving and Drilling, Videoconferencing, Virtual Classrooms, Corporate Intranet, Web Portal, Blogs, Knowledge Banks and Involvement in Industry Practices (Eram Abbasi & Arshad Siddiqi, 2005). 3.0 KMS DEVELOPMENT ISSUES

The issues related to the use of KMS create the possibility that the development of KMS may require attention to some issues particular to the class of information systems. The uniqueness of the knowledge management context may make it difficult for traditional systems development methodologies to be directly applicable. The nature of adaptations required to the traditional systems development and deployment methods in the context of knowledge management systems is, therefore, an important issue. One difference between KMS and traditional IS (e.g., transaction processing systems and management information systems) is the often fluid nature of the objectives, outcomes, and processes of the system to be developed. Within the knowledge management context, it is difficult to know a priori what information will be requested, who will request the information, who will supply the information, and when and how the information will be used. This makes determining requirements for KMS development extremely difficult. First, it is difficult to define in advance the profile of a typical user. Implicit in systems development methodologies is the assumption that users of the system to be developed are homogeneous with respect to the objectives in using the system. Hence, systems development methodologies generally sample typical or representative users to determine requirements and perform user testing. However, this approach may be limiting in the knowledge management context. Second, in the knowledge management context, the final outcome of development efforts needs to be flexible. Due to difficulties in defining a priori structures for knowledge and the need for ongoing refinement of these structures, traditional approaches to systems development, such as those adopted for organizational databases for instance, may not be appropriate. For example, with traditional systems, the domain data is structured into a conceptual schema that is translated into a data model. The resulting data model rarely changes and is shared throughout the organization. This may no longer be true since knowledge schemas constantly change over time and fundamentally different schemas may be used in different parts of the organization. Therefore, systems development in the knowledge management context may require the application of development methodologies used for dynamic/ multiple schema databases (or knowledge bases). With constantly changing and multiple knowledge schemas, interoperability becomes a major issue. Another implicit assumption of traditional

systems development methodologies is that the system developed is a final product. Even though a developed system goes through significant maintenance, the basic philosophy is passive maintenance where errors are only corrected when highlighted. The difficulty in the knowledge management context is that, due to the illdefined nature of the goals/processes of the KMS, a normative criterion with which to evaluate whether the KMS is being effectively used or means to identify factors that impede desired usage are not available. Hence, rather than a final product-oriented approach, an evolutionary approach to systems development may be required. With an evolutionary approach, the basic KM platform is initially developed and evolves proactively in an on-going fashion. Since a normative model of KMS use cannot be determined, experimentation with novel features will become extremely important. Finally, in the knowledge management context, one of the most important factors for success is motivating users to use the system. A KMS can be regarded as analogous to a tool. A tool is only successful if the users of the tools succeed with the tool. Thus, system acceptance becomes critical. Previous research shows that an effective way to increase system acceptance is user involvement during systems development (Tait & Vessey 1988). In such a situation, participatory design (PD) (Kensing & Munk-Madsen, 1993) may be an appropriate approach. As the basis of value creation increasingly depends on leveraging organizations intangible assets, knowledge management systems (KMS) are emerging as powerful sources of competitive advantage. However, the general recognition of the importance of such systems seems to be accompanied by a technology-induced drive to implement systems with inadequate consideration of the fundamental knowledge problems that the KMS are likely to solve.

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CONCLUSION

In conclusion, it is important for a library to start with the KMS implementation strategy first, which entails a basic framework in providing structured processes of analysis of the current situation, identify the existing problems, needs, organizational enablers or resistors, and apply appropriate KMS tools and techniques. Moreover, designing the well-planed KMS implementation strategy would lead the organization towards achieving a successful KMS implementation entirely and stay competitive. The design of KMS should be rooted in and guided by an understanding of the nature and types of organizational knowledge so that it can tell us what works, what will matters, what we should trust, where things can go wrong and how we can fix them. Knowledge is Power.

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