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Distance Learning Programme




M M S S P PR RO OG GR RA AM MM ME E I IN N C CO ON NS SU UL LT TE EN NC CY Y M MA AN NA AG GE EM ME EN NT T










India Habitat Centre
Core - IV B, 2nd Floor, Lodhi Road
New Delhi 110003
November, 2008





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KNOWLEDGE
MANAGEMENT
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Contents




S.NO INDEX PARTICULARS

1. Chapter 1A Introduction to Knowledge Management

2. Chapter 1B Knowledge Cycle: An Overview

3. Chapter 2 Data Information Knowledge

4. Chapter 3 Strategic dimensions of KM; Impact of Business Strategy

5. Chapter 4 Knowledge Management Process

6. Chapter 5 Discussion on Knowledge Use Process: Tacit / Explicit
Knowledge

7. Chapter 6 Introduction to Knowledge Sharing Tools & Techniques
8. Chapter 7
Assignment
9. Chapter 8 Overview of Other KM Tools & Techniques

10.
Chapter 9
Role of it in Knowledge Management

11. Chapter 10 Communities of Practice

12. Chapter 11 Practices of Knowledge Management in Modern Global
Organisations

13. Chapter 12 Measurement Systems for KM

14. Chapter 13 Barriers To Success for KM

15. Chapter 14 Building a Knowledge Management Capability
Framework

16. Chapter 15 Developing a Knowledge Organization

17. References

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Chapter1A


Introduction to Knowledge Management


Knowledge Capitalism

Wealth and power had traditionally been equated with ownership of physical resources.
Material, labour and money,- the traditional factors of production are physical in nature.
The role of knowledge has been rather limited. The industrial revolution some two and a
half centuries ago was largely facilitated by money capital, labour and steam power.

In contrast, increasingly, wealth and power is being derived mainly from intangible,
intellectual assets knowledge capital.
This transformation from a world largely dominated by physical resources to a world
dominated by knowledge has enormous implication for all of us in this planet. We can
see economic power being shifted from nations with huge physical resources to nations
that largely use knowledge as a factor of production. India and China are being
frequently quoted as examples.
We are as yet in the early stages of knowledge revolution. But the impact is already
becoming apparent all around. The extreme volatility of markets, uncertainty over future
direction within governments and businesses, and the increased insecurity of career and
job prospects are just some examples.
This new economic paradigm has enormous implication on work, jobs, employers, and
employees. In order to comprehend this we need to appreciate how the new economic
paradigm is changing the traditional inputs to wealth creation: materials, labour, and
money.

GOODS AND SERVICES : ROLE OF KNOWLEDGE

Economists and thinkers have been talking of post-industrial society for over a quarter of
a century now. According to the theory of post-industrial society, production of goods
would decline in favour of services. And knowledge would become the basis of economic
growth and productivity, - and occupational growth would largely happen in white-collar
managerial and professional jobs. Data shows that actual trends in economic growth and
employment is quite consistent with these predictions. Employment in agricultural sector
has shown a steady decline in favour of manufacturing and services, in all major
economies Further, between 1970 and 1990, manufacturing employment itself declined in
all G-7 countries : USA, J apan, Germany, UK, France, Canada and Italy.

What is a good and what is a service has not been easy to define. When I buy a CD
with Satyajit Rays immortal film Aparajita - thats a good. But if NDTV 24X7
broadcasts it its a service. Increasingly services sector contributes a larger proportion
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of GDP. The strong growth of services sector in recent years is linked to the
connection between services and goods-producing sectors. With increased competition,
manufacturers are outsourcing non-core functions to specialist service organizations.
This has seen a decline in employment in manufacturing and a rise in employment in
services.

What is a Service anyway ? Service has been defined as an activity where the output is
characteristically consumed at the same time as it is produced,- having a hair-cut or
riding a cab, for example. But not all services are consumed as they are produced.
Defining service as anything sold in trade that could not be dropped on your foot is as
good as any other definition. When Dell makes a PC as per your specification and
delivers to your home, that is as much a service as a product. When you feel hungry and
order a Pizza with Dominoes, with guaranteed delivery in half an hour, there is a lot of
service built into the product,- pizza.


In fact, as goods and services become more knowledge and information intensive, it
becomes increasingly difficult to distinguish the two. Attempting to distinguish is also
becoming less relevant. Knowledge is the defining characteristic of economic activities,-
rather than either good or service. However we still do not have the tools to measure this
important activity.

KNOWLEDGE: A FACTOR OF PRODUCTION

Knowledge is transforming the nature of production and thus work, jobs, the firm, the
market and every aspect of economy. However, in spite of this, knowledge is as yet a
poorly understood and thus undervalued economic resource. We need to wear different
set of glasses to view the emerging knowledge economy. Older ways of looking at things
is no longer applicable. We need different and new models to predict and plan the future
strategies,- national, corporate or personal whatever. In order to be able to do this, we
first need to understand knowledge and its role as an input to production.

KNOWLEDGE DEFINED

Everyday words like data, information, and knowledge are often used loosely to
describe the same phenomenon. It is good to clear the confusion,- or at least attempt to do
so, as early as possible. Data can be defined as any signals which can be sent from an
originator to a recipient. Information is data which are intelligible to the recipient. And,
finally, knowledge is the cumulative stock of information, and skills derived from use of
information by the recipient. The and which joins the two parts of the previous sentence
has a huge role in clarifying what knowledge is. Knowledge isnt just a stock of
information. It includes skills derived from use of information. Well, we will go deeper
as we move later in this study material. We wanted to have the big picture.





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Knowledge Characteristics

As this point we are only trying to understand the role of knowledge in economic
activities. However it is good to remember some important characteristics of knowledge.
For one, we must distinguish between knowledge about something, and knowledge about
how to do something what is called know-how.

We could also classify knowledge according to whether it can be made explicit, or
whether it remains implicit or tacit.
It is easy to codify, store, transfer, and share if it is explicit. Not so easy with tacit
knowledge.


INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY AS AN ENABLER

The change from a physical to an increasingly non-physical information and knowledge-
based economy has been mainly achieved through commercial application of Information
technology. As such, it is good to understand how IT industry has evolved over the
years,- and how it is likely to affect the knowledge economy in future.

Continuously declining cost coupled with improved performance, has meant that
information technology has had a pervasive impact on the overall economy. Information
Systems uses systems analysis and design tools to represent the real world,- trying to be
as accurate and complete in representation as possible. It is thus possible to represent a
complex process, which perhaps describes some knowledge of an individual, through
information systems. It thus enables knowledge to be fragmented into pieces of
information which can be accessed, and if needed, reassembled at low cost. Other
components of information systems would enable this to store , access and transfer the
knowledge models.

It is this ability which enables us to evaluate and use the information, thereby creating
new information. IT therefore plays an important enabling role in creation and transfer of
knowledge. It is in early days, and we will have enough time to spend on these issues
later.

THE CHANGING ROLE OF IT

What we now discuss has an important bearing on the role and importance of knowledge
management. Between the mid-1950s and mid-1980s, as compared to cost of
processing information manually, cost of computing power fell by 8,000 per cent.

In 1900, less than 18% of the total workforce in the USA were engaged in data and
information handling tasks. It had risen to over 50% by 1980. Lets pause for a while. We
said, by around 1980, half of the total work force in USA were in information handling
tasks. If we dissect these information handling workforce, 19% were associated with R &
D, education and training, and design and similar work. Lets remember, these are the
work that can be classified as adding to the long-term knowledge-stock of business. The
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rest 81% were associated with transient data and information related to day-to-day
operations.

Lets see the trend now. By 2020,- we are now in 2008, it isnt far over 80% of the
work force are likely to be associated with information- handling tasks. Compared to
now, a far higher proportion of these people will be engaged in knowledge building and
decision making tasks. Later in this chapter, we discuss these issues how todays
products and services, because of their complexity, has a much larger knowledge content.
Routine day to day management of information, because of its very nature, and the
capabilities of information technology, will be automated. This factor is pregnant with the
possibility of large scale reduction in work force. Those who remain, need to be much
smarter,- and managing knowledge will be their key focus.

If we follow IT applications in the business area from around early 1960s to date, we
find a clear trend,- the focus of IT has shifted from data processing, to information
management, and further onto knowledge management. During the 60s and 70s main
focus of business was control and standardization through the use of IT. What was
specific to some became general,- tacit knowledge became explicit. 1990s saw massive
spread of networking, linking different functions in an organization first, and then beyond
the organizational borders to customers, suppliers, collaborators etc, and eventually with
internet, networking across the world. This capability dramatically improved access to,
and sharing of information among the various stakeholders which in turn helped to create
a platform for decision support, organizational learning, and knowledge sharing. Routine
functions meanwhile continued to be automated.

Organizations switching to standardized software like SAP R/3 had the effect of leveling.
Viewed from the knowledge perspective, one of the striking features of these
comprehensive and sophisticated commercial application packages, is the extent to
which it provides very comprehensive standards for financial, logistical, and human
resources system, in widely different industrial settings. In one go, with such a system
installed, the organization gets the benefit of a set of best practices for operating many of
the routine functions. While the initial expenses are high, such a system results in lower
operating cost, lower inventory, faster cycle time and so on. Using standardized software,
rather than trying to make one, gives the benefit of knowledge of best practices. There is
a risk though,- the organization may lose firm-specific or tacit knowledge embedded in
the internal processes. However the benefit of the knowledge of the best practices may
far outweigh the loss of such firm specific knowledge.


THE WORLD OF BUSINESS IN AN ECONOMY DRIVEN BY KNOWLEDGE

As we moved into 21
st
century, the world seems to be moving faster and faster. As the
clich goes Change is the only constant. In the rapidly changing business environment,
survival itself is a challenge. There are innumerable areas where this change is visible.

ONE: Larger varieties of products and services. Choices are almost limitless. If your
purse allows, you could have almost anything. Gone are the days of Henry Ford and his
Model T. Though there is some disagreement, most people attribute to Henry Ford the
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famous words You could have any colour as long as it is black. Trying to make a car
which is affordable at $300 price range, Ford did everything possible to cut down the
cost. This gave birth to the concept of Assembly Line. Ford even restricted his model T
to one colour, that too black,- because it dries up faster and keeps the cost down. Ever
since Maruti Suzuki landed in our country in the early 80s , we have seen a flood of cars
of different makes, sizes, colours and so on.

The picture is same no matter what product or service we are talking about,- Washing
machine, Refrigerator, TV, Insurance cover, Airlines seat, Banking services and so on
and on.

So what can we expect because of this ? Scientists say human behaviour has remained
largely the same. The more you give, more she wants. This leads us to the next factor.

TWO: Demanding customer. With innumerable choices available, each marketer trying
grab your attention you do tend to become choosy. Bargaining is inevitable. Worse, you
look for higher and higher quality as you keep bargaining for lower and lower prices.
Well, thats a pretty good life when we go shopping. But, perhaps life isnt as rosy on the
other side of the table.

THREE: Shorter product life cycle. And we are not talking of microprocessor chips.
Almost any product,- not just TVs, Computers , Music Systems and other electronic
products. With higher disposable income people are looking for newer and newer
products. And whats making all these possible ? That brings us to next point.

FOUR: Rapidly changing technology. Increasingly technology is becoming more and
more powerful,- making it possible to bring out newer products faster and faster at lower
and lower prices. Better and lower cost technology is also making another contribution.
That brings us to next point.

FIVE: Products are becoming increasingly complex. In the mid-70s a washing machine
would have a price of around Rs 600. But what exactly was the washing machine ? A
vertical steel drum with an agitator at the bottom powered by a motor below. All that it
could do is just churn the clothes. We have moved a world from this. Todays washing
machine is a complex one but makes users life easier. With a fuzzy logic and all that it
has a microprocessor inside, build-in intelligence, hardware, software and so on.
Probably 40% ( or more ), of the value of the latest BMW would comprise of
electronics,- hardware, software and so on. So what does it mean for the manufacturer
and marketer ? Expertise in multiple areas. That means more collaboration among
different people.

Fortunately, information technology makes that possible.

SIX: Globalization: Thats the buzz word. Companies have manufacturing facilities
spread around the world, components coming from around the world, markets beyond the
borders, money flowing in the shape of FDI, expertise coming from around the world,
and so on. As Thomas Friedman rightly said,- the world is indeed flat. ( I am referring to
the book The World is Flat by Thomas Friedman, New York Times correspondent. )
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As one could move beyond borders for market, the same border allows others to come
in. And that makes things difficult for the manufacturer / marketer. That brings us to
competition.

SEVEN: Competition. Increased competition keeps the manufacturer / marketer on their
toes. Trying to survive in this highly competitive world, he needs to bring out newer and
newer products of higher quality at realistic prices. As Akio Morita, President SONY
said If you dont make your own products obsolete, the competition will do it for you.

SPEED IS THE ESSENCE

So what does all these mean to us ? It simply means anything we do, we have less time to
do today than we had yesterday. With the world moving faster, we have less time to
respond. It means faster decision making , faster access to information, increased
collaboration among employees, suppliers, customers etc. With heightened competition,
our researchers must come out with newer designs faster, with better quality. No wonder,
this sweeping changes made Bill Gates title his 1999 book Business @ The Speed Of
Thought . In fact Bill Gates perhaps sums it up in the very first sentence of this famous
1999 book this way: Business is going to change more in the next ten years than it has
in the last fifty. Continuing,- Gates writes later If the 1980s were about quality and
the 1990s were about reengineering, then 2000s will be about velocity. As we see the
business world now in 2008, it is indeed pretty different ,- one might even call it an
impatient, intolerant world. If we have to innovate, come out with newer designs faster,
it does mean there is absolutely no scope for making the same mistake again. If an
engineer in Chicago has struggled for five hours to diagnose and fix a problem, it makes
no sense for his colleague to spend another five hours diagnosing the same problem in
Kolkata. Doing this made no sense ever in history, but today its simply suicidal for any
business organization.

Technology has enabled us to put any kind of information numbers, text, sound, video
to be put in digital form enabling a computer to store, process, and forward it. Handheld
computers ( PDAs ), Cellular phones and of course Internet technology has enabled us to
access information anytime, anywhere.

SERVICE ORIENTED PRODUCT COMPANY OR OTHER WAY AROUND ?

Lets see the impact of heightened speed of activity of business. With an intolerant
customer, business has little time to react. When a manufacturer ( or, for that matter a
retailer ) has to respond to market changes in a matter of hours, rather than days or weeks
available earlier, is he a Product company with service attached to it, or, a Service
company that has a product to offer ? Or, for that matter, when Dell allows a customer
to design his PC as per his needs, and then makes the PC and ships to his customer,-
does it look like just a product or far more ? These are indeed serious thoughts that
come to mind when we look at business today. Things look topsy-turvy.



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HIGHER CONTENT OF KNOWLEDGE

It had always been true that in a typical business organisaion the middle and higher level
executives had been largely involved in processing information. These were typically
operational information like sales data, inventory status, production data, costs and so on.
Typically the products too were far less complex. This essentially meant that the
knowledge content in employees work were limited. However, increasingly things
seemed to be changing rapidly. The complexity of the environment in terms of
globalization, competition, intolerant customer, rapid change in technology particularly
after the advent of internet, global connectivity, low cost of computation, powerful
software tools for analysis, software for collaboration etc. has completely changed the
character of business,- the very way business is done. This has meant a shift in the nature
of work a typical employee does. The fact that products have higher technology input
itself means that you need people who are smarter, can handle complex products,
complex situations and all ,- in short he has to handle situations that are just not routine.
Increased competition means faster response to market signals, customer feed back,
technology changes etc. This again raises the level of work to more thinking type.
Intolerant customer means faster action which in todays world may mean more group
work.

In this changing scenario, economic activity is shifting from physical goods to
information-based products. For instance, increasingly we need to carry less and less of
currency and coins for any purchasing done. This is done through credit / debit / (smart
cards where the information regarding the money available is stored ).

For employees at the shop floor too, it is no longer the dull repetitive activity that was
best represented by Henry Fords Assembly line. Today the work is far more process
oriented, that requires action from multiple persons.

Lets take the case of DELL when they changed the process of manufacturing. In the
typical assembly line situation, there were 22 people through whom raw material and
intermediate products were moved before it came out as a final product. The new process
at DELL made it possible to manufacture a PC as per customers specification, and
assembled by just two persons sitting in front of terminal, guided by software.- a PC with
all software installed and fully tested. This job is far more enriching than the assembly
line case of each person fixing just one component. In turn , this job requires people who
are more educated, better trained and so on.

I had mentioned the case of a washing machine. As an appliance, - this product today
has a lot of technology built into it to make it an user friendly. A lot of money, research
effort etc has gone before building this product. Actual manufacturing cost may not be
high.

Or, take the case of an air-conditioner. Early model air conditioners had an on-off switch,
a rotating knob for lower or higher cooling, and another to control air speed.

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As I write this material, Delhi city is flooded with advertisements of a new Hitachi air
conditioner. Hitachi Home and Life Solutions ( India ) Ltd at their website www.hitachi-
hli.com announces the new air-conditioner with the following :

Presenting for the first time ever, an air-conditioner that relieves you from
uncomfortable sweat.
HITACHI ACE WITH AUTO HUMID CONTROL
Air-conditioning is not just about cooling, it's more about comfort. An average human
being feels comfortable with the right blend of temperature, air-flow & humidity control.
Conventional air-conditioners may provide the requisite temperature & air-flow but fails
to control the rising humidity levels alongside. Thereby with your conventional air-
conditioner, you struggle to find the desired comfort level and despair with the rising
heat and sweat.
Lets look at it again: Air-conditioning is not just about cooling, it's more about
comfort.
Here is an AC that not only cools ( that was the primary reason so to say ), and controls
air-flow, but manages the humidity as well. In order to build more and more intelligence
into our products we spend more on design aspects. While from user point of view it is
easy, product itself is complex. What it all means is that of the total product cost, the
proportion of raw material and manufacturing cost is lower these days. Much of the
expenses have been incurred before. Whether you are a research engineer or a repair
mechanic, knowledge content is higher.

Another trend,- products customized to individual needs,- is increasingly visible. This is
to satisfy customers,- who seem to be asking for more and more all the time. DELL did it
Levi Strauss does it and a lot more,- Nike at one end,- BMW at the other. When we
move from mass produced to mass- customized products we can easily see the higher
knowledge content in the product. We talked of DELL earlier.

With increased competition, manufacturers and producers of goods and services have
realized that latching on to an existing customer, and giving and satisfying him with
value-added products with higher margins is a better proposition than offering mass-
produced goods to one and all. This necessarily requires the company to know his
customer profile better which needs use of lot of analytical tools, and thus much
knowledge-based.

As contribution of knowledge towards production of economic wealth increases,
economies that were largely natural physical resource-based,- for instance Australia,
seem to be slipping in the table of nations with highest per capita income. It is perhaps
no charity that such nations,- Australia, Canada and many other countries, have easier
immigration laws for people with higher skills. Much advertised, discussed, and debated,-
United Kingdoms Highly Skilled Migration Programme (HSMP) is one such.

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To survive in this highly technology oriented, innovation focused economy,- even USA is
encouraging easier immigration for people with better education and research skills.
Microsofts Bill Gates was one among the many top CEOs to plead with Clinton
government to increase H1B visa.

KNOWLEDGE SHARING

With little time to react, organizations are compelled to rediscover that it makes
enormous sense to share what employees know, and thereby increasing what Bill Gates
term Organisational IQ. If we share what we know with our colleagues the total of what
the organization knows is much more than what an individual does. For instance, if what
I know is X and what you know is Y , and if you share with me what you know then I
will know X+Y which is more than X. Similarly if I share with you what I know, you
would know Y+X which is more than Y.

This seems pretty different ball game all together. If two brothers divide their ancestoral
land of 5 bighas, each will have 2.5 bighas. If I have thousand rupees, and give you two
hundred, I am left with eight hundred only. So unlike other factors of production like
land, labour, capital where sharing results in reduction , or depletion, sharing of what I
know results in increment of what you know.

Now, whats the best way to describe what I know ? Assume I know the following ( Its
all in my head ):

a) Name of the worlds highest mountain peak
b) How to fix Windows booting problem
c) Name of the largest circulated English daily in India
d) How to eat with my hand
e) How to make a Chapatti or a Romali roti.
f) What is Knowledge Management
g) The Sun rises in the east.
h) How to eat fish without the bones getting stuck in the throat.
i) How to ride a bicycle

This is what we could call Knowledge. The more one knows such things the more
Knowledgeable he is.
This is apparent that sharing some of this knowledge is easy,- namely which is the largest
circulated English daily in India. However it wont be that easy to share the knowledge
how to make a romali roti. Or, what is knowledge management But more on this later.

Lets pause for a while and try to figure out what that illusive term knowledge means.

Without becoming bookish, one could attempt to define Knowledge as a mix of
accumulated experience, values, contextual information, insight and intuition that enables
one to evaluate new experiences and information. It originates and is applied in the minds
of knower. In an organizational context, knowledge often becomes embedded not only in
documents or repositories but also in organizational systems and procedures.

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Now, let us get back to what I know or my knowledge.
Name of the worlds highest mountain peak,- Mount Everest , Largest Circulated English
daily in India The Times of India ( an on date of writing this material ), The Sun rises in
the east these are all facts. This is what is called explicit knowledge or formal
knowledge. We could easily write it on a piece of paper or store in a computer.

Now, let us look at some other knowledge. How to eat fish without the bones getting
stuck in throat is something that even a ten year old Bengali boy ( or girl for that matter !!
) knows. But is that something that one could describe in a piece of paper ? Or, take the
example how to ride a bicycle. No matter how much we might try, it is impossible to
write a one page, easily understood document that would teach a young child and help
him or her understand how to ride a bicycle. It would be hard to transcribe into a
document feelings such as confidence and balance. This is what is called embodied
knowledge, or informal or tacit knowledge.

The key distinction is we could store explicit knowledge or formal knowledge in a piece
of paper or computer storage. Implicit or embodied knowledge is personal. Its all in the
head !!

As I was writing this material, I saw an interview on NDTV 24X7 with the rather
controversial British Author J effrey Archer who has sold millions of copies of his books.
Someone in the audience asks How do you write ? referring to the beautiful
expressions in his books. And what do you think was J effrey Archers answer ? I dont
know I wish I knew he says. Elaborating further he says,- If you asked Sachin
Tendulkar,- one the greatest batsman on planet according to his admission- how he
manages to bat so well, - could he explain? Perhaps no. This is simply God-gifted. So,
there it is. Some knowledge is simply not describable.


KNOWLEDGE MANAGEMENT

It follows from whatever we discussed so far that indeed it makes sense to collect the
knowledge and expertise available with people in the organization, store it and share
with people who need them to enhance the overall competence level of the organization
which is a necessity in todays competitive world. This is what knowledge management
is all about. There are a lot of technical tools available to assist in this tapping, coding,
storing and sharing efforts. A lot of people tend to equate KM with these technical tools.
But in reality, while these tools are a necessary ingredient of KM, KM is far more. We
will delve into these deeper as we move along.


Back






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Chapter 1B


KNOWLEDGE CYCLE: AN OVERVIEW


Knowledge management ( KM ) is a process that helps organizations to identify, select,
organize, disseminate and transfer important information and expertise that are part of the
organisations memory.

In simplest terms knowledge cycle refers to the repetitive process of gathering knowledge,
organize it by codifying, indexing etc, and finally sharing or making it available for use by
employees. Fundamental point to realize is that its a virtuous circle increasingly refined
and of higher value to the organization.

KNOWLEDGE CYCLE: DEFINITION

A quick recap of what knowledge is. Knowledge is the cumulative stock of information,
and skills derived from use of information by the recipient. While data refers to
individual, unconnected facts,- information is data organized in a specific way for a
definite purpose, knowledge is information in action in the context of personal
experience.

Information could reside anywhere,-paper, computer storage and of course in the mind.
Knowledge is based on information, but primarily consists of continually evolving skills
and experiences of an individual or a group.

Knowledge Management System Cycle

A functioning knowledge management system follows six steps in a cycle. The reason
why it is a cycle is simple. Knowledge is never static. It continually gets refined and
upgraded. In a good knowledge management system knowledge is never finished because
the environment changes over time, and knowledge must be updated to reflect these
changes. The cycle works as follows:

1. CREATE KNOWLEDGE : Knowledge is created as people find new ways of
doing things. Often external knowledge is brought in,- some of these could be
best practices.

2. CAPTURE KNOWLEDGE: New knowledge must be identified as valuable and
be represented appropriately.


3. REFINE KNOWLEDGE: New knowledge must be placed in context so that it is
actionable. This is where insight ( tacit knowledge ) must be captured along with
explicit knowledge.
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4. STORE KNOWLEDGE: Useful knowledge is stored in a format in a knowledge
repository so that other people in the organization could access it.


5. MANAGE KNOWLEDGE: J ust as a library must be must be kept current,
knowledge must be continually reviewed to see that it is current, relevant, and
accurate.

6. DISSEMINATE KNOWLEDGE: Make the knowledge available to anyone who
needs it.

With proper dissemination of knowledge, individuals develop, create and identify new
knowledge or update old knowledge which they replenish into the system.

It must be noted that knowledge as a resource is never consumed when used, though it
can age. Knowledge must be updated. Knowledge grows with time.







MYTHS ABOUT KNOWLEDGE MANAGEMENT

Like the learned Professor of Economics who got completely bewildered with the term
Knowledge Management, there are others who perhaps have a narrower view of KM. Like
as we said a little while before: KM is just Technology.

While in the early 1990s the whole business world were talking about Reengineering, a
few years later when KM came, people wrongly assumed it as reengineering by another
name. Reengineering is about dismantling and making it over again with new thinking. It is
all about changing the process to make it simpler, enabled by information technology.
Moreover, with reengineering it is a one-shot affair. In contrast KM is an ongoing
continuing thing.
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Its a new concept- some would think,- which it is not. Organisations have used it for long,
except that newer technologies have enabled it on a scale and at a level that was simply not
possible earlier. IBM for instance, - a company that was known for its service, had a system
where customer engineers would report difficult problems, their diagnosis, and solutions.
Collected from around the world, experiences like this would be circulated all over the
world for sharing by other customer engineers. Only thing, this was in paper form, of
course. Incidentally, IBMs customer focus,- a much talked about topic today was visible
even from the designation it gave to its engineers Customer engineer. They were not
designated Service engineer or something similar.

KM is just data warehouse a place where lot of business data is stored ,- thats another
incorrect impression. As we will see in later chapters, todays technology tools provide
extremely complex analytical ability to know about a problem, to know the customer, his
likes dislikes etc. much better. These are fairly recent developments.


IMPORTANCE OF KNOWLEDGE MANAGEMENT

As early as September 1943 in a speech delivered at Harvard University Sir Winston
Churchill said -- The empires of the future are the empires of the mind. Remember
1943, peak of world war II,- its the time when manufacturing drew all the attention.
And, - the sun never sets in British empire, -thats what was a popular saying.

Much before the term Knowledge Management gained currency, noted industrialist
Andrew Carnegie said,- The only irreplaceable capital an organization possesses is the
knowledge and ability of its people. The productivity of that capital depends on how
effectively people share their competence with those who can use it. Late Peter Drucker
who needs no introduction, wrote The basic economic resourcethe means of
productionis no longer capital, nor natural resources, nor labor. It is and will be
knowledge.

Knowledge as a resource has always been valued. It is only that changes in business
environment and technology has made it inseparable from survival. Even Charles Darwin
wrote:
In the struggle for survival, the fittest win out at the expense of their rivals because they
succeed in adapting themselves best to their environment.
In recent times authors after author have emphasized on KM. One of the best known
authority has to say the following:
In the rapidly changing social, political and economic environment,-disruptive change,-
as it is often referred to , survival depends on Knowledge, or to be more specific
application of knowledge. ( Yogesh Malhotra )
16

In the path-breaking article The Knowledge-Creating Company ( HBR ) Ikujiro Nonaka
writes:
In an economy where the only certainty is uncertainty, the one sure source of lasting
competitive advantage is knowledge.
Today, the ability of an organization to stay current and stay relevant requires a core
competence in Knowledge Management. Organisations need to respond to social and
economic trends. Three major drivers of change are: globalization, ubiquitous computing,
and the knowledge-centric view of the firm.

Perhaps the biggest factor is globalization. The complexity and volume of global trade
today is unprecedented; the number of global players, products, and distribution channels is
much greater than ever before.

Information technology has speeded up all the elements of global trade. This, coupled with
the decline of centralized economies have created an almost frenetic atmosphere within
firms, which feels compelled to bring new products and services,- catering to a wider
market - much faster than ever before. The combinations of global reach and speed has
compelled the organizations to ask themselves what is it that we know, who knows it, and
what is it that we dont know but we should know.

To sum it up knowledge, and its management is important today more than ever before
because:

Globalization leading to extreme competition , outsourcing products & services beyond the
core competence, mergers & acquisitions, never ending drive to accelerate product
development, - all these factors forces organizations today to tap into resident knowledge
more urgently than ever before.

Technological tools are available today to:

1. Facilitate knowledge sharing through centralized depositories of information
2. Enable real-time collaboration through electronic workplace
3. Help identify experts and expertise with intranet-based location systems




Need for Knowledge Managements: Some Specifics
If we look around, we can see a number of common situations that seem to be immensely
benefiting from knowledge management approaches. While it is obvious that these are
not the only issues that can be tackled with KM techniques, it is useful to explore a
number of these situations. This would provide us a context for the development of a
KM strategy. Beyond these typical situations, each organisation will have unique issues
and problems to be overcome.
17

Call Centres
Pressures of competition have forced organizations to open Call centres that have
increasingly become the main 'public face' for many organisations. Heightened customer
expectation to get response to their queries has made the role of Call Centres much more
challenging.
Other challenges confront call centres, including
high-pressure, closely-monitored environment
high staff turnover
costly and lengthy training for new staff
In this environment, the need for knowledge management is clear and immediate. Failure
to address these issues impacts upon sales, public reputation or legal exposure.
Front-line Staff
Many organisations have a wide range of front-line staff who interact with customers or
members of the public on a regular basis. They may operate in the field, such as sales
staff or maintenance crews; or be located at branches or behind front-desks.
In large organisations, these front-line staff are often very dispersed geographically, with
limited communication channels to head office. Typically, there are also few mechanisms
for sharing information between staff working in the same business area but different
locations.
The challenge in the front-line environment is to ensure consistency, accuracy and
repeatability.
Business Managers
Todays managers are flooded with information. The volume of information available
has increased greatly. Faced with 'information overload' or 'info-glut', the challenge is
now to filter out the key information needed to support business decisions.
The pace of organisational change is also rapidly increasing, as are the demands on the
'people skills' of management staff. In this environment, there is a need for sound
decision making. These decisions are enabled by accurate, complete and relevant
information.
Knowledge management can play a key role in supporting the information needs of
management staff. It can also assist with the mentoring and coaching skills needed by
modern managers.


18

Aging Workforce
Many public sector organizations are particularly confronted by the impacts of an aging
workforce. Private sector organisations are also recognising that this issue needs to be
addressed if the continuity of business operations are to be maintained.
People who have been long in the organization have a depth of knowledge that is relied
upon by other staff. This is particularly so in environments where little effort has been
put into capturing or managing knowledge at an organisational level. In such a situation,
the loss of these key staff can have a major impact upon the functioning of the
organisation.
Knowledge management can assist by putting in place a structured mechanism for
capturing or transferring this knowledge when staff retire.
Supporting Innovation
Faced with extreme competitive environment, many organisations have now recognised
the importance of innovation in ensuring long-term growth, or even survival. This is
particularly true in knowledge-intensive sectors such as IT, consulting,
telecommunications and pharmaceuticals.
Traditionally, most organisations, however, are constructed to ensure consistency,
repeatability and efficiency of current processes and products. Innovation is not in their
focus. As such, organisations need to look to unfamiliar techniques to encourage and
drive innovation. Knowledge management can significantly contribute to process of
innovation.
Challenges:

There are challenges to implementation of KM systems. One, employees need to
acknowledge that what is in their head is valuable. Two, and more importantly,
management has to convince employees that the best way to develop that value is to share
what they know among others.
More on this later, towards the end of this study material,- under title Barriers to success
for KM.

READINGS SOURCE:
http://www.fujitsu.com/za/services/consulting/knowledge/mobilising/
Accessed 16.06.2008

Mobilising Knowledge Explained
There are two basic forms of knowledge:
That which resides in our heads which we call Tacit Knowledge
19

That which is written down and stored in forms that are accessible, which we call
Explicit Knowledge
Research over the past few years have concluded that something between 50% and 85%
of the knowledge in an organisation is tacit, i.e. only available through people. Other
research has also shown that much of the explicit knowledge is inaccessible - locked in
systems that people cannot readily get at it.
The Value of Different Forms of Knowledge

The text below shows some of the differences in value associated with these two forms of
knowledge
Tacit Knowledge
Ability to adapt
o to deal with new and exceptional situations
o expertise
Ability to collaborate
o to share a vision
o to transmit a culture
o to coach
Explicit Knowledge
Ability to disseminate
o to reproduce
o to access and re-apply
o to teach
Ability to systemise
o to articulate a vision and translate it into operations
o to integrate into products, services and processes
Given these two forms of knowledge, then there are four associated transformations. We
can transfer knowledge between us across the table, in meetings, around the coffee
machine, etc. This is defined under the heading of Socialisation and has many
advantages, primarily that it is personal and can be adapted to suit the circumstances and
the understanding and responses of those listening. However, outside of the exchange,
nobody else gets to know anything.
So we can capture the knowledge so that it can be made available to a much wider
audience. This is known as Externalisation. Whilst this enlarges the recipient knowledge
base, the downside is that the lack of personal interaction may lead to misunderstandings
and misinterpretations.
20

Once knowledge is captured, there is an opportunity to classify it and combine it with
other knowledge. The trend in the sales figures can now both be seen and associated with
other factors, such as sales resources, seasonal buying peaks and troughs, etc. It is often
in the process of Combination, that we truly extract knowledge from what was previously
really just information.
But the truth is that we don't ever really use explicit knowledge directly. In order to use
knowledge we have to internalise it. For instance, if you are driving along the motorway
and someone pulls out in front of you, it's no good having to look in the glove
compartment for the manual (explicit knowledge) on how to avoid an accident - you must
have that knowledge internalised.
Knowledge is typically fed around the loop through further tacit to tacit exchanges in a
continual spiral of evolving knowledge. The model is shown diagrammatically below

The Four Knowledge Transformations



Based on: The Knowledge-Creating Company, Nonaka and Takeuchi, 1995.
In mobilising knowledge, one has to consider a holistic view taking account of four
important dimensions:
1. People: This needs to address such aspects as personal motivation, a possible
recognition programme and incentives for knowledge sharing
21

2. Processes: This should address such issues as Knowledge capture,
validation/approval of content and removal of out of date content
3. Organisation: The overall organisation associated with any programme for
mobilising knowledge will be a critical aspect in achieving success. Specific roles
and policies are required
4. Technology: Technology underpins the programme and helps deliver knowledge
to those who (re-)use it
In mobilising knowledge it is also critically important to understand the knowledge cycle.
The diagram below shows key elements of the knowledge cycle but it is very important
to read it the correct way. Start on the left at Use and work your way back anti-clockwise
to the top. Too many people start by trying to identify, capture and create knowledge so it
can be stored for re-use. This is a recipe for failure. One must start by asking what
knowledge is likely to be useful and then implement solutions that help to capture and
store that knowledge for sharing. Otherwise, you are likely to end up with a store of
knowledge that no-one uses.
The Knowledge Cycle

The focus of mobilising knowledge is always around the value that can be achieved.
Consequently, it is key to deliver the knowledge at the 'Point of Performance'. The
picture below highlights this crucial point by placing the user in the centre of our
consideration and the shows the types of knowledge that user may find of value in their
business of employee roles in respect of the processes they undertake.
22

Delivering Knowledge at the Point of Performance




In summary, to mobilise knowledge effectively one must:
address the management of the four types of knowledge transformation, cover the
four dimensions and service the full knowledge cycle
focus on the value to be delivered by concentrating on delivering knowledge at
the 'Point of Performance
in addition, one must build on, and incorporate associated domains of activity:

o Content Management (CM), historically a system used to manage the
content of a Web site, with a focus on the managing for presentation but
now more about managing and providing access to relevant content across
the Enterprise - Enterprise Content Management (ECM)
o Document Management (DM), which helps manage the entire life cycle
of a document, from creation, through multiple revisions to final version
o Records Management (RM) which covers the creation and
implementation of systematic controls for records from their creation or
receipt through to final disposal or archive.
Back
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Chapter 2


DATA INFORMATION KNOWLEDGE

Data Information Knowledge,- very common terms indeed. We use them everyday in
our conversations. But do we really understand the meaning of each, and how they differ
from each other? Between Data and Information there is often a bit of confusion,- in fact
we tend to use one for the other sometimes. As regards Knowledge, well we understand it
is something with much deeper, much wider meaning. But if we are asked to define
Knowledge most of us would fumble looking for words to express it. But I suppose
we can forgive each other for not being able to do so,- simply because there isnt an
agreed definition. Indeed the word Knowledge seems a bit hazy. But trying to
understand what Knowledge management means, and how it could be useful in
organizations, we do need to clear the haze,- first things first.

Lets make an attempt. Commonsense suggests that we begin with a more familiar
territory, - DATA.

As we all know, data is a collection of discrete objects, facts or events,- but has no
context. Data is represented in the form of a text, numbers, audio, video, images, or any
combination of these. We could collect data in many ways. For instance, surveys,
interviews, the use of sensors and so on. The blood pressure instrument the doctor uses
thats a way to collect data regarding a persons blood pressure. ECG
(electrocardiogram) is a test that measures the electrical activity of the heart. In an ECG
test, the electrical impulses made while the heart is beating are recorded and usually
shown on a piece of paper. This is known as an electrocardiogram. By itself it has no
meaning. This is data.

Or, let us say, when we buy something from the store, as we check out the transaction
gets recorded. That is Data. When an organization buys something, sells something,
produces something,- it all gets recorded. Someone is present or absent from office, that
gets recorded. Thats all data. But by itself it doesnt mean anything. Rainfall data for all
365 days of year for the last 50 years for Delhi city, available with the met department,-
again thats data. Primarily, it doesnt carry any meaning no matter how large the
quantity of data is.

In order to get a meaning, we need to process the data. When we process the rainfall data
we may find that long-term average rainfall in Delhi in the month of May is 17.5 mm.
Now thats something useful to us. We call it Information. Basically Information is
processed data. For instance, the recorded sales data of the store, when processed
appropriately gives product wise, category wise daily sales. Thats meaningful to the
store owner for decision making,- for instance whether to reorder the items sold. We need
to categorise and summarise the data. In order to convert data into information the
following steps are involved:
24


- Collect data
- Classify
- Sort / merge
- Summarise
- Store
- Retrieve
- Disseminate

Depending on what we want to do, some or all of the above steps may be required to
convert data to information.

In the early days of computing, if we recollect, we used to call this process Electronic
Data Processing ( EDP ). The emphasis was on quantity of data. In the enthusiasm of
processing the data and distributing the reports, the bigger picture often got lost. Those
tons of paper got distributed to any number of managers in the organization. Trying to
process huge data through not so fast and convenient computing devices, the word
relevance was in the back seat. Often the report would be so delayed that from
managerial point of view it would lose relevance. A marketing manager could hardly
react if the sales figure is four months old.

We have moved a world from this picture. Todays computing devices are enormously
fast, and collecting data has become extremely easy. For instance, going back to grocery
store example, as the sales assistant flashes the bar code scanner on the Universal Product
Code stuck on the packet, the store collects a huge lot of information like whats the
product, its price, quantity, the time this transaction was done and so on. But the point is
no matter how voluminous the collected data is, it has little value to the store owner
unless he has the bigger picture,- the context.

Lets see if we can make some sense out of it. By processing the data, the store can figure
out the number of transaction carried out during different time periods of the day, week
etc. The store owner can now use this information to decide how many counters for check
out should be kept open during what time period. He could optimize the customer queue
to increase customer satisfaction, and yet save on salaries to sales assistants.

I believe we now realize that while raw data is necessary and important, in order to be
useful to us we need to convert it to information by putting appropriate context to it.


Whats Information for one is sheer garbage for another.

I had often seen my daughter play what she calls music while studying seriously for her
exam. To me its sheer noise. I would often ask her to reduce the volume at least, if she
wouldnt stop that music all together. To me,- I would much like to play a Tagore song
( Rabindra sangeet ). Thats something I enjoy. But to my daughter, being born and
brought up at Delhi those Tagore songs are too slow kind of stuff. So it is,- what is
information to one could very well be sheer garbage , noise to others. That piece of
recordings of Tagore or, whoever, is Data. No argument on that. But is that relevant,
25

does it have a purpose ? As I and my daughter raise this question the answer isnt same.
As Drucker rightly said information is data endowed with relevance and purpose.

In our journey from a familiar ground of data to information to a rather cloudy area of
Knowledge, we are now around half way. I am saying almost half way because the travel
from data to Information is comparatively easier task,- not so as we approach
Knowledge.

KNOWLEDGE

Unsure of what it means I did what anyone else would do. I opened the dictionary, -
Oxford dictionary for that matter. This is what it has to say against Knowledge: 1.
Knowing, familiarity gained by experience 2. Persons range of information 3. theoretical
or practical understanding ( of a subject, language etc.)

In an age of web I wanted to explore how others look at the word knowledge. Following
is only a sample:

Knowledge is part of the hierarchy made up of data, information and knowledge. Data
are raw facts. Information is data with context and perspective. Knowledge is
information with guidance for action based upon insight and experience.

Lets pause for a while. Knowledge is part of the hierarchy made up of data, information
and knowledge.

This view looks at it as a continuum from data to information to knowledge.

Next sentence says:
Data are raw facts. Information is data with context and perspective.

As we said, information has a context, a perspective. Thats how it becomes meaningful.
And we can see, knowledge has something to do with experience, insight. Information
backed with experience and insight becomes knowledge. Even the Oxford dictionary
refers to knowledge as familiarity gained from experience.

Important point is knowledge needs interaction with the world,- and we dont intend to
get philosophical -thats how experience is gained. That learning from experience is what
is stored in the mind, and is called knowledge. At the organisatioal level, knowledge is
stored in the minds of employees. Knowledge can also be stored in diagrams, blueprints,
books and such physical media.

We could define knowledge as a mix of experience, values, contextual information, and
expert insight that provides a framework for evaluating and incorporating new
experiences and information. This definition suggests that knowledge is something that
grows with time.
26

A distinguishing factor between information and knowledge is that knowledge has a
connotation of action. While information by itself does not lead to action, knowledge
does. In the context of an organization, knowledge is what employees know about their
customers, about their products, processes, the mistakes they made, as also the success
stories.
An interesting thing about knowledge assets is that while conventional material assets
decrease as they are used, knowledge assets increase with use. When you share your
knowledge with somebody, you dont lose anything while the receiver is enriched. Ideas
breed new ideas in a spiraling fashion.
CHARACTERISTICS OF KNOWLEDGE
1. Extraordinary leverage and increasing returns:
Knowledge is not subject to diminishing returns. When it used, it is not consumed. It
doesnt get reduced. Users of Knowledge can add to it thereby increasing its value.
2. Need to refresh :
Knowledge is dynamic, it is information in action. As environment keeps changing,
some knowledge gets obsolete while we add new knowledge and skills. Thus
organizations must continually refresh its knowledge base to be able to use as a
competitive advantage.
3. Uncertain value:
This is very peculiar about knowledge. It is difficult to estimate its value. While a
particular knowledge is extremely useful to company A , it could be totally useless to
company B. This characteristic is so different from other material assets. A piece of
furniture would have a price that wouldnt vary too much.
To give an example, while companies hire people, those who dont get selected often get
a letter like this : We regret we do not have a vacancy suitable to your qualification and
experience . The same applicant gets an offer from another company perhaps at a
multiple salary of the previous one. It all depends on how your knowledge is valued by
the company.
Till a few years back students with Statistics background,- very bright minds indeed,
werent valued much by corporate world. Today Google would hire these bright students
at fabulous salaries simply because their knowledge of Statistics is of enormous value to
Googles search efforts.
4. Knowledge has context
5. Knowledge resides in knower
27

Dimensions of knowledge
A key distinction made by the majority of knowledge management practitioners is
distinction between tacit and explicit knowledge. Tacit knowledge is often
subconscious, internalized. The individual may or may not even be aware of what he or
she knows and how he or she accomplishes particular results. At the other end of the
spectrum is conscious or explicit knowledge -- knowledge that the individual holds
explicitly and consciously in mental focus, and may communicate to others. To a layman,
tacit knowledge is what is in our heads, and explicit knowledge is what we have codified.
Nonaka and Takeuchi (1995) argued that a successful KM program needs, on the one
hand, to convert internalized tacit knowledge into explicit codified knowledge in order to
share it, but, on the other hand, it also must permit individuals and groups to internalize
and make personally meaningful codified knowledge they have retrieved from the KM
system.
The focus upon codification and management of explicit knowledge has allowed some
knowledge management practitioners to appropriate prior work in information
management. This has led to the frequent accusation that knowledge management is
simply a repackaged form of information management.
Critics have argued that Nonaka and Takeuchi's distinction between tacit and explicit
knowledge is oversimplified and that the notion of explicit knowledge is self-
contradictory. Specifically, for knowledge to be made explicit, it must be translated into
information (i.e., symbols outside of our heads).
Another common framework for categorizing the dimensions of knowledge discriminates
between embedded knowledge as knowledge which has been incorporated into an artifact
of some type (for example an information system may have knowledge embedded into its
design); and embodied knowledge as representing knowledge as a learned capability of
the bodys nervous, chemical, and sensory systems. These two dimensions, while
frequently used, are not universally accepted.
It is also common to distinguish between the creation of "new knowledge" (i.e.,
innovation) vs. the transfer of "established knowledge" within a group, organization, or
community. Collaborative environments such as communities of practice or the use of
social computing tools can be used for both creation and transfer.
TYPES OF KNOWLEDGE
Knowledge is of two kinds Explicit and Implicit. While we try to distinguish between
them, we need to remember that the distinction is a bit blurred. We will soon see how.
Explicit knowledge: It is the visible knowledge available in the form of letters, reports,
memos, literatures, etc. It can be easily explained and stored in computer databases.
Explicit knowledge can also be embedded in objects, rules, systems, methods etc.
28

Tacit knowledge: Tacit knowledge is confined in the mind of a person, and hence is
highly invisible . It is hard to capture and therefore, difficult to communicate to others.
Lets take an example. A master craftsman after years of experience develops a wealth of
expertise. As we often say Its all in his finger tips. But would he be able to articulate
the scientific or technical principle behind what he knows? Perhaps no. Transforming
knowledge from tacit to explicit form makes it visible and usable. However, capturing the
experts tacit knowledge that resides within him in the form of know-how and insights is
indeed a very difficult and challenging task. Roomali roti how to make,- only the man
who makes it knows. Can he describe in detail? Perhaps no. Or, lets go back to fish.
How does one eat fish without the bones getting stuck in throat ? Trust me even asking
a Bengali wont help. He eats it everyday morning and evening,- but he just cant
explain.
As I said earlier, clearing the hills of Data and Information is easier. But it is very
cloudy and hazy when we reach Knowledge. We have dissected knowledge into explicit
and tacit. But is the dividing line clear ? We said explicit knowledge is something that
could be put on a piece of paper and therefore easily transferable. How about process
diagram of an oil refinery ? Or, the logic diagram of a computer ? To understand
completely such a written document, which we said is explicit knowledge, it often
requires a significant amount of experience i.e. tacit knowledge. It needs a background in
engineering.
Knowledge Creation Process - SECI Model

According to Professor Ikujiro Nonaka, knowledge creation is a spiraling process of
interactions between explicit and tacit knowledge. The interactions between the explicit
and tacit knowledge lead to the creation of new knowledge. The combination of the two
categories makes it possible to conceptualize four conversion patterns.

Knowledge created in an organization through the process of interaction of tacit and
explicit knowledge. It can't be just one way or the other. The knowledge creation happens
by different linking processes of these two types of knowledge in the organization. The
process of knowledge creation is a continuous one. As knowledge is created between
individuals, or between individuals and the environment, individuals transcends the
boundary between self and others. As per Ikujiro Nonaka there are four types of
knowledge creating process.

1. Socialisation

2. Externalisation

3. Combination

4. Internalisation




29












SECI MODEL

Socialization
New knowledge is created through the process of interactions, observation, discussion,
and so on. Basically, this mode enables the conversion of tacit knowledge through
interaction between individuals. One important point to note here is that an individual can
acquire tacit knowledge without language. It happens by analyzing what is observed.
Apprentices work with their mentors and learn craftsmanship not through language but
by observation, imitation and practice. It is like in traditional environments where son
learns the technique of wood craft from his father by working with him and not from
reading books or manuals. By the way, in the Indian context, much of the traditional art
and craft are dying simply because the traditional family no longer exists In a business
setting, on job training (OJ T) uses the same principle. The key to acquiring tacit
knowledge is experience. Without some form of shared experience, it is extremely
difficult for people to share each other thinking process.
The tacit knowledge is exchanged through joint activities such as being together,
spending time, living in the same environment rather than through written or verbal
instructions.
In practice, socialization involves capturing knowledge through physical proximity. The
process of acquiring knowledge is largely supported through direct interaction with
people.
Externalization

Externalization requires the expression of tacit knowledge and its translation into
comprehensible forms that can be understood by others. In a way the individual
transcends the boundaries of the self. During the externalization stage of the knowledge-
creation process the individual commits to the group and thus becomes one with the
group. Knowledge gets crystallized through this process . The sum of the individuals'
intentions and ideas fuse and become integrated with the group's mental world. An
example would be quality circles formed in manufacturing sectors where workmen put
their learning and experience they have to improve or solve the process related problems.

30

In practice, externalization is supported by two key factors.
First, the articulation of tacit knowledgethat is, the conversion of tacit into
explicit knowledge involves techniques that help to express ones ideas or
images as words, concepts, figurative language (such as metaphors, analogies or
narratives) and visuals. Dialogues, "listening and contributing to the benefit of all
participants," strongly support externalization.
The second factor involves translating the tacit knowledge of people into readily
understandable forms. This may require deductive/inductive reasoning or creative
inference.
Combination

Combination involves the conversion of explicit knowledge into more complex sets of
explicit knowledge. In this stage, the key issues are communication and diffusion
processes and the systemization of knowledge.

The finance department collects all financial reports from each departments and
publishes a consolidated annual financial performance report. Creative use of database to
get business report, sorting, adding , categorizing are some examples of combination
process
In practice, the combination phase relies on three processes.
Capturing and integrating new explicit knowledge is essential. This might involve
collecting knowledge in the public domain from either inside or outside the
organisation and the combining such data.
Second, the dissemination of explicit knowledge is based on the process of
transferring this form of knowledge directly by using presentations or meeting.
Here new knowledge is spread among the organizational members.
Third, the editing or processing of explicit knowledge makes it more usable (e.g.
documents such as plans, report, market data).
The knowledge conversion involves the process of social processes to combine different
bodies of explicit knowledge held by individuals. The reconfiguring of existing
information through the sorting, adding, recategorizing and recontextualizing of explicit
knowledge can lead to new knowledge. This process of creating explicit knowledge from
explicit knowledge is referred to as combination.






31

Internalization
The internalization of newly created knowledge is the conversion of explicit knowledge
into the organization's tacit knowledge. This requires the individual to identify the
knowledge relevant for ones self within the organizational knowledge. That again
requires finding ones self in a larger entity. Learning by doing, training and exercises
allow the individual to access the knowledge realm of the group and the entire
organization.
In practice, internalization relies on two dimensions:
First, explicit knowledge has to be embodied in action and practice. Thus, the
process of internalizing explicit knowledge actualizes concepts or methods about
strategy, tactics, innovation or improvement. For example, training programs in
larger organizations help the trainees to understand the organization and
themselves in the whole.
Second, there is a process of embodying the explicit knowledge by using
simulations or experiments to trigger learning by doing processes. New concepts
or methods can thus be learned in virtual situation.

Back












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Chapter 3


Strategic dimensions of KM; Impact of Business
Strategy

Introduction :

To understand strategic dimensions of KM, it is imperative to know the meaning and
implications of Business Strategy, its dimensions of KM & overall impact.

(A) Business Strategy:
In business parlance, Strategy implies differentiation.

In order to comprehend the overtone of this statement, the onus of any business is to
address 3 (three) issues:-

1. How any business creates value for money?
2. How does it make profit?
3. How the business differentiate from others?

The answer to these vital questions is to decide and devise the following:

Business Model identifies customers and describes how the business will profitably
address the customers needs and addresses to the first two questions.

Business Strategy is about differentiating how the business satisfies the customers and
is addressed to the third question.

Competitive strategy is about being different. It means deliberately choosing a different
set of activities to deliver a unique mix of value.

----- Michael Porter
Business Strategy is a plan to differentiate the enterprise and give it a competitive edge.

Definition:
Strategy is the patterns of decisions that shape the ventures internal resource
configuration and deployment and alignment with the environment.
33

Steps for Formulating Strategy:

1. Look outside to identify threats & Opportunity

At the highest level, strategy is to be devised to analyze outside environment. There are
threats new entrants, demographic changes, suppliers, product substitute etc.

2. Look inside at Resources, Capabilities,& Practices

A strategy can succeed only if it has the backing of right set of people and other
commensurate resources.

3. Consider strategies for addressing Threats & Opportunity

A) Create many alternatives
B) Check all facts and question all assumptions
C) Get the missing information
D) Vet the leading strategy with wisest men you know

4. Build a good Fit among Strategy- Supporting Activities

Strategy is not merely a blueprint for winning customers. It is about COMBINING
activities into a chain whose links are mutually supportive.


5. Create Alignment

Development of a strategy is half the work done. The other half is to create alignment
between people and activities.

Business Strategy, therefore, basically means differentiation with the competitors. This
differentiation can be any or all of these:-

a) Product / Services
b) Technology
c) Management style & practices ( HRD, Financial Management etc.)
d) Marketing


(B) Knowledge Management (KM):
To quote T S Eliot
Where is wisdom we have lost in knowledge?
Where is the knowledge we have lost in information?
Where is the life we have lost in living?
34

However, knowledge in KM does not necessarily mean the understanding of any
particular knowledge OR the depth of that knowledge - in any subject/topic/arena.
Knowledge in KM signifies any activity in the business which adds value to the
product/services.

To clarify it could be the methods / applications in any business primary/secondary or
even rudimentary whatsoever its degree may be.

Technology, or any aspect of value addition devices which may be any typically efficient,
Management system - adopted and practiced by the company could as well be the
distinguishing factors. These enable it to be different and hence makes it apart from its
competitors.

To illustrate from a common activity in any established business - the way how an
attendant serves tea / coffee to the employees / executives during tea/coffee break is also
a Knowledge. Because - in absence of that knowledgeable person, or in the eventuality of
a replacement serving tea/coffee from the same resources does not always meet the
requirement / expectation. The replacement, lacking the expertise, does not know the
choices/tastes of the beneficiaries. Consequently un-satisfactory serving may cause less
or no satisfaction thereby reducing the efficiency of the concerned employees
affecting their performances.

Knowledge is power.

We are living in a knowledge age. Present world economy is rightly termed as
Knowledge Economy. Knowledge is the edge by which a business organization can
sustain and thereby flourish.

India the new paradigm is rapidly ascending the knowledge chain. India is on the
knowledge map as a vibrant source of intellectual capital of the world. The next step on
the journey is to move from BPO to EPO (Engineering Process Outsourcing) and then to
KPO (Knowledge Process Outsourcing).

What is KM?
Knowledge Management is concerned with the knowledge in the work place. Knowledge
in the work place is the ability of people and organization to understand and act
efficiently & effectively.

Knowledge in a business organization is any activity, technique, technology, or any
business process that adds value to the product or service.

KM is a newly emerging inter-disciplinary business model that has knowledge of an
organization as its focus. It has many disciplines viz. Business, Economics, Information
Technology & Psychology among many others.




35

KM involves:-

1. People
2. Technology
3. Processes


KM contains :-

1. Accessible knowledge from outside sources
2. Embedding and storing knowledge in business processes, products and services
3. Knowledge in data-bases and documents
4. Promoting knowledge growth though culture and incentives
5. Transferring and sharing knowledge
6. Assessing the value of Knowledge Assets on regular basis.

KM is the process of
i) Gathering
Firms collective expertise anywhere in the business
ii) Making use of

A Firm seeks to add value by creatively -

i) Identifying
ii) Applying Knowledge
iii) Integrating








Organization
al Process
People
(Workforce)

Technology
(IT infrastructure)

36

Definition:

Knowledge Management is the process of gathering and making use of a firms
collective expertise anywhere in the business to add value by creatively identifying,
applying, and integrating knowledge in unprecedented way.

Why KM?

KM has already demonstrated a number of benefits. Internet facilitated its development
and growth. As a result of KM, systems have been developed to gather, organize, refine,
and distribute knowledge throughout the business.

Justifications / Benefits of KM are:-

1. Creates exponential benefits from the knowledge as people learn from it.
2. Business processes become faster and more effective.
3. Enables the organization to respond quickly to customers by
a) Creating - New market
b) Developing - New product/Services
c) Dominating - emergent technologies

4. Ensures successful partnering and core competencies with suppliers, vendors,
customers and other stakeholders
5. Shortens the period of learning curve, facilitates sharing of knowledge to achieve
higher performance levels.
6. Enhances employee problem solving capacity by providing access to resource
files/documents or CD-ROMs

(C) Knowledge Economy
Next to be familiar with and aware of the present day scenario, it is moot to follow the
evolution the world has undergone. For that, the recent best-seller World is Flat is
considered to be a helpful guide.

In this book, Thomas Friedman, the celebrated journalist and the winner of the
prestigious Pulitzer award, indicates three distinct phases in human civilization which
transformed the world into a close community - hence the name of the book.

As indicated by Friedman, the first phase was in 14
th
& 15
th
century when Spain,
Portugal, under royal patronage, sailors were sent to discover new lands. During this
period, Columbus discovered America, Vasco Da Gama came to India. South America
was discovered and these countries promptly set up their colonies there. This is the
37

reason for which South America is known as Latin America because of the languages of
Spain & Portugal derived primarily and overwhelmingly from Latin.

Industrial Revolution in 18
th
/19
th
century - is the second phase. Steam was invented by
J ames Watt. Steam engine was incorporated in ships. For the first time in human history,
transportation was mechanized instead of depending on the vagaries of nature or manual
devices. Application of steam was also used for factories manufacturing various
industrial items.

In and after Industrial Revolution, civilization turned into manufacturing sector replacing
and or complimenting agriculture as the erstwhile main economic activity. Because of the
dire necessity of ensuring the raw material and also to avail the markets, western
countries started to discover and thereafter capture new-found lands to make those as
their colony. France, Britain and Germany were in hot pursuits in that direction.

Subsequently, in consequence of these expeditions, the world became closer in respect
of transportation, communication for trade & commerce.

The most significant phase in the recent past is the introduction and proliferation of
Internet. By a click in the computer, anyone in any part of the world is connected to
another in another part of the globe, however distant it may be. This connectivity and
thereby close proximity can be for personal reason or any business purpose. So the World
has NOW truly become Flat.

In this context, the competition in trade and commerce has become fierce. Technology is
being up-dated regularly and almost daily. As a consequence knowledge in business has
to be the latest to remain competitive.

This paradigm shift is the recent transformation. Industrial society is now a Knowledge
society. Product or services is no more the determining criterion. Information, innovation
and its adaptation through co-operation / collaboration are the present trends. Without
this approach, any business can become a failure and incorporation of this philosophy and
its implementation makes the business competitive. This process, however, has to remain
continuous.

(D) Strategic dimensions of KM
Organizations have different goals and objectives. Among various Strategic Management
Schools, any organization chooses the most appropriate strategy. To elaborate a Table
(I) is enclosed for ready reference.

From the same it can be observed that the necessity and success of any business largely
depends on selecting the right approach (To choose the appropriate School) which is in
synchronization of its nature of business, and its goal & objectives.
Once the goal is determined, then the scope of KM and its application is ordained to meet
the corporate goals and strategies. The KM strategy then focuses on the key needs and
issues of the organizations.

38

To give examples the companies may face the issue of Technology obsolesce, poor
financial management, inadequate HR policy thereby causing heavy work-force turn-over
etc.

According to this basic necessity of an organization to fit the KM process in alignment of
its Business Strategy the alternatives of KM process to be followed may be any of the
following:-

1. Deploying system - To capture and document the experiences/ expectations of its
employees
2. Facilitations of team-work
3. Improvement of process efficiency
4. Avoiding duplication of efforts
5. Management of risk
6. Avoidance of continuous training without any visible results


A good, clear KM Strategy can help to:

Increase awareness and understanding of KM in the organization

Articulate the business case and identify potential benefits

Gain Senior Management Commitment

Attract resources for implementation

Communicate good knowledge management practice

Give a clear, communicable plan about where you are now,
where you want to go, and how to plan to get there

Provides a basis against which to measure the progress.

How do I go about it?

There are many ways to approach the development of a KM Strategy, as well as many
ways of presenting the strategy document itself.

There is no one size fits all.
Larger organizations will probably need a detailed, formal strategy document whereas for
a smaller organization something briefer and less formal might be more appropriate.






39

The Strategy Document

As a general guideline, a strategy of any kind tends to include answers to three key
questions:

1. Where are we now?
2. Where do we want to be?
&
3. How do we get there?

A relatively brief and informal KM Strategy may be structured around these three
questions and include things like:

1. Where are we now?

An assessment of the current situation.

How does current knowledge management practice (or lack of it) affect the
organizations ability to meet its goals?

How does it affect the effectiveness of individuals and teams?

To what extent do the organizations culture, processes and systems currently act as
enablers of, or barriers to, good knowledge management practice?


2. Where do we want to be?

An outline of what KM will do for the organization.

How will it help the organization and the people in it to meet their objectives?

What might good knowledge management practice look like for this organization
specifically?

How will you know when you are there i.e. how will you measure the progress and value
of your efforts?

3. How do we get there?

Describing the specific actions that will be taken to get to where you want to be.
An action plan covering the three key elements of people, processes and technology:
what specific knowledge management tools and processes will you use;

How will you motivate people and realign your organizational culture to a knowledge
friendly one; and how will you develop the supporting technological infrastructure?
Also needs to include details of resources required, deliverables, timescales and
responsibilities.
40

Developing Your Strategy

a) In developing a KM Strategy, various practitioners offer a range of tips, some of
which are outlined here:

b) Understand what your organizational goals are, and how you
are currently performing them

c) Understand and Define the organizations overall Strategy
and Goals

d) Purpose of KM is to help the organization to achieve its
goals, the KM Strategy should describe that precisely

e) Discuss with key people throughout the organization about
strategy and goals

f) Discuss plans for the future, and look at factors that
influence reaching goals.

g) Look for gaps that could prevent the organization from
achieving its goals.

h) Identify the problems and pains

i) Needs, problems, pains and opportunities give you an
opening to use knowledge to make a difference .

Note: A KM Strategy should also be coherent with Human Resources and Information
Technology strategies.

(E) Conclusion :
1. KM process, therefore, depends on the strategic alternatives of the organization
so chosen.
2. The success of KM largely relies on the Strategic dimension of the organization.
KM must align with the goal of the organization.
3. The impact of the Strategy is abiding and irrevocable.
4. Strategy and focus of KM should be guided by a clear strategic focus of the
organization.
The corporate strategy is, therefore, the precursor of KM and its choice &
implementation in sync with the selected strategy brings success to the organization.

Back

41

Chapter 4


KNOWLEDGE MANAGEMENT PROCESS


Introduction

In to days world, technology seems to be changing so rapidly that there isnt enough
time to develop subject matter experts, training courses and so on. It is not that just
technologies are changing faster, but also products and product-lines, laws etc. The world
indeed seems to rotate faster. In such a scenario, to be able to survive, and compete
effectively organizations are focusing on how to speed up knowledge creation and
sharing. Knowledge Management ,-KM is supposed to be the answer to this question

Although every organisation has somehow dealt with knowledge since its beginning this
does not mean that it is easy to control and steer KM processes. In a way, organizations
cannot truly manage knowledge because it is tacit or internal to individuals. However,
they can manage the environment necessary for the community of practice to flourish and
share information that is a product of that knowledge. In order that knowledge can be
managed - at least to a certain grade, a proper management of the environment, however,
is a necessary precondition.

The need for Knowledge Management Process:

The most common reasons that makes having a knowledge management Process
necessary:
Proper study of products available and hence informed choice is made.
Keep the staff researching newer technologies.
Better planning and preparation for eventual application selected
Transfer of Knowledge to new employees in Enterprise is effective
Data loss due to reliance on Email for knowledge transfer
Managing sharing rights of crucial data among restricted group
Loss of information when staff leave or failure of hardware devices
Flexibility to employees for remote access
Effective man-management and resource management
42

KM Process
Knowledge management is a systematic process by which knowledge needed for an
organisation to succeed is created, captured, shared and leveraged. For this reason,
knowledge management involves leadership establishing processes, also defined as
activities or initiatives, to help organizations adapt to an ever changing environment.
Successful knowledge management depends on processes that enhance individual and
organizational ability, motivations, and opportunities to learn, gain knowledge, and
perform in a manner that delivers positive business results. Organizational processes that
focus on these three attributes will lead to an effective management of knowledge.
Rewards and other motivational incentives are keys to the knowledge management
process. Often members of an organization are unlikely to share insights and ideas
within the organization if they are not rewarded for the knowledge sharing. Researchers
point to the impact of social rewards as being just as important as monetary rewards. A
strong social culture within an organization can promote the transfer of knowledge.
Within the midst of this strong culture there is a development of a desire for social
cohesion and genuine spirit of reciprocity. A less altruistic and a more egocentric
motivation for knowledge sharing within an organization with a strong social culture
would be that the employees are willing to transfer knowledge in order to protect their
own social standing. Demonstrating uncooperative behavior or attitudes will damage
ones reputation and so to afford this social and professional risk, knowledge sharing
increases.
In the rapidly changing business, political, social and technological environment, there is
a challenge to move from an organizational mindset that suggests that knowledge is for
the few on the top echelon to an understanding that knowledge once held by the few is
available to the masses.
In this chaotic and complex twenty-first century, the pace of evolution has entered warp
speed, and those who can't learn, adapt, and change from moment to moment simply
won't survive. The need to rethink the process of knowledge management even in very
large organizations is of paramount importance. After all, we're trying to manage
something, -knowledge -that is inherently invisible, incapable of being quantified, and
borne in relationships, not statistics. The time to understand knowledge management
from a multi-directional perspective has come. Our most important work is to pay serious
attention to what we always want to ignore: the human dimension.
Understanding knowledge creation as a process of making tacit knowledge explicit--a
matter of metaphors, analogies, and models--has direct implications for how a company
designs its organization and defines managerial roles and responsibilities within it. This
is accomplished within J apanese companies through redundancy, -"the conscious
overlapping of company information, business activities, and managerial
responsibilities". As a process, redundancy can become a medium that assists in the
management of knowledge within an organization. Though to many western managers
redundancy may conjure up mental images of "unnecessary duplication and waste", it can
assist in the area of employee expectancy, alleviating unnecessary assumptions and
confusion.
43

Creating opportunities for individuals to create, retain, and transfer knowledge can be
managed through employee development processes. For example, placing individuals in
situations where they can gain new experiences, or share learning from a prior experience
will enable knowledge management. Many companies have processes to intentionally
move personnel across the organization (across units, regions, functions, etc.) for the
purpose of transferring knowledge as well as building learning capability and agility
within the individuals.
Ability, while innate, can also be increased through effective training processes and
experiences. Training in analogical reasoning, for example, will increase an individuals
ability to transfer knowledge between tasks, assignments, or reporting units, thereby
spreading knowledge further across the organization.
Recognition and reward processes and systems can also influence the knowledge
management process. Members of an organization, who are recognized and rewarded for
knowledge transfer are more likely to engage in such sharing of knowledge, especially if
it is integrated into the performance management process and will influence their
standing or reputation in a positive manner.
Knowledge management cannot be proficiently processed independent of creative work
that is meaningful, leaders who are trustworthy, and organizations that foster everyones
contribution and support by giving the staff time to think and reflect together.
KM facilitators
We must realise that humans create knowledge, and its natural to create and share that
knowledge, - everyone is a knowledge worker, and people choose to share their
knowledge. Another process issue is gathering knowledge,- that knowledge exists
throughout any given organization, but the ability to inventory or tap into that knowledge
is difficult. To revisit the point, we must recognize that knowledge is everywhere in the
organization, but we wont have access to it until, and unless we create work that is
meaningful, leaders who are trustworthy, and organizations that foster everyones
contribution and support by giving staff time to think and reflect together.
Given the definition of knowledge as the fact or condition of knowing something with
familiarity gained through experience or association, it is impossible to acquire
knowledge without either experiencing something yourself or interacting with someone
else who has. We should realise that Knowledge Management is not synonymous with
IT systems and processes. Rather knowledge resides in the experiences of people in
different contexts. With regard to Knowledge Management, the aim of an organization is
to work within business processes that create, and transfer knowledge throughout the
organization. If knowledge is created and transferred via human experiences then these
business processes must encompass an understanding of how people learn and transfer
their knowledge; - that is, the business processes must emphasize person-to-person
contact.
We can take a few examples of business processes that will lead to effective knowledge
management :
44

The setting of goals and objective be realistic and recognize the limitations of
data mining and information gathering. Make the increase of organizational
knowledge a stated and specific goal for the all.
Employee retention HR processes should focus on what it takes to retain
employees who hold key knowledge. Provide opportunities that are
developmental, have purpose, and have a high impact on business performance.
Compensate such employees above typical market rates.
Employee development processes pairing experts and apprentices provide
opportunities for employees with differing levels of knowledge to work together
and increase the organizational knowledge. These relationships allow for a true
exchange of knowledge through a human relationship and experience.
Organized networking and annual conferences these provide forums for face-to-
face interaction and knowledge sharing and can lead to effective organizational
knowledge management.
Accountability line management, not just IT or HR, should be held accountable
for knowledge management. They should be held accountable for management of
the human resources and organizational knowledge. They do this through the
above business processes of employee development (experiences, developmental
assignments, etc.).
In the process of KM there must be significant steps taken to eliminate any barriers that
may get in the way of becoming or increasing the ability to be a learning organization.
There must be positive efforts to remove barriers that would inhibit ideas, talent, and
money from getting to the point of best use.
Managers and leaders play in important role in the success of knowledge management in
their organization. There are a few key principles to ensure that information management
activities are effective and successful. These focus on the organizational and cultural
changes required to drive improvements forward. Those principles are:
Prioritise according to business needs
Recognise and manage complexity
Choose the first project very carefully
Deliver tangible & visible benefits
Provide strong leadership
Mitigate risks
Communicate extensively
Aim to deliver a seamless user experience
The practical value of KM lies is in what it is able to impact, how it impacts, and how
well it impacts. The line between KM and business is through the processes of business.
KM's biggest impact on business may be in its ability to improve processes and their
performance . It is suggested that the changing of processes should take into
consideration the role KM plays in this process. In turn, the information that is needed to
make decisions to make changes must be identified as well as determining the effects
those decisions will generate.
45

An organization that wishes to begin to use Knowledge Management must begin by
specifying specific processes. These processes must be supported by technological
resources and must facilitate the sharing of information about problems and solutions,
improvement suggestions and information concerning best practices practiced by other
organizations. Organizations that follow this plan will develop a framework that
catalogues, uses and integrates the knowledge used by individuals as organizational
knowledge for driving innovation and organizational change.
Strategies for developing knowledge management processes within organizations:
1. Define a KM business case. What levels of knowledge and innovation will your
agency need to stay ahead of your "environment" and be "competitive?" (Do not
start until you can prove you need it.)
2. Baseline your intellectual capital. Knowledge is an intangible asset, but human
capital is not--measure current and projected workforce capabilities, your HR
investments, and expected return on investment. (Get HR involved from the
outset.)
3. Make sure your senior executives are involved. Collaboration and knowledge
sharing begin at the top, not at the bottom. Top management has to see how KM
will affect performance and why it is critical for innovation and change.
4. Build KM from the bottom up and across. What's most important about any KM
program or process is its ability to facilitate knowledge exchange among those
individuals closest to the work, to the customers, and to the processes. KM must
be an enabling process that captures both best practices and new ideas while
promoting access.
5. Balance external and internal. The value of your KM program is multiplied by its
reach--it needs to connect to other agencies, customers, and stakeholders.
6. Think technology last and let your investments be in chunks. Allocate 75 percent
of your KM IT budget to products you will need to support your first level of KM
development . Save 25 percent for building your technology strategy to support
future KM phases or new investments.
It is worthwhile noting that factors at the individual level greatly influence knowledge
processes. These includes a persons perceptions of approachability, credibility and
trustworthiness, which directly influences knowledge importing and knowledge sharing.
Researchers discovered that scientists in a bio-medical consortium actively filtered
knowledge importing by deciding whom they would ask for information, whom they
would allow to give them input, and with whom they would share their own knowledge.
They made decisions based upon what they felt their co-workers would do with the
sensitive information. In each case the scientists made a judgment of co-workers as to
their perceived trustworthiness.
The importance an organisation gives to Knowledge Management affects its
competitiveness and the bottom line in significant ways. There are three important things
that can be leveraged in large companies to help take advantage of being a big
organization, - money, talent, and ideas. Managing knowledge and intellectual capital
increasingly grows as the most critical of these three components that organizations need
to align, and use as leverage to foster improvement from within against stiffening
46

competition. Larger organizations can struggle to overcome significant barriers to
discover, organize, and utilize what some would call a marketplace of ideas. Overcoming
barriers and hindrances to sharing and utilizing great ideas takes discipline and cultural
values in which new ideas are readily shared, honoured, and implemented.
Fostering an organizational culture that values new ideas necessitates that meetings
become places where ideas are shared, appreciated, and implemented in timely fashion.
Additionally, infrastructure must connect people in trust relationship with a context
where meaningful ideas are shared. Technology and data storage are inadequate to
facilitate this kind of transference of new ideas.

KNOWLEDGE MAP KMAP

We are all familiar with City Map, Road Map, and even Weather Map, Political
Map or, Physical Map of a country. Any school atlas shows the political map of a
country like India, state like Tamilnadu, West Bengal, Bihar and so on. A careful look
also shows Geological Map, Map of food grain and other crops, Population Map,
Mineral Map and so on. A map is a representation of something. A climate map shows
which parts are cooler or warmer, where to expect more rains etc.

However the term Knowledge Map seems a bit weird. In reality however we all know
what a knowledge map is, without realizing it. Knowledge Mapping is all about keeping a
record of information and knowledge you need such as where you can get it from, who
holds it, whose expertise is it, and so on. For instance, if you need to find something at
your home or in your room, you can find it in no time because you have almost all the
information/knowledge about -what is where- and -who knows what- at your home.

In a similar way, K-map is a map about your organisation and organisational knowledge.
K-map becomes handy and shows details of every bit of knowledge that exists within the
organisation including location, quality, and accessibility; and knowledge required to run
the organisation smoothly - hence making you able to find out your required knowledge
easily and efficiently.

Knowledge mapping is a process by which organisations can identify and categorise
knowledge assets within their organisation - people, processes, content, and technology.
It allows an organisation to fully leverage the existing expertise resident in the
organisation, as well as identify barriers and constraints to fulfilling strategic goals and
objectives. It is constructing a roadmap to locate the information needed to make the best
use of resources, independent of source or form.

Knowledge Map describes what knowledge is used in a process, and how it flows around
the process. It is the basis for determining knowledge commonality, or areas where
similar knowledge is used across multiple processes. Fundamentally, a process
knowledge map contains information about the organisations knowledge. It describes
who has what knowledge (tacit), where the knowledge resides (infrastructure), and how
the knowledge is transferred or disseminated (social).

47

Process of creating a Knowledge Map:
Knowledge maps are created by transferring tacit and explicit knowledge into graphical
formats that are easy to understand and interpret by the end users, who may be managers,
experts, system developers, or anybody.
Basic steps in creating K-map for specific task:
1. List the outcomes of the entire process, and their contributions to the key
organisational activities
2. Write down the logical sequences of all the activities needed to achieve the goal
3. Figure out the knowledge required for each activity. This in turn gives the
knowledge gap.
4. Human resource required to undertake each activity. This would show gap in
human resources.
What is it that is mapped ?
We map such explicit knowledge like a subject of knowledge, whats the purpose, where
and in which format the knowledge is stored, who owns it, who are the users , and who
has the right to access etc.
With regard to tacit knowledge, the map shows the kind of expertise, skill, experience,
location, accessibility, contact address, relationships etc. The knowledge which is
mapped also includes organizational process knowledge.
What do the knowledge maps show?
Knowledge map shows the sources, flows, constraints, and sinks of knowledge within an
organisation. It is a navigational aid to both explicit information and tacit knowledge,
showing the importance and the relationships between knowledge stores and the
dynamics. The following list will be more illustrative in this regard:
Available knowledge resources
Knowledge clusters and communities
Who uses what knowledge resources
The paths of knowledge exchange
The knowledge lifecycle
What we know we dont know,- the knowledge gap
Where does knowledge reside?
Knowledge can be found in such diverse areas as correspondences, internal documents,
library, archives like past documents, sales proposals, best practices etc.


48

Benefits of K-mapping
In many organisations there is a lack of transparency of organisation wide knowledge.
Valuable knowledge is often not used simply because people do not know it exists. Even
if one knows that the knowledge exists, he may not know where it is. This is where
knowledge mapping helps. Followings are some of the key reasons for doing the
knowledge mapping:
to find key sources of knowledge creation
to encourage reuse and prevent reinvention
to find critical information quickly
to highlight islands of expertise
to provide an inventory and evaluation of intellectual and intangible assets
to improve decision making and problem solving by providing applicable
information
to provide insights into corporate knowledge
The map also serves as the continuously evolving organisational memory, capturing and
integrating the key knowledge of an organisation. It enables employees learning through
intuitive navigation and interrogation of the information in the map, and through the
creation of new knowledge through the discovery of new relationships. Simply speaking,
K-map gives employees not only -know what-, but also -know how-.
Key principles of Knowledge Mapping
Because of their power, scope, and impact, the creation of organisational-level
knowledge map requires senior management support as well as careful planning
Share your knowledge about identifying, finding, and tracking knowledge in all
forms
Recognise and locate knowledge in a wide variety of forms: tacit, explicit, formal,
informal, codified, personalised, internal, external, and permanent
Knowledge is found in processes, relationships, policies, people, documents,
conversations, links and context, and even with partners. It should be up-to-date
and accurate.
K-mapping - key questions
Knowledge map provides an assessment of existing and required knowledge and
information in the following categories:
What knowledge is needed for work?
Who needs what?
Who has it?
Where does it reside?
Is the knowledge tacit or explicit?
What issues does it address?
How to make sure that the K-mapping will be used in an organisation?
49


Note:
K-maps should be easily accessible to all in the organisation
It should be easy to understand, update and evolve
It should be updated regularly
It should be an ongoing process since knowledge landscapes are continuously
shifting and evolving
Reference: Ezine Articles
Knowledge Mapping by Deependra Tandukar
http://ezinearticles.com/?Knowledge-Mapping&id=9077

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50

Chapter 5

Discussion on Knowledge Use Process: Tacit /
Explicit Knowledge

Introduction:

To understand the various Knowledge Use processes, it is important to know the phases
of Knowledge Management. Like Product Life Cycle, KM has also Life Cycle. and KM
System Life Cycle.

KM Life-Cycle is a Four Process interactive activities, as depicted below :-

KM Life-Cycle











Like product Life-Cycle the above is the KM Life-Cycle encompassing Organization
Personnel, Culture, Information Technology to facilitate Management-Decisions. KM
requires a system to achieve its goals. Accordingly. KM systems are evolved. Like KM
Life-Cycle the KM System has also a life cycle.





Culture
Information
Technology
Organizational
Personnel
Management
Decisions
Capturing
Organizing
Refining
Transferring
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KM System Life-Cycle


Testing
















Knowledge Creation/Capture

Knowledge Architecture is a combination of People, Content & Knowledge sharing.
People with knowledge provide content, relying on technology to transfer and share
knowledge.

Nonaka (1995) coined the terms Tacit Knowledge & Explicit Knowledge. For
conversion of knowledge between tacit and explicit knowledge he developed a model
known as Nonakas Model. The model is helpful and widely used for Knowledge
Creation & Knowledge Transformation.
Evaluate Existing
Infra-Structure
Form the KM
Team
Knowledge
Capture
Design KM
Blueprint
Post-System
Evaluation
Manage change and
Rewards structure
Implement the
KM System
Verify & Validate
the KM System
52

Nonakas Model

Diagram 1

Tacit Knowledge Tacit Knowledge



Tacit Socialization Externalization Explicit
Knowledge Knowledge


Tacit Internalization Communication Explicit
Knowledge Knowledge


Explicit Knowledge Explicit Knowledge

Diagram 2

Tacit to Tacit


Socialization

(Team Meetings & Discussions)
Tacit to Explicit


Externalization

(Dialogue within Team
Answer & Questions)
Explicit to Tacit


Internalization

(Learn from a Report)
Explicit to Explicit


Communication

(Email a Report)


One of the main tasks of Knowledge Management is to capture tacit knowledge. This is
to extract problem-solving knowledge from human expert. There are three levels of
Experts:

1. Highly Expert
2. Moderately Expert
3. New Expert

Knowledge Developer is to decide on the most qualified expert among the above three
for the particular situation.
53

Knowledge Capture:

Knowledge capture is the process by which the Experts thoughts and experiences are
captured. Three important steps are :-

1. Using an appropriate tool to elicit information from the Expert
2. Interpreting the information and inferring the Experts underlying knowledge
3. Using the interpretation to build the rules that represent the Experts thought
processes or solutions

Note: The KM systems task is not simply to display the knowledge but also to codify it
at different level of reasoning or explanation.

Knowledge Developer uses SINGLE or MULTIPLE experts for knowledge capture.

Advantages and Drawbacks of using Single and Multiple Experts

Advantages :

Sl No. Single Expert Multiple Experts
1. Ideal for a simple domain KM system Works best for complex problem
domains
2. Works well for problems in a restricted
domain
Stimulates interaction and synthesis
of experiences
3. Simplifies logistical issues Presents a variety of views
4. Increases the probability of resolving
conflicts
Generates more thoughtful
contributions
5. Decreases risks to confidentiality

Disadvantages :

Sl No. Single Expert Multiple Experts
1. Not easy to capture an Experts tacit
knowledge
Creates scheduling difficulties
2. Provides only a single line of reasoning Increases the probability of
disagreements
3. Increases the chance of schedule
changes
Raises confidentiality issues
4. Does not accommodate dispersed
knowledge
Requires more than one knowledge
developer
5. Leads to process loss




Steps for Knowledge Capture:

54

a) Understanding the Experts style
b) Preparing for the session
c) Conducting interview
d) Assessment of the exercise

Interviews vary from structure to unstructured. Unstructured interview is used when the
knowledge developer wants to explore an issue. The structured interview is used when
knowledge developer wants specific information.

Standardized questions are:

1. Multiple-choice questions
2. Dichotomous (yes/no) questions
3. Ranking scale questions


Knowledge Capture Methods:

Apart from individual efforts of Knowledge Developer to capture tacit knowledge from
Expert(s), other Knowledge Capture techniques/ methods are as under:

1. Brainstorming :

It is unstructured approach to generate ideas about a problem. Knowledge Developer
invites two or more experts into a session in which discussions are carried out and a
variety of opinions are tossed around.

After the first step of idea generation, the opinions are grouped logically and evaluated.
Then the consensus is arrived in order to reach agreement on the final solution.

Guidelines for Brain-Storming Session

a) Restrict number of participants to 2-6
b) No hierarchy No ranking during session
c) Problem needs to be well defined
d) Duration should be 40 60 minutes
e) Circular or U shaped sitting arrangement to make it interactive
f) Throw logic out of the window. Playful attitude is to be encouraged
g) Encourage ideas even if they are wild & extreme
h) Stress on Quantity more
Quality not important (which will be evaluated later)
i) Forbid evaluation or criticism at Brain-Storming session to ensure/elicit
original ideas
55



2. Mind Mapping :
It is an extension of Brain-Storming. Mind-mapping is a graphical technique.
a) Start by writing down or sketching a picture
b) Write down every idea connecting to central picture Word or a line
c) Connect with a line to the central picture
d) The perceived idea, considered best, is selected as possible solution

3. Delphi Method :
The Delphi method gets its name from the ancient Greek oracle at Delphi, who was said
to be able to look into the future. The steps are:
a) A panel of experts is asked to prepare an anonymous opinion about a focused
problem domain. Each person is usually given a short written explanation of the
problem.
b) For the second round, each expert is given a summary of the results of the first
round and is asked to make a second (still anonymous) estimate on the same
issue. Based on the additional information and reasons provided in the summary.
An expert may stick to or change his or her initial answer.
c) Step 2 is repeated two or more times and then a final summary is prepared.
d) By this exercise, all extreme estimates are deleted, and those remain will converge
on a narrow range of answers.

4. Rapid Proto-typing :
This technique/ method is on Build-As-You-Go approach. Here, all the respondents
are encouraged to put forward their opinions as it comes. This is an incremental /
iterative process. In this process random thoughts are encouraged and progressive
selection of feasible idea is finally selected.

Three Rs
a) Rough Idea
b) Rapid Idea
c) Right Idea




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Conclusion :

Knowledge in tacit and explicit forms, is the critical factor for attaining competitive
advantage. Hence a conducive culture needs to be articulated and encouraged to share
knowledge all along the organization.
Knowledge Developer plays a key role in achieving these goals by applying the
methods of:-

1. Capturing the Tacit Knowledge
2. Transferring the same to Explicit Knowledge
3. The methods to be adopted largely relies on appropriate techniques of:-
a) Selection of Single or Multiple Experts
b) Devising the right Questionnaire

Note:
The success of this exercise depends on integrating the favourable HR practices into the
organizational framework to facilitate Knowledge Capture & Knowledge Sharing to
improve the efficiency and effectiveness of any organization to attain and sustain
competitive advantage.

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57

Chapter 6

Introduction to Knowledge Sharing Tools &
Techniques
Introduction
Enterprises are realizing how important it is to "know what they know" and be able to
make maximum use of the knowledge. This knowledge resides in many different places
such as: databases, knowledge bases, filing cabinets and peoples' heads and are
distributed right across the enterprise. All too often one part of an enterprise repeats work
of another part simply because it is impossible to keep track of, and make use of,
knowledge in other parts. Enterprises need to know:
What their knowledge assets are;
How to manage and make use of these assets to get maximum return.
Most traditional company policies and controls focus on the tangible assets of the
company and leave unmanaged their important knowledge assets.
Success in an increasingly competitive marketplace depends critically on the quality of
knowledge which organizations apply to their key business processes. For example the
supply chain depends on knowledge of diverse areas including raw materials, planning,
manufacturing and distribution. Likewise product development requires knowledge of
consumer requirements, new science, new technology, marketing etc.
The challenge of deploying the knowledge assets of an organization to create competitive
advantage becomes more crucial as:
The marketplace is increasingly competitive and the rate of innovation is rising,
so that knowledge must evolve and be assimilated at an ever faster rate.
Corporations are organizing their businesses to be focused on creating customer
value. Staff functions are being reduced as are management structures. There is a
need to replace the informal knowledge management of the staff function with
formal methods in customer aligned business processes.
Competitive pressures are reducing the size of the workforce which holds this
knowledge.
Knowledge takes time to experience and acquire. Employees have less and less
time for this.
There are trends for employees to retire earlier and for increasing mobility,
leading to loss of knowledge.
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There is a need to manage increasing complexity as small operating companies
are trans-national sourcing operations.
Note: A change in strategic direction may result in the loss of knowledge in a
specific area. A subsequent reversal in policy may then lead to a renewed
requirement for this knowledge, but the employees with that knowledge may no
longer be there.
Knowledge assets are the knowledge regarding markets, products, technologies and
organizations, that a business owns or needs to own and which enable its business
processes to generate profits, add value, etc.
Knowledge management is not only about managing these knowledge assets but
managing the processes that act upon the assets. These processes include: developing
knowledge; preserving knowledge; using knowledge, and sharing knowledge.
Therefore, Knowledge management involves the identification and analysis of available
and required knowledge assets and knowledge asset related processes, and the subsequent
planning and control of actions to develop both the assets and the processes so as to fulfil
organisational objectives.
Why is Knowledge Management Difficult
There are many problems associated with identifying these knowledge assets and being
able to use them and manage them in an efficient and cost-effective manner. Enterprises
need:
to have an enterprise-wide vocabulary to ensure that the knowledge is correctly
understood;
to be able to identify, model and explicitly represent their knowledge;
to share and re-use their knowledge among differing applications for various
types of users; this implies being able to share existing knowledge sources and
also future ones;
to create a culture that encourages knowledge sharing.
Knowledge engineering methods and tools have come a long way towards addressing the
use of a company's knowledge assets. They provide disciplined approaches to designing
and building knowledge-based applications. There are tools to support the capture,
modeling, validation, verification and maintenance of the knowledge in these
applications. However these tools do not extend to supporting the processes for managing
knowledge at all levels within the organization.
At the strategic level the organization needs to be able to analyze and plan its business in
terms of the knowledge it currently has and the knowledge it needs for future business
processes. At the tactical level the organization is concerned with identifying and
formalizing existing knowledge, acquiring new knowledge for future use, archiving it in
organizational memories and creating systems that enable effective and efficient
application of the knowledge within the organization. At the operational level knowledge
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is used in everyday practice by professional personnel who need access to the right
knowledge, at the right time, in the right location.
A Knowledge Management Framework
The knowledge management framework was originally based on work by Van Der Spek
and De Hoog. It covers:
Identifying what knowledge assets a company possesses
o Where is the knowledge asset?
o What does it contain?
o What is its use?
o What form is it in?
o How accessible is it?
Analyzing how the knowledge can add value
o What are the opportunities for using the knowledge asset?
o What would be the effect of its use?
o What are the current obstacles to its use?
o What would be its increased value to the company?
Specifying what actions are necessary to achieve better usability & added value
o How to plan the actions to use the knowledge asset?
o How to enact actions?
o How to monitor actions?
Reviewing the use of the knowledge to ensure added value
o Did the use of it produce the desired added value?
o How can the knowledge asset be maintained for this use?
Did the use create new opportunities?

Techniques to Manage Knowledge
Knowledge modeling techniques that exist to support the use of the knowledge, along
with traditional business management techniques, provide a starting point to manage the
knowledge assets within a company. Therefore the techniques we employ for managing
knowledge within the organization are drawn from these two distinct areas:
(1) The techniques that have been used previously from business management, for
example, SWOT (Strengths Weaknesses Opportunities Threats) analysis,
Balanced Scorecards (1996)), Modeling Languages such as: IDEF (Process Flow
and Object State Description Capture Method (1992)) RADs (Role Activity
Diagrams, (1993));
(2) The knowledge techniques that have been used previously for the disciplined
development of knowledge-based applications
Recommended approach is a multi-perspective modelling approach.

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Several models need to be developed, each of which represents a different perspective on
the organization which can be characterized as How, What, Who, Where, When and
Why
How the organization carries out its business - modeling the business processes
What the processes manipulate - modeling the resources
Who carries out the processes - modeling capabilities, roles and authority
Where a process is carried out - modeling of the communication between agents
When a process is carried out - this specifies the control over processes
Knowledge Management Roadmaps
Knowledge Asset Road Maps highlight the critical knowledge assets required by an
organization to meet market needs five to ten years in the future. They are mechanisms
enabling organizations to visualize their critical knowledge assets, the relationships
between these and the skills, competencies and technologies required to meet future
market demands. They allow:
Individual knowledge management actions to be defined and justified in terms of
their contribution to the overall aims.
Effective communication of the work and progress on the programme to the
participants and observers.
Management aids for those involved in carrying out the programme and
measuring its progress.
More effective communication between users, researchers, technicians, managers
and directors involved in the various aspects of the programme.
Sensible decisions to be taken on the opportunities for further exploiting the
results of the programme
The identification of knowledge gaps that need to be filled.
The Road Map is a living document regularly updated and serves as a framework for the
monitoring of the knowledge management programme. The document reflects the current
state of the interrelationships between work in progress and proposed for the future and
the overall milestones and aims of the programme.

Knowledge Transfer & Sharing

After knowledge is captured, codified and deployed; the goal is to turn knowledge into
action or to transform individual learning into organizational learning. Knowledge
transfer is to demonstrate how knowledge is transferred to the right party in the right
format and at the right time.

Knowledge may be transferred from repositories to people, from team to individuals, and
between individuals. Various ways are:

1. Knowledge bases, Databases or Internet
2. Between Persons & Computers
3. Between Computers & Computers
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4. Teams & Individuals

The process of knowledge transfer & sharing is depicted in the following diagram-


Knowledge Transfer & Sharing


















The terms Transfer and Share are interrelated. Knowledge is personal. The term
Share signifies an exchange of knowledge between individuals, between or within
teams, or between individuals and knowledge bases, repositories.
Guidelines for knowledge transfer and sharing:

1. Create an atmosphere of trust in the organization
2. Instill the culture to accommodate change
3. Ensure that cooperation and collaboration are not competition or rivalry
4. Ensure employee stability and job satisfaction.

Main types of knowledge transfer methods are:

1. Collective Sequential Transfer

An ongoing team specialized in one specific task moves to other locations and performs
the same task. Once the task has been completed, the same team reuses the same
knowledge, goes to another new site, builds the same system, and so forth.

2. Explicit Inter-Team Knowledge Transfer

This allows a team that has done a job on one site to share the experience with another
team working on a similar job on another site. Inter-Team knowledge transfer is explicit
knowledge. Most of this type of knowledge transfer is routine work and the procedure is
precise.
Knowledge
Transfer
Knowledge
Sharing
Database
Knowledge
Base
Web Browsers
Web Pages
Collaborative
Tools,
Networks
Intranet
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3. Tacit Knowledge Transfer

The team receiving tacit knowledge is different by location, by experience, by
technology, and by cultural norms. Knowledge needs to be modified in language, tone,
and content to ensure that the receiving team can use it effectively.
Knowledge Codification
After knowledge capture, the next step is to find a way to codify and organize knowledge
into a form for others to use when needed getting the right knowledge to the right
people at the right time.

Knowledge Codification is organizing and coordinating knowledge before the user can
access it. It must be in a form and a structure meaningful for access at any time, from
anywhere, by any authorized person. Codification is a prerequisite to knowledge
transfer.

Nonakas Model tag the four possible relationships between tacit and explicit knowledge
and the resulting outcome of Codifying tacit knowledge is complex and is more an art
than science. Several ways of encoding facts and relationships are:

The process is depicted in the following diagram:

Knowledge Codification






















Knowledge Maps :

Knowledge
Capture
Knowledge
Codification
Database
Testing &
Deployment
Knowledge
Transfer
Knowledge
Sharing
Database

Knowledge
Base
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One of the underlying principle of knowledge capture You cant verbalize unless you
visualize is the basis. Knowledge is codified to visualize it via Knowledge Maps.

A Knowledge Map is a visual representation, not a repository of knowledge. It is a
directory. The main purpose of Knowledge Maps is to direct people where to go when
they need certain expertise.

There are five key elements:

i) The Map depicts visually the business issue or problem.
ii) A set of question is devised to guide groups collaborative discussions.
iii) Facts are represented to the group to focus on the realities of the problem
iv) The collaborative discussion is organized by a coach in an open environment
v) Finally, post-session follow-up activities are reviewed and conclusions are
drawn.

Decision Table :

Decision Table is like a spreadsheet. It is divided in two parts:

a) A list of conditions and their respective values
b) A list of conclusions

The various conditions are matched against the conclusions and the final decision is taken
to frame the rule.

Decision Tree :
A Decision Tree is a hierarchically arranged semantic network. It is closely related to a
Decision Table. It is composed of nodes representing goals and links that represent
decisions or outcomes. A Decision Tree is read from left to right.

Frames :
A Frame is a structure or a codification scheme for organizing knowledge through
previous experience. It handles a combination of declarative and operational knowledge
which makes it easier to understand the problem domain.

Knowledge Portals:
A portal is a secure, Web-based interface that provides a single point of integration for
access to information, applications, and services to all people.
Google, Yahoo! etc are the examples.

Data Mining:
Data mining is the process of extracting useful patterns and regularities from large bodies
of Data. The DM process is best illustrated by a seven-tep methodology:
1. Business understanding
2. Data understanding
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3. Data preparation
4. Data modeling
5. Analysis of the results
6. Knowledge assimilation
7. Deployment evaluation
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65

Chapter 7
Assignment

1. Case Study Marconi
2. Elaborate the following quote: ( 800 1000 words )

It is not the strongest of the species that survive, nor the most intelligent, but the
ones most responsive to change. said Charles Darwin.
CASE: MARCONI
From: http://www.cio.com/article/30646
Acquisition Spree Leaves Marconi in Need of Knowledge Management (KM)
Louise Fickel, CIO
November 01, 2001
When Marconi went on a shopping spree and acquired 10 telecommunications companies
over a three-year period, it faced a serious challenge: How could the $3 billion
manufacturer of telecommunications equipment ensure that its technical support agents
knew enough about newly acquired technology to provide quick and accurate answers to
customers on the phone? And how could Marconi bring new agents up to speed on all the
companys products?
Marconis technical support agents, 500 engineers scattered in 14 call centers around the
globe, field approximately 10,000 questions every month about the companys products.
Before the acquisitions, agents had relied on Tactics Online, an extranet where they and
customers could search for frequently asked questions and text documents. As new
agents and products joined the companys ranks, Marconi wanted to supplement the
website with a more comprehensive knowledge management system. As engineers from
the newly acquired companies came on board, however, they were hesitant to share their
knowledge about the products they had been supporting. "They felt that their knowledge
was a security blanket that helped guarantee their jobs," says Dave Breit, director of
technology and R&D for managed services in Warrendale, Pa. "With all of the
acquisitions, it was essential that we all avoid hoarding knowledge and share it instead."
At the same time, Marconi wanted to streamline its customer service organization by
making more of its product and systems information available directly to customers and
shortening the length of customer calls. "We wanted to leverage the Web for customer
self-service versus increasing the number of agents," Breit says. "We also wanted to
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provide our frontline engineers [who interact directly with customers] with more
information more quickly so that they could resolve more calls faster."
Building on a KM Foundation
When Marconi began evaluating knowledge management technologies in the spring of
1998, the concept of sharing knowledge among agents was nothing new. Agents were
already accustomed to working in teams of three or four people, gathering in war room
fashion to solve customers technical issues. And a year earlier, Marconi had started
basing a percentage of agents quarterly bonuses on the amount of knowledge they
submitted to Tactics Online as well as their involvement with mentoring and training
other agents. "Each agent was expected to teach two training classes and write 10 FAQs
to earn their full bonus," says Breit. "When we brought new companies online, the new
agents received the same bonus plan. This approach allowed us to build a very open
knowledge-sharing environment."
To augment Tactics Online, Marconi chose software from ServiceWare Technologies, in
part because its technology would integrate easily with the companys Remedy CRM
system, which agents use to log incoming calls from customers and track other customer
interactions. In addition, says Breit, Marconi wanted its agents to populate its existing
Oracle database of product information.
Breits division spent six months implementing the new system and training agents. The
system, dubbed KnowledgeBase, is linked to the companys CRM system and is powered
by the Oracle database. The integrated view of Marconis customers and products
provides agents with a comprehensive history of interactions. Technical support agents
can, for example, put markers in the database and immediately pick up at the point where
the customer last spoke with another agent.
On the Front Line
Tactics Online complements the new system. "The data stored in KnowledgeBase are
specific troubleshooting tips and hints on our various product lines," says Zehra Demiral,
manager of knowledge management systems. "Tactics Online, on the other hand, is more
of a doorway for customers to come into our customer support organization. From there,
customers can access KnowledgeBase or their service requests or our online training
manuals."
Technical support agents now rely on KnowledgeBase for the latest solutions to
customers product and systems problems. Level 1 agents answer all incoming calls,
solve customers problems when possible, record the calls in the companys CRM system
and transfer the more difficult calls up the line to Level 2 agents. Level 2 agents,
meanwhile, are the heart of the organization, composing about 70 percent of the technical
support organization. They handle the more difficult calls and troubleshoot and diagnose
equipment and network problems. "Theyre the majority of our knowledge users and
contributors," says Breit. "They write up a synopsis of the call and feed it into
KnowledgeBase [on an ongoing basis] so that other agents can refer to the solution later."
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After Level 2 agents submit their knowledge "raw" to a holding queue, Level 3 agents
confirm the accuracy of the information, make any necessary changes and then submit
the document to Demiral. (Level 3 agents also act as consultants, helping Level 2 agents
solve problems and serving as intermediaries between the agents and the companys
engineering departments.) The entire process of updating the KnowledgeBase system
with a new solution typically takes between three days and two weeks.
Changing Roles
As Breit anticipated, implementing KnowledgeBase has changed the agents roles. Level
1 agents, for example, now do more in-depth troubleshooting because they have more
information available at their fingertips. In fact, they solve twice as many calls
themselves (50 percent instead of 25 percent) in a shorter time (10 minutes versus 30
minutes). Since Level 1 agents can handle more calls, this group has doubled in size
during the past two years.
The transition wasnt quite as painless, however, for the Level 2 and Level 3 agents.
Indeed, their roles changed significantly. "Rather than simply submitting HTML pages to
Tactics Online, they were now asked to analyze the problems in a very procedural way
and create diagnostic trees," says Breit. "Thats a more analytical way to think through
a problem. Most of these guys had thought in terms of what is the fastest way to solve a
problem rather than what is the most efficient way to solve a problem."
With hundreds of people submitting solutions, Marconi tended to get a lot of wheel
reinvention. "There can be five or six ways to solve the [same] problem, but theres one
way thats most efficient," Breit says. To unearth and disseminate the most efficient
solutions, agents were required to flowchart each of their solutions for the first three
months following KnowledgeBases launch. "Its amazing how many [agents] were
unconscious of their own methodologies," says Breit. "It was somewhat painful, but they
eventually felt they benefited because they understood how they solve problems."
As a result, agents now create technical solutions for customers in the most efficient?and
logical?way possible instead of simply offering a "quick and dirty" solution. Think of the
difference between simply being told what keys to strike on your PC and being taught
how your software works and the logic behind executing a certain sequence of
keystrokes. Once you actually understand how the product works, you can use the
software more effectively and resolve more problems yourself.
Agents also had to change the way they present the solutions to customers. "We wanted
to provide a collaboration tool for employees and a library source for our customers,"
says Demiral. "Engineers wanted to provide a lot of detailed information yet we needed a
degree of simplicity for customers. Most of the time, the immediate focus is on what a
great collaboration tool this is and how it overcomes geographical distance among agents.
Then I have to remind [agents] that this is a tool that we want customers to use and that
theyll have to organize, write and present the content with customers in mind."
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Making It Work
Demiral spent a lot of time working with the Level 3 agents to make their solutions less
complex and streamline the review process. "We had to go through two iterations of how
to organize and present the content," Demiral says. "Customers tend to think in terms of
the product and then the problem. But engineers often think about the problem first and
then the product."
The result: Customers often wouldnt fully understand the solution. At the same time,
Marconi had to work at easing Level 3 agents concerns that making them responsible for
reviewing solution content would suddenly turn them into technical writers.
Marconi confronted cultural issues as well. "Business needs are different in different
parts of the world," says Demiral. "What may be normal business practice for Americans
may not be common elsewhere." In Europe, for example, the value of the
KnowledgeBase system was not readily accepted. But once employees there saw that
customers could use the system to solve some of their own problems, they got on board.
Such an experience has been incorporated into how Marconi approaches KM. "We
sometimes have to introduce the idea of knowledge management over time, validate it,
and then move forward," Demiral says.
To ensure that agents continue contributing new knowledge to KnowledgeBase, Marconi
uses rewards. Besides bonuses, knowledge contributors receive recognition during
meetings and in a newsletter. "Rewards help feed this culture," Breit says. "Peer pressure
also plays a role. Everyone wants to contribute because its the right thing to do. You also
have to make sure that the system works well and that employees use it long enough to
see it work. It has to be embedded in training and fully integrated into daily operations so
that it just becomes part of how you do business."
2008 CXO Media Inc.

Questions:
1. Critically comment on the KM initiatives at Marconi. Give your reasons.
Mergers and acquisitions being fairly common in the current business scenario,
what in your opinion are the biggest concerns for the organizations ?

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69

Chapter 8

Overview of Other KM Tools & Techniques

Introduction:
Overview of KM Tools & Techniques cover the following:-
(A) KM Practices
(B) KM Tools
(C) KM Technologies
(D) KM Techniques
(E) Critical Analysis of KM Process
(F) Data Mining
(G) Conclusion

(A) KM Practices

In order to understand the requirements and implications of various KM Tools and
Techniques it is imperative to know the various phases / steps of KM Practices.
These are :-
i) Assessment - the effectiveness of knowledge management
ii) Strategizing - planning KM, linking KM to business strategies
iii) Knowledge Creation - creativity, generation
iv) Gathering - needs analysis, collection strategies
v) Organizing - schems, taxonomies, information architectures
vi) Conversion - tacit to explicit etc., harvesting
vii) Sharing - mechanisms, sharing best practices, work environments
viii) Communities - Communities of Interest and Practice, Knowledge Networking
ix) Learning - learning programmes, learning tools
x) Exploiting - commercializing, licensing etc.
xi) Evaluating - measuring intellectual capital
xii) Trading - knowledge markets
xiii) Governance - corporate policies, protection, ethical issues.


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(B) KM TOOLS
KM Tools are resources for planning knowledge management (KM) projects - projects
that promote sharing and use of knowledge such as ideas, expertise, best practices.
(C) KM Technologies
KM Technology is that knowledge gained by studying the techniques of managing
knowledge.
Included are the tasks of knowledge creation, knowledge sharing (incorporating
knowledge classification and recording, even writing is a KM technique) and the
managing of the person who knows, the entity that delivers the knowledge to where it is
needed, at the point of acting upon an object the knower wishes to change.
Computers and the various configurations made possible through software, are only part
of the technology of KM.
Reconciling the concepts of technology and knowledge emphasizes the need to take a
more holistic approach, encouraging practitioners to take a look at the broader set of
techniques available for doing KM.
KM Technologies include the following:-
Knowledge Discovery - data mining, text mining, visualization
Content Creation - creativity tools, content management systems
Infrastructure - intranet, extranet, portal building software
Information Retrieval - search engines, intelligent agents
Competences/Expertise Profiling - expertise directories
Knowledge Sharing - computer conferencing, portals, document management
Sense Making - pattern recognition, Concept Mapping, filtering
Integration - KM/CMS suites, enterprise application integration (EAI), portals.
Standards - XML, metadata standards
(D) KM Techniques
These are the methods, ways or procedures used to accomplish or achieve an end goal or
objective.
KM techniques are usually intended to focus on specific and essential knowledge, and
using KM techniques can allow for knowledge to be validated, to collate knowledge from
various expert sources and to build a framework from which non-experts are better able
to understand the experts knowledge.
There are a variety of KM related techniques used to accomplish specific objectives
related to knowledge creation, transfer and utilization including for example: metaphors,
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story telling, narrative, anecdotes, collaboration, after action reviews, peer assists,
retrospect, knowledge cafes, positive deviance, contextual inquiry, surveys, focus groups,
facilitated discussions, social network analysis, problem solving, benchmarking, group
think, laddering, 20-questions, repertory grid, knowledge mapping, knowledge modeling,
and knowledge communities (including Communities of Practice, Communities of
Interest, Communities of Purpose).
Many techniques used in KM have been developed or adapted to assist in eliciting
knowledge from Subject Matter Experts (SMEs). When used in this manner these are
generally referred to as Knowledge Acquisition (KA) techniques.
While it may seem to those new at KM that there are many different types of techniques
which can be selected (seemingly at random) the reality is that the selection of KM
techniques is often driven by and tied to a specific need to elicit a particular type of
knowledge. And one viewpoint is to assume that most KA or knowledge eliciting focuses
on either concept knowledge or process knowledge, each having their own range within
the parameters of tacit-to-explicit knowledge. And in using techniques to elicit
knowledge it is not uncommon to begin using more natural techniques and then to move
toward more formal or contrived techniques.
(E) Critical Analysis of KM Process

Vision

Does the overall process vision of the organization and its people embrace the
acquisition, development, sharing and exploitation of information, knowledge and
understanding and the provision appropriate support tools? Who IS responsible for this
vision. Does the individual's role specifically embrace knowledge entrepreneurship?

Is the vision translated into actual processes with the necessary people,
organization and supporting systems, procedures and tools and a knowledge
framework in place to operate them effectively? The following questions could be
used to identify areas of deficiency:
What processes are in place specifically to support the acquisition, development
sharing and exploitation of information knowledge and understanding?
Is relevant information and knowledge captured and shared at each stage of these
processes? Can this be done in a variety formats?
Are feedback loops, and opportunities for the review, refinement, sharing and
exploitation of information, knowledge and support tools built into the operating
processes of organization?

Process ownership and status

Is each of the relevant processes owned, approved and operational? In particular:
Does each process have an owner who is accountable for 3". To end
performance?
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Are the process roles and responsibilities clear to the process owners, and in
relation to other processes?
Has the overall process vision holders approved the processes?

Process documentation


Is each Process adequately documented? In particular:

Have appropriate diagrams been produced? Do these clarify supporting
knowledge and tool requirements? Have all significant areas been covered?

Does the documentation capture the essence of what is special about the
organization and its activities and offerings?

Is the documentation stored in an accessible form? Is it considered part of the
intellectual capital of the organization?

Are exploitation opportunities reviewed, for example licensing the processes to
other organizations?

Are the diagrams for the documented areas up to date? Are arrangements in place
to capture any changes?

Are links with other related processes, for example providing triggers or receiving
outputs, clear and understood?

Where appropriate, is supporting process documentation available in a compatible
format and on a central repository?

Does the process documentation include sufficient explanatory notes to guide
users?

Could the documentation be used for induction and training purposes? Might this
be a source of external income?

If appropriate, is relevant information available on a corporate Intranet? If not, are
other arrangements made to provide help desk support to the operators of these
processes?

Process management

Are arrangements in place for the proper management of each process? In
particular:

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Have process performance objectives been set for process outputs, efficiency and
improvements? Have appropriate measures been established? Are these reported
and monitored?

Are people operating the processes provided with the job support tools and other
enablers they will require to achieve desired performance improvements?

Have points within the processes been identified at which operational and/or
management reports could and/or should be generated?

Have the process owners specified 'the reports required to monitor and manage
the processes? Have arrangements beer made for these to be generated?

Do the reports cover the extent to which the acquisition, development, sharing and
exploitation of information, knowledge and understanding, and the proper use of
support tools are occurring?


Process operation and support

Is each of the processes properly supported? In particular:


Is an appropriate form of organization in place? Is this documented?

Do the people concerned have job or role descriptions? Do these cover the
acquisition, development, sharing are exploitation of information, knowledge and
understanding?

Are adequate systems, procedures and job support tools in place? Do these include
appropriate approaches, tools and technologies for supporting the acquisition,
development, sharing and exploitation of information, knowledge and understanding?

Have the supporting systems, procedures and tools been properly tested and
documented? Is adequate back-up and technical support provided? .

Have the people operating the processes been adequately trained? What specific
tests of competency have they passed. Is further development required?

Does the competency framework of the organization specifically embrace
competencies relating to the acquisition, development, sharing and exploitation of
information, knowledge and understanding, and the use of job support tools?

Have appropriate arrangements been negotiated with shared learning and
knowledge creation and exploitation support partners?


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Are people operating the processes aware of their roles and responsibilities and
supporting systems, procedures, tools and partnerships?

In the case of new and re-engineered processes has a knowledge transfer plan
been prepared to ensure that the process teams (and the business unit/area
concerned) will be sufficiently confident and competent to operate the processes
at the 'go live' date?

What changes to support arrangements will be required there- after to ensure
effective operation? Are the necessary steps being taken to ensure that these are in
place, documented and monitored?

What is being done to capture and exploit knowledge specifically relating to the
support of the processes concerned?

Could this knowledge and any of the tools be used to support the people and
processes of other organizations?

Process review and revision

Are arrangements for process review and revision in place? In particular:

At what intervals are the processes and job support tools reviewed to ensure they
continue to reflect process designs and current objectives and priorities?

Who undertakes these reviews?

Are the knowledge creation and exploitation aspects adequately addressed?

When systems developments, activity changes and other projects that may have
process implications are undertaken, are the risks to process integrity assessed?

If changes are to be made, who examines their consequences?

Are the implications for knowledge creation and exploitation adequately
assessed?


Process control

Are arrangements for process control in place? In particular:

Are controls in place to prevent unapproved changes from occurring?

Are there controls to ensure overall process considerations are taken into account
when individual changes are made?

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Who is responsible for ensuring that proposed changes and updates to the
processes are compatible with overall 'end-to- end' or total process requirements?

Do controls adequate\y address know\edge creation and exploitation
considerations?

Are changes and updates approved by the business process vision holder?

Process context

Where do the processes fit within the overall corporate organization? In
particular:


In relation to new processes, who is to run the business units/areas concerned
when the processes 'go live'?

Who will form the unit/area management teams?

Have these teams been given a clear direction, and clear goals and priorities? Do
these cover the acquisition, development sharing and exploitation of information,
knowledge and understanding, and the use of relevant job support tools?

Have the roles and responsibilities of unit managers and other team members been
agreed? Are these clear in relation to boundaries and interfaces with other groups?


What are the key lateral relationships with other business units/areas? Are
appropriate liaison relationships in place;

Will training and development be needed to equip the business unit/area teams,
and their individual members, to operate effectively?

Will this cover the creation and exploitation of knowledge and the use of
appropriate job support tools? How important is this for the teams concerned?




Are the members of the business unit/area teams themselves role models in
relation to the acquisition, development, sharing and exploitation of information,
knowledge and understanding, and use of relevant support tools?

Process accountability

How do the processes (or units of which they are a part) relate to the business
entity as a whole? In particular:
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Where do they fit into the entity management process and its annual calendar of
meetings? Do these cover the processes' or units' key activities?

What contributions are they expected to make to knowledge creation and
exploitation within the entity as a whole?

Is there an effective link with relevant committee/meeting owners, and are the
units aware of relevant agenda items, terms of reference, inputs/outputs, reports,
etc?

(F) DATA MINING ACROSS THE ENTERPRISE
In today's enterprise, predictive analysis is key to strategic decision making, and data
mining is an essential tool. Knowledge Developer brings data mining and knowledge
discovery to experts and novices alike.
Drag, Drop, Analyze.
Developers intuitive interface makes development faster than ever. Drag-and-
drop components document every step of data analysis process. Templates for
standardized operations save time and effort.
Adapt, Build, Reuse.
Data mining workbench adapts to the changing needs by building own custom
components for advanced predictive modeling, charting, and reporting using the
S-PLUS language to share libraries of components with other Knowledge
Workers / Users across the organization.
Create, Integrate, Deploy.
Knowledge Developer generates C-code components for run-time model scoring
in Web or desktop applications for use of batch processing and native database
access to automatically update data warehouses
Scale, Increment, Analyze.
Knowledge Architecture processes data incrementally, eliminating data size
constraints thus offering scalable data analysis, even on desktops with limited
specifications.



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(H) Conclusion:
Knowledge Management is the key to the success of any business today. In order
to ensure the best KM practices, it is necessary and essential to incorporate the
appropriate KM Tools & Techniques in the business process.
Critical analysis of the business process enables the Knowledge Developer to
select such Knowledge Management Tools & Techniques.

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78

Chapter 9



ROLE OF IT IN KNOWLEDGE MANAGEMENT


KNOWLEDGE PORTALS AND KNOWLEDGE MANAGEMENT TOOLS AND
INFRASTRUCTURE


We are in a knowledge-base society where;
a vast majority of our work is information based
Organisations compete with each other on the basis of knowledge
Increasingly products and services available in the market are getting more complex
Life-long learning is perhaps a way of life facing us

Whats the role of Knowledge management in a Knowledge economy ?

Knowledge management can :
Promote and nurture innovation through free flow of ideas
Sharply improve customer service through quicker response
Improve the top line, and bottom line too, by bringing out products and services faster
Attract and retain the best brain by recognizing the value of knowledge and having a
suitable rewards system for their knowledge contribution
Streamline the operations and reduce cost, and thereby improving bottom line, by
eliminating unnecessary and redundant processes

Given that we are in a knowledge-based society, and knowledge management has an
enormous role in it, what exactly s the role of Information Technology ( IT ) in this
scheme of things ?

We need to remember that Information Technology by itself is not knowledge
management. However,

KM is often facilitated by IT in managing documents, in data storage, by providing
access to information, dissemination, exchange of ideas
IT can help in realizing higher value by enhancing efficiency and productivity
through improved processes

It is no wonder that managing an organizations knowledge more effectively and
exploiting it in the marketplace is the latest pursuit of those seeking competitive
advantage.

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We could look at Knowledge Management in an organization from two angles. The first
is that of making better use of the knowledge that already exists within the firm, for
example by sharing best practices. When we do this, we addresses the oft cited lament:
if only we knew what we knew.

It is not uncommon for people in one part of the organization reinvent the wheel or fail
to solve customers problems quickly because the knowledge they need is elsewhere in
the company but not known or accessible to them. As such, the first initiative of many
knowledge management programs is that of installing or improving an Intranet, and
adding best practice or expert databases.


The second major way of looking at KM is from the angle of innovation,- the creation of
new knowledge and its conversion into valuable products and services. This is often
referred to as knowledge innovation . This requires an environment where creativity and
learning flourishes and knowledge is encapsulated in a form where it can be applied. One
way is to embed knowledge into products, where it is more easily disseminated. All
kinds of products, from tractors to domestic appliances, are getting smarter, while other
products, such as software, represent packaged knowledge.

There is a wide range of knowledge management activities in an organisation, and they
touch many aspects of business operations. For example:

i) Creation of knowledge databases - best practices, expert directories, market
Intelligence etc.

ii) Effective information management - gathering, filtering, classifying, storing etc.

iii) Introduction of collaborative technologies, especially Intranets or groupware, for
rapid information access

iv) Development of knowledge centers - focal points for knowledge skills and
facilitating knowledge flow

v) Reuse of knowledge at customer support centers e.g. via case-based reasoning

vi) Incorporation of knowledge into business processes e.g. through the use of help
screens in computer procedures or access to experts from icons

vii) Enhancement of decision support processes, such as through expert systems or
group decision support systems.

viii) Knowledge webs - networks of experts who collaborate across and beyond an
organizations functional and geographic boundaries




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OLD WINE IN A NEW BOTTLE ?

The fact is, any activity that uses and applies knowledge can benefit from the disciplines
of knowledge management. The truth is most managerial and professional activities will
fall in this category. Therefore, it is fairly common to see many existing business
practices such as information management and intelligence gathering coming under the
knowledge management umbrella. In the same way, many information systems
solutions,- such as document management and data warehousing- are being similarly
rebranded as knowledge management solutions. While people from IT discipline may
not share the view, such relabelling often raises the question as to whether the current
knowledge focus is merely a passing fad. The importance of knowledge as a strategic
weapon can in fact be traced back many years, to writers like Peter Drucker, who is
credited with coining the term knowledge worker. Many authors have given important
insights as to the contribution of knowledge to corporate success.

So, whats new ? Is knowledge management more fundamental than simply a passing
fad ? Lets look at the following factors:

i) The value of an organizations wealth is increasingly in its intangible assets - its
people, know-how, brands, patents, licenses, customer relationships etc. Knowledge
can command a premium price in the market. Know-how, applied properly, can
significantly enhance the value, - and therefore the price, of products and services.
Knowledge about the customer,- his personal preferences, his likes and dislikes, can
enable a hotel chain to provide personalized services. This in turn not only allows
them to charge a premium, it will earn the loyalty of the customer. Wal-Mart
collects huge data about the customer purchases, and through Data mining
techniques, can target specific customer with offers he is likely to value.

ii) As suppliers and consumers get more globally connected through the Internet,
access to critical knowledge becomes easier and more cost effective.

iii) As organizations become more efficient at what they do, they can apply new
learning and talent to help them differentiate themselves in the marketplace.

iv) Organisational restructuring and normal retirement often can result in a huge loss
of talents. By retaining knowledge as organizations downsize or restructure,
organizations can save costly mistakes and prevent reinventing the wheel.

As companies respond to these factors their knowledge processes become more explicit,
more systematized, more cross-organizational and more geographically dispersed. As a
result they more readily lend themselves to the application of information and
communications technologies . Internet, intranet, email etc are being used as effective
knowledge management tools. Also, videoconferencing, document management, online
information sources and decision support tools are quite widely used.



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HUMANS THINKING FASTER ? OR, COMPUTERS THAT THINK ?

As computers became faster, and powerful, in the 1970s, there was huge euphoria over
the possibilities of Expert systems and Artificial intelligence. Highly respected
Professors had gone on town declaring early arrival of machines that could think like
human beings and replacing human labour in many activities. Looking back, we find we
are still far away from it. The point is human brain is far too complex to comprehend its
working. Creating machines that think like humans is a daunting task.

Today, after years of steady progress, artificial intelligence has evolved new techniques,
such as neural networks and intelligent agents, and is being widely applied in a growing
number of applications. A significant proportion of the world-class knowledge
management programs use these techniques.

IT in Knowledge Management
In order to appreciate the role information technology in knowledge management
activity, we need to know the different IT tools and their capability, which we assume we
know. We will take a re -look at knowledge, its different forms, and the knowledge
cycle in order to figure out how different IT tools could assist us.

EXPLICIT AND TACIT KNOWLEDGE
While trying to use Information technology for knowledge management, we need to keep
in mind the clear distinction between explicit and tacit knowledge. Explicit knowledge is
that which can be codified into documents, databases and other tangible forms. Tacit
knowledge on the other hand is in the heads of individuals. Ask a person to describe
explicitly how to ride a bicycle and they cannot, yet they know how to. This author, in
spite of decades of experience would find it difficult to spell out how to eat fish without
the bones getting stuck in the throat.

This distinction, and the processes by which tacit knowledge is converted in to explicit
knowledge and vice versa, is the seminal work of Nonaka and Takeuchi (1995).


FIG 1

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One of the most widely cited concepts by knowledge management practitioners is the
concept of explicit and tacit knowledge, and their distinction. However this is often
ignored by information systems professionals. There is a belief that knowledge can be
captured by getting it into a database. Yet some of the most successful applications of
Information and communication technology in knowledge management include those
that help human-human communications, most notably groupware, and especially Lotus
Notes.



KNOWLEDGE FRAMEWORK

From the viewpoint of a knowledge architect, frameworks provide a convenient way of
thinking about the role of information and communication technologies in supporting
knowledge processes. Most frameworks map different IT tools according to their function
and whether they are used individually or by teams. One such framework is shown below
in Table 1.

Passive (information)

Active
(knowledge)
Person
to
Person
Computer conferencing
Expert networks

Meeting support
Video-conferencing
Person
to
Computer
Document Mgmt
Info Retrieval
Knowledge bases

Expert Systems
Decision Support
Computer-
Computer
Data Mining Neural Networks
Intelligent Agents



Table 1. Knowledge Transfer mechanism

From an analysis of a wide range of tools and classifications, J an Wyllie of Trend
Monitor International has developed the functional schema shown below:


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I n f r a s t r u c t u r e : N e t w o r k s - I n t e r n e t s ; I n t r a n e t s
C r e a t e
T h i n k i n g a i d s
C o n c e p t u a l M a p p i n g
I d e n t i f y
K n o w l e d g e D i s c o v e r y
T o o l s
D a t a M i n i n g
T e x t R e t r i e v a l / M i n i n g
C o l l e c t /
C o d i f y
I n f o r m a t i o n f e e d s
I n t e l l i g e n t A g e n t s
D i f f u s e /
U s e
D e c i s i o n S u p p o r t
G r o u p w a r e
V i d e o c o n f e r e n c i n g
K n o w l e d g e
D a t a b a s e
D o c u m e n t
R e p o s i t o r i e s
( D a t a W a r e h o u s e s )


THE KNOWLEDGE PROCESS AND THE RELATED INFORMATION
TECHNOLOGY SOLUTIONS SUPPORTING THE PROCESS



Key Technologies

The impact of a specific technology would vary enormously from situation to situation.
Some technologies are found in many knowledge management programs, largely
because they are generic and hence their impact is pervasive across many core activities
and processes. Lets now look at the different technologies.

Internet and Intranet
Perhaps no other technology had so much impact on knowledge management as internet
technology. The ubiquitous Internet protocols make it easy for users to access any
information, any where, at any time. Further, browsers and client software can act as
front-ends to information in many formats and many of the other knowledge tools such as
document management or decision support. We need to remember that the basic
functions of email, discussion lists and private newsgroups often have the biggest short
term impact.

For example, Booz Allen & Hamiltons Knowledge Online is an Intranet that provides a
wealth of information (e.g. best practice, industry trends, database of experts) to their
consultants world-wide. Through active information management by knowledge editors
(subject experts and librarians) the information remains well structured and relevant.
Groupware - Lotus Notes

A major feature of groupware products like Lotus Notes is discussion data bases. Users
such as Thomas Miller, a London based manager of insurance mutuals, access their
organizational memory, as well as current news feeds in areas of interest, through one
of Lotuss key features, its multiple views. When writing new insurance proposals,
84

existing explicit knowledge can be assembled from the archive, guided by an expert
systems front-end, while tacit knowledge is added through discussion databases.
Intelligent Agents
The problem of information overload is becoming acute for many professionals.
Intelligent agents can be trained to roam networks to select and alert users of new
relevant information. Additionally they can be used to filter out less relevant information
from information feeds. Intelligent agents are like the efficient Secretary in office ( minus
the personal touch ).

A related technology is that of text summarizing ( text mining ). British Telecom uses it
to summarize large documents, retaining over 90 per cent of the relevant meaning with
less than a quarter of the original text.
Mapping Tools
These tools, help individuals and teams develop cognitive maps or shared mental
models. These have been used by companies such as Shell to develop future scenarios
and resolve conflicting stakeholder requirements. Additionally mapping tools, such as
those found in Knowledge X, can represent conceptual linkages between different source
documents.
Document Management
Much of the explicit knowledge is shared through documents, especially structured
documents. With annotation and redlining facilities, they can become active knowledge
repositories, where the latest version and thinking is readily shared amongst project
teams.

By using a document management system for the construction of the Thelma North Sea
oil platform, AGIP reduced construction time by 9 months and reduced document
handling costs by 60 per cent. Suppliers like Dataware are repositioning their products as
knowledge management products and are also adding knowledge enriching
functionality.

IT Solution, or Knowledge Solution ?
As we mentioned earlier, with knowledge management area exploding, often IT
companies rushed in with a platter full of solutions repackaged as KM solutions. What
was information management yesterday became knowledge management, databases
took the name of knowledge bases, data warehouses as knowledge repositories and so on.
We need to remind ourselves once again that true knowledge management solutions are
not simply new labels, but add knowledge-enriching features. These include:

This is an important feature Adding contextual information to data - where was this
information used? What factors need to be considered when using it?

Another way would be using multimedia e.g. adding video clips or voice to databases of
best practice or problem solution databases

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Providing annotation - adding informal notes to individual data items; using MAPI
enabled software, where a document or file can be sent with a forwarding note by email

Not just the information but qualifying the same by giving details of originator, users
comments on the information
Providing links to experts - a click button to contact an expert (either by email or
phone).

All these help the transfer of tacit knowledge. Any tool should increasingly provide
links that add new levels of interaction, not just person-to-computer but person-to-person.

Knowledge Management Infrastructure
As technologies and applications evolve, the boundary line between the individual tools
seem to get blurred,- for instance, groupware and internet, document management and
information retrieval. Effective usage requires seamless interoperability and fluidity of
information and knowledge flow.

In view of this, organizations using IT to support knowledge activities need to think
about an overall architecture. Some companies, such as Glaxo Wellcome are recognizing
that knowledge management requires changes in established technical architectures.



Levels of an IT Knowledge Infrastructure

We can note that the different KM tools and the processes they support happen at
different levels.

At the base level is the requirement that people should be able to connect into knowledge
whenever and wherever they are ,- in the office, at remote sites or on the move . At
86

higher levels, there must be mechanisms for threaded conversations and structured
collaborative work.

As we move up through each architectural layer, - each of which depends on the one
below, increasingly the challenges are people and organization, rather than technology.


KNOWLEDGE PORTALS

As we said before, no other technology had as much impact on the way a business is
conducted, as Internet. Advent of Internet gave Knowledge Management an enormous
push,- opening up newer and better ways of knowledge sharing and collaboration. The
popularity and wide acceptance of Internet made innumerable new products available in
the market. Web-based technology allows KM solutions to be on the Internet, or the
firms Intranet ( intranet is an internal network using internet technology ). Organisations
have created VPN,- Virtual Private network, using Internet as the medium of
transmission, but through security measures the access is limited only to internal
employees. This allows employees to access the portal from anywhere in the world. The
access could the controlled through appropriate log-in. This gives a platform to the
employees to share best practices, problems, customer interactions etc and prevent
reinvention of wheel.


Web-based KM system: Advantages
i) Maintenance is easy,- whatever changes,- including upgrades, are to be installed are
done on the server.
ii) Any web browser can be used to access the server. Rather than a build- to- order
system, a browser makes it easy to access. New employees can access the system
with lesser training.
iii) Any technical assistance needed is easily available.


Web based KM tools

Web based discussion board for Knowledge Management

A virtual community can be created by using Web based discussion boards.
Web based discussion boards can be hosted where any one can post questions or doubts
on any issue. In response, others can share their experience over the issue. This will help
in sharing experience, solutions and best practices as and when required. However, we
need to keep in mind that the key to the success of in any discussion board is trust among
the members. Organization has to ensure that the trust is established among the members.
Occasional face-to-face interaction through conferences, seminars, etc helps to bring the
members together.

These discussion board scripts can be customized to integrate with existing web sites of
the organization . Different sections in the discussion board can be created to take care of
different domain of knowledge for sharing and discussions. The forum administrator has
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an important role as he has to maintain and ensure the dignity, usefulness and
involvement of all the members in the forum.


Document / Content publishing tool

Tools are available so that documents can be published in the internet or intranet portals
of the organization. Many organization have adopted this system. Authors can post their
articles, research papers etc to a web based content or document management solution.
The author can publish the document for evaluation by the subject expert and after
evaluation and clearance by the experts the document can be accessed by other members
of the organization. They can also post their comments, ratings, feedbacks on the
document. A search engine can search the database of all the published documents based
on different criteria. One could introduce features like 'what's new', whats hot,
document of the month, most read etc. Proper administration and monitoring of the
site like member authentication, member management is however required for control
purposes.

MAKING IT A SUCCESS

Knowledge management is more to do with people, process, leadership and all, and less
to do with technology. As any manager trying to implement change knows, it is the
human, organizational and cultural factors that are the ultimate determinants of success.
IT solutions for Knowledge Management are, in essence, social computing, and therefore
need such an approach. Organisations that have implemented KM systems successfully
are typically found to share the following characteristics:

Clear vision and leadership top leadership must have a solid appreciation of how
knowledge can contribute to business success and how IT can help.

Multidisciplinary teams - team should include information managers , facilitators,
business analysts, and also technologists.

User involvement - users are actively engaged in developing solutions that enhance
knowledge activities.

A knowledge sharing culture. People want to share information and their experience and
are rewarded for doing so.










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SUMMING IT UP

Information technology plays an important role in every successful knowledge
management program. This is an evolving field and a wider range of highly effective
solutions are coming to market. This includes a new generation of artificial intelligence
solutions, upgraded document management systems and various collaborative
technologies. Web-based solutions are increasingly getting popular.

However, successful implementation largely depends on giving proper focus to the non-
technical factors such as human factors, organizational processes and culture.

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89

Chapter 10



COMMUNITIES OF PRACTICE


The future belongs to organizations that learned to truly unleash the creative powers of
self-organizing project communities, knowledge networks, open source teams, and other
new ways of work and learning, based on free associations of people who are passionate
about what they do together
Communities of practice What is it ?

CoPs are basically a small group of people who have worked together over a period of
time. People in CoPs could do the same job, say Technical Representative, or collaborate
on a shared task, like,- software development, or work together on a product (engineers,
marketers, and manufacturing specialists). They are peers in the execution of 'real work.'
Primarily, what holds them together is a common sense of purpose and a real need to
know what each other knows. There could be many communities of practice within a
single company, and most likely a majority of the people would belong to more than one
community.

Elements of Communities of practice

It is a fairly common observation that a group of people would come together and share
each others experience over a particular subject of a common interest. This experience
sharing helps each other in solving day to day problems and updating themselves with
new knowledge in the area of their work. A group of teachers sharing experiences in
handling difficult students during the break, or nursing staffs sharing each others
experience about patient care while taking lunch together in a hospital canteen,- these are
examples of natural learning community interaction. This happens naturally without any
outside involvement. Similarly a group of Xerox technicians sharing their experiences
over handling customer complaints is a example of how community forums are naturally
evolved and helps every member in their professional life.

In a typical Community of Practice there are three elements present. These three
elements are:
i) Domain
ii) Community, and
iii) Practice.

Let us try to understand what we mean by each of these three elements.


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Domain

This is the area or the subject of interest which binds all the members. This can be the
profession or any other area of our interest. A lawyer by profession can be member of a
IT community because of the interest he or she has on the subject. Members of the
community are passionate about the domain. It is quite possible that a member can be
involved in more than one community. It is the domain that keeps the point of discussion
focused.

Community

When we talk of community we refer to things like how often the members meet ?
How is the trust and relationship among the members of the community? Do they freely
express their views? How is the structure of the community? All these answers tell about
the community. We must remember that the frequency or the periodicity of the
interaction is an important factor. If two computer networking experts working on similar
infrastructure projects happen to meet on a trans-atlantic flight,- the discussion can't be
called a community interaction,- simply because it is a chance meeting only. A one time
interaction can't form a community interaction.


Practice

One must be actively involved in the practice area in order to get the benefit of
interaction. A one time machine technician or a doctor who is not practicing can't join a
community of their profession. Organization culture and its Knowledge Management
system play an important role promoting community interaction.


Communities of Practice: The origin
Corporate: This is where it all began

Private sector is where Communities of Practice ( CoP) can be traced to have their
origins. Informal groups of employees, meeting regularly to share experiences and learn
from each other in corporations like Xerox, Boeing, etc., have been in existence since
long. By the late 1980s,organizations have recognized knowledge as the fourth
important factor of production and efficiency. This had led to organisations looking for
possible ways for their employees to learn from within the organisation, as well as from
outside. Meanwhile, advances in information technology offered enormous potential of
high speed data retrieval from storages with huge capacity. This led many organisations
to interpret knowledge management narrowly as digital capture and retrieval of
information. This narrow view however failed to address many issues related to
knowledge management, particularly the human side of KM. How do we address the
problems of incentives, and impediments to learning on the part of individuals,
organisations and institutions ?

Almost around the same time organizations faced tremendous challenges due to
globalization and connectivity. Traditional methods of human resource development were
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faced with increased costs and uncertain effectiveness. They were looking for new ways
to solve their problems of attracting and retaining talented people. The search for a
comprehensive approach for organisations to learn ended in authors like Senge (1990)
drawing from a vast array of disciplines to consolidate and give a comprehensive
framework for knowledge management. One of the effective stratagems was the import
and adaptation of social communities groups within the organisation who would share
and learn from each other, impelled by their own search and interest, and contribute
incidentally to the greater goals of the organization

1990s, saw many of the larger corporate organisations (both in the private sector and
development agencies such as the World Bank), instituting communities in an attempt
to elevate their levels of learning. This was done to improve the organizational
performance, and to create a more dynamic and learning environment. Working in a
globalised environment, with large number of employees scattered across many
geographical locations and divisions, organizations found that special efforts were
required to get people and organisational units to learn in an informal, yet semi-structured
manner.

During the 1990s one could witness a large number of Indian private sector organizations
also experimenting with CoPs. And by the turn of the century, this was common in many
organisations. As the benefits became obvious, many organizations had also taken the
initiative to put CoPs firmly in their Knowledge Management structures. CoPs across
organisations had also become popular by now, and thus bringing together professional
practitioners irrespective of organisational affiliations. This was quite in line with many
of the already existing professional associations e.g., HRD professionals, accountants,
lawyers, etc.

Structure of Communities Of practice

COP has became a natural choice of many knowledge management systems in order to
create a collaborative culture and providing a face to face platform for knowledge
sharing. The exact frame work of COP and its structure varies from organizations to
organization, based on its culture and environment. We will consider a more generalized
structure.

Organizations start COP model with existing communities and then move towards other
domains of strategic importance. During the process the structure remains two layers.
With the growth and success of the community the third layer is added. The third layer
relates to external knowledge flow and consists of suppliers, customers, academicians,
consultants and other interested parties. In the early stage mostly there will be two
layers. Some community will have just one sponsor or key leader who is included in the
core or inner layer of the community structure.

The general structure of the community of practice consists of two layers,; the core group
and the general members of the group. Core group consist of the key leaders of the
community who decides on the learning agenda of the community and always tries to
build a network among the members for an effective knowledge flow. The success of
COP depends on the dedication and hard work of the core group. The core group meets
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regularly and decides on the agenda of the meeting. Their home work before the
community meeting sets the direction for the meeting and has the major impact on the
learning and results of a successful community meeting. At times, some members from
the outer group takes active interest and became practice leader when the learning agenda
falls in their area of expertise. However, they are kept in the outer layer as their high
involvement is not regular.
Following are the characteristics of core group members:
Core group members are the people who have good understanding of the domain.
They are also familiar with the knowledge gaps of the domain. They can see the
future knowledge requirements, and attempts to bridge the knowledge gaps
existing in the organization.
Core group members establish the network among the members. They maintain a
profile of subject experts and know whom to contact. In a way, they are the
virtual directory of who's who.
By virtue of their knowledge of the domain, and always volunteering to assist,
members of core group are highly respected among community members.

Can spare sufficient time and priority for the community.





Coregroup& leader
General members
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Members in general

They are the members who participate in the community main meeting. They bring with
them their problems, success stories, and lessons learned to the community. They are
active participants in the discussions and problems of other community members.
However, there could be some members who maintain a low profile, but that does not
necessarily mean they are not interested. Primarily they are in the learning stage. They
speak little because they don't want to dilute the high learning agenda.


TOPIC OF DISCUSSION IN A COP SESSION

Usually, in a community interaction the topic for discussion or the agenda is decided by a
common agreement among the members. Members are encouraged to suggest a new
topic or a new area of an on going topic of discussion. Often the topics emerge during a
discussion or interaction. However there are other ways to identify a topic. For instance, a
recent development in organization which falls on the community domain could become
the hot topic of discussion. Similarly, a recent development in industry, or advent of a
new technology can became a key issue. The members would be keen to know the
developments to update themselves.

The topic of discussion in a Community of Practices interaction could emerge in a
number of ways. Let us take some examples:

a) A recent happening or event

The trigger can be from inside the organization, or outside. For instance, a change in
govt policy, the discovery of a new molecule for cure of some disease, or a dramatically
new product can create enough interest among the members to discuss on the subject.
Some happenings within the organization can take the centre stage of the discussion.
These are basically hot topics which everyone is interested to know about.

b) Conference / Visit

Members often attend various seminars, conferences,- sometimes to present papers, or
visit other organizations. They collect lot of information. The best place to share what
they learn is to present the key learnings in the community session. At times members
could use this platform to get ideas / suggestions on their papers before presenting
outside.

c) Suggested by members

Members of communities of practice are passionate about the domain to enrich their
knowledge. They discuss various issues and suggest topics of their interest. After a
discussion a topic would emerge that interests the majority of the members. Some time
out of some common questions raised by members the idea to go for a basic topic is
decided.

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d) Common Problem or issues

This platform is often used by members to discuss and find solution for common problem
affecting the community. Collectively the members debate and share their experience to
come out with best possible solution.

It is important to remember that it is part of the CoP culture that the topics to be discussed
are evolved, - it comes from among the members, and they are never forced by top
management.

These are some of the process through which a topic in a Community interaction is
finalized.

References: ALLKM.COM


STORYTELLING

We know more than we realize. The role of tacit knowledge has become a major
preoccupation because it is often the tacit knowledge that is most valuable. Yet if we do
not know what we know, how can we communicate it ? Storytelling provides an answer,
since by telling a story with feelings, we are able to communicate more than we
explicitly know. Our body takes over and does it for us, without consciousness. Thus,
although we know more than we can tell, we can, through storytelling, tell more than we
consciously know.

Stephen Denning,- Formerly Program Director for Knowledge Management at the
World Bank ( Quotation from : The Role Of Narrative In Organisations : Chapter Six ,
Page 169 of the book Storytelling in Organizations, Publisher- Butterworth-Heineman
Indian Reprint 2007 )

Storytelling,- this is an art known in our country for ages. Passing on knowledge from
Guru to Shishya, learning from Dada / Dadi through stories is itself an age old story.
Tacit knowledge can be passed on far easier through stories. This is because stories have
a context, it is easy to relate. Storyteller uses expressions to convey what cannot be put
in words. Much of tacit knowledge has the problem of not being explainable. Turn right
to turn left on a bicycle is not something that can be explained, no matter how much
science you put into it. So what can we do? As J ohn Seely Brown, former Chief Scientist
and Director of world famous Xerox PARC ( Palo Alto Research Centre ) laboratory
says, -perhaps the only hope lies in narrative.

( Narrative as a Knowledge Medium in Organisations Chapter Three, of the book
Storytelling in Organizations, Publisher- Butterworth-Heineman Indian Reprint 2007).

As Stephen Denning writes: narrative and storytelling far from being trivial and
insignificant, constitute an obvious and central aspect of every functioning organization.
Indeed, he further adds, the presumption should be the other way: any discussion of
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organizations that does not place narrative and storytelling at the centre is bound to be
misleading and incomplete.

To counter the argument of triviality and insignificance of storytelling, Denning reminds
us of the characteristics of narrative and storytelling,- the reasons why it is so pervasive
in organizations and elsewhere.

- Stories help us make sense of the organizations
- Storytelling is quick and powerful
- Narratives communicate naturally
- Storytelling communicates collaborately
- Storytelling communicates persuasively
- Storytelling communicates context
- Storytelling is memorable

It is time organizations took serious note of this powerful medium for knowledge
capturing and sharing.


READING:

Once Upon a Time

By Bill Birchard

When a meeting of the minds isnt enough, try a meeting of the emotions: Tell a
story

SOURCE: Strategy+Business, Second quarter, 2002

http://www.strategy-business.com/press/article/18637?pg=all

A company president faced a familiar dispute between his design engineers and business
managers: Should the lions share of engineering money go into new product design or
into current product support? The design engineers were keen on getting cash to invent
the next new thing. The business managers wanted money to support existing products.
The president wrestled with how to tell the engineers he preferred channeling most
money to current products. How could he effectively communicate that message?
Its real-life business. And its just the kind of conundrum Annette Simmons tackles in
her book The Story Factor: Secrets of Influence from the Art of Storytelling. Ms.
Simmons argues that stories help managers deliver direction, information, and inspiration
to their colleagues more powerfully than a pure logical argument. Thats a special power
to have in a world where managing change and innovation are central to business
success.
In the case of the company president, an appeal to reason would not have worked, Ms.
Simmons says. Design engineers could have responded with charts and statistics
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advocating their side. Nor would issuing a directive have won the day. The designers, as
sophisticated knowledge workers, would have found subtle ways to resist.
To get past this behavior, the president knew he had to play partly to his designers
imaginations and emotions. So he told them the briefest of stories: The early bird gets
the worm, but something that is just as true and people dont talk about as much is
that the second mouse gets the cheese!
The first mouse gets his head squished, he added. I dont want to be the first mouse. I
want to be the second. I want our company to be smart about where we put our resources.
Let someone else be first; second is where the money is.
With an image of rodent roadkill, he got his point across in a colorful, amusing, right-
brain way. As Ms. Simmons writes, influencing people through scientific analysis is a
push strategy. It requires the speaker to convince the listener through cold, hard facts.
That sets up an antagonistic conversation. Storytelling is a pull strategy, coaxing
listeners disarming them, even into imagining outcomes toward which facts would
not lead them.
Stories, which may embellish or emphasize a certain point of view, are central for making
sense of the world around us. Authors like Annette Simmons note that people are raised
on stories and see their lives as an ongoing story. As Robert Fulford, author of The
Triumph of Narrative: Storytelling in the Age of Mass Culture, says, To discover we
have no story is to acknowledge that our existence is meaningless, which we may find
unbearable.
Thats not to reject the value in facts, of course, but simply to recognize their limits in
influencing people. Compared to facts, stories often better convey meaning, better create
sense out of chaotic experience, better establish rapport among the speaker and listeners.
Stories flick a switch in adults that can bring them back to a childlike open-mindedness
and make them less resistant to experimentation and change. Witness the success of
Spencer J ohnsons Who Moved My Cheese? An Amazing Way to Deal with Change in
Your Work and in Your Life. The messages in the book about the pain of change arent
new. Its how the story is told that keeps this simple book on the bestseller list four years
after its publication.
Stephen Denning, author of The Springboard: How Storytelling Ignites Action in
Knowledge-Era Organizations and the head of knowledge management at the World
Bank, maintains that stories engage listeners as participants, rather than spectators. The
story invites them to join the experience, and to grow from it. Mr. Denning argues that
listeners co-create the story. They actually visualize themselves acting on the mental
stage the storyteller has set up.
In business, stories are useful in many kinds of communication to explain, inspire,
educate, train, convince, schmooze, mentor, and, obviously, entertain. Stories used in a
business context are perhaps most widely thought of as a means to sustain company
cultures. Hero stories abound in corporations, for example, stressing integrity in the face
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of an ethical dilemma; extraordinary service that delights and surprises the customer; and
empathy and kindness extended to employees by their leaders.
Peg C. Neuhauser, author of Corporate Legends & Lore: The Power of Storytelling as a
Management Tool, tells the story of the hospital CEO who visited shivering steelworkers
who were erecting an addition to the hospital in the middle of winter. He took pity on
their discomfort and installed free coffee and hot-chocolate vending machines at the
outdoor work site. In so doing, the CEO reinforced the caring culture he nurtured inside
the hospital. Ms. Neuhauser says such stories become part of the sacred bundle of tales
that guide employees in how to act toward customers, vendors, and each other.
Yiannis Gabriel, author of Storytelling in Organizations: Facts, Fictions, and Fantasies,
suggests the power of culture-reinforcing tales. One of his stories goes like this: A new
CEO has just joined a struggling corporation. Right before meeting with his vice
presidents, he uproots a sign in the parking lot that reads reserved for the CEO. He
throws it on the table at the meeting and asks who put up the sign and all the other
signs reserving spots for the VPs. This is not the kind of leadership I will have around
here, he says. By weeks end, he fires the offending executive.
Perhaps the most powerful role of stories today is to ignite and drive changes in
management policy and practices. Mr. Denning describes his use of stories
imaginative anecdotes, really to change his organization from being solely a lender of
money to also offering its expertise in project implementation. The World Banks clients,
the poor nations of the world, need more than loans these days; they need knowledge
about how to use those loans wisely. To help staff visualize what it means to provide
implementation knowledge to clients, Mr. Denning relied on what he calls springboard
stories sketchy vignettes that suggested a new vision and set of values for future
client service.
Mr. Dennings goal was ambitious. He wanted the anecdotes he told to stir fresh ideas
among the staff about how, placed in analogous situations, they would triumph over
problems similar to those described in the stories. Yet Mr. Denning says the story he used
in 1996 to launch his change effort was based on the slimmest material. It didnt even
come from the World Bank. A colleague told Mr. Denning how a health worker in
Kamana, Zambia, was struggling to find a solution for treating malaria. In this tiny and
remote rural town, the health worker logged on to the Web site of the U.S.s Centers for
Disease Control and Prevention and got an answer.
This true story happened, not, as if in a fantasy, in 2015, but in J une 1995, Mr. Denning
recounted. This is not a rich country: It is Zambia, one of the least developed countries
in the world. But the most striking aspect of the picture is this: [The World Bank] doesnt
have its know-how and expertise organized so that someone like the health worker in
Zambia can have access to it. But just imagine if it did!
Mr. Denning knew he didnt have to spell out his entire message. World Bank
employees, who work in the most impoverished locales on earth, could picture
themselves elbow to elbow with poor professionals like that health worker. They knew
what it was like to be asked a question by a local worker and not be able to give the kind
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of answers expected from a World Bank employee. By helping employees paint this
scene in their minds, Mr. Denning made them realize that the status quo was untenable,
which encouraged them to take action.
Even when the listeners are adults, all they have to hear are words akin to once upon a
time, and the judgmental doors of their left brains tend to swing closed. The doors of
their right brains always eager to hear life turned into a story swing open
Consider this fable: Once upon a time there was a crow. She was a hot, thirsty crow, and
she soared from east to west and north to south in search of water. After many hours, she
spied a pitcher full of water in a gravel courtyard. But, alas, the neck of the pitcher was
too narrow for her to insert her beak. What could she do? As her black feathers baked in
the sun, inspiration struck. She picked up a bunch of stones from the courtyard, and
tossed them, one by one, into the pitcher. As the water rose to the rim of the pitcher, she
could drink.
This Aesop fable has a moral: Necessity is the mother of invention. But the moral,
however relevant, is not whats most notable to a student of storytelling. Whats
remarkable is that when listeners hear the start of such a story whether fable, personal
remembrance, or corporate myth they implicitly agree to a certain set of rules as an
audience. Rather than judge the veracity of each fact presented, as they would in a
traditional analytical presentation, they tend to let the facts slide (what would be the point
of arguing over the reasoning powers of a crow?).
As Yiannis Gabriel says, stories coax listeners into colluding with the storyteller to find
meaning, no matter how fantastic or fanciful the story may sound. Squished mice?
Thirsty crows? No matter. Stories quiet the nettlesome nit-picking of left-brain thinking
and stimulate peoples creativity.
You may wonder, if you dont fancy yourself a storyteller, just where do you come up
with relevant stories to tell in a corporation? Dont get the impression that most of your
tales should come from Aesop or from other fiction. Most come from your own
experience. From childhood. From college. From work. From military experience.
Professor Gabriel recalls a story from a naval training camp. Recruits were standing for
inspection before receiving furloughs. They shifted nervously. The commanding officer
could cancel their furlough for the least reason. On one occasion, so the recruits said, the
officer had asked them to lower their trousers while standing to be inspected. He then
canceled everyones leave because the men were wearing a motley selection of briefs
rather than the official Navy-issued white boxers.
If you were to recall a similar humorous memory, you could use it, for example, to
illustrate the kind of controlling behavior you abhor. Or you could use a story to show
humanness, or even to suggest vulnerability. Alternatively, you could share stories from
master management storytellers like Stanley Bing. Mr. Bing, a columnist at Fortune
magazine (and the nom de plume for Gil Schwartz, a senior CBS executive), is known for
mercilessly using edgy humor to expose management truths. His latest book, Throwing
the Elephant: Zen and the Art of Managing Up, gives self-help advice about managing
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your boss by telling stories through the eyes of a modern-day Buddah. Mr. Bing uses an
elephant as a metaphor for a boss. One tip: If the elephant can see what youre doing in
its rearview mirror, you are too close.
You may think that you cant possibly bring stories into your speeches and conversations,
or that you cant remember anything worth telling. But professional storyteller J ack
Maguire, author of The Power of Personal Storytelling: Spinning Tales to Connect with
Others, documents a variety of means to dredge up, and liven up, such memories. Mr.
Maguire suggests listing story triggers on a sheet of paper, and then seeing what they
conjure up.
One set of story triggers is simply a set of emotions pride, anger, fearlessness, joy,
masterfulness, amazement. When you feel a particular emotion, what emerges in your
memory? Another inspiration is to think backward through five-year phases of your life
40 to 35, 35 to 30, 30 to 25, etc. Still another is to draw a lifeline. On a vertical line,
mark branches off each side, like a tree. The branches on one side are choices made and
actions pursued (quitting a job, giving a speech). The branches on the other are choices
deferred and actions not taken (not quitting a job, not giving a speech). The lifeline
depicts the crossroads in your life, which invariably brim with personal drama.
In getting the most out of stories, storyteller Doug Lipman, author of Improving Your
Storytelling: Beyond the Basics for All Who Tell Stories in Work or Play, advises
storytellers to first identify the Most Important Thing (or MIT) in the story. That is,
whats so important about the story? Is it about egalitarianism? About decisiveness?
About the firms willingness to clean out deadwood?
To find the MIT, Mr. Lipman counsels storytellers to ask, What do you love about this
story? He stresses that an effective telling depends on not letting subthemes muddy the
tales meaning. The MIT, he says, drives the storys direction in the same way a strategy
drives the direction of a business.
Mr. Maguire says we instinctively follow a four-step dramatic pattern to shape our
stories: We find a protagonist with a situation or problem, depict a change that creates
drama (a decision, an outside development), highlight a turning point in the drama (crisis,
conflict), and describe the aftermath.
You can find all four steps in the story about the CEO who removed the reserved-parking
signs and then dismissed the executive who had them installed. Here, the four-step
formula gives the story a satisfying sense of closure. But a story could simply be an
analogy, a joke, or a behavioral snapshot. Fragments of stories spur listeners
imaginations in the same way.
Storytellers engage peoples imaginations and emotions best when they are working face
to face, using voice, gestures, and body language to convey the emotional weight that
grabs listeners. Many stories, especially organizational ones, sound flat on paper. Thats
why most books on storytelling include several chapters on delivery. The Storytellers
Guide: Storytellers Share Advice for the Classroom, Boardroom, Showroom, Podium,
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Pulpit and Central Stage, by Bill Mooney and David Holt, features interviews with
seasoned storytellers to get at a broad array of insight.
Professional storytellers rarely learn stories by rote. Yes, they do memorize key turns of
phrase. But as the storyteller Doug Lipman says, they always have to be thinking in the
present making decisions from moment to moment on everything from voice to word
choice. Or, as another storyteller reminds us, you can find the secret to live delivery on
the back of a sweepstakes ticket: You have to be present to win.
No doubt the company president was present when he told his story about the mouse. If
he hadnt been, the image and meaning of squished heads and squashed profits
wouldnt have sunk in.
Back
















101

Chapter 11

PRACTICES OF KNOWLEDGE MANAGEMENT
IN MODERN GLOBAL ORGANISATIONS

Early adopters of knowledge management, with some exceptions, were the consulting firms
like McKinsey, Ernst & Young, Bain & co, and Information technology firms like IBM.
Some organizations like HP started practicing knowledge management when the term
knowledge management wasnt so popular. We will take some examples of firms which
are global in their operations, and have successfully implemented knowledge management.
IBM:
Not only that IBM has made significant contributions to knowledge management through
Lotus Notes etc. , but IBM was one of the first to provide a company-wide architecture for
mapping the vast amount and range of information within the company. IBMs Guide to
Market Information was a sort of catalog of catalogs in integrating the information
available within IBM, and linking each information area to a contact person.
SKANDIA:
This Sweden-based multinational insurance company, under the leadership of Leif
Edvinsson, Director of intellectual capital, has been a world leader in intellectual capital
accounting: identifying, valuing, and measuring the performance of intellectual capital.
Since 1992 Skandia has published an intellectual capital supplement to its annual report. In
1993 it launched its Business Navigator, an integrated system for linking intellectual
capital management with strategy and performance management.
TEXAS INSTRUMENTS:
Knowledge Management program was initiated in Texas Instruments in 1994. This was after
an after an extensive program of cost reduction and business process reengineering. Cindy
J ohnson, Director of Collaboration and Knowledge Sharing had commented:
We felt we needed to find a new paradigm for reaching the next level of improvement. We
had to find ways to become more agile and learn faster so that we can innovate faster than
our competitors. This is not about cutting people or bringing in new machines. It is about
facilitating the flow of ideas, practices and knowledge.
( Knowledge Horizons : Butterworth Heinemann pp45 )
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We had pockets of mediocrity right next door to world-class performance simply because one
operation did not know what was happening at the other operation : observed Jerry Junkins,
Chairman, TI.
The TI Business Excellent Strategy, known as I-BEST, provided a common methodology
and common language for defining excellence, assessing progress, identifying opportunities
for improvement, and establishing and deploying action.
TIs first major initiative was transferring best practices around its 134 fabrication plants. In
1994, TI created an Office of Best Practices to facilitate identification and transfer of best
practices. At the heart of the system was a Best Practices knowledge base based on Lotus
Notes.
Dow Chemical:
A pioneering effort was initiated by Dow Chemical to systematically manage its knowledge
through its Asset management Model. At the core of it lies Dows portfolio of over 30,000
patents which it values and links with the strategies of Dows individual businesses.
Intellectual asset Management is supported by 75 multinational teams, each aligned with a
business. Each team is responsible for the development and exploitation of a segment of
Dows intellectual capital.
Hewlett Packard:
Hewlett Packard is one of those companies that made enormous effort and progress in
knowledge management much before the term was known to many people. HPs position as
one of the oldest and most adaptable of the leading companies in Californias Silicon Valley
owes much to the companys ability to acquire, rearrange, and redeploy knowledge.
History tells us that few in the world had known what knowledge management is at a time
when the processes of acquiring, reconfiguring, and redeploying knowledge was deeply
ingrained in HP. Like most companies, many of HPs knowledge management activities were
heavily IT based, and focused on the management of explicit knowledge. Further, Hewlett
Packard was particularly concerned with the management of tacit knowledge. The late Lewis
Platt, the then Chairman and CEO of HP observed:
Successful companies of the 21
st
century will be those who do the best jobs of capturing,
storing, and leveraging what their employees know.
HPs Knowledge Links system shares knowledge about product generation. At HP
Consulting, knowledge sharing has extended beyond GroupWare and knowledge mapping to
include informal groupings with common interests called Learning Communities and
Project snapshots that collect lessons from various project teams.



103

BECHTEL
About Bechtel
Bechtel is one of the world's premier engineering, construction, and project management
companies. Bechtel had revenue in 2007 of $ 27 billion. With headquarters in San
Francisco, Bechtel has 41,000 employees and more than 60 offices worldwide. Bechtel is
engaged in 1,100 projects in 66 countries, and has customers in industries ranging from
airports, telecommunications, and power plants to mining and metals, petroleum and
chemical, and water.
SOURCE: MARINA DEL REY, Calif.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--May 30, 2001
Bechtel Corp., one of the world's premier engineering, construction and project
management firms, is using Digital Lava Incs rich media technology as part of the
company's corporate wide initiative to capture and distribute knowledge over the Internet.
Using Digital Lava's rich media platform, Bechtel has taken portions of a primer course
on Rail Systems Engineering and made that content available globally to thousands of
employees. For Bechtel, enabling employees to access this content on-demand provides a
key competitive advantage in the burgeoning and highly lucrative rail business.
Ralph Mason, a principal vice president in Bechtel's rail business, explained that he
initially founded the Bechtel rail program in response to heightened demand for Bechtel
project managers and civil engineers with railway knowledge and expertise.
"There is a tremendous amount of rail work around the world, particularly in the United
Kingdom," Mason commented, "and, because of this demand, we often find ourselves
transferring talent from one business line to another. In order to provide these employees
with the best introduction possible to the business, we decided to partner with the
University of Sheffield in the United Kingdom -- one of the few universities with a
highly rated master's program in the field of Rail Systems Engineering -- to design a
course that specifically met our needs.
It wasn't until the Global Learning and Development Group approached us with the idea
of using on-demand interactive learning technologies that we realized there was even
greater potential to distribute this valuable content on a global scale," Mason explained.
According to Dennis Morin, manager of global learning and development, Digital Lava's
rich media format is particularly well suited to Bechtel's needs due to the fact that the
Sheffield program primarily consists of a series of lectures by world-renowned experts in
the rail industry.
"The ability to capture these experts on video, synchronize that video with associated
graphics, animations and PowerPoint(R) slides, and provide that content in the form of a
fully integrated and searchable desktop presentation is particularly compelling for our
workforce," stated Morin.
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Mike Myatt, a vice president and manager in Bechtel Civil, the business unit that includes
Bechtel's rail business, underscored the importance of being able to deliver the
instructional rail program on-site and on-demand. "When I was managing a high-speed
rail project in Korea, it would have been great to be able to send some of my team
members to the Sheffield program in London. Unfortunately, that simply wasn't feasible
from a cost or time standpoint. Now, with Digital Lava, even folks in the most remote
locations have the ability to benefit from this course," Myatt stated.
Morin said that the company has had tremendous feedback from the employees and
executive team members who have viewed the content. He also stated that with its newly
implemented Learning Management System (LMS), Bechtel will be able to track and
report the numbers of users who access the program online.
"Bechtel is committed to migrating more of the Sheffield program into Digital Lava's rich
media format over the next year," commented Morin. "The cost of utilizing Digital Lava's
rich media software and services is small in comparison to the overall value of enabling
any Bechtel employee, anywhere, to learn from highly credible subject matter experts in
the field of railway design and construction -- literally on-demand."
Bob Greene, chairman and CEO of Digital Lava, responded: "It's extremely gratifying
when a company like Bechtel -- which prides itself on its global reach and enterprising
spirit -- recognizes the value of Digital Lava's on-demand rich media solutions for
achieving key business objectives. What we're seeing with clients like Bechtel is that
there truly is an overall `return on information' that can be gained by capturing and
distributing knowledge and information on a global scale."
Following is an account of how Bechtel tries to meet stringent 36 month deadline to
build Reliance Industries Jamnagar refinery, the worlds largest refinery.
http://www.eleconomista.es/empresas-finanzas/noticias/140004/01/07/Bechtel-Tackles-
One-of-Its-Most-Challenging-Projects-With-Help-of-Bentleys-ProjectWise.html


Bechtel Tackles One of Its Most Challenging Projects With Help of Bentley's
ProjectWise
30/01/2007
Accessed 21.8.2008
Bechtel Corporation, one of the world's premier engineering, construction, and project
management companies, is using Bentley's ProjectWise system to collaborate on the
J amnagar Export Refinery Project (J ERP) in India. In both scope and complexity, the
project rivals many of Bechtel's previous exceptional accomplishments, including Hoover
Dam, the Channel Tunnel, and the Trans-Alaska Pipeline. J ERP has a plot plan bigger
than that of London and a target completion time of less than 36 months.
Bechtel is tackling this megaproject using engineering resources dispersed around the
globe, including a design and engineering team of 2500 professionals in 10 design
locations, 19 offices, and eight countries. In total, the project will employ more than
105

90,000 people during construction and call for the fabrication and installation of 109,170
metric tons of steel, about five million meters of varied size pipe, more than 4000 pieces
of major equipment, and more than 110,000 isometrics.
Connecting People and Information Across the Enterprise
To successfully complete a project this vast in scope and widely distributed in so little
time, Bechtel knew it would need unprecedented network connectivity, document access,
and document control. The collaboration solution Bechtel selected for its 2D CAD
file management was Bentley's ProjectWise.
As described by Bechtel senior project personnel, "In our decentralized model,
technology that supports work sharing is absolutely vital. The business must be able to
reliably move attached pieces of work around the globe. Different pieces of engineering
must be integrated and linked seamlessly, even though the work is occurring in multiple
locations. ProjectWise helps make this possible."
Nearly 1000 users in nine locations are employing ProjectWise to ensure that more than
50,000 drawings are available to the correct discipline at the correct location. With
ProjectWise, the drawings can be worked on collaboratively, enabling designers in one
location to view the results of design teams in other offices almost immediately. This
means Bechtel can rapidly distribute the project work to the different locations in a much
more granular way - by unit, by discipline, and even by drawing - as the needs of the
project dictate.
A key advantage realized by the project team is the ability to search for and find all files
that were changed in the last week, and to cross reference the location of the files found
with the location of the person who last changed them. This enables the J ERP team to
regularly reassess and redistribute their project content, optimizing productivity and
reducing network traffic.
J oe Croser, global marketing director, Bentley platform products, commented, "This
application of knowledge gained through querying a document's history enables Bechtel's
team to redistribute the content to 'follow the skill' as the design process iterates towards
construction."
Data Reuse an Added Benefit
J ERP is an expansion of the refinery that Bechtel built some 10 years ago for Reliance
Industries. Once completed, this new project will roughly double the size of the original
Reliance Industries site, creating the world's largest refinery complex.
Using ProjectWise to track and manage data, Bechtel has been able to facilitate the reuse
of more than 25 percent of the design and engineering information generated during
construction of the original facilities. This has proved to be critically important in
meeting the project's aggressive timescale.

106

In addition, Bechtel has been able to use ProjectWise to coordinate and collaborate with
Reliance Industries on the procurement of equipment and systems for the new facilities
that match, as closely as possible, the equipment and systems used in the existing
refinery. In many cases, reengineering has been required, which ProjectWise has also
facilitated. The end result has been major time and money savings during construction,
with significant and continued savings anticipated during operations.

About ProjectWise
ProjectWise is a system of collaboration servers that enables distributed enterprises and
related organizations to successfully deliver infrastructure projects. Its core capabilities
allow users to manage, find, and share CAD and geospatial content.
About Bechtel Corporation
Bechtel Corporation is one of the world's premier global engineering, construction, and
project management companies, with more than a century of experience on complex
projects in challenging locations worldwide. Privately owned with headquarters in San
Francisco, the company has 40 offices around the world and nearly 40,000 employees.
Bechtel's project capabilities include roads and rail systems, airports and seaports, fossil
and nuclear power plants, refineries and petrochemical facilities, mines and smelters,
defense and aerospace facilities,
environmental cleanup projects, telecommunications networks, pipelines, and oil and gas
field development. Signature projects include Hoover Dam, the Channel Tunnel Rail
Link, the Kuwait oil fires, the Boston Central Artery/Tunnel, Iraq reconstruction, the
Three Mile Island cleanup, J ubail Industrial City, Hong Kong International Airport, and
the San Francisco Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART)

SIEMENS:
( Decision Support Systems and Intelligent Systems :Turban, Aronson, Liang Pearson
Education 2006 P-512 )

SIEMENS KNOWS WHAT IT KNOWS THROUGH KNOWLEDGE MANAGEMENT



THE PROBLEM

Siemens AG, a $73 billion electronics and electrical-engineering conglomerate, produces
everything from light bulbs to X-ray machines, from power generation equipment to
high-speed trains. During its 156-year history, Siemens has developed into one of the
world's largest and most successful corporations. Siemens is well known for the technical
107

brilliance of its engineers, but much of their knowledge was locked and unavailable to
other employees. Facing the pressure to maximize the benefits of corporate membership
of each business unit; Siemens AG needed to learn to leverage the knowledge and
expertise of its 460,000 employees worldwide.

THE SOLUTION

The roots of knowledge management at Siemens go back to 1996, when a number of
people within the corporation with an interest in knowledge management (KM) formed a
community of interest. They researched the subject, learned what was being done by other
companies, and determined how KM could benefit Siemens. Without suggestion or
encouragement from senior executives, mid-level employees in Siemens business units
began creating repositories, communities of practice, and informal techiniques of sharing
knowledge. By 1999, the central board of Siemens AG confirmed the importance of
knowledge management to the entire company by creating an organizational unit that
would be responsible for the worldwide deployment of KM.

The movement toward knowledge management by Siemens has presented several
challenges to the company, the most notable of which are technological and cultural. At
the heart of Siemens's technical solution to knowledge management is a Web site called
ShareNet, whIch combines elements of a database repository, a chat room, and a search
engine. Online entry forms allow employees to store information they think might be
useful to colleagues. Other Siemens employees are able to search the repository or
browse by topic, and then contact the authors for more information using one of the
available communication channels. In addition, the system lets employees post an alert
when they have an urgent question.. Although KM implementation at Siemens involved
establishing a network to collect, categorize, and share information using databases and
intranets, Siemens realized that IT was only the tool that enabled knowledge
management. Randall Sellers, director of knowledge management for the Americas
Region of Siemens, states: "In my opinion, the technology or IT role is a small one. I
think it's 20 percent IT and 80 percent change management-dealing with cultural change
and human interfaces." .

Siemens used a three-pronged effort to convince employees that it is important to
participate in the exchange of ideas and experiences and to share what they know.
The challenge is managing the people who manage the knowledge. You have to
make it easy for them to share, or they won't. Siemens has assigned 100 internal
evangelists around the world to be responsible for training, answering questions,
and monitoring the system. Siemens's top management has shown its full support
for the knowledge management projects. And the company is providing incentives
to overcome employees' resistance to change. When employees post documents to
the system or use the knowledge, Siemens rewards them with "shares" (like
frequent-flyer miles). An employee's accumulation of shares can be exchanged for
things like consumer electronics or discounted trips to other countries. However, the
real incentive of the system is much more basic. Commission-driven salespeople
have already learned that the knowledge and expertise of their colleagues available
through ShareNet can be indispensable in winning lucrative contracts. Employees in
marketing, service, R&D, and other departments are also willing to participate and
108

contribute once they realize that the system provides them with useful information
in a convenient way.

The ShareNet has undergone tremendous growth, which resulted in several challenges for
Siemens. The company strives to maintain a balance between global and local knowledge
initiatives as well as between knowledge management efforts that support the entire
company and those that help individual business units. Furthermore, Siemens works to
prevent ShareNet from becoming so overloaded with knowledge that it becomes useless.
A group is assigned to monitor the system and remove trivial and irrelevant content.

RESULTS

ShareNet has evolved into a state-of-the-art Web-based knowledge management system
that stores and catalogs volumes of valuable knowledge, makes it available to every
employee, and enhances global collaboration. Numerous companies, including Intel,
Philips, and Volkswagen, studied ShareNet before setting up their own knowledge
management systems. Teleos, an independent knowledge management research
company, has acknowledged Siemens as one of the Most Admired Knowledge
Enterprises worldwide for five years in a row.

Siemens has realized a variety of quantifiable benefits afforded by knowledge man-
agement. For example, in April 1999, the company developed a portion of ShareNet to
support the Information & Communications Networks Group at the cost of $7.8 million.
Within two years, the tool helped to generate $122 million in additional sales.

Ultimately, knowledge management may be one of the major tools that will help Siemens
prove that large diversified conglomerates can work and that being big might even be an
advantage in the Information Age.

World Bank and Ryder Systems
From: http://www.cio.com/
Finding the Lasting Value of Knowledge Management
Tom Davenport, CIO, November 01, 2000

The two organizations Ill focus on are the World Bank and Ryder System. They dont
have much in common other than the joint pursuit of knowledge-based transformation.
Both are service organizations that are supplementing their primary offerings to provide
knowledge to customers.





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WORLD BANK
The World Bank Group has been dispensing loans to developing countries for 50-plus
years. In 1996, J ames Wolfensohn, then the new president, announced that the World
Bank would strive to become the "Knowledge Bank." As usual with such Olympian
pronouncements, the banks staff scrambled to figure out what the heck Wolfensohn
meant, and the skeptics argued that "this too shall pass."
But it did not. Instead, a large variety of initiatives appeared that penetrated almost every
corner of the far-flung organization. Sure, there were the usual knowledge repositories,
benchmarking efforts with other companies and consulting projects. But what the Bank
has that few other organizations can boast is integration with the organizations basic
mission and processes. The Banks mission statement was modified to read: "To help
people help themselves and their environment by providing resources, sharing
knowledge, building capacity and forging partnerships in the public and private sectors."
Its strategic plan included a major section on knowledge management that defined the
concept and how it would be applied within the organization. By fiscal 2000 the Bank
spent about $45 million, or 5 percent of operational expenditures, on knowledge
management. Every staff member was expected to devote two weeks of time a year to
knowledge creation, sharing and learning. "Communities of practice" or, as the Bank
quirkily called them, "thematic groups," were organized for the creation and sharing of
knowledge in key content domains, such as early childhood development, school health
and disaster relief. Presently, there are about 100 such groups, and almost half of the
Banks employees were active members of at least one group.
Most important, the effort is showing results. The "Urban Slums and Upgrading"
thematic group, for example, used knowledge management-based approaches to begin
circulating ideas around the Bank for dealing with the problems of slums in developing
nations. They developed a CD-based "electronic tool kit," for those who need help in
designing and implementing large-scale urban infrastructure projects. They also
developed an approach to "tacit knowledge download" to help new staff members learn
from experienced ones.
Ryder Systems
OK, maybe youre more interested in dollars made than dollars loaned. If so, Ryder
System is your poster child for using knowledge management to transform the business.
Ryder is a leader in the business of providing integrated logistics and transportation
management solutions. Sure, that includes truckscompanies can rent, lease or even buy
used trucks from Ryderbut it also includes knowledge. For example, say you are a PC
manufacturer and you want to optimize your distribution network for your PCs. You need
to know things like how many warehouses you should have, whats the right mix of truck
and air transportation, what distribution strategies will minimize the rapid depreciation of
your products and how to deal with product returns. Making use of Ryders truck fleet
may be part of the solution to these problems, but a more valuable component is the
knowledge of the companys "Logistics Solutions Experts" and "Transportation Solutions
Experts." Ryders integrated logistics business is fast-growing, already big (almost $2
billion in revenues) and extremely dependent on knowledge-based solutions.
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So the company is implementing a major knowledge management initiative. Leading the
effort is Gene Tyndall, Ryders executive vice president of global markets and e-
commerce. "Ryders employees, the knowledge they have and the knowledge they create
are the corporate assets that impact our performance more than any other form of
capital," says Tyndall.
Like many companies, Ryders knowledge initiative has a technical component. Its
called the Knowledge Center, and it has some spiffy elements. Its in part a repository or
centralized knowledge portal, with role-specific customization. It also supports
collaboration. Allowing a team for example, seeking the best solution for a customers
supply chain to come together online and share best practices in a virtual work space.
One of the biggest challenges to successfully implementing KM is to properly address the
cultural change issues. Unlike many companies, Ryders efforts are focused on that
aspect of organizational change. The Ryder implementation program includes
communications, training, policies and procedures, knowledge proficiencies, incentives, a
comprehensive measurement system, and the creation of an organizational team to lead
and support the knowledge management effort.
J ust as the World Bank will always offer loans, Ryder may always be the place to go for
commercial trucks. But both organizations are also becoming destinations for high-
powered knowledge-based solutions. The hype behind knowledge management may wax
and wane, but the business transformations under way at Ryder and the World Bank are
true indications of the long-term value of knowledge and its management.
2008 CXO Media Inc.

Xerox Shares Its Knowledge
Michael Hickins
Reprinted from Management Review, September 1999. Copyright @ 1999 American
Management Association International. Reprinted by permission of American
Management Association International, New York, NY. All rights reserved.
http://www.amanet.org.

An acknowledged leader in knowledge management, Xerox has succeeded in its
initiatives because it fits the information technology to the people. As the author notes,
"Xerox assumes that KM initiatives can be as low-tech as notes on a refrigerator door or
as high-tech as its intranet-based virtual office solutions." His conclusion: "Other
companies. .. should emulate Xerox's implementation strategy, which is based on . ..
allowing workplace habits-not IT -to drive the process. "

Reality check du jour: a competitive edge based on technological superiority is now
measured in weeks rather than years, providing a head start at best. But companies can
regain that edge by leveraging their knowledge (or intellectual capital) to get more
mileage out of their innovations and bring them to market faster than the competition.
Xerox Corp., an emerging leader in knowledge management practices, is an interesting
example of how the process is done right.
111


A pioneer in knowledge management (KM) research and development, the Stamford,
Connecticut-based company has been consciously managing knowledge since 1990,
when it repositioned itself as a "document company" as part of a new 15-year strategic
outlook and adopted its Year 2005 plan. Today, Xerox [www.xerox.com] is one of the
top five "Most Admired Knowledge Enterprises" chosen by senior executives at
Fortune's Global 500 companies and leading KM practitioners in a survey sponsored by
Business Intelligence and the Journal of Knowledge Management, both of the UK.

Xerox's reputation as a leading knowledge company has been built on a strong
knowledge-sharing culture. This culture has become a catalyst for the company's
development of knowledge-intensive products. In Xerox's case, the innovations happen to
be KM tools-technologies for efficient knowledge sharing developed on the basis of the
company's existing copier, printing and scanning technologies. But even nontechnology
companies can leverage their knowledge in this manner.

Xerox also aligns its KM practice with its business plan, which calls for the company to
use its strength and customer base in traditional document management products to
evolve into a total digital network solutions company. At the same time, it expects to
improve staple metrics such as quality and time-to-market. Since the company now
defines documents as any information structured for human comprehension, its business
has expanded to include products and services that touch on document and knowledge
management, including a KM consulting service.

Consistent with that strategic alignment is the active encouragement and support that
senior management gives to each business unit's KM effort. The leadership believes that
the company can gain a significant competitive advantage by leveraging the knowledge
contained in the heads of 90,000 employees, its archives of patents and processes, and
countless documents stored around the world in various digital formats.

While many companies' KM initiatives have failed, Xerox has been able to make KM
work because it has focused on the right thing from the start. Rather than emphasizing the
IT infrastructure of knowledge sharing and forcing employees to either adapt or fail,
Xerox has gone to great lengths to tailor its KM initiatives to people by understanding
how they do their jobs and the social dynamics behind knowledge sharing.

Eye on the Prize

Xerox's overarching KM strategy is to create added value by capturing and leveraging
knowledge. This strategy is rooted in the lessons learned from Xerox's near collapse in
the 1970s, when many of the company's most profitable patents, notably in copiers,
expired. It also had failed to exploit numerous advanced technologies it had developed,
such as the mouse and pull-down menus that were later commercialized by Apple. These
lost opportunities led to the thinking behind the Year 2005 plan.




112

Considering that documents are more than just paper, Xerox today calls itself a "digital
document company." President and CEO Richard Thoman has said that documents are
the DNA of knowledge-the blueprint of an organization's intellectual capital. As
communications manager Sandy Mauceli puts it, "Documents are not physical things,
they are the crucible of knowledge."


Dan Holtshouse, one of the architects of the Year 2005 plan and now director of
corporate strategy and knowledge initiatives, believes that Xerox's clients will gain a
strategic advantage by managing knowledge better than the competition. Xerox applies
this thinking internally as well. Thus, its goal is to develop products that manage the
"crucibles of knowledge"-be they hard copies or electronic documents-and make them
accessible to a large number of people.

But Xerox did not create a KM strategy out of thin air. Instead, KM is the nomenclature
for an overall cultural focus on knowledge sharing. KM programs are the enablers that
allow Xerox employees to share their knowledge. Chairman Paul Allaire says that
aligning KM and its related technologies with the way people function in the workplace
is key. "Fundamentally the way we work is changing, and we have to look at ways to
help shape the workplace of the future through technology he says. "Because work has
become much more cooperative in nature, technology must support this distributed
sharing of knowledge."

Where Corporate Knowledge Lives
A study of more than 700 companies shows that only a small portion of corporate
knowledge is in a sharable form. The majority is in employees brains and documents not
easily shared.

Employee
Brains
42%
Paper
document
26%
Electronic
documents
20%
Electronic
knowledge
base
12%

Source: The Delphi Group
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Knowledge Sharing

At Xerox, the sharing of knowledge translates into accelerated learning and innovation.
Eventually that is where its competitive advantage lies. Indeed, it was the internal
reflection on KM that led Xerox away from the analog copier business to digital copiers
in the mid-90s and to digital document networking today.

In a sense, Xerox has put itself on a different level from its traditional rivals in the copier
business. And it is frankly pinning its competitive hopes for the future on knowledge
sharing. As Bob Guns, senior manager of knowledge management at Pricewaterhouse
Coopers, notes, "It is a competitive advantage if your company is learning faster than the
competition."

Learning begins with sharing at Xerox, according to Holtshouse. In companies where
power is acquired by hoarding knowledge, learning cannot take place effectively.
William Latshaw, knowledge manager for consulting firm Arthur D. Little, says, "In the
past, power was derived from having the knowledge. Unless you address this, the
knowledge management system will founder."

But knowledge sharing is more than telling hoarders to play nice. It is about capturing the
tacit knowledge locked in people's heads. In the experience of David Owens, vice
president of knowledge management at Unisys Corp. and vice chair of The Conference
Board's Learning and Knowledge Management Council, "Only 2 percent of information
gets written down-the rest is in people's heads."

For Xerox, the challenge is to capture and transform such knowledge into a sharable
form-a tall order when tens of thousands of people are involved in the sharing. One
example: Xerox has 23,000 repair technicians around the world who repair copiers at
clients' sites. Some of the solutions exist only in the heads of experienced technicians,
who can solve complex problems faster and more efficiently than less experienced ones.
By drawing on the tacit knowledge they've accumulated over the years, they can save
time and costs, reduce customer aggravation and increase customer loyalty-a significant
foundation for business growth.

Xerox realized that such knowledge could be documented and shared among technicians,
allowing all to achieve the same positive results. In 1996, it developed Eureka, an intranet
communication system linked with a corporate database that helps service reps share
repair tips. To date, more than 5,000 tips have been entered by Xerox technicians, and
they are available to all via their ubiquitous laptops. For employees who are scattered
around the world and travel often, the ability to share such know-how means they don't
have to miss out on the kind of knowledge that's typically exchanged at the watercooler.

Holtshouse says this knowledge-sharing technology has had a significant impact on the
culture of the entire workforce. "We're starting this knowledge-sharing initiative as a
cultural dimension inside of Xerox," he says. "Knowledge sharing is going to become
part of a fabric inside the company, for all employees."

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Making KM Work

Xerox is not alone in trying to make KM part of its corporate life. Many companies cre-
ate a KM system, replete with IT glitter such as expert databases and intranet sites, and
then foist it on a workforce that already has plenty to do. Employees often resist the
added burden, and even the best intentioned may throw up their hands in frustration.

The problem is that technology itself can be off-putting. Employees may have a difficult
time remembering the computer-generated passwords needed to use database systems, for
example, says Stephen Cunningham, information resource consultant for Roche
Diagnostics in Indianapolis, Indiana. Often, the users are embarrassed to call the systems
administrators for help and simply give up.

Another problem is that people are loathe to spend time adding content to a knowledge
repository. And everyone knows that a database is only as good as the information it
contains. Mark Mazzie, chief knowledge officer at Barnett International, a consulting
firm in Media, Pennsylvania, says, "Don't create extra work for the people who use
knowledge management systems-that's the best way to kill a program."

That's one minefield Xerox has managed to sidestep, despite the technological focus of
its business. Laura Tucker, manager of the company's technical information center,
emphasizes that KM at Xerox is not technology-driven. "It's people-driven," she says.
Internal KM experts say that 80 percent of designing KM systems involves adapting to
the social dynamics of the workplace. Only 20 percent involves technology as an
enabling mechanism.

With Eureka, for instance, the goal was to develop a system that would suit field
technicians and a database they would populate with content. Hence the link to laptops,
which are standard issue at Xerox. The company also discovered that the technicians
were more than happy to add tips to the database because they received credit for their
contributions, which enhanced their standing among colleagues. Indeed, when
management suggested attaching financial incentives to the tips, technicians resisted the
idea. They felt this would diminish the value of their contributions.

Xerox also avoided the pitfall of poorly designed electronic yellow pages. Those
arranged by name and title, for example, do not necessarily help users identify sources of
information. In the yellow pages at Xerox, employees identify themselves by areas of
expertise, which are as varied as digital networking, cuneiform and workplace psy-
chology. Each employee also qualifies the degree of his or her expertise-broad
knowledge, some knowledge, hobby, etc.-so that those seeking help in a given area or
subject matter can identify sources. People must register themselves to use the database,
says Tucker, so that they are available to others as they use the resources.






115

Social Dynamics

Xerox's KM practice is successful because of the priority it gives to people. The company
examined how social dynamics shape the pattern of knowledge sharing to create
technologies that reflect factors such as work habits, the perceived benefits of sharing and
the contexts in which sharing is natural.

DocuShare is a good example of this. According to Holtshouse, the tool was first
developed in 1996 to enable the 500-plus employees at Xerox's research labs in
Rochester to share information. Now, it is available companywide and allows work teams
to create a "virtual" office space on the corporate intranet -a 3-D room where visitors can
navigate through and access filing cabinets containing electronic documents.


What You Buy Is Not Always What You Get

Knowledge management (KM) is an internal practice at Xerox-and would be, even
if the company produced paper dips. But as it happens, Xerox produces
technological tools that enable KM. This does not mean that purchasing Xerox
products alone will give you its KM capability. Without a corporate philosophy that
embraces learning and sharing, even the best KM technologies won't put you ahead
of the competition.

But companies that adopt KM as a basic principle do tend to produce more knowledge-
intensive products. One example is Monsanto Co., which also embraces KM as a guiding
post. It is branching into increasingly sophisticated products in both of its core areas-
agricultural and pharmaceuticals- and new areas of development, which it has spun off as
its life sciences division. According to J ane Rady, vice president of prospecting,
knowledge management at Monsanto, KM is a core value that helps the company
develop better products and bring them to market faster.

In one case, the company found a way to imbed intelligence into seeds, which have
essentially been a commodity product. Its new seeds are genetically engineered to fend
off parasites, which reduces costs for farmers because they don't have to spray the crops
and also benefits the environment.

For Monsanto, the seeds breathe new life into its agricultural business. Farmers generally
use seed crop-the portion of their crop used to grow future plants-to avoid buying more
seeds, But genetically engineered seeds pose a new challenge, as their novel qualities are
lost in succeeding generations. It means farmers must go back to Monsanto for more
parasite-resistant seeds every year.

Rady credits Monsanto's KM philosophy with helping the company to leverage the
intellectual capabilities of various departments ( such as R&D and marketing) in the
formerly siloed organization. "Surprisingly insights can be created thanks to knowledge
sharing across a wide spectrum of the organization," she says.


116


Individual users set codes to determine who can have access to their documents and who
cannot. All members of a group can visit any filing cabinet in their "room" and give
access codes to employees from other work groups. The tool encourages typically closed-
lipped scientists to share information with colleagues while respecting their need for
privacy. In the end, it helps break down the barriers of distance and the product silos that
usually exist in larger companies.

Brian Falkenhainer, manager of Xerox's DocuShare project, offers one example of how
the tool has helped speed up his work: In this case, he had waited until the


KM Consulting as a New Strategy

Knowledge management (KM) is a vital tool that can serve two purposes, as consulting
companies have discovered. Managing their own knowledge is critical to their survival,
while KM also is a consulting product they can market. So it should come as no surprise
that not only Xerox, but also IBM, Unisys and other technology companies are
developing consulting practices in this field.

Xerox is counting heavily on its relatively new consulting business, which it considers a
natural extension of its core business, CEO Richard Thoman recently said that he expects
Xerox Professional Services (XPS), which includes the consulting business, to generate
at least 50 percent of the company's revenues within 10 years.

According to Bob Couture, XPS vice president and general manager, the division's
mission is to leverage business with existing Xerox customers and build on the
company's growing reputation in KM to help its clients better manage documents- and,
by extension, knowledge and information.

To this end, Xerox recently reorganized its activities by industry group rather than
geographic region. 'This helps us better understand and help our clients address issues
that are important within their industries," says Couture.

But while XPS may rely on existing Xerox copier clients for business, Couture says XPS
does not necessarily recommend Xerox hardware or software solutions. "We do not have
a measurement system and will not have a measurement system that compensates Xerox
consultants for placing Xerox products -there is no inherent incentive to do that."

On the other hand, the KM practice at XPS, headed by Priscilla Douglas, owes its
intellectual legacy and competitive edge to the work done by Xerox scientists and
thinkers at the Palo Alto Research Center. The KM practice focuses on clients' work
practices and processes to help determine which kinds of documents need to be captured
and the best ways of doing so. Unlike consulting companies that offer a broad array of
services, XPS focuses exclusively on document Iifecycles and document management.
According to Douglas, "This intellectual foundation, which developed a social and
technical approach to capture. knowledge, is really what differentiates us in the market. "
117


With a workforce of 2,500 worldwide, XPS acquired XL Connect (since renamed Xerox
Connect) in 1998 to augment its technological infrastructure -and provide clients with on-
site technical assistance. XPS is not an incidental part of the corporation. We're square
in the middle of the strategy," says Couture.

last minute to prepare for a presentation at a conference, but he knew that a colleague had
made a similar presentation. Rather than having to hunt him down in the hallway and ask
for a diskette or hard copy, he used DocuShare to find the presentation on the intranet.
This saved hours of work recreating a document that already existed. Falkenhainer says
this tool reflects a very different work atmosphere at Xerox: "It's very different from how
we used to operate internally two years ago."

By allowing the same information to be reused, DocuShare also reduces development
costs and potentially stimulates new applications for the same knowledge, which
ultimately increases the information's absolute value.

DocuShare also takes into account what motivates people to share knowledge. During the
early design phase, Xerox hired anthropologists to help understand how scientists at the
labs generally worked, both individually and in groups. It then decided that certain
conditions were required for these scientists to use a common knowledge-exchange
platform-no training needed to use it, no maintenance and no bureaucracy. It also
discovered how scientists set criteria about which information to protect and which to
make accessible. These social dynamics affected the technological specifications for the
tool.

Thus, Holtshouse says that while KM solutions may appear to be technical, successful
ones come from an understanding of the social dynamics of a particular workforce. "A lot
of what you know about the social aspects can actually be expressed in the product," he
says.

The germ of Portals, another KM tool used at Xerox, developed at the company's Palo
Alto Research Center (PARC) facility in California. Portals is a digitally networked tool
that uses the scanning technology inherent in copiers to build electronic links between
copiers and corporate databases, says Mark Hill, vice president and general manager of
the Document Portals business unit. Instead of just making copies, employees can use
Portals to scan in hard copies of documents and transfer them to a hard disk. They can
also retrieve documents from anywhere on the corporate database and print them out
from Portals. This allows them to capture, search for and retrieve knowledge more
efficiently.

Like DocuShare, portals was developed from an understanding of people's work habits,
says Hill. Rather than inventing a new digital scanning device, he decided to combine
existing copier technology with people's preference for simple operations. In his own
words, people are "used to hitting the little green button to make copies." By paying
attention to the details of the workplace (that little green button), Xerox developed a tool
that enhances the number of ways that documents-and knowledge-can be shared.

118

Holtshouse sums up Xerox's approach of fitting technology to people instead of the other
way round: "We started with an intense search around workers-what makes them tick,
what's important, what problems they are solving-and then picked technology that suits
the solutions."

A Pat on the Back

It goes without saying that any KM program requires strong leadership support. At
Xerox, a consistent communications strategy from senior management demonstrates that
support. Holtshouse says that public comments from the top executives are critical. The
validation of CEO Thoman shows that KM is important and strategically relevant over
time.

Besides giving verbal support, senior managers have adopted a hands-off policy toward
KM projects to ensure that the process of innovation isn't hindered by bureaucracy or
budgetary considerations. This does not mean that KM project teams are a freewheeling
endeavor. But rather than setting specific KM goals in stone, senior management sets
more traditional organizational goals, such as quality and time-to-market. Associates can
then develop KM projects that will support those goals.

The top executives aren't looking for quick wins, and the biggest strides have come from
a grassroots, project-by-project approach rather than grandiose, management-driven
initiatives. As Holtshouse notes, "In my experience, Xerox has a little more respect for
the unknown, of not knowing what the grand picture is to begin with."

Eureka and DocuShare are examples of KM solutions that began as modest grassroots
projects. Management funded those ventures without knowing exactly where they would
lead. Portals grew out of conversations between Hill, based in Rochester, and chief
scientist J ohn Seely Brown and others at PARC in California. This sort of cross-boundary
discussion can be called a community of practice, which J oe Horvath, a senior consultant
at IBM Consulting Group, defines simply as "a group of people bound by interest in a
common set of problems." These communities spring into being spontaneously, adds
Holtshouse, and cannot be "ordered" up. "The critical knowledge in any society is living
knowledge," he says.

Dale Bennett, a longtime Xerox employee who works out of his home without a specific
title (a "freewheeling idea generator" is how he describes himself), says communities of
practice are an informal kind of cross-functional teamwork that generates innovation. "It's
cross-pollination where you say, 'Oh, he's doing that over there, I could use that over
here.

And those 'aha' moments when you realize, 'Oh yeah! That's a great idea and this is how
I'd use it. That process is what really gives you access to creativity and creates a
competitive advantage."

But even at Xerox, Tucker notes, "You have to have some deliverables eventually-not
necessarily related directly to the community of practice, but with regards to your own
job. Otherwise it's just a coffee klatch."
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Copying Xerox (Again)

The French philosopher Pascal said that the human race is like a man who never dies,
always gaining knowledge. This immortality of knowledge is the aim of learning
organizations-to get all the knowledge in people's heads written down somewhere. By
most accounts, the know-how most vital to companies as they struggle to compete,
innovate and improve shareholder value is undocumented in any form.

So while the importance of knowledge sharing is not in doubt, implementing a KM
project is still a challenge to many. Xerox is a technology company and can create many
of its own KM solutions. But that isn't the point. Despite the technological nature of its
business, Xerox assumes that KM initiatives can be as low-tech as notes on a refrigerator
door or as high-tech as its intranet-based virtual office solutions.

Other companies can and should emulate Xerox's implementation strategy, which is
based on aligning knowledge sharing with business goals and allowing workplace habits-
not IT-to drive the process. Furthermore, the process shouldn't be static. Says Holtshouse,
"We need to enhance what we do inside around knowledge sharing so that we continually
learn, so that we can be a leader on what we know about this."

For Holtshouse, who worked for NASA earlier in his career (and still holds some
patents), this isn't rocket science. It's just smart.

Michael Hickins is a business writer who lives in West Hartford, Connecticut.

SOURCE: The Knowledge Management Yearbook
Editor James Cortada & john Woods 2000-2001 Publisher Butterworth-
Heinemann
READING:
From: http://www.cio.com/
Knowledge Management at Northrop Grumman
Megan Santosus, CIO
September 01, 2001
In the late 1990s, the defense industry, no longer fighting the Cold War, was
consolidating and downsizing. At Northrop Grumman Air Combat Systems (ACS), that
presented more than just a short-term headache. As lead contractor for the B-2 Stealth
bomber, an aircraft that was nearing the end of its production life, ACS was in danger of
losing the expertise it needed to support and maintain a complex machine that would be
flying carrying precious lives and cargo for years to come. So ACS instituted knowledge
management procedures designed to capture the so-called tacit knowledge, or know-how
and experience with the B-2, locked in its employees heads.
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By 1999, with more cuts on the way and with more knowledge in danger of being
ushered out the door Project Manager Scott Shaffar wanted to institute KM initiatives
throughout the El Segundo, California-based Northrop Grumman business unit. But
before designing a program, Shaffar wanted to find out what barriers, if any, prevented
employees from sharing knowledge with their peers. He figured that if he could apply
hard numbers to ACSs cultural attitudes about knowledge, hed have a road map for
designing a unitwide KM program and getting the funding for the technologies needed to
facilitate it. So Shaffar decided to conduct a knowledge audit, surveying employees about
their knowledge-sharing habits. That, he believed, would be a quick way to not only
assess ACSs readiness for a formal knowledge management effort but would also
highlight those areas where sharing was not happening.
Shaffar hired Boston-based Delphi Group to conduct the audit and derive a baseline pulse
of the units knowledge-sharing culture.
"The audit helped us turn gut feelings into numbers," Shaffar says, adding that he
suspected employees would find the self-contained nature of the units programs a
hindrance when it came to sharing knowledge. Now hes using this information to
implement a bigger KM project and get the funding he needs to build the systems to
support it.
How Do They Know What They Know?
Knowledge management first gained a foothold in ACSs B-2 bomber program in the late
90s. As the B-2 program was winding down, and engineers with 20 or so years of
experience were leaving, ACS established a 10-person KM team to identify subject
matter experts and capture the content of their brain cells.
After creating about 100 knowledge cells (including armaments, software engineering,
manufacturing and so on) and identifying 200 subject matter experts within those cells,
the KM council turned its attention to knowledge capture. The team created websites for
each of the knowledge cells and logged information about the knowledge experts into an
expert locator system called Xref, short for cross-reference. Using Xref, employees can
search for information in any number of ways, including by employee name, program
affiliation or skill. If, for example, the B-2s landing gear is locking up, one can find the
landing gear expert through Xref.
The B-2 KM effort was deemed successful, and when ACS announced in 1999 a
reorganization that would cut the workforce from 8,000 to 6,000, ACS established a four-
person KM team charged with developing a unitwide strategy. Thats where the audit
came in.
"Sure, we couldve introduced a database technology and hoped that employees used it,"
says Shaffar, "but we wanted to avoid that black hole approach." In other words, Shaffar
wanted to be sure that the expertise collected in centralized systems would not only be
useful, but that it would be used.

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The Delphi Groups key weapon in administering the audit was KM2, which begins with
a customizable, 97-question survey designed to unearth employee attitudes about
knowledge and knowledge sharing, and in the process identify areas for improvement.
The survey asked questions such as, "From your perspective, to what extent is the
knowledge that you and your team generate reused by other teams?"
The survey was e-mailed to 4,760 ACS employees at six locations across the country.
Another 200 employees on the shop floor received paper-based surveys. Participation
was voluntary; employees got a free lunch for taking 30 minutes of their own time to
complete the survey, and Shaffar was pleased with the response: 3,380 employees
completed the survey for a rate slightly better than 70 percent.
Employees completed the surveys in J anuary and February 2000. In March, Delphi
consultants analyzed preliminary results and targeted 125 employees for face-to-face
follow-up interviews.
What They Think About What They Know
"We expected that there would be challenges [when] sharing knowledge across programs,
especially those with different customers and in different locations," Shaffar says. The
survey results backed this up. But what Shaffar did not expect was the degree to which
employees recognized the value of their fellow employees know-how and their
willingness to share information. Asked to rank the importance of knowledge in the
discovery, development and marketing of products they worked on,
75 percent said knowledge was either very or somewhat important. In a nod to the
importance of tacit knowledge, 51 percent said the brains of ACS employees were the
primary source for best practices and lessons learned. (By comparison, 16 percent said
electronic documents; 13 percent said e-mail; another 13 percent said electronic
knowledge bases; and only 7 percent said paper documents.) A majority (56 percent) also
characterized their colleagues as knowledge sharers rather than hoarders.
Those results, Shaffar says, reinforced his belief that ACS had, at heart, a culture that
would be receptive to a formal knowledge management push. But other findings
indicated that there was still a lot of work to be done. Among the more eye-opening stats:
Almost half of the employees spent at least eight frustrating hours each week looking for
information they needed to do their jobs, costing ACS an estimated $150 million
annually. Employees said only 6 percent of knowledge generated by teams was widely
reused by other teams throughout ACS. And 31 percent of respondents believed that
ideas generated by junior staffers were not valued and were likely to get smothered by the
ACS bureaucracy.
Armed with the surveys hard numbers, the KM team devised a three-pronged strategy
focusing on people, processes and technology.
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How to Make Sure They Dont Forget What They Know
On the human side, the KM team set out to identify and then retain experts throughout
ACS, establish communities of employees who had similar responsibilities (known in
KM circles as communities of practice) and facilitate sharing among employees.
One such community of practice consists of ACS project managers in different programs.
While many such communities exist informally, Shaffar says its important to identify the
ones that are strategically important, raise their visibility, and provide funding for
technologies and systems to support them if necessary. "Establishing a community of
practice should enable knowledge sharing across boundaries," Shaffar says, and end the
isolation of people working in individual product lines.
As for processes, the KM team focused on finding out how people captured, organized
and reused existing knowledge. For the most part, employees maintained knowledge in
their own files. There was no central repository where lessons learned could be easily
shared or accessed by employees who werent personally involved in a project. In
response to that finding, the team implemented technologies designed to collect and
disseminate lessons learned. The F/A-18 fighter jet program, for example, now has a
Web-based system that capitalizes on years of technical expertise by tracking structural
problems with the aircraft. When an issue surfaces?a cracked part, for example?the first
thing an engineer does is search the tracking systems 900 previously encountered
experiences. To add an issue into the system, an engineer inputs the relevant information
into a PowerPoint template that can include pictures, drawings and notes on the
appropriate action needed to rectify the issue.
How has the KM team integrated the tracking system into the workflow? Each week,
engineers meet to discuss unresolved issues. To give a briefing on an outstanding issue,
an engineer must first input data into the system; once engineers resolve an issue, it
automatically becomes a lesson learned.
When it comes to technology, the audit helped the KM team recognize the need to
integrate the various KM systems at ACS. "It was clear from the audit and follow-up
analysis that ACS had a lot of sources of information, but no central repository," says
KM Project Leader J eff Wessels.
The technology pieces of the strategy tools such as the homegrown Xref system,
collaboration applications and document management systems essentially serve as the
glue lashing the KM initiative together. The audit revealed that people would share
information if they had an easy way to do so. The technology initiatives that focus on five
areas portals, expert locator, knowledge capture, media management and collaboration
are a result of the barriers to sharing information, such as paper-based filing systems,
disparate locations and an inability to locate internal expertise, which the audit
highlighted. Currently, ACS has implemented the Xref system throughout the
engineering unit as well as in systems for managing documents, collaborating and
capturing knowledge. Other initiatives, including portals that push personalized
information, are in pilot phase.
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Although Shaffars team is still building a business case for KM attempting to show the
ROI of making information more easily accessible to employees ACS will continue to
invest in KM initiatives. (ACS wont reveal specifics, but it does say that overall
investments in KM will increase in the future.) The KM team plans to conduct follow-up
audits every 18 months or so to keep tabs on initiatives and culture. And while theres an
interest in devising an ROI methodology, Shaffar says that executives are satisfied with
soft benefits such as better decision making and improved collaboration.
Now that employment levels have settled at 4,600, ACSs hopes for KM have shifted.
Rather than serve as a mode of retaining knowledge, ACS views KM as a way to increase
innovation and speed customer responsiveness. "Were positioning ourselves for the
growth we see ahead," says Wessels. If innovation and speed translate to cost savings for
the customer, then thats the ultimate sign that KM pays off.
2008 CXO Media Inc.
Back















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Chapter 12


MEASUREMENT SYSTEMS FOR KM


Measuring the Value of Knowledge Management
There are a number of approaches that are increasingly being used to measure the value
of, and progress in, knowledge and knowledge management in organizations. Following
are some of the more common approaches. A few questions that come up are why
measure at all ? And what exactly do we measure ? Finally, how do we measure ?
Why measure?
Measurement is undoubtedly the least developed aspect of knowledge management,
which is not surprising given the difficulties in defining it, let alone measuring it. In fact
some practitioners feel that measurement is premature at this stage and that trying to
measure knowledge before you fully understand how knowledge is created, shared and
used is likely to lead you to focus on the wrong things. Elaborate measurement systems,
they say, cannot currently be justified because we simply do not yet know enough about
the dynamics and impact of knowledge.
That being said, in practice, few organisations have the luxury of being allocated
resources to implement something without being required to demonstrate its value.
Without measurable success, enthusiasm and support for knowledge management is
unlikely to continue. And without measurable success, you are unlikely to be able to
figure out as to what works and what doesnt, and therefore make an informed
judgement regarding what to continue doing, and what to modify or discontinue.
What to measure?
Common measurement approaches
There are a number of approaches that are increasingly being used to measure the value
of, and progress in, knowledge and knowledge management in organisations. We
discuss here some of the more common approaches
A ) Measuring the impact of knowledge management on the organisations
performance

Given that the whole point of knowledge management is to improve the performance of
your organisation and to help it to achieve its objectives, the best and most logical
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approach is tie-in measurement of knowledge management with your organisations
overall performance measurement systems. This can be done either at an organisational
level, or for individual projects and processes.
However, one limitation of this approach is that if knowledge management practices are
made an integral part of work, you cannot be sure of the relative contribution of those
knowledge management practices to the success of a project or process, versus other
factors. In view of this, some authors recommend a two-pronged approach that seeks to
measures both outcomes and activities.
Measuring outcomes focuses on the extent to which a project or a process achieves its
stated objectives. The success of the project or process serves as a proxy measure for
the success of the knowledge management practices embedded in it. In other words,
knowledge management is seen as an integral tool for improving a project or process,
rather than as a separate thing. For example, outcomes might be measured in terms of
the reduced cost of a process, improved efficiency, the reduction in time taken to do it,
the improved quality of delivery, etc.
Measuring activities then shifts the focus onto the specific knowledge management
practices that were applied in the project or process. What were the specific knowledge
management activities behind this practice and what was their effect? In measuring
activities, you are looking specifically at things like how often users are accessing,
contributing to, or using the knowledge resources and practices you have set up. Some
of these measures will be quantitative (hard) measures such as the number and
frequency of hits or submissions to an intranet site per employee. However these
measures only give part of the picture they do not tell you why people are doing what
they are doing. Hence to complete the picture, you will also need qualitative (soft)
measures by asking people about the attitudes and behaviours behind their activities.
B) The balanced scorecard
An increasingly popular approach to measuring an organisations performance, and one
that is being widely adopted in knowledge management, is the balanced scorecard. The
advantage of this approach in knowledge management terms is that it directly links
learning to process performance, which in turn is linked with overall organisational
performance. Developed by Kaplan and Norton, the balanced scorecard focuses on
linking an organisations strategy and objectives to measures from four key
perspectives: financial, customers, internal processes, and learning and growth. In
contrast to traditional accounting measures, the balanced scorecard shifts the focus from
purely financial measures to include three key measures of intangible success factors.
These roughly equate to the three components of intellectual capital namely human
capital (learning), structural capital (processes), and customer capital. The four
perspectives can be framed as follows:
Financial: How do we look to our shareholders (or governing bodies)?
Customer: How do our customers see us? Are we meeting their needs and
expectations?
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Internal processes: What do we need to do well in order to succeed? What are the
critical processes that have the greatest impact on our customers and our financial
objectives?
Learning and growth: How can we develop our ability to learn and grow in order
to meet our objectives in the above three areas?
Thus knowledge management, which is about learning and growth, is measured as an
integral and yet distinct part of overall organisational performance. The balanced
scorecard approach can be applied to individual initiatives as well as to a whole
organisation.
C) Return On Investment (ROI)
Most initiatives that require resources will be expected to show a return in investment
what benefits did we get to justify the costs involved and knowledge management is
usually no exception. The problem is that both the costs and the benefits of knowledge
management can be notoriously difficult to pin down. While the costs associated with
an investment in information technology can be relatively straightforward to identify,
other costs can be less so, such as for projects that involve a combination of resources
from across the organisation, or those inherent in challenging an organisations culture.
On the benefits side, how do you measure things like increased knowledge sharing,
faster learning or better decision-making?
A number of approaches have been developed for showing financial returns on
knowledge assets. Such approaches tend to be rather complex, and therefore are
probably more appropriate to organisations that are reasonably advanced in their
knowledge management efforts, rather than just starting out.
D) The knowledge management lifecycle
Some organisations measure the progress of their knowledge management activities in
terms of their maturity how far down the line they are in implementing knowledge
management practices and ways of working. The American Productivity and Quality
Center has developed a framework known as Road Map to Knowledge Management
Results: Stages of Implementation. The aim is to provide organisations with a map to
guide them from getting started right through to institutionalising knowledge
management embedding it in the organisation and making it an integral part of the
way an organisation works. The map has five stages:
1. Get started
2. Develop a strategy
3. Design and launch a knowledge management initiative
4. Expand and support
5. Institutionalise knowledge management
There are measures associated with each stage.

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E) Employee surveys

Given the importance of people in knowledge management, employee surveys can be a useful
additional to your measurement toolbox. Surveys can be used to assess aspects of
organisational culture and the extent to which peoples opinions, attitudes and behaviours are,
or are not, changing. Obviously such surveys measure peoples subjective perceptions and
these may or may not reflect reality, but in many ways that can be their very benefit, as
peoples perceptions will determine their behaviours with respect to knowledge management.
In order to be effective, it is vital that any such surveys are carried out by people with the
required expertise, whether that be through in-house capabilities or by hiring external
consultants.
How to measure?
Melissie Clemmons Rumizen outlines the following steps in developing measures:
1. Revisit your goals
Your starting point for measuring any knowledge management initiative will be the
original goals of that initiative: what is it that you set out to achieve? Developing
measures will often lead you to get clearer about how you define your goals in the first
place; if your goals are not concrete and clear enough, then measuring your success or
progress against them will be difficult. Hence ensure that your goals define clearly what
constitutes success in measurable terms.
2. Know the audience for your measures

In defining success, you will often find that different people have different ideas about what
constitute success. Managers who approve the allocation of resources will want to know about
the returns on their investment. Users of the knowledge management initiative will want to
know how it has benefited them and whether their participation has been worthwhile. Other
beneficiaries of the initiative, such as customers, will want to know how they have gained.

3. Define the measures
Define what exactly you are going to measure, and what measurement approach or
approaches you intend to take. Ensure that your measures are:
Valid - they actually measure what they are intended to measure rather than
something else
Reliable - they give consistent results
Actionable they give information that can be acted upon if necessary.


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4. Decide what data will be collected and how it will be collected

This is a process of putting the meat on the bones spelling out the details: what data
will be collected, who will collect it, how, when, where, etc?
5. Analysing and communicating the measures

When analysing and presenting the results, be sure to refer back to your original goals
and your audience. Aim to present results in a way that answers their questions in a
meaningful way, rather than simply presenting facts and figures.
6. Review your combination of measures

Monitor and evaluate how your measures are working. Developing measures is a process of
trial and error dont necessarily expect to get it right the first time. Similarly, remember that
as objectives and situations change over time, so will your measures need to.
Additional pointers emphasized by other practitioners include:
Measuring for the sake of measuring is a waste of time be sure that you are
measuring for a specific purpose or purposes.
Be sure that some kind of action or decision will be taken as a result of your
measures
Dont try to measure everything; instead, focus on what is important. Trying to
measure too much not only requires a great deal of work, it also tends to dilute the
important issues.
If your organisation already has a measurement system in place, then you can use those
measures. If your knowledge management initiatives work, then you might assume that this
will show up in your organisations other performance measures. Of course there is no
guarantee that existing measures are good ones so you might like to look into them, but there
are two major advantages to piggy-backing on existing measures: first, they are already
accepted practice in the organisation, and second, they are most likely measuring things that
are important to the organization

READING:

KNOWLEDGE MANAGEMENT
OCT 2001 Issue

Measurement for Knowledge Management
Examines the different stages of KM implementations and metrics for evaluating an
initiatives progress.Introduces a "KM measurement bell curve" and offers case
examples of organizations ongoing assessment Techniques

By Kimberly Lopez et al., American Productivity & Quality Center
129


Measuring knowledge management (KM) is not simple. Determining KMs
pervasiveness and impact is analogous to measuring the contribution of marketing,
employee development, or any other management or organizational competency. It is
nonetheless a necessity if KM is to last and have significant impact in an organization.

During its 2000 consortium learning forum, Successfully Implementing Knowledge
Management, APQC focused on how some of the most advanced early KM adopters
implement a knowledge management initiative, mobilize resources, create a business
case, and measure and evolve their KM programs. This multi-client benchmarking
project helped APQC and project participants identify measurement approaches, specific
measures in use, and how measures impact and are impacted by the evolution of KM.

The need for measurement of KM follows a bell curve pattern through the life cycle of a
business life cycle. In the earliest stages of knowledge management implementation,
formal measurement rarely takes place, nor is it required. As KM becomes more
structured and widespread and companies move into stages two, three, and four, the need
for measurement steadily increases. As KM becomes institutionalized--a way of doing
business--the importance of KMspecific
measures diminishes, and the need to measure the effectiveness of knowledge-intensive
business processes replaces them.





For this paper, APQC collaborated with Corning, Dow Corning, and Siemens AG to find
real-world examples of measures throughout the stages and gain perspective on how
companies deal with the perennial question, "How do we measure the value of KM?"

STAGE 1: ENTER AND ADVOCATE

The fire to manage knowledge starts with the spark of inspiration. There has to be a new
source of energy or interest to cause KM to appear in the option set for the organization.
Someone must become inspired with the vision of what it would be like if the
organization could effectively support human knowledge capture, transfer, and use.
Energized by his or her vision, this champion begins to search for opportunities to share
the vision with others and to find
130

opportunities to demonstrate the value of KM to the organization. The central task for the
champion at this stage is to create a vision that inspires others to join in the exploration of
how managing knowledge might contribute value to the enterprise and its people.

Measures Appropriate for Stage 1

The value of embarking on the KM journey needs to be understood by members of
management--more in theory at this stage than in quantitative numbers. The most
effective way of convincing them may be to find the greatest areas of "pain" within your
organization. Find redundant efforts, discover areas where knowledge is lost, and find
points of frustration in your employee base. It is important to expose the need for
knowledge management at this stage.

Interviewing key stakeholders helps uncover KM needs and exposes areas of lost time,
effort, and therefore money. Making comparisons with similar industries that have
successfully implemented KM also can convince skeptics. If your competitor has gained
recognition for its KM efforts and has seen its productivity jump and operating costs
plummet, you have likely found a good candidate to use as proof of KMs power.

Stage 1 is the time for advocating the potential of KM. Once you have others on board,
more concrete measures will be necessary.

STAGE 2: EXPLORE AND EXPERIMENT

During the second stage of KM implementation, a practical definition of knowledge
management is formulated within an organization and consideration of its applicability is
made. The movement can start from several isolated, grassroots knowledge-enabling
activities and develop into a cross-corporate vision and strategy. The development of
several successful knowledge-enabling practices and pilots can be the catalyst to draw
positive senior management attention. Further, it allows organizational sponsors to realize
and consequently support the formation of a crossfunctional team that can bring
alignment.

At this point in the process, negotiations for some corporate funding can add additional
resources to the scarce and limited funds from the local teams. Toward the end of this
stage, the pilots focus begins to center on specific knowledge management ideas and
principles in order to demonstrate concepts and capabilities.


Measures Appropriate for Stage 2

We begin to see the emergence of a need for measurement in Stage 2 as interest about
KM escalates in several parts of the organization. These measures can appear in three
main categories: anecdotal (war stories, success stories, etc.), quantitative (growth), and
qualitative (mainly extrapolation from anecdotal). It is appropriate to begin this section
by identifying what should not be measured in Stage 2. Since most management
initiatives are driven by financial
131

results, the instinct is to identify quantifiable financial measurements such as productivity
increases, increased sales, reduced overhead, etc.


Knowledge management will generate these financial measurements and others, but not
in the early stages. Measurement of financial returns or results should not be undertaken
at this point except as byproducts of other concurrent efforts. Simply stated, if you are
measuring for financial returns when your organization is at this particular juncture, then
you are measuring the wrong thing.

Focus should be on meaningful measures that concentrate on exploring the various
opportunities in your organization for implementing knowledge management practices,
developing your organizations knowledge management strategies, measuring the
progress toward organizational awareness, and experimenting with different knowledge
management concepts. You should concentrate on developing and selling the concept and
then measure against your plan.


Examples of Stage 2 Measures

Simple measures are critical at this stage. Examples of potential measurements include:
Measure for Progress Measure the progress you make in developing and growing
sponsorship and support. How successful are you in gaining senior managements
attention, i.e., is anyone listening to you? Measurement here is largely anecdotal with
some quantitative measurements such as:

the number of sponsors you can recruit both as champions and as project sponsors,
how many times you can get in front of decision makers to make presentations and
the responses you receive, and
how much corporate underwriting and other funding you can get. If all you receive
is verbal support and no time or money, your measurement of results should
indicate a need to rethink your strategy.


Measure the Gap

As part of your early work in Stages 1 and 2, you should have completed an assessment
or knowledge map of your organization to determine what practices you currently have in
place and what you are missing. As part of this assessment, you should attempt to
identify what, if any, measurements are currently being used. You will at some point
need to determine the value of that measurement and whether it can be used going
forward. The existing measurement can, at a minimum, provide you with a benchmark
for future measurements.





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Measure Against a Benchmark

Benchmarking with other organizations can be a persuasive tool and can lead to
executive sponsorship. Since most successful KM initiatives are grassroots or
organizational (department/division) and not corporate (top-down) in origin, measuring
where you are in developing your program against other parts of the company can be
useful. How many
organizations have KM initiatives under way? What is their funding, staffing, and
reporting structure? These types of measures can help you promote your KM program to
your management.

If your top managers perceive that enabling knowledge capture and transfer is receiving
attention in other organizations, they may be inclined to support you. If your KM
activities can be shown to be less advanced than others, management may gain the
incentive to provide additional focus and resources. If you are out in front of the other
organizations, management may increase support to maintain the perception of
leadership, which may also help you develop contacts for tacit knowledge sharing.

A company routinely captures its research intellectual property in the form of formal
reports that are stored in the library. The library measures the volume of reports turned in
by each department and forwards the numbers to department management, who can then
use the numbers to determine the per capita reports being generated and other
measurements. The number of reports accessed on an annual basis and specific areas of
interest are also measured.

One approach may be to understand what your competitors are doing in leveraging
knowledge sharing for their customers and within their organizations. Gaining an
understanding of what your suppliers, customers, and peer companies are doing to enable
knowledge sharing within their organizations and externally may also be a good idea.


Measure Your Cultural Readiness

It is important at this stage to build the foundation to develop a knowledge-sharing
culture. Critical practices that foster employee information exchange, teamwork,
collaboration, and trust development can be built upon through crediting the contributors.
Look for teams that operate in this manner. Begin to collect the teams social norms and
practices and determine if insights can be incorporated into other teams. Document
stories to encourage role model behavior.


STAGE 3: DISCOVER AND CONDUCT PILOTS


This stage signals the formal implementation of a knowledge management initiative. The
goal of Stage 3 is to provide evidence of knowledge managements business value by
conducting pilots and capturing lessons learned that can be transferred and used to help
the organization better implement KM on a larger and expanding scale. The framework
133

for communities of practice begins to be formalized at this stage, and funding and support
are derived from a mix of central resources as well as the donation of time, people, and
money from within organizations that are enthusiastic about enabling knowledge sharing.


Measures Appropriate for Stage 3

There is a convergence at Stage 3 of the three main categories of measurement that exist
in the early stages of KM implementation: anecdotal, quantitative, and qualitative. The
degree of rigor and refinement becomes more defined and focused on business strategy in
Stage 3. The key here is to begin to ensure that direct business value is perceived by the
organization as a result of the knowledge-enabling projects. It is important to establish a
mechanism to capture the hard and soft lessons learned in the knowledge management
pilots, as these will be the building blocks for the later KM stages.

Having a predefined taxonomy on the classification of lessons learned can be helpful in
developing conclusions and identifying areas desirable for replication throughout an
organization. In addition, during the acceleration of knowledge management scale-up,
establishing measures for the various components of a knowledge management initiative
is beneficial. These measures include process dimensions, culture dimensions, content
dimensions, information technology dimensions, and people dimensions.

Examples of Stage 3 Measures

Measure the Business Value

Document both the hard and soft business value derived from each pilot. Begin to map
measurements to your specific business goals, such as improved clock speed. This does
not necessarily need to be rigorous at this point. Extrapolation of anecdotal measurements
into more solid quantifiable measurements occurs. Can the pilot results be duplicated in
other parts of the organization?

Time saved equals direct labor cost, which is easy to figure. Effort needs to be put into
determining the ancillary costs associated with time savings. Some potential areas are
resource redistribution, support staff cost reductions, and improved time to market.

Measure the Retention of Knowledge

Measure the amount of information contributed to the knowledge base over time against
retrieval and reuse. Quantifiable measurements are not enough; they must be balanced
with qualitative data to ensure an accurate, full picture. Unlike in previous stages, the
number of hits to a Web site is not good enough. Specific measures and issues to be
considered may include the following:

Time spent per hit. This can reveal if individuals entering the site are actually reviewing
its content (indicates quick review and rejection vs. what would constitute an individual
actually digesting some content). This would have to be correlated with the number of
individuals using it for an extended period of time and repeat users.
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Are the IP addresses those of repeat users? The intent for this measurement is to track
repeat customers. Repeat customers indicate two things--either specific information is of
repeated use to them or they find value in the additional information continually added to
the application.

How often is a site visited?
What percentage of total hits represents repeat users? Value can be measured by repeat
business.
What is the threshold for indicating a repeat user is a steady customer? Someone may
sample a site several times but will stop visiting if they fail to get the results they seek.

Measure the Cultural Impact

In Stage 3, the issues surrounding the potential for measuring the cultural side of
knowledge management need to be addressed. Considerable effort needs to placed on
determining:
the types of measurements
the potential value of the measurements
the cost for measuring vs. the value of measuring
processes

In selecting measures, consideration should be given to if and how the cultural side (the
big side) of KM can be measured in Stage 3.


Anecdotal stories. How do we measure them? As stated earlier, stories can form the
basis for extrapolation of quantitative data. This Anecdotal stories. How do we measure
them? As stated earlier, stories can form the basis for extrapolation of quantitative data.
This is not necessarily the only or best means of using anecdotal measurements, but
considering the intrinsic value of the anecdote can be important. Can a story or a lesson
learned have behavioral impact that cannot be measured directly or in traditional terms?

Performance review. Another means of measuring cultural impact is through the
performance review process. Individuals can be rated by their peers (360-degree
feedback) on three major knowledge-sharing points listed below.

This can be implemented in Stage 3 because there are formal (if only pilot) applications
in place. As part of these applications feedback on the usefulness of the knowledge
provided is essential.

1. Do they share their knowledge in an open and constructive way?

2. Do others find their knowledge of value and use it? What results are gained from it?

This can also be demonstrated through venting processes for inclusion in databases and
use of that information--Xerox Eureka, for example.

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3. Do they use others knowledge and apply it to improve operations? This can be
measured somewhat by traditional business measurement tools.

Public and private recognition and rewards for individuals and teams. Though we
advocate team building and sharing of knowledge, incentives for individual
contributions are still required. A reward or recognition system properly implemented
can provide quantitative measurements.

Measure the Effectiveness of Sharing Communities

Document the effectiveness of communities of practices (CoPs). Based on the findings,
determine essential elements that contribute to a coherent and effective CoP. Draw
correlations against CoPs that have not been as successful.Extract lessons learned and
best practices from these correlations and use them to build new CoPs and improve
existing ones.

Measure the Ownership of Capture and Compilation

What are the costs involved in capturing information in a usable manor? This includes
not only the capturing but also the indexing. If the information is not retrievable it is of
little value. Quantifiable measurement of the time required to capture the information in a
usable manner is applicable. This can be critical in evaluating the impact of a pilot
project. Is the cost of the capture process too high in comparison to the value of the
captured information or knowledge?

Consider storytelling as an example. Here are some of the factors to be considered.

Creating the storytelling environment (either electronic production or live storytelling)
If live, what is the time commitment of participants (storyteller and audience)?
If electronic, what are the production costs?
Are the storage and distribution costs insignificant?
How much responsibility is there on the individual to capture his information in a
usable manor? This includes not only the capturing but also the indexing. If the
information is not retrievable, it is of little value.
Does the measurement of capture and compilation warrant effort? Measure Project
Management Effectiveness and Intended Results

Successful pilots will contribute to building organizational support and future funding. To
ensure that projects are managed effectively, it is beneficial to track the projects. Was a
formal methodology employed? Was a time line established and progress tracked? Were
project objectives and expectations clearly stated and measured? Measure the
performance of the pilots themselves against the intended results or hypothesis.
Measurements can be quantitative, qualitative, or anecdotal.

Measuring cost in your pilots can provide critical information for determining program
direction and strategy. If properly set up, measurements can enable a KM team to rethink
its priorities in an efficient and timely manner, allowing for shifting resources to
strengthen the potential for success.
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Can the capturing of lessons learned from your pilots be used for measurements? The
obvious answer is yes. An organization can quantify these in two basic ways: number
submitted and number referenced.

A qualitative measurement can be reached through a feedback measurement system
such as Eurekas thumbs-up or -down method of capturing the value of a tip to a user.
Other measurements can be made using the number of times a lesson was used or through
a feedback system allowing the capture of users comments.


STAGE 4: EXPAND AND SUPPORT

When an organization reaches Stage 4, KM has proved valuable enough to be officially
expanded to become part of the organizations funded activities. Demand for KM support
by other parts of the organization tends to be high, providing additional evidence of its
value. Pilot results are an added benefit.

High visibility and the authority to expand are a mixed blessing; the added visibility of
costs and resources devoted to KM will require more formal business evaluation and ROI
justification. The good news is that unless unforeseen factors derail the efforts, KM is on
its way to being considered a strategic and necessary competency.


Measures Appropriate for Stage 4

Since organizations at Stage 4 are undertaking multiple projects in diverse areas of the
business, it becomes necessary to evaluate the fitness of the knowledge areas in relation
to the whole organization. Evaluating a knowledge area project might require examining
many areas of fitness that, in aggregate, help the organization determine whether the
projects in its KM portfolio are of high impact and beneficial to the success of the
company.

Project criteria may include:
Proficiency. Has a process become world-class because of KM, or has it made only
mediocre improvement?
Diffusion. Has KM been properly executed? Is the project and knowledge managed
well? Is it well understood?
Codification. Because codifying knowledge is expensive, should the organization limit
that? Is that limitation visible and understood?
Openness for combination/innovation. Is the knowledge described in jargon that no one
understands? Is the knowledge base open to other disciplines? Does the project
generate questions to the organization to help it grow?

J ustification measures can be difficult when the organization is trying to decide whether
to adopt KM as part of the ongoing corporate strategy. The question of measurement
must often be restated at this stage. The organization has to not only measure how
knowledge area projects perform but also evaluate how it feels the business key
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indicators are linked to the knowledge areas. This can be easier if the business owner
decides what needs to be improved
through a project before embarking on it. When the improvements occur, he or she can
communicate the causal linkages between where the business started and where it ended
up because of the concentration on creating a viable knowledge project.

At this stage, it is important to tap into the values of the organization and determine
whether a culture shift is occurring. Personal performance reviews can be a useful avenue
to determine whether managers support knowledge sharing and give employees a chance
to show their ability to share. Then questions can be asked of employees to determine
whether management really does support knowledge sharing. Targeted questions such as
"How do you support creation and innovation?" can also help determine employee mind-
set.

Although most corporate KM programs have been well-established and "proven" by
Stage 4, it is still important to show that KM is working and will work going forward. To
estimate ROI, add the costs of a community (including labor, meetings, facilities) and
then define how much effort is spent on KM by knowledge management experts. Then
decide how much effort has been saved by sharing solutions in the community.

Another way to approach ROI estimation might be by looking at subcommunities and
their generation of solutions in terms of community projects. If a group needs a solution
and embarks on a knowledge-creation effort, determine how much has been saved in time
to market,
competitive positioning, etc.

Examples of Stage 4 Measures

To help prove the value of KM in its organization, Siemens is currently making a master
plan of KM metrics that contains measures for each of four dimensions of its holistic KM
system.
1. Knowledge community: the organization, community, people dimensions
2. Knowledge marketplace: the technology involved
3. Key KM processes: the sharing and creation that takes place
4. Knowledge environment: encompasses the above Community and Marketplace

Thinking in those terms, Siemens has realized that it can easily evaluate the success of its
communities and marketplaces with such measures as:
how much knowledge comes into or out of the community
the amount of feedback that comes into and out of the community
the quality of feedback

Since Siemens believes communities are the heart of the KM system, it has spent a great
deal of time on CoP assessments-questionnaires for community members that provide
ideas on how to improve the community and what the impact of the community has been
on someones business.


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Environment

In addition, a company can measure its knowledge environment through sophisticated
methods of value assessment, e.g., measuring the values of employees and business
owners to see if they match. To determine the values, an outside firm asks a series of
questions to determine at what level of importance various issues register with people.
For example, a question might be "Is it more important for you to exchange experiences
with friends or to create something new in your environment?"

The results of this effort have led the company to incorporate several new principles into
the corporate value system.

KM Processes

Siemens has tried to check the health of processes to determine the performance of the
sharing process. Ideally, the measures would evaluate whether a person has managed the
process correctly and set the right limits on it. This would give Siemens a good way to
not only look at the marketplace but also examine how much sharing and creation is
taking place.

As a Whole

To monitor the entire KM system, it is possible to perform a KM maturity assessment
that defines whether the process is still ad hoc and chaotic or has progressed to an
optimized state. Siemens measures its four dimensions and 16 enablers, each of which
has a set of questions. With a diagram showing the maturity for each dimension, an
organization can get a feel for its maturity level.

Measures appropriate at Stage 4 are carried out with the future in mind. The value of KM
principles has already been proven and companies in this stage are focused on how to
embed KM throughout their organizations. Measures are used at this stage not to prove,
but rather to improve, the existing projects and add to the corporate-wide strategy.


STAGE 5: INSTITUTIONALIZE KNOWLEDGE MANAGEMENT

In some ways, Stage 5 is the continuation of Stage 4 to its logical conclusion of full
enterprise-wide deployment. However, Stage 5 differs from Stage 4 in three fundamental
ways:

It does not happen unless KM is embedded in the business model.
The organization structure must be realigned.
Evidence of knowledge management competency becomes part of the formal
performance evaluation.

Sharing and using knowledge become part of the organizations "way of doing business"
as well as an expected management competency. In the relatively young arena of KM,
only a few organizations have reached this stage.
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As in Stage 4, Stage 5 measures are not used to prove value. They are used to check
progress and monitor the continued evolution of the culture. KM can no longer be called
an initiative or project at this stage: Your business relies on it.

Contributing authors: Cynthia Hartz of Dow Corning, Stuart Sammis of Corning, Dr.
Josef Hofer-Alfeis of Siemens AG, Kimberly Lopez of APQC, Cynthia Raybourn of
APQC, and Jennifer Neumann Wilson of APQC.
Copyright 2001, American Productivity & Quality Center (APQC). For more
information, please contact APQC at apqcinfo@apqc.org. Released February 2001


REFERENCES:

http://eclkc.ohs.acf.hhs.gov/hslc/Program%20Design%20and%20Management/Managem
ent%20and%20Administration/Communication/Knowledge%20Management/manage_art
_00009_061505.html

U.S Department of Health and Human Services
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Chapter 13

BARRIERS TO SUCCESS FOR KM


"Information systems will maintain the corporate history, experience and expertise
that long term employees now hold. The information systems themselves -- not the
people can become the stable structure of the organization. People will be free to
come and go, but the value of their experience will be incorporated in the systems that
help them and their successors run the business."
These are the words of a Professor of nothing less than Harvard Business School
(cf: Applegate et al., 1988, p. 44)
Source: Malhotra http:// www.brint.org/KMNewOrg.pdf
It is this view of Knowledge Management that perhaps explains much of the failures of
KM initiatives.
Experts subscribing to this view feel that knowledge is something that could be suitably
packaged and transported wherever and whenever required.
This is apparent from the very definition one often sees of knowledge management .
Lets look at some samples:
Source: Malhotra, http://www.brint.org/KMNewOrg.pdf )
Definitions:
The process of collecting, organizing, classifying and disseminating information
throughout an organization, so as to make it purposeful to those who need it. (Midrange
Systems: Albert, 1998)

Policies, procedures and technologies employed for operating a continuously updated
linked pair of networked databases. (Computerworld: Anthes, 1991)

Partly as a reaction to downsizing, some organizations are now trying to use technology
to capture the knowledge residing in the minds of their employees so it can be easily
shared across the enterprise. Knowledge management aims to capture the knowledge that
employees really need in a central repository and filter out the surplus. (Forbes: Bair,
1997)

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Ensuring a complete development and implementation environment designed for use in a
specific function requiring expert systems support. (International Journal of Bank
Marketing: Chorafas, 1987)

Knowledge management IT concerns organizing and analyzing information in a
company's computer databases so this knowledge can be readily shared throughout a
company, instead of languishing in the department where it was created, inaccessible to
other employees. (CPA Journal, 1998)

Identification of categories of knowledge needed to support the overall business strategy,
assessment of current state of the firm's knowledge and transformation of the current
knowledge base into a new and more powerful knowledge base by filling knowledge gaps.
(Computerworld: Gopal & Gagnon, 1995)

Combining indexing, searching, and push technology to help companies organize data
stored in multiple sources and deliver only relevant information to users. (Information
Week: Hibbard, 1997)

Knowledge management in general tries to organize and make available important know-
how, wherever and whenever it's needed. This includes processes, procedures, patents,
reference works, formulas, "best practices," forecasts and fixes. Technologically,
intranets, groupware, data warehouses, networks, bulletin boards videoconferencing are
key tools for storing and distributing this intelligence. (Computerworld: Maglitta, 1996)

Mapping knowledge and information resources both on-line and off-line; Training,
guiding and equipping users with knowledge access tools; Monitoring outside news and
information. (Computerworld: Maglitta, 1995)

Knowledge management incorporates intelligent searching, categorization and accessing
of data from disparate databases, E- mail and files. (Computer Reseller News: Willett &
Copeland, 1998)

Understanding the relationships of data; Identifying and documenting rules for managing
data; and Assuring that data are accurate and maintain integrity. (Software Magazine:
Strapko, 1990)

Facilitation of autonomous coordinability of decentralized subsystems that can state and
adapt their own objectives. (Human Systems Management, Zeleny, 1987)
Commenting on the largely prevailing technological view of KM, and its inability to
respond to turbulent business environment, by which we mean not only rapid change but
a discontinuous change In an article titled:
Knowledge Management & New Organization Forms: A Framework for Business Model
Innovation ( Information Resources Management J ournal 13 (1), 5-14, J an-Mar 2000. )
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Dr. Yogesh Malhotra writes:
Quote:
Based primarily upon a static and 'syntactic' notion of knowledge, such representations
have often specified the minutiae of machinery while disregarding how people in
organizations actually go about acquiring, sharing and creating new knowledge
(Davenport 1994). By considering the meaning of knowledge as "unproblematic,
predefined, and prepackaged" (Boland 1987), such interpretations of knowledge
management have ignored the human dimension of organizational knowledge creation.
Prepackaged or taken-for-granted interpretation of knowledge works against the
generation of multiple and contradictory viewpoints that are necessary for meeting the
challenge posed by wicked environments characterized by radical and discontinuous
change: this may even hamper the firm's learning and adaptive capabilities (Gill 1995).
Unquote
Studies after studies have shown that at the end of the day it is the People who make it a
success. Lets take a Study titled:
Mastering the Human Barriers in Knowledge Management :
Kurt-Martin Lugger and Herbert Kraus (Institute for Organization and Human
Resource Management, Karl-Franzens-University Graz, Austria)
Here is the Abstract:
Quote
"New" essential resources and success factors keep being invested and provide fertile
grounds, not only in the consultancy industry, for ever more glossy brochures to create
success. The production factor of knowledge is currently at the focus of many theories
and numerous publications. It remains to be seen whether we are seeing real innovations.
Knowledge has always been prerequisite to creating products or services, an essential
input, a "silent production factor".
The modern, complex environment has also made products and processes more complex
and extensive. The ability to adapt to changing conditions increasingly determines
success or failure. All aspects of enterprises are affected, even the "smallest units", the
human element. In this context, it is becoming increasingly important to be able to share
knowledge with colleagues. Knowledge transfer is basically characterised by a question-
and-answer principle. The focus is on the incalculable human factor. This causes more or
less distinct transfer barriers.
Prejudices, fear of criticism, lack of confidence, constant time pressures and other factors
are some barriers to transfer caused by the individual. Besides organisations may create
barriers, too, through rigid hierarchies, red tape, and outdated procedures.


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Knowledge management does not yet seem to attach enough importance to the issue of
communication, particularly to internal communication. In addition to individual and
organisational transfer barriers, communication media can also contribute to problems
and barriers in knowledge transfer.
Unquote
Lets take another study:
Individual and social barriers to knowledge transfer Disterer, G. (System Sciences, 2001.
Here is the Summary:
Quote
It is often stated that people use knowledge for their own benefit and that they share it
only grudgingly. This may be partly true because our society has deep cultural traditions
which tend to discourage knowledge sharing. Even memories from school confirm the
picture of knowledge as a treasury that has to be protected and hidden. During
examinations, the rise of shared potentials is castigated as a 'crib' and as an attempt to
deceive; what counts are the individually produced results. On the other hand, the
necessity of sharing knowledge in a company in order to use the economic resource of
knowledge efficiently and effectively is said to be one of the critical success factors
nowadays.
Unquote
KEY TO SUCCESS
So, What is the key to the success of Knowledge Management in any organization ?

An opinion poll found that 73% respondents feel that people are the key to the success of
Knowledge Management. 11% says Process is the key and 14 % says technology is the
key (rest 2% says can't say ).

The result isnt earth-shaking. But let us try to comprehend what it means.

People, Process and Technology: Three key areas

People

The success of any KM program depends largely on the collective knowledge of the
organization. The organizational knowledge comes through learning and sharing culture
of the organization. Bringing a culture where active experimentation is encouraged and
this change in culture can come through involvement of all and by establishing trust and
relationship among the members. Knowledge management program is primarily a change
management process. And like in any change management program, people are the key
to the success.
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Process

J ust having a process in place is perhaps not enough. Effective monitoring of the process
with key parameters and measuring the process outputs gives clear indication of success
or failure of the program. The process can be a part of an existing strategic planning in
place to achieve organizational objectives.

Technology

This is the easiest of the three factors. Technology is an enabler in a KM program. Some
times it plays a crucial role in bringing people together specially when they are
geographically located at distance places. Technology helps in managing corporate
content by the way of codifying knowledge objects. However technology only pays
important role in enabling a KM process. Without proper people strategy or robust
process, technology is not going to give result.

FAILURES IN KM INITIATIVES: PRIME REASONS
Steps taken in the early stages of project planning have the greatest impact on success.
Experience has shown that knowledge management and collaboration projects most often
fail due to:
Lack of management buy-in
Cultural barriers
Failure to provide a business case that ensures the necessary funding
Inability to properly scope the project
The foundation for success in a KM initiative lies to a great extent on the above factors.
To begin with, top management must be convinced regarding the usefulness of the
initiative. Much would depend on how the respective people are able to make a solid
business proposition. At the end of the day any initiative costs money, which could
perhaps be diverted to some concrete project that assures a minimum return.

Another common reason for failure, often associated with an Information System related
area, is the scope of the project. What exactly are we going to get out of it ? And, more
importantly, what is it that we dont expect to be resolved by this project solution ?
Defining clearly the scope of the project, the boundaries,- at the very out set could
prevent a lot of disappointment, disenchantment, a lot of heart burning and all that.

Finally, one must be sensitive to the cultural issues. Like all of us, an organization too has
a culture. Anything that steps on it might boomerang.
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BARRIERS TO KNOWLEDGE SHARING

Finally, what are the barriers to knowledge sharing ? Why is it that people dont want to
share what they know ?


There are number of reasons why people in an organization don't share their knowledge.
Some of the reasons perhaps could be deep rooted to the organizational culture. There
would be many reasons for not sharing which are essentially embedded in individual
belief and perceptions. A right environment created by organization with a strong
commitment of all members to sharing of knowledge is the key to success of any KM
program. It is easier said than done. There are many road blocks in sharing of knowledge.
What are they ? Let us try to identify them.

What I know is a common knowledge:

Many don't understand the importance of their own knowledge. 'I have noting to share'
and 'what I know is a common knowledge only' are the statements one gets from many
intelligent and experienced people. In organization level also the same feeling remains
that their knowledge base has nothing special about it. Basically, these organizations do
not know what they know. What they know is at an unconscious level. But, surprisingly,
146

in a discussion or in a community of practice meetings, it is they who strongly
participate.

Knowledge is power:

Knowledge is power,- so why should I share my knowledge which I earned spending my
time and effort? This is what stops many from sharing their knowledge. Prevailing
system encourages this belief. Going back to our school days we recollect we had not
been encouraged to share. The examination system tests ones knowledge. One would be
debarred from exam if he or she tried to share knowledge. In a business environment,
frequent interaction and exchange of ideas create new knowledge. Here organization
must create an environment where knowledge sharing is encouraged. In a culture of fear /
apprehension of loosing jobs or position by sharing will not help in creating new
knowledge for an organization. Knowledge is fluid and it grows when it transcends ones
boundary. Organizational knowledge is also enhanced by knowing more about customers
and supplies. This knowledge helps in improving or developing new product and
services. So by hoarding the knowledge neither individual nor the organization gains any
business value.

Trust is the key :

Trust among the employees plays an important role in creating sharing culture. No one
will share their problems or discuss any new idea when they don't have trust on others.
Socialization, networking, get together are the tools by which we can bring people
together and a trust can be developed. Working together, sharing a common problem,
discussing improvements are the key to develop trust among each other.

I don't want to be on Focus:

Some times people don't want to be at the centre of attention by sharing their knowledge.
This is very common in office meetings, particularly in organizations where there is little
incentive to share. In fact, fear of extra responsibility falling on them often prevents them
from coming forward. There are other barriers to knowledge sharing like internal
conflicts, group politics etc.

Organization Policy and culture:

Some organization policy like rewarding individual employee rather than team does not
encourage knowledge sharing. In fact, there is an interesting article titled 'Create
colleagues, not Competitors' written by Marshall W. Van Alstyne (September 05 HBR ).
The study says people rewarded for individual performance shared information least; the
people rewarded for team performance shared more; the people rewarded for company
performance shared most. Peer to peer competition is one the major reasons why people
don't share. Organization has to create a conducive atmosphere for free sharing and
reward or recognize all knowledge sharing efforts.

In fact, some organizations like XEROX decides on the bonus an employee receives not
just on his or her performance, but also on team and company performance. To ensure
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that bonus does not turn out to be largely a fixed amount, XEROX does not add the
performances, but multiplies them. This ensures that there is a larger stake in group and
corporate performance. ( Leveraging Processes for Strategic Advantage : David A.
Garvin, HBR, Sep-Oct 1995 )
Reference:
http://www.brint.org/KMNewOrg.pdf
Malhotra
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CHAPTER 14


Building a Knowledge Management Capability
Framework

Introduction
Companies are in an unending struggle to differentiate themselves from relentless
competitors. As markets become saturated with innovative and ever more customized
products, the uniqueness of the way these products are produced becomes an important
differentiator. This differentiator is referred to as a core capability.
Core capabilities are not stagnant over time. A company needs to adjust or change its
core capabilities in response to changing environments and market conditions.
Knowledge Management is concerned with building the necessary technological and
organizational infra-structure.
Companies have been trying to differentiate themselves based on unique production
processes, rare and distinct skills, creativity, and now on management initiatives such as
Supply Chain Management, Customer Relationship Management, and Total Quality
Management..
Core Capability
Core capabilities are unique resources and constitute a high barrier to imitation, resulting
in sustained superior performance and competitive advantage.
Core capabilities refer to the organizational resources, processes, or abilities that make a
company different from competitors and achieve market success. However, not every
skill or ability can be turned into a core capability. A distinction, however, needs to be
drawn between a core capability and the two other kinds of capabilities that are not
sufficiently strategic in nature to provide a sustainable competitive advantage
Supplemental capabilities are those that add value to core capabilities that in turn gives a
company its competitive edge. Rivals can easily imitate them. Examples include
distribution channels and powerful packaging design skills.
In contrast, enabling capabilities not only add value, but also are necessary to
competitively distinguish a company. A clear example is World-class quality in
manufacturing. It has become a necessity for entering the game, but not the road to
superiority.
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Dimensions of a Core of Capability
(1) Skills and Knowledge
Skills and Knowledge refer to both, the techniques specific to the firm as well as the
scientific understanding. These skills can be public, industry-specific, or firm-specific.
While public skills can be obtained from journals and public sources and industry
specific skills can be obtained from consultants, firm-specific skills are generally tacit,
hence less codifiable and imitated by competitors. These skills are specific to the firm
and people who own them.
(2) Physical Systems
Physical systems are systems that a company builds over time, such as databases,
machinery, and software programs, where skills and knowledge are embedded.
(3) Managerial Systems
Managerial systems are defined as the organized routines that guide resource
accumulation and deployment such as systems of innovation, rewards, and improvement .
These systems may facilitate or set barriers to activities undesired by management.
(4) Values and Norms
Patterns of behaviour and passionate beliefs define the level of acceptance of new
initiatives and techniques, hence acting as screening mechanisms that filter out anything
foreign to the existing culture. Values and norms usually stem from the basic assumptions
about human nature and personal values of the founders of the company.
Some Definitions of Knowledge Management
(A) Knowledge
Knowledge is a complex and fluid concept. It can be either explicit or tacit in nature.
Explicit knowledge can be easily articulated and transferred to others. In contrast, tacit
knowledge, which is personal knowledge residing in individuals heads, is very difficult
to articulate, codify, and communicate . Hence, it is equally difficult to imitate.
KM has no unique or standardized definition. KM may however be defined as a
combination of processes that control and manage the creation, codification,
dissemination, and leveraging of knowledge in organizations.
A key objective of KM is to ensure that the right knowledge is available with the right
person at the right time in a manner that enables timely decision-making.


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(B) Infrastructure Requirements
Organizational infrastructure comprises of corporate culture and values, high quality HR
Department, organizational politics and employee skills. While, corporate culture and
values guide channels of knowledge flow and define access privileges to knowledge, KM
driven human resource practices ensure that the recruitment process serves KM
objectives such as enabling and encouraging knowledge sharing
Politics are a major component of KM Organizational infrastructure, since they define
whether status and power are with or against knowledge sharing. Employee skills and
prior knowledge can also be considered as a key component of this infrastructure, given
that there has to be minimum knowledge about KM before the initiative can be
undertaken.
In comparison, IT infrastructure supports the process of codifying and storing knowledge,
creation of knowledge maps (or corporate directories), sharing of best practices, and
support for knowledge networks.. A company considering KM should, have personal
computers for all employees, phones, and videoconferencing technologies, combined
with ample storage capacity for documents to accommodate knowledge growth.
(C) Activities and Processes
KM activities and processes comprise of three main activities:
Knowledge Acquisition,
Knowledge Sharing,
Knowledge Utilization.
Acquisition refers to the process of creating insights, skills and relationships, capturing
them, and codifying them to make them accessible to users.
Knowledge sharing refers to the process of transmitting company knowledge to everyone
who needs it.
Knowledge utilization refers to the integration of acquired knowledge into the
organization, which in turn is dependent on users absorptive capacity and the recipients
willingness to use the transmitted knowledge.
(D) Benefits
Tangible KM benefits, such as reduced cost and new product development, are quite
difficult to quantify and impute to KM activities. Most organizations seek four main
benefits of KM. These benefits are capturing and sharing best practices, providing
training or corporate learning,
effectively managing customer relationships, and delivering competitive intelligence.
Other advantages of successful KM implementation include fewer mistakes, less
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redundancy, quicker problem solving, better decision making, reduced R&D costs,
increased worker independence, enhanced customer relations, and improved service.
KM also bring the company closer to the optimum use of employee knowledge in
delivering value to customers, enhanced relationships and corporate coherence, and
higher employee morale and retention. Indeed, KM also focuses on enabling,
empowering, directing, and energizing employees.
(E) Implementation Barriers
Many barriers prevent the successful implementation of knowledge management. Over
time, knowledge embedded in procedures becomes stagnant, a situation referred to as
organizational blindness where people believe that current practices are the best
Political status is yet another barrier. Corporate culture that encourages knowledge
hoarding rather than sharing, and ambiguous reward systems for knowledge sharing,
contributes to such a political system.
Other barriers are insufficient communication, lack of time for employee learning and
interaction, lack of training, complex technological systems, and unclear pricing systems.
Core Capability & Knowledge Management
Knowledge embedded in products and services has been recognized as a primary source
of sustainable competitive advantage.
Globalization, the growth of networked organizations, as well as the knowledge intensity
of new products and services has added to the importance of managing knowledge.
Knowledge, then, is becoming the most valuable strategic resource; and a firms ability to
utilize knowledge to address problems and market opportunities is the most important
capability. The more the firm knows about its customers, products, technologies and
markets, the better it performs compared to its rivals.
Therefore, various businesses can implement knowledge management as a core capability
for a sustainable competitive advantage. Table below illustrates how KM can generate
competitive advantages to businesses in various industries.
Type of
Business
Business
Depends on
Why KM can be effective as a
Core Capability
Entertainment Intangibles It would develop creative skills
and business networks
Retailers Relationships It would enhance service
quality and customer loyalty,
hence profitability.
Manufacturers Complex
Activities
It would increase key
performance areas throughout the
supply chain.
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Therefore, instead of developing a certain core capability and then implementing KM as
an enabler, companies should devote their efforts to building KM itself as a core
capability, which would enable other innovative capabilities.
Knowledge management can be viewed as the systematic management of intellectual
capabilities in the organization and its organizational and technological infrastructures.
Hence, managing knowledge is a time consuming and a comprehensive process that
eventually creates a unique capability of supporting human creativity and the firms cycle
of innovation embodied in firms processes and technologies .
Consequently, knowledge activities, systems, and technologies establish the capacity to
generate, integrate, transfer and import new knowledge. This core capability enables
human creativity and management of intellectual assets, resulting in differentiated
processes and products .
Learning that takes place during the implementation of KM adds the element of
uniqueness and competitiveness particular to any core capability.
Learning that happens over time, guarantees that the company is in pace with
environmental changes. However, the quality of learning is dependent on firm-specific
factors and resources.
KM Skills And Knowledge:
Since KM would eventually be integrated into everyones job, employees should have a
common background about KM.
Firm-specific skills include knowledge about KM. However, these skills evolve only in
the place where they were born and in the minds of people who own them. This implies
that, if competitors can imitate products or processes based on articulated explicit
knowledge of another company, firm-specific skills and tacit knowledge are not imitable
and separable from employees who perform them and their native environment. The
imitating company would have to recreate such an environment and acquire all the key
employees of the target company to map their expertise.
Keeping these firm-specific skills up-to-date is, then, a critical activity. KM should
involve offering continuous formal and informal educational programs for employees to
keep the firm-specific skills and knowledge stock from becoming outdated and even
counterproductive. On-the-job training is another option. Investment in knowledge
workers is a major component of KM.
Equally important, an applicants educational background should be considered during
the recruiting process. Although a poor indicator of knowledge sellers, educational
background is a useful predictor of an employees ability to absorb and use the
knowledge they receive.

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Types of KM Skills
Knowledge Management Specialists
In a KM initiative, they occupy the positions of knowledge integrators, librarians,
reporters, or editors. They should be trained to extract knowledge from its sources, codify
and structure it, and maintain and protect it over time .
These worker need to develop hard skills such as in knowledge codification, specific
industry or domain, and information technology, as well as soft skills such as the sense of
the cultural, political, and personal dimensions of knowledge.
Managers of Knowledge Management Projects
This position requires IT expertise to select among the various technological options
available to the company, and soft skills to persuade employees to contribute to KM
projects and optimize the use of human and electronic channels of knowledge transfer
and knowledge sharing . Skills in financial analysis, change management, and project
management are also very important .
Chief Knowledge Officer
The CKO is required to possess knowledge about the various business operations,
familiarity with the organizational and technological infrastructures, experience in
knowledge creation, codification, dissemination, and application, and skill in financial
analysis and human resource approaches.
Knowledge Management Physical Systems
Three kinds of physical systems are necessary for KM to be a core capability. These are
Capture Tools, Communication Tools, and collaboration Tools. Figure 1 below illustrates
how these three tools support the KM activities.








Acquisition

Sharing
Utilization
Knowledge
Capture Tools
Collaborative Tools
Communication Networks
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Capture Tools
These tools help in acquiring, codifying and storing structured and explicit knowledge.
Examples of such technologies are intelligent databases, note-capture tools, electronic
whiteboards, and the associated DBMS. Another set of technological tools that are
extremely effective in acquiring knowledge, through importing external knowledge, or
generating new knowledge out of existing knowledge, is Intelligence Tools.
Case-Based-Reasoning, for instance, helps search a collection of previous cases and
chooses the one closest to the case at hand. Viewing old cases may spark new ideas that
can be applied to new cases. Collaborative Filtering generates new ideas and suggestions
by drawing analogies between the case at hand and the case in question. Meanwhile,
Data Webhouses aggregate data across multiple sources and give decision makers the
ability to run complex queries for high quality information.
Communication Tools
One of the major responsibilities of communication tools is to enable viewing of
documents irrespective of their formats, operating systems, or protocols. This is why
Intranets, which are platform-independent, are extremely valuable for communicating
knowledge in the organization. Within these intranets or other distributed networks,
videoconferencing and multimedia capabilities should be implemented to capture the
informal content of messages that could be lost forever or rendered ineffective.
Knowledge maps, which are pointers to knowledge sellers, are also essential to establish
effective communication. Knowledge maps are directories of knowledge sellers
backgrounds, contact information, and expertise.
This illustrates the importance of face-to-face communication necessary for people to
trust one another when sharing tacit knowledge.
Collaboration Tools
Once communication tools have been set, places for actual sharing of knowledge need to
be established. Collaboration tools promote knowledge creation and transfer through
informal talk and discussions .
Web-conferencing, enable people in different locations to meet and share and view
multimedia information, screens, files at the same time.
Document Collaboration tools allow team members to instantly alter a document they
are working on from different workstations. Alterations by any member are reflected in
real-time.
Informal Communication tools allow users to hear and see other users, in essence allow
a real-time chat.
Groupware allows users to share access to email, diaries, calendars, and so on. Internal
messaging as well as communication with the outside world is also enabled. Reports and
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anecdotes can instantly be sent and shared by users. With interactive web pages,
groupware also has a database environment that allows for version tracking and
workflow. Lotus Notes, meanwhile, has the ability to replicate data between workstations
and servers to enables remote work that needs to be conducted on the road.
KM Focused Managerial Systems
KM initiatives and infrastructure development are heavily dependent on carefully
designed systems and processes, such as organizational learning, reward systems,
effective knowledge markets, and a meritocracy of ideas.
Organizational Learning
A formal mentoring system for new employees and opportunities for continuous
education would also send a similar message. However, the recruiting process must
emphasize not only existing skills and knowledge but also a positive attitude towards
learning. As firms develop KM as a core capability, they should take into consideration
the absorptive capacity of employees. An organizations absorptive capacity is its ability
to recognize the value of new knowledge, combine it, and apply it productively. This
capacity is an important determinant of knowledge transfer. It is a function of
competency, which is the ability to evaluate valuable new knowledge and use it, and
motivation, which is the drive to do so. If employees are to achieve high performance in
KM activities, both ability and motivation should be present.
Reward System
The reward and incentive systems should communicate that companys commitment to
expanding employees skills and knowledge. However, competencies and skills alone are
useless if the employee is not sufficiently motivated. Therefore, human resource
managers should design incentives that reinforce the knowledge-friendly behaviours,
such as knowledge codification and sharing. That is, the reward system should reflect and
contribute to the dynamics of an efficient knowledge market in the company by including
employees contributions to knowledge activities in the performance evaluation criteria.
Effective Knowledge Markets
Individuals searching for insights and answers to complex problems can be considered
knowledge buyers, while those who are known to possess knowledge, willing to share,
and able to articulate that knowledge, are knowledge sellers. Firms should make sure that
there are employees who make connections between the buyers and sellers, known as
knowledge brokers. Knowledge brokers are from different departments and are aware of
the diverse sources of knowledge. They should not be undermined or eliminated. Instead,
they should be rewarded and appreciated as the primary channel of tacit knowledge
transfer.
In order for knowledge buyers, sellers, and brokers to interact, a clear price system
should exist in the company. The reward can be either the potential of being paid back in
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the future in money form or in future favours, reputation and respect, or the pure sense of
satisfaction at ones assistance to others .
In addition, to be effective, these markets should be carefully built. Marketplaces, formal
and informal, should be established such as water coolers, talk rooms, knowledge fairs,
and forums, besides information technology based channels .
A firms level of investment in KM reflects its value as a resource and a source of
competitive advantage. For instance, placing highly talented employees in KM positions
and allocating slack time available to learn and share symbolizes a high commitment to
KM.
Establishing a Meritocracy of Ideas
A system of meritocracy of ideas should be established throughout these knowledge
markets. A firm should realize that knowledge exists at all levels of the organization,
hence the importance of empowering those knowers. This would contribute to the
companys ability to generate timely and knowledge-based decisions to address problems
and opportunities.
KM Culture and Values
Values in the company should create a learning environment in which all individuals are
commitment to excellence, failures and risk taking are tolerated, and outside ideas are
welcomed .
Distributed KM systems, such as knowledge maps, indicate that knowledge belongs to
the company as a whole, so that people commit to contributing and using that knowledge
to fulfill the companys objectives.
In addition, as in most if not all organizational change initiatives, senior management
commitment is vital to KM initiatives .The corporate mission should also emphasize such
commitment .
Based on these values and norms, the political system in the company should also
emphasize that power is not a product of knowledge hoarding, but rather a product of
knowledge sharing. Moreover, benefits of KM initiatives should be clarified to the
employees through opinion leaders, who are respected and imitated by others. These
individuals would act as knowledge evangelists.
Conclusions:
The steps that need to be taken for a company to build a KM Framework are to put the
greatest emphasis on building the four dimensions of core capabilities . Table below
illustrates, how to summarize and translate the framework into a practical guideline.

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Dimension Should Have Should Do Should Know

Skills
&
Knowledge

Knowledge and skills
about KM processes,
infrastructures, and
principles.
Solid educational
background and
training that enhances
its absorptive capacity
Invest in recruiting
individuals with
high absorptive
capacity and
willingness to
share knowledge.
Institute training,
job rotation, and
learning
opportunities.

Where the
knowledge resides
What skills to
promote
How to evaluate,
recruit, and retain
knowledge workers
Design learning
programs

Managerial
Systems

Organizational
Infrastructures
Fluid channels for KM
activities
Appropriate reward
system
Learning systems
Develop KM
driven reward
systems.
Build efficient
knowledge markets
Create a
meritocracy of
ideas
for knowledge
creation
The barriers and
facilitators for each
KM activity
Dynamics of its
knowledge markets
and price systems
How to manage KM
projects and
initiatives


Physical
Systems

Necessary IT
infrastructures
Knowledge map
Capturing tools
Communication tools
Collaboration tools
Implement the IT
tools or acquire
new ones
Build space and
places for face-to-
face transfer of
tacit knowledge
Train employees to
use KM
technologies
How to implement
and encourage the
use of KM
technologies
How to select
appropriate KM
technologies
Potential barriers to
IT
implementation


Values &
Norms

A learning
environment that
encourages knowledge
activities, and values
knowledge
Employees who are
willing to contribute to
and use KM systems
Tolerate risk
taking
Be open to
external ideas
Show commitment
and support to KM
initiatives

How existing values
affect knowledge
activities
What should be done
to build a KM-
friendly culture.


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Caution:
Once a system is set up to deliver a certain core capability, it becomes very resistant to
change. Companies that spend a long period of time doing things in a particular way that
proved successful are unlikely to switch.
Although knowledge is critical to the development of new products and processes, it
usually comes from outside the company.
The company should ensure that the most important adaptive resources, namely
employees, are readily capable of acquiring new knowledge and skills, and coping in a
changing environment.

Back















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Chapter 15

Developing a Knowledge Organization


(A) Organization & KM
Organizational performance is the result of the interaction of strategy, organizational
context, and individual behavior. This means managers need to choose the right approach
to the right markets, create processes to deliver quality goods and/or services to those
markets, and motivate people to act in line with the company's objectives.

Corporate decision makers need to ensure that the organization for which they are
responsible and their people can operate effectively in the knowledge economy. The
following questions could be used to assess the significance of particular trends and
developments:

What are the growth, competitiveness and employment consequences of the
emergence of the 'information society' an globalization of markets for
information, knowledge understanding? What strategic and policy issues arise,
how might these be handled and addressed?
In which commercial sectors are information, knowledge understanding
accounting for an increasing proportion value being generated for customers?
Are existing players equipped to cope? What will happen to those that are not? In
which of the sectors do they face exclusion?
What are the consequences for individuals of the emergence of a knowledge-
based economy? What help will be required by those who are less well placed to
cope? What will the more fortunate need to seize the opportunities open to them?
How attractive are the corporate, local and national contexts as a launch pad for
intending knowledge entrepreneurs? What are the main concerns of those
operating or planning knowledge-based ventures and businesses?
Will new training and development initiatives be needed to develop any
additional skills and competencies that might be required? What further forms of
support will be required? What further forms of support will be required?
What help will the educational system and its institutions require to encourage
and develop the attitudes, qualities and competencies required by knowledge
entrepreneurs? How might they be helped to become more effective as support
networks? What support tools might their memberships require?

What is the more effective acquisition, development and sharing of information,
knowledge and related support tools? What needs to be done to tackle obstacles at
corporate, local, regional, national and international level?
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How could more value be added in terms of creating new information, knowledge
and support tools as opposed to processing or using that which already exists?
What could be done to improve the acquisition, development, sharing and
utilization of information, knowledge and support tools within government? What
new mechanisms, processes and networks are required?
What help will be required to increase the sharing of information , knowledge and
understanding at European and/or international levels? What new European and
international networks could to be established?
What assistance will be required to ensure that information and intellectual
property is appropriately and fairly recognized, valued and exploited?
What can be done to encourage, develop and support knowledge entrepreneurs?
Where, when and how would public policy intervention be appropriate and
desirable? Is there scope for collaboration between public and private sector
organizations?
What will happen as a result of removing existing obstacles and barriers to the
acquisition; development and sharing of information, knowledge and
understanding? Will new ones be created?
Are particular types of organizations, or those of a certain size, especially at risk?
What needs to be done to increase their awareness of the situation and help them
respond?
Who should be the main targets of proposed actions, and how might they best be
reached? What form should any public interventions take and what external inputs
might be required?
Are there particular practices, procedures or regulations that should be changed or
removed? Who needs to be consulted and what help will be required?
How should the actions that need to be taken be communicated and delivered?
How will roles and responsibilities be allocated among the various organizations
and institutions that may need to be involved? Are there gaps that will need to be
filled?
What action do individuals and organizations need to take to protect their
intellectual property? What steps are required at national, European and
international levels?
What needs to be done to increase the security of private and public, and
governmental and intergovernmental, networks for the communication and
sharing of information, knowledge and understanding?
If there are implications for public policy there may well also be commercial
opportunities for both companies and individual entrepreneurs. Government
bodies at all levels may need external help in determining and introducing
appropriate responses.

Resulting initiatives will also have to be made known to those who must take whatever
action is required for them to be effective. Implementation teams will need to be familiar
with dissemination options and issues. The members should themselves be rolemodels in
relation to the communication and sharing of information, knowledge and understanding.

Organizational design takes into account all three critical performance factors: strategy,
organization, and motivation.
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Organizational design is about enabling a group of people to combine, coordinate, and
control resources and activities in order to produce value, all in a way appropriate to the
environment in which the business competes. In this view, design is more a process than
a structure in that the resulting organization should be intended as constantly adapting
and evolving, not fixed forever in some pre- determined form. Recent empirical work
provides evidence for this view.

Mohrman and her colleagues concluded from their study of knowledge work in eleven
Fortune 500 companies that "appropriate organizational design enables an organization to
execute better, learn faster, and change more easily" (1995:7). The task for leaders is to
implement (by using the various structural levers) the mix of factors which increases the
likelihood that individual and organizational knowledge acquisition, codification, and
transfer will occur regularly, appropriately, and productively.

The increased importance of organizational design for business performance challenges
the current paradigm and experience of many managers who may be quick to propose a
technological ("We need better databases!") or a personnel-related solution ("Hire
smarter people! Fire the laggards!"), rather than a structural one, to address business
performance issues. As part of their respective training, doctors study the basic structures
of the human body, engineers and architects understand the fundamentals of physics and
materials science, auto mechanics learn how a combustion engine works. Only when they
understand the underlying concepts, phenomenon, and variables in their field and how
they interrelate, can these professionals deal with specific issues and identify solutions.
Similarly, managers need to raise to a conscious, actionable level their understanding of
the fundamental behavior, processes, and dynamics of the organizations they lead.

(B) History & Developments

Organizational design during this century reveals an enormous array of approaches and
perspective, topics of interest,-underlying assumptions, research methodologies, and
levels of analysis.
On one side the field is anchored by social science discipline-based researchers who
strive to understand society and organizations as they are and -no treasure that knowledge
for its own sake.

On the other end of the spectrum are action-oriented consultants who are interested in
providing solutions to practical problems of administration, but who pay scant attention
to any higher-order or more generally applicable learning. Located between these two
groups are those practitioners and management thinkers who seek to combine theory and
practice, to understanding social systems in order to change and improve them.

Hayek's classic essay provides an economic theory of the link between knowledge and
organizational structure. He provides a taxonomy which distinguishes between two kinds
of knowledge by pointing out the importance of context and interpretation to its value.
While Hayek addressed issues at the macro-economic level, J ensen and Meckling have
written a companion piece to Hayek's which places his ideas in an organizational context.
They expand on Hayek's ideas about the cost of transferring knowledge and argue that
162

organizational design is about more than simply choosing between centralization and
decentralization in the allocation of resources. Rather, they highlight a framework for
understanding the links between knowledge, decision making, and organization design
which identifies the choices managers must make about their organizations in order to
align individual behavior with corporate objectives.

Not surprisingly, the vast majority of management writing on organization design has
dealt with industrial age organizations. The design choices, as the contingency theory
approach posits, is the external environment of markets, technologies, and regulations.
Pinchot and Pinchot describe the familiar, traditional bureaucratic organization and
explain why it is no longer suited to the knowledge era. They focus their analysis on the
changing nature of work and argue that the old model is being replaced by an
interdependent set of structures and practices which better fits the demands of today's
environment.

Bahrami's research in high technology companies suggests that flexible, agile firms with
"novel organization structures and management processes to accommodate them" may be
the leading organizational form of the next decade. He points out that this new form
presents managers with a fresh set of dilemmas and tensions to be addressed on an on-
going basis, rather than resolved ex ante through a single design choice.

Innovation requires applied knowledge, and highly innovative organizations are adept at
knowledge acquisition, codification, and transfer (Nonaka & Takeuchi, 1995; Kanter,
1983). Burns and Stalker give an historical review of how innovation became organized
in this century.

The book from which this selection has been excerpted, The Management of Innovation,
is best known for introducing the concepts of "organic" and "mechanistic" organizations
and linking their respective desirability to the stability of the external environment.
They emphasize that. invention is a social phenomenon relying in great part on the
diffusion of information through professional relationships and suggest that an
organization's design can hinder or facilitate that process.

Kanter's article touches on the importance of inter-organizational relationships as an
important source of input for the innovation process, and the growing numbers of
business alliances and joint ventures over the past decade suggests that companies are
well aware of this benefit from partnerships Badaracco studied the variety of alliances
created by IBM and General Motors and found that among their main benefits were the
creation of knowledge and learning new practices. This was particularly true regarding
embedded" knowledge. For Badaracco, embedded knowledge is a social notion than
Hayek's "particular knowledge" for it "resides primarily in specialized relationships
among individuals and groups and in the particular norms, attitudes, information flows,
and ways of making decisions that shape their dealings with each other" (1991).
Although such knowledge is difficult and costly to transfer, alliances create an arena for
building ties which will facilitate learning over time.

Pucik outlines a role for the human resource function in supporting organizational
learning, which requires transforming HR from an administrative unit to a valued
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business asset. Drawing on the alliance experiences of firms which demonstrate high
levels of learning, he also offers specific advice for human resource professionals.

The need to manage knowledge more consciously raises more direct human resource
implications: how can firms attract and retain knowledge workers? The rise of the
intelligent organization," in Pinchot's phrase, has placed a premium on human asset
rather than natural resources or financial capital which reigned supreme in earlier eras.
Tampoe reminds us that motivating excellent performance presents challenges as well.
More and more , companies must meet the expectations of their knowledge workers in
terms of work environment and quality of life issues or else face lower productivity or
even turnover of their highly valued assets. Addressing the personal and social objectives
of employees to build effective and "empowering" workplaces, he argues, is the key to
motivating knowledge workers.

The emphasis changed, replacing the old paradigm as indicated below :-


Unskilled work Knowledge work
Meaningless repetitive tasks Innovation and caring

Individual work Teamwork

Functional-based work Project-based work

Single-skilled Multiskilled

Power of bosses Power of customers

Coordination from above Coordination among
peers

From Unskilled Work to Knowledge Work
Peter Drucker has been telling us for decades that more and more of work, both technical
and nontechnical, is knowledge-based. We no longer need many unskilled assembly-line
workers; most of the jobs in factories involve technical knowledge and training. What is
more, few of the jobs in a manufacturing organization are in the factory. Most
"manufacturing" jobs are in functions such as marketing, design, process engineering,
technical analysis, accounting, and management, which require professional expertise and
mastery of a large body of knowledge. This same trend toward more knowledge workers
is present in service industries, not-for-profits, and government. Drucker estimates that
one-third of all jobs are already filled by the highly paid and productive group he calls
knowledge workers.


164

From Repetitive Tasks to Innovation and Caring
Since the passing of craft production, management has been responsible for organizing
people to work efficiently at narrow, boring jobs. This has meant that the managerial role
was as much to limit the intelligence and potential of employees as it was to elicit talent.
Now the mindless repetitive jobs that bureaucracies were designed to manage are rapidly
disappearing. Machines do more of the routine work, and the work that is left requires
initiative and flexibility. As a result, the job of leaders is more nearly to bring out
people's talents around a common Vision.
What sort of work will be left as machines get smarter? What do people do so much
better than machines that it will provide human work for the foreseeable future?
People are much better than machines at innovating, at seeing new possibilities within
fluid and imperfectly defined systems and knowing what to do. Innovation in this sense
includes the creative salesperson who sees what the customer really wants and bends the
system to get it. It includes the member of a quality action team who makes an intuitive
leap that exposes the real root cause of a problem to measurement and analysis. It also
includes the Corporate Entrepreneurs (Intra-preneurs) who sees how to use company
assets to generate more revenues and thus create more jobs. Another apparently
irreplaceable human talent is caring. As more work becomes service, caring about and for
others becomes increasingly important. People do not generally sue doctors just because
they make a mistake. They sue them because they make a mistake and relate to patients
in a way that says they do not care. Good salespeople keep customers because the
customers can sense that they genuinely care. Good intrapreneurs are able to break
through barriers within the organization when others sense that they care more about the
result than about personal success. Good leaders spread intrapreneurial zeal when it
comes from inner values that all can get behind. Leaders elicit commitment when their
people sense that they care about them, the group's success, and their mutual
contributions.
The rules of bureaucracy forbid caring and, in particular, acting on the basis of the inner
values one holds dear rather than out of strict obedience and loyalty to the boss. We find
no examples of innovation where the intrapreneur did not break some bureaucratic rules.
Most often the intrapreneurs and team members were carried away by a passion for an
idea that aligned with deeper values-that promised at least in some small way a better
world. We know few con artists who can long fool the alert into thinking they care when
they do not.
Caring, like innovation, must come from the inside: We cannot order people to innovate
or to care. We also cannot order people to use their intelligence; people engage their
intelligence when they have reason to care, when they are part of something bigger than
themselves and see that their wider interests are served by the work at hand. Bureaucracy
is too autocratic and rule-driven to motivate and manage the intelligence that is brought
to innovation and caring. Creativity and connecting with others require engaged
relationships, personal responsibility, and flexible thinking and acting. Thus, as the rules
of bureaucracy block both innovation and caring, they block the essence of modern work.
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Education, Innovation, and Caring
The Tofflers pointed out in The Third Wave that universal public education had the
purpose of teaching obedience, punctuality, and the ability to sit still a long time and do
mindless, repetitive work. In the early industrial era the ability to endure boredom was a
key survival skill. Although education has improved a bit, bureaucracies have done little
to prepare the average worker for the innovation, teamwork, and caring that constitute
much of modern work.
For years corporations have used effective training in creativity and innovation (for a
chosen few), but these lessons are generally remedial. They seek to re- store what was
destroyed by education. We need educational systems today that preserve "childlike"
curiosity and give practice in teamwork, initiative, and collaborative big-picture
responsibility.

Many of our current practices in education not only block innovation, they also blunt
one's ability to care, to engage heart and mind in one's work. People who act on what they
care about jump out of their seat. They fail to follow the lesson plan and ask too many
questions. They help their fellow students rather than maximizing their own grades.
Many schools are getting better at teaching children to care about one another and to treat
one another with respect, but still follow the bureaucratic model in the way both teachers
and students are treated- forced to measure up to defined procedures rather than pursue
goals with creative innovations, evaluated on individual performance instead of
teamwork and collaboration, taught compliance rather than participative self-
management and democratic processes.
From Individual Work to Teamwork
Bureaucracy replaces the natural ability of humans to find ways to work together with the
more sterile discipline of the chain of command. It is not rich and lively enough for
today's fast-paced changes and challenges. Virtually every recent management innovation
that works relies in part on the power of teams. A "Total Quality" program gives power
to teams to examine processes and make them work better, a task that until recently
belonged exclusively to managers. Because knowledge workers cannot produce much of
value alone, their work takes them across organizational boundaries to search for
integrated information. In reengineering, case teams replace isolated functions. In lean
manufacturing, ordinary workers take responsibility for the whole and run for help
whenever trouble shows up.
When three members of a thirty-two-person work team at Hoechst Celanese's Salisbury
plant left the team, the remaining team members had authorization to replace them but
decided not to do so. As is so often the case, the people doing the work knew more than
the bosses about where work and expense could be saved. Organizations become more
intelligent when they find ways to bring the intelligence of every member into supporting
the purpose and goals of the organization.

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From Functional Work to Project Work
As knowledge workers shift from static jobs to solving a series of problems or seizing
opportunities, they do so in work organized as projects. Each project in this complex
world generally requires a cross-disciplinary team. These teams then learn together as the
project evolves. Soon, their bosses in the functions they "report" to become too distant
from the work to manage the decisions for the teams. As a consequence, control shifts
from the functional organization of bureaucracy to project teams.
Specialization will continue to be a critical part of every complex organization. But
because of the interconnection of issues in a complex world, more and more work will
involve integrating the viewpoints and activities of specialists, and less and less will be
performing tasks completely within those specialties. As a result, each employee will
have to be both a specialist and a generalist.
The 1956 Pontiac was designed with a concave sculpted panel with many vertical ribs
indented between the two taillights. The door to the gas cap was neatly hidden between
two of the vertical ribs. Because the cracks at the edge of the gas door fell where the eye
already expected a vertical line, the door did not break up the uniform sweep of the
design.
The design worked aesthetically, but a senior manager reviewing it was afraid car owners
would be unable to figure out where to find the gas cap. Rather than raising the concern
with the designers and asking them to deal with it in a thoughtful way, he ordered the gas
cap door chromed, ruining the whole sweep of the design with an anomalous chrome
square.
Managers cannot bring out the intelligence of everyone in the organization if they pretend
they can do better thinking in a few hours than a project team that has wrestled with the
problem for months. Instead of issuing arbitrary orders, they need to raise concerns and
trust the project team to find a way of handling them that integrates with all the other
issues guiding the design. Paradoxically, as issues become more complex and specialties
more differentiated, it becomes increasingly necessary for teams of diverse specialists to
themselves integrate their work with the work of other teams. Management can never
understand all the trade-offs and creative solutions that get the team where it is. Heavy-
handed intervention leads to inconsistencies or worse. In an intelligent organization,
participation is widespread to help expose all the issues as early as possible. Individuals
with multiple skills are brought together to cover more viewpoints in a team of
manageable size, and the team does its work guided by feedback, not commands.

From Single-Skilled to Multi-skilled
As Fred Emery has pointed out, no system can exist without redundancy to provide
reserve capacity when something does not exactly follow the plan. Bureaucracy gets its
margin of safety from extra bodies. If extra work of one kind appears because customers
ordered a different mix of products than expected, a bureaucracy has extra workers of
that exact type waiting in the wings, or it falls short of meeting the orders. The same
situation arises if someone is sick: Another "identical" worker needs to be waiting to do
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the job. This system of narrowly de- fined skills and extra bodies is expensive and
inflexible.

In a typical multiskilling program, responsibility shifts to teams, and employees get raises
for each new skill they acquire. With a multiskilled workforce, when bottlenecks appear,
whether through absenteeism or a sudden rush of one kind of work, someone can step in
and get things moving.
From the Power of Bosses to the Power of Customers
For an organization to be responsive, customers' wishes have to have a strong influence
on the people doing the work. Relaying this sort of information through bosses is too
slow-and besides, they may not be there to hear what customers want.
This sort of thinking applies to internal customers or "users" of a unit's out- put as much
as to external customers. In a rapidly changing world, if internal customers cannot get
what they need promptly and flexibly, the system will not be able to serve external clients
promptly and flexibly. Freedom of choice between alternative suppliers gives users of
internal services the power enjoyed by real customers the power to say no to one and yes
to another. Once internal customers have this power, the attention of those internal
suppliers shifts from pleasing their bosses to winning customers. If they have customers,
the boss can be pleased; without customers, they had better find new work.
From Coordination from Above to Coordination among Peers
Clearly, new systems of coordination and control are needed. In a bureaucratic system,
employees are not responsible for coordinating their work with others at their level; that
is their boss's job. They need not think about the big picture beyond doing their specialty
well-to do so would be presumptuous. It is the job of senior management to figure out
how it all fits together, so cross-functional concerns are referred up to a level of
management that can resolve them. When coordination is the boss's job, cross-functional,
or horizontal, communication with one's peers is frowned upon as either a waste of time
or a usurpation of the boss's authority.
In post bureaucratic organizations, most of the coordination between functions and even
businesses is done by teams. In 1988, J ohn Hanley, vice president for product
development at AT&T, needed to cut in half the product development time for cordless
phones. The old product development system was a series of handoffs from R&D to
Manufacturing to Marketing to Sales. Hanley formed teams that included people from
each of these functions and gave the teams authority to make decisions about almost
everything except their deadline: They would be finished in one year. Rather than wrestle
with the bureaucracy, the teams worked together as intrapreneurial generalists. They did
market research, decided how much each product should cost, what its features would be,
what it should look like, and how it should work. The result: half the development time,
better quality, lower cost.
Reality has become so complex and multidimensional that there is no way of dividing the
organization into chains of command that will work for all aspects of the challenges
168

faced. As a result, integration is achieved through peer-level cross-organizational
communication rather than through the hierarchy. Huge volumes of cross-functional
communication are needed because every important process crosses the boundaries of the
organization. The general manager does not have time enough in the day just to relay
communications; the process is not fast enough.
In the industrial era, the large-scale but stable means of production pushed us toward
distant, formal, and unequal relationships at work. Today, our complex and intelligence-
intensive tasks push us toward relationships that are close, open, honest, and more nearly
equal. Because "organization" is about how we structure.
The nature of work in modern high-tech workplaces calls on people in many positions in
the organization to take responsibility for processes and services that intimately affect the
customer and the wider community. Even in small service businesses and government
agencies, the goods and services produced are knowledge and information-intensive by
virtue of the skills and intelligence of the people with their hands on the work processes.

It is, therefore, clear that the organizational design approach offers valuable insights for
those charged with helping their organizations acquire, codify, and transfer knowledge.

Knowledge-Based Organizations

The end of labor-intensive manufacturing leaves us with organizations which receive
their added value from the knowledge and the creativity they put in rather than the
muscle power.

Fewer people, thinking better, helped by clever machines and computers, add more value
than gangs or lines of unthinking "human resources."

Knowledge- based businesses of consultancy, finance and insurance, advertising,
journalism and publishing, television, health care, education, and entertainment, have all
flourished. Even agriculture and construction, the oldest of industries, have invested in
knowledge and clever machines in place of muscles.

From a functional perspective, in a Knowledge Organization, CONTENT (objects, data,
information, knowledge, and wisdom) are generated by knowledge workers. Content is
captured, organized, and preserved to enable its reuse and leveraging by people and
groups other than those who generated it. Infrastructure is in place to enable sharing of
content across all elements of an organization and with external partners, as appropriate.
Procedures are in place to integrate content from multiple sources and mobilize it to
achieve organizational goals and objectives. A learning culture promotes not only
individual learning but also results in a shared understanding.
Finally, the organization embraces continuous evolutionary change to sustain itself in a
constantly changing environment.


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Pillars of KM Organization
Without support and participation from senior management, a KM initiative is destined
to fail quickly. No matter how strong the informal knowledge links are within a
company, it is imperative that any knowledge management initiative has firm executive
support behind it to develop grass root initiatives and sustain/enhance the culture for a
successful transformation into a Knowledge Organization.
Creating the right culture that encourages the sharing of knowledge is key to KM.
Executive support is needed to add new incentives and recognition programs that can
assist in further development of a sharing culture.
But incentive and recognition programs are not the sole means to modifying an
organization's culture. An approach that leverages all the components of the Knowledge
Organization and integrated them with existing practices, skills, and experience to form a
cohesive strategy will slowly "tweak" those organization's cultures over time.
Cultural changes does not happen overnight. If it took years to develop the existing
culture, why would it take days or months to change it?
Two pillars of the Knowledge Organization are
(1) Management support
(2) Sharing culture
The components of the Knowledge Organization cannot act independently. They rely on
each other to further enhance the process, since Knowledge Management is not a
destination, but an ongoing process.
Becoming a learning organization is part of the process that links the knowledge
management components together leading to the ultimate goal - organizational
effectiveness.

Reference:
Knowledge Management and Organization Design
( Edited by Paul S. Myers : ISBN 0-7506-9749-0 )

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REFERENCES


1. ALLKM.COM
2. idea.gov.uk
3. Knowledge Capitalism -Alan Burton J ones Oxford Univ Press
4. http://dev.skyrme.com/pubs/acm0398.doc
5. cio.com
6. Business @ The Speed of Thought : Bill Gates
7. Harvard Business Review on Knowledge Management HBS Press
8. The Road Ahead: Bill Gates Penguin
9. Knowledge Horizons: The Present and Promise of Knowledge Management
(Butterworth-Heinemann )

10. Knowledge Management: A State of the Art Guide:
Paul Gamble & J ohn Blackwell ( Kogan Page )

11. Knowledge Leadership: The Art and Science of the Knowledge-based
Organization : Steven Cavaleri and Sharon Seivert ( Butterworth-Heinemann)

12. Storytelling in Organizations: Brown, Denning, Groh, Prushak (Butterworth-
Heinemann)

13. Knowledge Management : Elias M. Awad & Hassan M. Ghaziri
( ISBN 81-297-0097-2 )

14. Knowledge Management and Organization Design
( Edited by Paul S. Myers : ISBN 0-7506-9749-0 )

15. Article by Abedkader Daghfous
School of Business and Management, Sharjah, Post Box - 26666
Published in J ournal of Knowledge Management Practices in October, 2003

16. Article ' " A Km oversight Structure " by Cynthia J Odon & J ohn F. Starns
Published in KM World in Feb, 2003 , Volume 12, Issue 2

17. Other References given in respective chapters.


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