Conducting a Knowledge Audit


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Some call it a "Knowledge Diagnostic" - whatever - it is your first step in developing organizational Knowledge management (KM)

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  • Had a look at your site - interesting - and given your thoughts on HR you might connect with this piece I wrote some time ago.
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  • Please feel free to take a look at the blog link ( - there are pages of evidence-driven resources linked to KM models, complexity and resilience. With respect 1374 people reading this deck does not constitute evidence for credible research or a complete KM Audit.

    The research into generality within the KM field, and impact for a KM audit (all areas should be addressed to produce a 'complete' audit), can be found here:

    In so far as the complete peer-reviewed research (including a complete Phd thesis addressing this challenge), drop me an email and I'll gladly send it through to you via a DropBox link.
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  • 1374 people have downloaded this slide deck. I will most certainly have a look at what you have done - if you are prepared to send me a copy of the research you refer to. I have 20 years in KM and have never seen anything close to what I have done in auditing or knowledge transfer. I'm eager to see where I am deficient.
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  • Sorry, this is just not correct, slide 8 for example - we (K3 Cubed Ltd) have much more than 'limited experience' in this area and we are certainly not interested in 'tech side' or 'information auditing' - other bullet points on the slides are very misleading. We have actually won awards for our research into the management areas that need to be explored as part of a KM audit and the University of Edinburgh started up our company as a result of this research. As far as we know, we are the only company to have published our underpinning research into KM audits in peer reviewed journals, winning the Emerald Literati Award for Excellence in 2012. From that research, and based on your slides, I would heavily suggest that you are actually missing key elements of a KM audit - as such, I would suggest that any outputs would be incomplete.

    Those interested can find the outline of the audit model here

    The 500 point maturity model that supports it, along with the research, is open access and I am more than happy to supply it to anybody who might be interested
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Conducting a Knowledge Audit

  1. 1. KM Auditing ©David G. Jones
  2. 2. Business Outlook The Bottom Line Competing Interests for limited resources The dreaded ROI Adaptability, competition and sustainability New customers, new methods Tracking (audit and performance measurement and other related issues) Benchmarking and “Best Practices” Continually learning organizations of excellence in a knowledge-based global environment
  3. 3. Business-side Challenges Unenthused about penetrating the complexity and dedicating a lot of time to IT issues Tends to view whole thing as “plumbing” – not as business factor Leery of costs, high risks (of doing and not doing), profile, the unknown Unable to respond quickly and effectively to sector defined urgencies
  4. 4. Management is troubled by: Increasing isolation, division, gaps Decreasing aptitude, commitment and energy Increasing costs and decreasing returnsAnd burdened with “solutions”: How-to tools, methods and processes Metrics, benchmarks, “best” practices Information and knowledge as product
  5. 5. Why a “Knowledge Audit”? Are you sure you know:  What knowledge is needed  what is the knowledge work of the organization  Where they are gaps and redundancies  All you need to know about planned and real work outcomes  How activity relates to objectives
  6. 6. Why a knowledge audit? Are you sure you know:  How things get done and if / how things could get done better  Whether you have the responsibility and accountability right  Whether you are getting better – or worse – at what you do  How your clients / partners really view you  The employee situation
  7. 7. If you have low certainty………. An examination is needed of:  Your organization – mission, mandate, objectives  Organizational structure, service distribution  Business processes and evident (known) work issues  Sensitivities  Communication and decision challenges / issues  Knowledge resource strengths and deficiencies. [Quantify expertise, not number of Web pages].
  8. 8. Who is going to deliver it? Only a few organizations in the realm, and they have only limited experience Tends to the tech side or to “information auditing” Corporate bias may be significant Can be expensive Control can be a challenge (ref: the alleged uncertainty of KM) Can take a lot of time May suffer from a need to meet “standards” The answer? That’s right – you have to do it
  9. 9. Audit Hints1. Go2. Consult, consult, consult3. Educate as you study4. Work on your objectivity and receptivity5. Bring out your own ideas when the conversation is stuck6. Track your consultation7. Deliver an audit and plan report to your supervisor
  10. 10. Methods, Validity and Reliability1. Aim for 80%2. On second thought, aim for 60%3. Use a mixed methodology: 1. Interviews and focus groups 2. Surveys 3. Observations4. Develop “findings” and test against various audiences (internal and external)5. Develop a draft plan and test6. Modify and re-legitimize
  11. 11. What your findings may look like
  12. 12. Personal Knowledge QuestionI am confident that I am adequately informed in themissions and mandates of our partners Personal Knowledge Question 25 20 15 10 5 0 1 2 3 4 5 Low High
  13. 13. Personal Knowledge QuestionI am sufficiently knowledgeable in finance and budgets Personal Knowledge Question 25 20 15 10 5 0 1 2 3 4 5 Low High
  14. 14. Personal Knowledge Employees confident of their knowledge levels (know what to do or know where to find out) Less strength in knowledge of gov’t laws and policies Uncertainty in partner missions and mandates Training needs in defined activity areas: e.g. how to operationalize something
  15. 15. Sources of Information andKnowledge (I&K) I&K flow varies by direction I&K availability and issue Info quality a concern Tools may be an issue Sharing not a universal organization value Gaps in policy comprehension
  16. 16. Relationship Issues Between people doing same function in different regions Between people doing different function in same region Chain of command, delegation, accountability Briefing, de-briefing, consultation, collaboration General communications (anecdotes around “now- hear-this e-mailing” Poor meeting practices
  17. 17. Planned Initiatives Knowledge Transfer and  Leveraging Retention  Deployment de-brief Infrastructure  Internal Web  Words of Wisdom (retirements,  Employee Profiles departures)  Knowledge Centre Just In Time KM  Directories  Interactive Forums  Governance processes  Info Management (shredding)
  18. 18. Planned Initiatives (2) Scope Determination  Relationships (What it is)  Internally -  Conference between related feedback system functions  Best or good  Externally - with practices  Web Portals and key communities interfaces
  19. 19. Final Words [Audit to plan toproject(s)] Use the language of  Keep people informed – business of both successes and Speak of objectives and failures outcomes and leave the  Work with an annual methods in the annex plan in your hand and a Be realistic – don’t make three year plan in your rash promises (culture head change takes time)  Build bridges – including Believe in what you are and especially with the doing and communicate IT and IM support shops that  Network with KM colleagues