Knowledge Management in the Post Globalization Era


Author:
H.L. Nagaraja Murthy
Assistant Professor
BVIMR, New Delhi

Co-Author:
Prof. Dr. Madhumita Nayak
Associate Professor
BVIMR, New Delhi
 


ABSTRACT:

Knowledge is the fundamental basis of competition. Competing successfully on knowledge requires either aligning strategy to what the organization knows, or developing the knowledge and capabilities needed to support a desired strategy. The knowledge management practices play very crucial role in organizational change and development. To effect successful change organizations strategically assesses their knowledge resources and capabilities in order to conceptualize their knowledge strategy, so as to reduce the knowledge gaps.

Today the knowledge management as a strategy is practiced globally. Knowledge management is all about people and providing them with an environment that can contribute to enhancing their existing knowledge base and help them to develop. Organizational competitive advantages ultimately rest on its knowledge resources as it it is difficult to copy. To effect organizational change, knowledge management as a technique is extensively used by organizations across the globe. To successfully bring change through knowledge management practices, organizations need to align their strategies with the current knowledge base of the people, and develop knowledge to build the capabilities of people to successfully entrance, change wherever the gap exists

To develop knowledge management program organizations need to consider cultural factors duly defining its goals for success. Such organizational initiatives need to be further reinforced by process changes keeping pace with technology. Organizations further develop success metrics based on the defined goals. At the organizational level, knowledge management practices focus more on tacit knowledge documenting and sharing it with others for development.

Early in the industrial age motor/ muscle power was provided by workers for product creation, leaving the thinking job to management. However, with the changed environment cognitive skills became increasingly more important in every work, be it production at the shop floor or rendering services to customers. The technology further played a crucial role in capturing and managing knowledge, making it possible for organizations to harness the potentiality of knowledge by its proper development, growth and maintenance and with an approach to periodically retire knowledge that is obsolete.

Key Terms: Knowledge management strategy- gap analysis- knowledge analysts- innovative knowledge- thinking skills.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

KNOWLEDGE MANAGEMENT IN THE POST GLOBALIZATION ERA

By
H.L. NAGARAJA MURTHY (Author)
Assistant Professor- BVIMR- New Delhi
And
Prof. Dr. MADHUMITA NAYAK (Co-author)
Associate Professor–BVIMR- New Delhi

Knowledge is the fundamental basis of competition. Competing successfully on knowledge requires either aligning strategy to what the organization knows, or developing the knowledge and capabilities needed to support a desired strategy. The knowledge management practices play very crucial role in organizational change and development. To effect successful change organizations strategically assesses their knowledge resources and capabilities in order to conceptualize their knowledge strategy, so as to reduce the knowledge gaps.

Today the knowledge management as a strategy is practiced globally. Knowledge management is all about people and providing them with an environment that can contribute to enhancing their existing knowledge base and help them to develop. Organizational competitive advantages ultimately rest on its knowledge resources as it it is difficult to copy. To effect organizational change, knowledge management as a technique is extensively used by organizations across the globe. To successfully bring change through knowledge management practices, organizations need to align their strategies with the current knowledge base of the people, and develop knowledge to build the capabilities of people to successfully entrance, change wherever the gap exists

To develop knowledge management program organizations need to consider cultural factors duly defining its goals for success. Such organizational initiatives need to be further reinforced by process changes keeping pace with technology. Organizations further develop success metrics based on the defined goals. At the organizational level, knowledge management practices focus more on tacit knowledge documenting and sharing it with others for development.

Early in the industrial age motor/ muscle power was provided by workers for product creation, leaving the thinking job to management. However, with the changed environment cognitive skills became increasingly more important in every work, be it production at the shop floor or rendering services to customers. The technology further played a crucial role in capturing and managing knowledge, making it possible for organizations to harness the potentiality of knowledge by its proper development, growth and maintenance and with an approach to periodically retire knowledge that is obsolete

There are many contributors to knowledge management and learning organizations starting from the concept of Kelley's (1985) 'gold collar worker' to that of Argyris (1994), Drucker (1994), Peters (1992), Stewart (1997) Nonaka and Takeuchi (1995) and many more.

Knowledge management practices play crucial role in managing organizational change. To develop the capabilities of people, it is essential to reinforce knowledge through learning. Learning is a process of acquiring new skills or knowledge that results in new behavior. It can take place through multiple ways. But for organizations, the best way to promote learning is by exposure to new experiences. Knowledge is the ability and wisdom to use the learned experiences for achievement of individual and organizational objectives. Knowledge management therefore is the process of systematically and actively managing and leveraging the store of knowledge in an organization.

At this stage, it is important to understand the basic difference between skills, multi-skills, competencies, and knowledge. Skills are operational attributes to attain some goal or accomplish a particular task. It can either be generic or technical entry level or advanced. Operationally skill enrichment is initiated to meet present requirements.

Multi-skilling optimizes manpower utilization through job enlargement and job enrichment. However, both skill enrichment and multi skilling are intended to address the present organizational requirements. Competencies, on the other hand, encompass skills, knowledge, abilities and attributes which are observable, measurable and which change with the passage of time.

Organizations undertake competency mapping in a defined job context to understand the extent of its alignment with vision and mission, and to define an ideal workforce. Knowledge is more holistic approach, which is identified, acquired and developed for achieving organizational objectives. The Indian gurkul system of learning has always emphasized the importance of holistic learning. Knowledge thus acquired helps employees to think independently and to understand the interdependence which never gets obsolete. It becomes self perpetuating and dynamic to address the changing objectives of the organizations.

It is, therefore, evident that knowledge is a mix of the experiences values and information of organizations which does not just get documented but is also translated into regular practice to develop the capabilities of people and to bring positive changes in the overall performance of the organization (Davenport et.al. 1998). In general, however, intellectual and knowledge based assets fall into one of the two categories: explicit or tacit.

Tacit knowledge refers to the knowledge that is often used but cannot be articulated or externalized and hence cannot be easily diffused. Explicit knowledge consists of knowledge that can be codified and presented in books etc and can consequently be easily transferred to others. Included among the explicit knowledge are assets, such as patents, trade marks, business plans and marketing research and customer lists.

From an organization's point of view knowledge management is thus a concept in which an enterprise gathers, organizes, shares, and analyzes the knowledge in terms of resources, documents and periodically retires the old knowledge.

KNOWLEDGE MANAGEMENT:

"The truly revolutionary impact of the information revolution is not artificial intelligence, information or the effect of computers and data processing on decision-making, policymaking, or strategy. The key to continued growth and leadership in the economy is not electronics of computers but the cognitive skills of the 'knowledge workers". PETER DRUCKER- 1994

To understand the concept of knowledge management it is important to know what knowledge is. The knowledge is the fact or condition of knowing something with familiarity gained through experience or association. Explicit knowledge is formal knowledge, available in the books, rules, etc. The tacit knowledge is informal knowledge deeply rooted in an individual actions and experience, ideals, values, or cautions. The knowledge creation process requires socialization (tacit to tacit) externalization (tacit to explicit) combination (explicit to explicit) and internalization (explicit to tacit).

Unfortunately there is no universal definition of knowledge management in the first place. Theoretically, knowledge management is the process through which organizations generate value from their intellectual and knowledge based assets. Most often generating value from such assets involves sharing them among employees, departments, and even with other companies in an effort to devise best practices. It is important to note that the definition says nothing about technology, while knowledge management is often facilitated by IT, Technology by itself is not knowledge management.

In organizational context knowledge management is concept in which an enterprise gathers, organizes, shares, and analyzes its knowledge in terms of resources, documents and skills. It helps an organization to gain insight and understanding from its own experience. It is the process through which organizations generate value from their intellectual and knowledge based assets. A knowledge manager takes the responsibility of facilitating the ongoing process of knowledge sharing and knowledge renewal. It is important to understand how knowledge is formed and how people and organizations learn to use it wisely. The end result of a well designed knowledge management program is that everyone wins. Therefore, knowledge management is a newly emerging, inter-disciplinary business model dealing with all aspects of knowledge within the context of the organization. It encompasses both technological tools and organizational routines in overlapping parts to include knowledge creation. Knowledge codification and knowledge sharing to promote learning and innovation and in the process achieve desired organizational change.

INTEGRAL COMPONENTS

Based on our aforesaid discussions we can classify integral units of KM as under:

Generating new knowledge
Accessing valuable knowledge from outside sources
Using accessible knowledge in decision making
Embedding knowledge in process, products and services
Representing knowledge in documents – databases and software
Facilitating knowledge growth through culture and incentives
Transferring existing knowledge to other parts of organization
Measuring the value of knowledge assets and impact of knowledge management

BENEFITS:

Foster innovation by encouraging free flow of ideas
Improve customer service by streamlining response time
Boost revenues by getting products and services to market foster
Enhance employee retention rates by recognizing value of employees' knowledge and rewarding them for it.
Streamline operations and reduce costs by eliminating redundant or unnecessary process.

STRATEGIC KNOWLEDGE MANAGEMENT IN INDIAN CORPORATES

An Indian company with an evolving KM strategy that reflects these concerns is the picture tube manufacturer, Samtel. Since the deregulation of the economy in the early 1990s Samtel realized that it could not be a long term competitor in the display technology business without having a strong technological capability of its own.

Tata Steel, another Indian company, is also making extensive use of the knowledge management process to remain globally competitive. The central theme of knowledge management in Tata Steel is to leverage and re-use knowledge resources a;ready exists in the organization so that people will seek out the best practices rather than re-invent the wheel. It benefits the company by making expertise available through out the organization reducing loss of intellectual capital from people having company, minimizing redundancy of knowledge based activities increasing knowledge productivity by dissemination and gaining competitive advantage in the marketplace by turning intellectual capital into values through innovation.

In BHEL knowledge management helped the company achieve process improvement increase employee capabilities leverage intellectual capital, gain customer market information, develop new product, manage successful customer relation transfer best practices open new markets and start new businesses.

Some companies are however graduating to real KM Engineering Major Larsen and Toubro (L&T) is creating a knowledge base of major projects undertaken by it with technical and managerial learning from each other. To ensure reliability of this effort, L & T instituted processes for the verification and validation of such learning before they are available to the rest of the organization as best practices. The importance of this step cannot be over-emphasized because true knowledge is created only through such a process of verification once it is created only through such process of verification and validation. Once it is created IT can play very useful role in allowing it to be catalogued, searched, and accessed in different forms. Organizations, such as NGOs that provide funding for development activities and venture capital firms that achieve their objectives through the performance of other organizations are also looking towards knowledge management as a way of learning from success stories identifying best practices and transferring this to other organization within their networks.

Today when firms in India are subject to competition from the best companies in the world on their home-turf, they are paying greater attention to knowledge and its management that is inevitable.

Knowledge management is the name of a concept in which an enterprise consciously and comprehensively gathers, organizes, shares, and analyzes its knowledge in terms of resources, documents, and people skills. In early 1998, it was believed that few enterprises actually had a comprehensive knowledge management practice (by any name) in operation. Advances in technology and the way we access and share information have changed that; many enterprises now have some kind of knowledge management framework in place.

Knowledge management involves data mining and some method of operation to push information to users. Some vendors are offering products to help an enterprise inventory and access knowledge resources. IBM's Lotus Discovery Server and K-Station, for example, are products advertised as providing the ability to organize and locate relevant content and expertise required to address specific business tasks and projects. They are said to be able to analyze the relationships between content, people, topics, and activity, and produce a knowledge map report.

This major process includes these activities. Are gathering data entry, OCR and scanning, Voice input, pulling information from various sources, searching for information to include organizing – cataloging, indexing, filtering and linking. Further refining, contextualizing, collaborating, compacting projecting, and mining. Disseminating, regulating flow of ideas, sharing of information, alerting individuals and groups, and pushing the available information to concerned or interested parties or groups.

Thus the activities that are involved in knowledge management can be classified as under:

Gathering:

  • Data entry
  • OCR and scanning
  • Voice input
  • Pulling information from various sources
  • Searching for information to include

Organizing

  • Cataloging
  • Indexing
  • Filtering
  • Linking

Refining

  • Contextualizing
  • Collaborating
  • Compacting
  • Projecting
  • Mining

Disseminating

  • Flow
  • Sharing
  • Alert
  • Push

A knowledge management plan involves a survey of corporate goals and a close examination of the tools, both traditional and technical, which are required for addressing the needs of the company. The challenge is to select or build software that fits the context of the overall plan and encourage employees to share information.

Unfortunately, there's no universal definition of knowledge management (KM), just as there's no agreement as to what constitutes knowledge in the first place. For this reason, it's best to think of KM in the broadest context. Succinctly put, KM is the process through which organizations generate value from their intellectual and knowledge-based assets. Most often, generating value from such assets involves codifying what employees, partners and customers know, and sharing that information among employees, departments and even with other companies in an effort to devise best practices. It's important to note that the definition says nothing about technology; while KM is often facilitated by IT, technology by itself is not KM.

Knowledge Management (KM) has assumed greater urgency in American business over the past few years as millions of baby boomers prepare to retire over the coming decade. Tens of millions of baby boomers turned 60 in 2005, so those of them who aren't already retired are certainly planning to do so soon. And when they punch out for the last time, the knowledge they gleaned about their jobs, companies and industries over the course of their long careers walks out with them—unless companies take measures to retain their insights. In addition to an immanent mass retirement, the outsourcing trend has forced CIOs who have entered into outsourcing agreements address the thorny issue of transferring the knowledge of their full-time staff members, who are losing their jobs because of an outsourcing deal, to the outsourcer's employees in order to smooth the transition to the newly restructured IT organization.

KM CONSTITUTES INTELLECTUAL OR
KNOWLEDGE BASED ASSETS

Not all information is valuable. Therefore, it's up to individual companies to determine what information qualifies as intellectual and knowledge-based assets. In general, however, intellectual and knowledge-based assets fall into one of two categories: explicit or tacit. Included among the former are assets such as patents, trademarks, business plans, marketing research and customer lists. As a general rule of thumb, explicit knowledge consists of anything that can be documented, archived and codified, often with the help of IT.

Much harder to grasp is the concept of tacit knowledge, or the know-how contained in people's heads. The challenge inherent with tacit knowledge is figuring out how to recognize, generate, share and manage it. While IT in the form of e-mail, groupware, instant messaging and related technologies can help facilitate the dissemination of tacit knowledge, identifying tacit knowledge in the first place is a major hurdle for most organizations.

KM INCLUDES TECHNOLOGY USAGE & TACIT KNOWLEDGE TRANSFER

Shadowing and joint-problem solving are two best practices for transferring or recreating tacit knowledge inside an organization. With shadowing, less experienced staff observes more experienced staff in their activities to learn how their more experienced counterparts approach their work. Dorothy Leonard and Walter Swap, two knowledge management experts, stress the importance of having the "protégé" discuss their observations with the "expert" in order to deepen their dialog and crystallize the knowledge transfer.

Another sound approach that Leonard and Swift recommend is joint problem-solving by expert and novice. Since people are often unaware of how they approach problems or do their work and therefore can't automatically generate step-by-step instructions for doing whatever they do, having them work together on a project will bring the expert's approach to light. The difference between shadowing and joint problem solving is that shadowing is more passive. With joint problem-solving, the "expert" and the "novice" work hand-in-hand on a task.

BENEFITS FROM KM

Some benefits of KM correlate directly to bottom-line savings, while others are more difficult to quantify. In today's information-driven economy, companies uncover the most opportunities — and ultimately derive the most value — from intellectual rather than physical assets. To get the most value from a company's intellectual assets, KM practitioners maintain that knowledge must be shared and serve as the foundation for collaboration. Yet better collaboration is not an end in itself; without an overarching business context, KM is meaningless at best and harmful at worst. Consequently, an effective KM program should help a company to do one or more of the following: 

  • Foster innovation by encouraging the free flow of ideas
  • Improve customer service by streamlining response time
  • Boost revenues by getting products and services to market faster
  • Enhance employee retention rates by recognizing the value of employees' knowledge and rewarding them for it
  • Streamline operations and reduce costs by eliminating redundant or unnecessary processes

These are the most prevalent examples. A creative approach to KM can result in improved efficiency, higher productivity and increased revenues in practically any business function.

ADAPTATION OF KM IN ORGANIZATION

For starters, don't label it KM because the term causes so much confusion. Everyone has a different definition of KM (if they even know what it is) and those who have heard of it and have heard of all the failures associated with KM projects will be inherently biased against your project. Instead of calling it KM, pitch it as a project designed to solve a particular business problem. Your KM project is much more likely to succeed if it addresses an actual business goal or specific pain point, like improving collaboration in order to bring a product to market faster than the competition.

VALUE OF KM INITIATIVE

Tata – Samtel – L & T companies are few corporate units that are having this KM initiative. Rather than attempt to calculate a hard-Indian rupee with ROI that you may not be able to achieve, it's often wise just to promise that the system will pay for itself (if indeed it will) and therefore is worth trying out to see if incremental benefits can be gained. That approach works well if you're trying to get funding from executives who are known skeptics of KM. Also, instead of attempting to demonstrate enterprise wide value for a KM project, look for value at the individual level. For example, if the project will reduce the amount of time call center workers spend with each customer, you might be able to sell the project on that basis.

BEST WAY TO APPROACH KM

Starting small is definitely less risky than taking a big-bang approach. With smaller projects, you have more control over the outcome, and small-scale failure won't doom your entire effort. In addition, getting funding for a series of smaller projects is more feasible than getting funding for an enterprise wide initiative, especially if the benefits are hard to quantify. Starting small also allows you to build on your success

When embarking on a KM strategy, you should define the value you want to achieve from your KM initiative and establish at the outset metrics that will prove your success. Finally, a KM program should not be divorced from a business goal. While sharing best practices is a commendable idea, there must be an underlying business reason to do so. Without a solid business case, KM is a futile exercise.

CHALLENGES OF KM

GETTING EMPLOYEES ON BOARD:

The major problems that occur in KM usually result because companies ignore the people and cultural issues. In an environment where an individual's knowledge is valued and rewarded, establishing a culture that recognizes tacit knowledge and encourages employees to share it is critical. The need to sell the KM concept to employees shouldn't be underestimated; after all, in many cases employees are being asked to surrender their knowledge and experience — the very traits that make them valuable as individuals.

KM REQUIRES ONGOING MAINTENANCE:

As with many physical assets, the value of knowledge can erode over time. Since knowledge can get stale fast, the content in a KM program should be constantly updated, amended and deleted. What's more, the relevance of knowledge at any given time changes, as do the skills of employees. Therefore, there is no endpoint to a KM program. Like product development, marketing and R&D, KM is a constantly evolving business practices.

DEALING WITH DATA DELUGE:

Companies diligently need to be on the lookout for information overload. Quantity rarely equals quality, and KM is no exception. Indeed, the point of a KM program is to identify and disseminate knowledge gems from a sea of information.

PEOPLE SUPPORT FOR KM INITIATIVE

One tried-and-true way to build support for KM is to pilot the project among employees who have the most to gain and would be the most open to sharing their knowledge. This will vary depending on the organization. It's also a good idea to involve in the pilot a select group of influencers—employees who are well-respected by their peers and whose opinions are highly regarded in the organization. If both groups have good things to say about the KM effort, their positive attitudes will go along way toward convincing others of the merits of KM.

To get people to participate in the KM effort, you have to bake knowledge collection and dissemination into employees' everyday jobs. In other words, you have to make it as easy for them to participate as possible. A lot of early KM efforts failed because they added cumbersome steps to the jobs of already overworked employees. So when things got busy, workers just didn't bother with the extra steps. And since most people are already stretched so thin these days, they can't contemplate adding another layer onto their daily routine. The best KM efforts don't seem like an effort.

Linking KM directly to job performance, creating a safe climate for people to share ideas and recognizing people who contribute to the KM effort (especially those people whose contributions impact the bottom line) are also critical tactics for getting people to make KM a part of their day to day.

Finally, many companies create incentive programs to motivate employees to share their knowledge. This can work, but the danger with incentive programs is that employees will participate solely to earn incentives, without regard to the quality or relevance of the information they contribute. Ideally, participation in KM should be its own reward. If KM doesn't make life easier for employees, it will fail.

KM TO BE LED BY COO-CIOs

Since KM is not a technology-based concept but a business practice, enterprise wide KM efforts should not be lead by the CIO. (The CIO is a suitable choice to lead KM efforts within the IT department, however. ) Some companies have dedicated KM staff headed by a chief knowledge officer or other high-profile executive. Other companies rely on an executive sponsor in the functional area where KM is implemented.

KM is not a technology-based concept. Don't be duped by software vendors touting their all-inclusive KM solutions. Companies that implement a centralized database system, electronic message board, Web portal or any other collaborative tool in the hope that they've established a KM program are wasting both their time and money.

That being said, KM tools run the gamut from standard, off-the-shelf e-mail packages to sophisticated collaboration tools designed specifically to support community building and identity. Generally, tools fall into one or more of the following categories: knowledge repositories, expertise access tools, e-learning applications, discussion and chat technologies, synchronous interaction tools, and search and data mining tools.

KM & SOCIAL NETWORK ANALYSIS (SNA)

Companies that have been frustrated by traditional KM efforts are increasingly looking for ways to find out how knowledge flows through their organization, and SNA can show them just that. SNA is a process of mapping a group's contacts (whether personal or professional) to identify who knows whom and who works with whom. In enterprises, it provides a clear picture of the ways that far flung employees and divisions work together and can help identify key experts in the organization who possess the knowledge needed to, say, solve a complicated programming problem or launch a new product. M&M maker Mars used SNA to identify how knowledge flows through its organizations, who holds influence, who gives the best advice and how employees share information. The Canadian government's central IT unit used SNA to establish which skills it needed to retain and develop and to determine who, among the 40 percent of the workforce that was due to retire within five years, had the most important knowledge and experience to begin transferring to others.

SNA isn't a replacement for traditional KM tools such as knowledge databases or portals, but it can provide companies with a starting point for how best to proceed with KM initiatives. As a component to a larger KM strategy, SNA can help companies identify key leaders and then set up mechanism—such as communities of practice—so that those leaders can pass on their knowledge to colleagues. To identify experts in their organizations, companies can use software programs that track e-mail and other kinds of electronic communication to identify experts in their organizations.

Knowledge management draws from a wide range of disciplines and technologies – cognitive science- expert systems, artificial intelligence and knowledge base management systems (KBMS) – it is computer supported collaborative work ( groupware) – Library and information service- technical writing- document management- Decision support systems- Semantic networks- relational and object databases. Simulation, organizational science, object oriented information modeling, electronic publishing technology, hypertext, and the World Wide Web – help desk technology, full text search and retrieval. 

THE VALUE OF KM:

Some benefits of KM correlate directly to bottom-line savings, while others are more difficult to quantify. In today's information-driven economy, companies uncover the most opportunities — and ultimately derive the most value — from intellectual rather than physical assets. To get the most value from a company's intellectual assets, KM practitioners maintain that knowledge must be shared and serve as the foundation for collaboration. Yet better collaboration is not an end in itself; without an overarching business context, KM is meaningless at best and harmful at worst. Consequently, an effective KM program should help a company do one or more of the following:

DRIVERS OF KM:

The main drivers behind knowledge management efforts are:

Knowledge Attrition:  Despite the economic slowdown, voluntary employee turnover remains high.  A recent survey by the global consulting firm Drake Beam Morin revealed an average voluntary employee turnover rate of 20 percent with  81 percent of organizations citing employee turnover as a critical issue. Estimated annual costs of employee turnover was a staggering $129 million per organization.  Much of this cost is due to knowledge attrition, which can be effectively minimized using knowledge management techniques.

Knowledge Merging: Since 1980, the annual value of mergers has risen 100 fold reaching a cumulative $15 trillion in 1999.  Over 32,000 deals were announced, triple the number of 10 years earlier and more than 30 times as many as in 1981.  The recent frenzy of corporate mergers coupled with the increased need to integrate global corporate communications requires the merging of disparate and often conflicting knowledge models.

Content Management:  The explosion of digitally stored business-critical data is widely documented. Forester Research estimates that online storage for Global 2,500 companies will grow from an average of 15,000 gigabytes per company in 1999 to 153,000 gigabytes by 2003, representing a compound annual growth rate of 78%.  As the volume of digital information expands, the need for its logical organization is critical for purposes of information retrieval, sharing and reuse.

E-Learning: As the economy becomes more global and the use of PCs more pervasive, there has been a dramatic increase in e-learning, also known as computer based training. E-learning is closely linked to and overlapping with, but not equal to knowledge management.  E-learning can be an effective medium for knowledge management deliverables

KM Objectives


TECHNOLOGIES SUPPORTS KM:


These technologies roughly correlate to four main stages of the KM life cycle:

1. Knowledge is acquired or captured using intranets, extranets, groupware, web conferencing, and document management systems.

2. An organizational memory is formed by refining, organizing, and storing knowledge using structured repositories such as data warehouses. 

3. Knowledge is distributed through education, training programs, automated knowledge based systems, expert networks.

4. Knowledge is Applied or leveraged for further learning and innovation via mining of the organizational memory and the application of expert systems such as decision support systems.  

All of these stages are enhanced by effective workflow and project management.

  • Present and Future State of KM

Currently, communities of practice such as the Knowledge Management Network and the development of standards and best practices are in a mature stage of development.  KM curricula such as certification, corporate training and university graduate certificate programs are on the rise. Techniques such as data mining and text mining that use KM for competitive intelligence and innovation are in the early stages of development. Finally, organizations are investing heavily in ad hoc KM software that facilitates organizational knowledge.  The chart below estimates the state of their current and future KM activities.


The Future of Knowledge Management

In the next several years ad-hoc software will develop into comprehensive, knowledge aware enterprise management systems.  KM and E-learning will converge into knowledge collaboration portals that will efficiently transfer knowledge in an interdisciplinary and cross functional environment. Information systems will evolve into artificial intelligence systems that use intelligent agents to customize and filter relevant information.  New methods and tools will be developed for KM driven E-intelligence and innovation.

The Effect of Knowledge Management on Databases

Multiple corporate databases will merge into large, integrated, multidimensional knowledge bases that are designed to support competitive intelligence and organizational memory.   These centralized knowledge repositories will optimize information collection, organization, and retrieval. They will offer knowledge enriching features that support the seamless interoperability and flow of information and knowledge. These features may include: the incorporation of video and audio clips, links to external authoritative sources, content qualifiers in the form of source or reference metadata, and annotation capabilities to capture tacit knowledge.  Content will be in the form of small reusable learning objects and associated metadata that provides contextual information to assist KM reasoning and delivery systems.  

The Implications of Knowledge Management For...

Database Users : From business class users to the general public, database users will enjoy a new level of interaction with the KM system including just-in-time knowledge that delivers precise relevant information on demand and in context.  More complex, smart systems will translate to optimal usability and less time spent searching for relevant information.   For example, data analysts will enjoy simplified access and more powerful tools for data exploitation. The use of knowledge bases can reduce customer service costs by providing customers with easy access to 24/7 self service via smart systems that reduce the need to contact customer service or technical support staff.  Database users may even create customized views of knowledge bases that support their needs.  

Database Developers :  The design and development of knowledge based systems will be considerably more complex than current database development methods.  Developers must  consider the overall technical architecture of the corporation to ensure seamless interoperability.  The use of standardized metadata and methods will also facilitate both intra-corporate and inter-corporate interoperability.   Making effective physical storage and platform choices will be equally more complex.  Both knowledge base developers and administrators must understand the role of the knowledge base in the overall KM system.

Database Administrators:   Database Administrators will evolve into Knowledge Managers.  The knowledge base will store and maintain corporate memory  and Knowledge Managers will become the gatekeepers of corporate knowledge.  The lines between technical roles such as Web Developer, Data Analyst or Systems Administrator will blur as these systems merge into and overlap with KM systems.  DBAs will need to have some knowledge about each of these disciplines.

General Public: Even if they are not interacting directly with a knowledge base, the general public will benefit from the secondary effects of improved customer service due to faster access to more accurate information by service providers.

Summary

Organizations are realizing that intellectual capital or corporate knowledge is a valuable asset that can be managed as effectively as physical assets in order to improve performance.  The focus of knowledge management is connecting people, processes and technology for the purpose of leveraging corporate knowledge.  The database professionals of today are the Knowledge Managers of the future, and they  will play an integral role in making these connections possible.

Knowledge is the fundamental basis of competition. Competing successfully on knowledge requires either aligning strategy to what the organization knows, or developing the knowledge and capabilities needed to support a desired strategy. The knowledge management practices play very crucial role in organizational change and development. To effect successful change organizations strategically assesses their knowledge resources and capabilities in order to conceptualize their knowledge strategy, so as to reduce the knowledge gaps.

Today the knowledge management as a strategy is practiced globally. Knowledge management is all about people and providing them with an environment that can contribute to enhancing their existing knowledge base and help them to develop. Organizational competitive advantages ultimately rest on its knowledge resources as it it is difficult to copy. To effect organizational change, knowledge management as a technique is extensively used by organizations across the globe. To successfully bring change through knowledge management practices, organizations need to align their strategies with the current knowledge base of the people, and develop knowledge to build the capabilities of people to successfully entrance, change wherever the gap exists.

REFERENCES

Argyris C 1994 Organizational Learning Blackwell, Cambridge

Bhattacharayya DL 2009 Organizational Behavior- concepts and applications Oxford University Press New Delhi

Chandler M 1991 Alternative readings of competence performance relation (Abstract of the article- Criteria for competence.

Davenport T S Jarvenappa- and M Beers 1996 Improving knowledge work processes – pp 53-66

Drucker PF 1994 The age of social transformation – Atlantic Monthly Nov 2010. PP no. 53-80

Dyer G and B McDonough 2001 The State of Knowledge Management- Communication piece of news letter.

Gurteen David: 1999 Creating a knowledge sharing culture- Knowledge Management magazine- vol. 2 Issue 5.

Larsen J N 2001 Knowledge – Human resources and social practice- The knowledge intensive business service firm as a distributed knowledge system- The Services Industries Journal Vol. 21 and pp 81-102.

Mentzas G 2003 – Research Directions for knowledge management in e-government: Issues and Experiences from KM in Business settings- 4th International Conference on KM: Seminar paper presentation at Greece accessed from Google search.

Nonaka I and H : Takeuchi 1995 The Knowledge Creating company – Oxford University Press- New York

Prahlad C K and G Hamel- 190 The Core competence of the corporation- Harvard Business review May June 2008- pp.  79-91

Rastogi PN 2001 The dynamics of Knowledge Management and Intellectual Capital, Productivity January – March pp 559-567.

Zack: MH 1999 Developing knowledge strategy – California Management Review- accessed through Google search and California Management Review Vol 41 No.3 Spring pp 125-145.
 

                                                                                                                                                                               

   Published on IndianFaculty.com: 07/08/2012

 Source: E-mail 08/08/2012

Back to Faculty Articles main page

 

Google Custom Search

Search Your Faculty Jobs Here !