Knowledge Management

What is Knowledge Management?
• KM is the process through which organizations generate value from their intellectual and knowledge-based assets • It's important to note that the definition says nothing about technology; while KM is often facilitated by IT, technology by itself is not KM • KM is all about how organizations track, measure, share and make use of intangible assets such as employee’s ability to think fast in crisis.

What constitutes Intellectual or Knowledge based Assets?
• Not all information is valuable • It's up to individual companies to determine what information qualifies as intellectual and knowledge-based assets • In general, however, intellectual and knowledge-based assets fall into one of two categories: explicit or tacit • Included among the explicit are assets such as patents, trademarks, business plans, marketing research and customer lists • Explicit knowledge consists of anything that can be documented, archived and codified, often with the help of IT

What constitutes Intellectual or Knowledge based Assets?
• The concept of Tacit knowledge is much harder to grasp. • It typically relates to the know-how contained in people’s heads • The challenge inherent with tacit knowledge is figuring out how to recognize, generate, share and manage it • While IT in the form of e-mail, groupware, instant messaging and related technologies can help facilitate the dissemination of tacit knowledge, identifying tacit knowledge in the first place is a major hurdle for most organizations • Organizations have always managed knowledge, even if they did not use the term KM.(For example,a person experienced in operating or repairing a machine could pass his knowledge to a newcomer).

Knowledge Assets for an Organization
• Knowledge assets are nothing but knowledge about– Markets and competition – Products – Processes – Technologies

• KM is not only about managing these assets but also the processes that act on them.

Key Processes
• Knowledge Generation-This broadly comprises of
– Knowledge Acquisition(acquiring knowledge available somewhere) – Knowledge Synthesis(Process of putting different kinds of information or people together to generate new ideas or patterns) – Knowledge Creation

• Knowledge Storage • Knowledge Utilization

The need for KM
• • • • • • • Some of the traditional practices within employment and HRD systems that helped manage knowledge no longer work. The principle of lifelong careers with a single company led to a common bond between the company and the employee.However, this no longer holds true. Innovation has become a condition for business survival.This has forced the introduction of explicit forms of KM.In such a competitive environment, the cost of ignoring a “Good idea” is enormous. It is thus importat to introduce planned strategies for collecting and documenting ideas and suggestions by employees. It is becoming more important for companies to be able to measure their intellectual capital.This is particularly true when companies are trying to attract venture capital or build partnerships. In the fast changing world of business, corporations will have to deal with entirely new challenges to meet customer demands, and stay ahead of competition. Empower the employees to be able to meet and surpass customer

Benefits of KM
• Foster innovation by encouraging the free flow of ideas • Improve customer service by streamlining response time • Boost revenues by getting products and services to market faster • Enhance employee retention rates by recognizing the value of employees' knowledge and rewarding them for it • Streamline operations and reduce costs by eliminating redundant or unnecessary processes • A creative approach to KM can result in improved efficiency, higher productivity and increased revenues in practically any business function. • The work of every employee can become richer thru’ access to Best practices at any stage of a business process or customer project.

Major Challenges of KM
• Getting employees on-board
– Employees may be unwilling to • Share their Knowledge with others • Replicate or copy knowledge shared by others(each person wants to be “Creative” or”innovative”) • Acknowledge what they have replicated or copied from the other.

– The major problems that occur in KM usually result because companies ignore the people and cultural issues. – In an environment where an individual's knowledge is valued and rewarded, establishing a culture that recognizes tacit knowledge and encourages employees to share it is critical – The need to sell the KM concept to employees shouldn't be underestimated; after all, in many cases employees are being asked to surrender their knowledge and experience — the very traits that make them valuable as individuals – One way companies motivate employees to participate in KM is by creating an incentive program – However, then there's the danger that employees will participate solely to earn incentives, without regard to the quality or relevance of the information they contribute – The best KM efforts are as transparent to employees' workflow as possible – Ideally, participation in KM should be its own reward. If KM doesn't make life easier for employees, it will fail

Major Challenges of KM
• Allowing Technology to dictate KM– KM is not a technology-based concept – Companies that implement a centralized database system, electronic message board, Web portal or any other collaborative tool in the hope that they've established a KM program are wasting both their time and money – While technology can support KM, it's not the starting point of a KM program – Make KM decisions based on who (people), what (knowledge) and why (business objectives). Save the how (technology) for last

Major Challenges of KM
• Not having a specific Business goal– A KM program should not be divorced from a business goal – While sharing best practices is a commendable idea, there must be an underlying business reason to do so – Without a solid business case, KM is a futile exercise

Major Challenges of KM
• KM is not static– As with many physical assets, the value of knowledge can erode over time – Since knowledge can get stale fast, the content in a KM program should be constantly updated, amended and deleted – the relevance of knowledge at any given time changes, as do the skills of employees – Like product development, marketing and R&D, KM is a constantly evolving business practice

Major Challenges of KM
• Not All Information is Knowledge– Companies diligently need to be on the lookout for information overload – the point of a KM program is to identify and disseminate knowledge gems from a sea of information.

Information Systems Department
• Programmers-Write software • Systems Analysts-Translate business problems into solutions • IS Managers-Department leaders • End Users-Department reps for whom applications are developed

The Organization IT Department
• IT Infrastructure
– Hardware – Software – Data networks

• Information system specialists
– – – – – – – – – CIO Managers System Analysts System developers Programmers Network Specialists Database Administrator Clerical

Security Concerns
• Virus • Hacking

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