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Knowledge Management (KM) has many varied facets and depends on what your objectives are as to the ‘type’ of KM that you can implement. For sure, we can determine that KM is to do with people, processes and technology (in that specific order of priority and importance). We can also determine that when we refer to knowledge we can also include information and data. So to define KM in general terms means that we should be focusing on getting the RIGHT information, data and knowledge to the RIGHT people at the RIGHT time. What are the different ‘types’ of KM? Dependant on your objective we can define the different types, based on strategic objectives, as follows:To increase revenue by offering products and services that better ‘fit’ out customer profiles. To increase customer satisfaction by establishing/improving call centres, FAQ’s and Help Desks. To reduce operating costs by improving efficiency through knowledge sharing and business process improvements. To generate further knowledge through innovation and creativity by focusing attention on the knowledge reporting processes in the R & D areas of operation. As you can garner from the above, KM can be utilised in many different forms and, with the right stakeholders ‘buying in’ KM has the power to transform an organisation. Where to start? Although KM will eventually be an organisation-wide discipline, it is important to start with a small project. This will not only be more manageable but will also gain allies in order to overcome any initial resistance and to gain the confidence of both management and process owners alike. Many of you may have started a KM initiative already and do not even recognise this as such. The fact that so many of you have already established web sites and created FAQ’s within those sites, (to meet common requests for information that customers themselves can answer) have already started your KM implementation. This is a first step for many as they use KM to increase the levels of customer service and support. This ‘self-service’ option is recognition of the growing demands of our customers as they become even more astute thanks largely to the ‘information age’ of the Internet. Their knowledge increases but so do their demands.
Author: Nigel W. Dawes
In fact, with the upsurge of KM processes such as FAQ’s, Call Centres and Help Desks, this provides an excellent ‘bedding in’ for new employees to accelerate their learning practices and to become more competent and confident than would otherwise be possible without these basic KM methods being employed. The basic necessity behind all these initial KM processes is a KM knowledge base that gives greater access to data and information for customers and employees alike, to create a faster, more efficient problem solving arena.
The 5 levels of knowledge: Level 1: General Knowledge; conceptual statements give a general idea of what is meant, is open ended, means everybody can put his own interpretation and detailed content in the concepts Level 2: Theoretical Knowledge; is the explanation how the general statement can be practical implemented. Level 3: Practical Knowledge: this knowledge explains exactly what the underlying elements are that we need in order to “implement”, executes tasks within business processes Level 4: Potential Knowledge; this is level 3 but enlarged with extra concepts and new elements of potential knowledge that could be enriched by which the process performance could have more Added Value. Level 5: Analytical Knowledge; from all the knowledge used in the process steps, a complete and very detailed analysis is made.
Introducing the 12 step methodology Step 1: The KM Strategy: Formulate measurable business objectives; Think big and start small. Become a champion of a small project first without losing sight of the overall goals. But you must ensure that all objectives stay measureable and be specific with numerical objectives within given time frames.
Obtain executive sponsorship; Few things can succeed in an organization without active support from senior management. The challenge is to acquire executive sponsorship early in the process so that the project does not become a candidate for the chopping block at a later stage.
Author: Nigel W. Dawes
Staff the KM Team with the right personnel; regardless of how small the initial KM implementation is going to be, it needs an adequate number and the right mix of individuals to succeed. Do not add KM to the responsibilities of an existing Training Manager as this will dilute efforts and results. Create a KM Team leader; appoint KM staff from allies and supporters of the cause. A carefully planned and adequately staffed KM team will ensure that the implementation doesn’t get treated as extra or additional work, but rather as a key organizational initiative. Identify and tackle cultural resistance. The strategizing phase of the KM implementation is also the best time to identify and create plans to tackle any organizational resistance to knowledge sharing. Resistance usually stems from a fear of the unknown and how it will affect roles, responsibilities, and job security. Usually no one will openly admit to being opposed or reluctant to share what they know. Hence the challenge is to identify and work towards mitigating concerns without explicitly labelling them as fear or resistance. As far as possible, make tangible changes to performance measurement criteria and key performance indicators such that users see the direct benefits of sharing and reusing knowledge.
Step 2: The KM Planning: Carefully identify and select target consumers. Unless a target audience and subject matter experts have been clearly identified, a KM implementation is more liable to move in the direction of a general information dump—a Web interface to hundreds of documents, presentations, and graphics. Those who need knowledge will still not be able to find it, making the KM implementation little more than just a Web-enabling exercise. The challenge is to implement KM not for the sake of KM, but for the creation of business value for a focused user community. Identify key subject matter experts. Identify key subject matter experts who need to spend considerable amounts of time to ensure that the KM system is populated with relevant knowledge content. Select subject matter experts who seem least resistant to knowledge sharing. This will not only bring focus to a KM implementation, but will also help to select subject matter experts, conduct detailed business needs assessment, and identify appropriate initial content for the KM system. Create an awareness raising campaign. A reminder of the famous marketing tagline “Promote! Promote and Promote!” springs to mind here as raising awareness and seeking a higher profile will bring people’s attention and focus on the issues which are being considered. In addition, changing attitudes, behaviours and patterns will emerge, together with mobilising support in favour of new KM policies, thus promoting the implementation of the KM agenda. Make this awareness campaign focus internally and externally. Conduct a Knowledge Audit. The purpose of the audit is to identify the skills that the organisation needs to carry out its main objectives. You will need to carry out a “skills audit” within the organisation so as to establish what skills and tools are needed to achieve the organisation’s main objectives. Whilst also considering what skills are lacking within the organisation in the context of fulfilling its identified
Author: Nigel W. Dawes Page 3
objectives. The organisation will need to consider if it has, and/or needs to acquire, knowledge and expertise, from its own staff or with other organisations or outsourcing to bring in the required expertise Identify small first project. We would strongly recommend that a small but critical first phase project be selected from the outset. The challenge is to not get overwhelmed by the scope or attempt to tackle too much too soon. Build bridges between KM and existing organisation practices. Typically, organizations that are implementing knowledge management already have an established data centre, so they are not only building a knowledge base – they must also integrate it into their existing environment – their call tracking system, email, remote diagnostics and other support systems. Step 3: The KM Execution: Invest in meticulous project management. KM implementations are not easier or less critical projects as compared to other systems. Employ the same scrutiny and project management methodologies required for any software implementation. Determine project milestones based on objectives and build a reasonable buffer into the project plan based on organizational expectations and past experiences. Keep in mind that regardless of the go-live date, business objectives have to be met and significant user adoption must be achieved for the KM initiative to be a success. Manage a flexible project scope. It might seem counterintuitive to suggest that the project scope should be flexible, especially from a successful project management perspective. However, the more rigid the scope, the more likely it will not meet user approval on completion, especially when they have typically never used a KM system. The challenge is to be open to requests and still not let scope creep play havoc with project schedules. Deciding to have a well-managed, yet flexible project scope will allow the KM Team to incorporate viable and useful change requests, manage resources with confidence, and increase the likelihood of delivering a system that meets or beats expectations. Keep the user community involved. It is a common mistake to assume that end-user input during the business needs assessment process has resulted in clear and unambiguous requirements for the first phase of the KM implementation. User adoption of new systems could be extremely low even though the system built is exactly what the users had earlier said they wanted. The challenge is to keep users involved during the project, solicit and incorporate feedback, and meet schedules and objectives. An ongoing involvement of the user community will result in a shared feeling of ownership and decision making. This will lead to higher user adoption, and the KM implementation will see increased ROI and greater visibility across the organization.
Author: Nigel W. Dawes
Obsess about knowledge quality. If there is anything worse than not being able to find a critical piece of knowledge, it is finding erroneous, duplicate, or outdated material. Having determined the right content for the first implementation, the challenge is to ensure that it is as flawless as possible from a quality perspective. Rigorous due diligence and obsession with knowledge quality will ensure that the most critical and commonly used content is accounted for and audited. Knowledge consumers will adopt the system faster, as they will be able to rely on the quality and accuracy of the information they access and share. Market the KM implementation (and report) regularly to all stakeholders. Most organizations have multiple initiatives competing for executive and employee mindshare at any given point in time. Even if the initial KM implementation is targeted at a very small user community, there is a risk that it will get lost amongst many other projects. The challenge is to stay focused on the business objectives of the KM implementation and at the same time garner increased exposure and mindshare. Creating awareness of KM and its benefits across the larger organization will help identify new avenues for KM, help increase user adoption, further motivate the KM Team, and most importantly ensure ongoing executive commitment and funding. Step 4: Process Mapping: Knowledge maps can be either strategic or tactical depending upon the need and intent. The best way to start the mapping exercise is by targeting processes that need improvement, from either the enterprise or process level.
Author: Nigel W. Dawes
The highest level mapping - at the enterprise level - is what is known as an expertise review. This is a crucial area of mapping as it identifies the various silos of knowledge available in the organization as well as the key assets of knowledge. The expertise tacit knowledge map focuses specifically on business units and other such entities. The purpose being to identify the processes where specific knowledge resides. Step 5: The Knowledge Atlas: Typically, there are approximately 150 different processes in an organisation, consisting of 14 inputs resulting in 150 processes and producing 8 outputs. Step 6: The Knowledge Processes: Once the Process map has been created, it is then necessary to highlight the KM processes from the total. The purpose of this step is to identify the processes which create the most Added Value to an organisation. There are approximately 8 – 15 processes that fall into this category from the total of 150. Next we have to separate the Knowledge Processes from the Work Processes. We can identify Knowledge and Work Processes by using workflows for each process and then correlate which of the actions are defined as Knowledge Centre (KC) and which, Work Centre (WC). Step 7: The Knowledge Carriers: We then have to identify the Process Owners (the people who carry out the tasks in a process) who “do” the KC work. This can be one or more persons within the Knowledge Centre. This will result in a list of names of Knowledge Carriers and these are the people who are defined as the most important sources of knowledge within an organisation. It also identifies the risk for the organisation as it identifies the people who. Should they leave the organisation (voluntarily or otherwise) the knowledge would also leave the organisation with them. We should prioritise the list of names using age, health and social standing as parameters. Step 8: Capture: Capturing the knowledge from the Knowledge carriers can be achieved through various methods such as Focus Interviews; Visualisation; 7 why techniques and Social Network Analysis. It is important to distinguish between Explicit and Tacit Knowledge and to identify the learning elements such as case studies; Lessons learned; stories; tips and tricks acquired and little methodologies. Step 9: Storing the knowledge: Distinguishing the differences between data, information and knowledge is important for IT purposes. Indexation, codification and classification are all used to make accessibility so much easier for future users. Web Collaboration tools and software packages designed for sharing and leveraging of knowledge and must be able to generate knowledge that can be readily understood by others.
Author: Nigel W. Dawes
Step 10: Make Knowledge Re-usable: This topic was intended for IT specialists. However it is important that each KM Professional understands the basics of KM indexing and codifying. Utilising the power of J-learning (Just enough; Just appropriate; Just in time) techniques will assist in understanding the requirements of the KM system users. Who needs knowledge and when is it needed? Step 11: Become a KM mogul and create your own Best Practices: Become your own best Practice ASAP. You must continually promote and Champion the KM cause. Identify individual allies that believe in the project, enthusiastically advocate it and have the influence to “make things happen.” Likewise, obtaining some early successes in the form of “Good Practices” and better still some Best Practices will endear more people will want to ‘buy-in and come on board. External Best Practices can help but identifying your own internal Best Practice will have a defining moment in your KM storybook. Step 12: Value the Knowledge Assets: Areopa offers companies the solution to calculate the knowledge as part of the overall Intellectual Capital Calculation (ICC) that constitutes the organization. ICC is based on the newly developed 4-leaf Model of Intellectual Capital integrating Human Capital, Structural Capital, Strategic Alliances (business partners), and Customer Capital. These four components form There are 15 intersecting areas that explain, define and document the components of Intellectual Capital. From a practical point of view, ICC offers a sample of formulas that will calculate the value of Intellectual Capital for a company as a whole or for specific parts (departments, agencies, one country, training course (ROI) and even individual people). The Areopa 4 leaf Model We at AREOPA believe that Intellectual Capital (IC) is the only and true method to determine the net present value of a company in a constantly and rapidly changing business environment. Traditional assets are of course still a valuable source of capital, but in a business context, the human aspect is gaining more and more importance, especially through its scarcity. When a highly qualified individual leaves an organization, this has dramatic consequences on the total value of the human asset. The company does not only lose a factor of production, but also the total human and intellectual added value that the individual brought to the company (social network skills).
Author: Nigel W. Dawes
In this context, we believe that it is important for a company to be aware of, to identify, to value, to account for and manage its Intellectual Capital. By doing so, the company will be able to clearly identify the sources of Intellectual Capital (IC), develop methods to attract and retain IC, as well as being able to position itself on a market tending more and more towards the use of IC. What makes the Areopa Intellectual Capital Calculations (ICC) unique? AREOPA is able to provide companies with packages that contain all the relevant and essential formulas to determine their IC. Through our Strategic Alliances, we can provide the necessary IT solutions to implement, operate, and further develop IC calculations. When you want to know the impact of your decisions on your company's IC, Areopa can provide you with a simulation package based on the use of its SIMIST® tool. When is measured it can be managed! Areopa will guide you through the change process necessary to manage your company's Intellectual Capital. In short, the whole uniqueness resides in the fact that AREOPA is simply the first company in the world to offer complete and coherent solutions for IC calculations and management. Contact: Nigel Dawes Vice president, Areopa S. E. Asia email@example.com
KM – Features and Benefits
KM related effects
Greater & easier access to Knowledge Improved understanding of relevant expertise Increased Knowledge sharing & creation
Time saved More efficient organisation
More effective renewal/ removal of Knowledge
More pro-active creative organisation & job satisfaction increased Up-to-date database
Author: Nigel W. Dawes
Internal Benefits -Operations Focus
Knowledge Carriers even more motivated to use Knowledge Improved re-use of technology & lessons learned Access to more data and information will reduce errors Quicker decision making due to access to more information
Increased respect for expertise in organisation Shorten R & D lead-time for projects to reach commercial stage Huge potential savings and lower operating costs Improved efficiency
Improved deliverables- Service Focus
Greater customer service understanding Products or Services with better ‘fit’ to customer’s needs Higher quality services
Increase customer focus and service levels Will lead to increased orders & revenue Will lead to increased orders & revenue Increase customer focus and service levels
Faster response/ quicker delivery of services
Author: Nigel W. Dawes
Bottom Line Benefits
Market Image improves Organisation profitability increases Organisation viability increases Employee, community & Society relations improve
Brand value increases Company & Share values increased Increased revenues & profitability Better branding & increased corporate reputation and values
External Benefits -Customer Focus
Increased range of products or services Increased customer satisfaction Increased level of service to customers Improved relations for customer & organisation
more Added Value for customers Improved reputation, image & brands Increased demand & orders & revenue Improved corporate image
Author: Nigel W. Dawes