There are many definitions that define what knowledge management is.My personal favorite is by Ron Young who is the CEO/CKO of Knowledge Associates International.He states that “Knowledge Management is the discipline of enabling individuals, teams and entireorganizations to collectively and systematically create, share and apply knowledge, to better achieve their objectives.”(Knowledge-Management-Online.com)
There are many benefits of implementing a knowledge management system.A knowledge management system will reduce “…the time-to-market” for a product or service.Also, knowledge management will help in designing and commercializing new products more quickly and successfully. Knowledge management will result in increased revenue, retained market share and expanding profit margins for an organization.(O’Dell, 1999)
“Chevron reduced its operating cost structure by more than 2 billion in the last seven years due to…. sharing best practices.”“Texas Instruments generated 1.5 billion in annual increased fabrication capacity by comparing and transferring best practices among its 13 fabrication plants.”Scandia “… leveraged internal know-how to dramatically reduce start-up time for new ventures to seven months.” The industry average is seven years.Arthur Andersen (Accenture) “… has improved their quality of service, helped lower research costs, and shortened delivery time.”(O’Dell, 1999)
Data is the first blocks of knowledge management.Data can be defined as “…numbers, characters or objects.” They are “objective facts that don’t have any meaning.An example of this would be an excel spreadsheet.Information is created when data is “organized” and given “… purpose or intelligence resulting from the assembly, analysis or summary of data into a meaningful form.”Knowledge is created “… through the understanding and awareness of information.” (Heinrichs & Lim, 2008)
There are two types of information. The first type is explicit which is defined as information that has been written down or codified.An example of this would be an excel spreadsheet which has been analyzed and codified or a word document.The second type is tacit which is defined as information that is stored inside a person’s mind.“Typically, the more tacit knowledge is, the more valuable it tends to be” (Dalkir, 2005).An example of tacit information is an employee’s expertise. It is the goal of knowledge management to capture explicit information and codify it.
“The process of extracting, transforming and transferring expertise from a knowledge source…” is defined as knowledge acquisition” (Dalkir, 2005).In this process, “tacit knowledge is captured or elicited and explicit knowledge is organized or coded.” The next step in the process is the sharing of knowledge and “dissemination” of knowledge (Dalkir, 2005 77).
There are two types of tacit knowledge.The first one is procedural knowledge which is the “…knowledge of how to do things, how to make decisions, how to diagnose and how to prescribe.” The second type is declarative knowledge which is “… descriptive knowledge or knowing ‘what’ as opposed to knowing ‘how.’”(Dalkir, 2005).
Knowledge can be captured from individuals or groups.Some ways to capture tacit knowledge are by: Interviewing experts Learning by being told Learning by observation Learning from others Ad hoc sessions Road Maps Learning histories Action learning E-Learning(Dalkir, 2005).
“Other people are the preferred source of information…” because it is often faster to find information when you ask someone. Also, when we interact with other people, we obtain the information that we needed, but we also obtain the knowledge of where it is stored, “…how to reformulate our question or query, whether we were on the right track, and where we strayed.”Technology is another way people find information. Some technology sources are: E-mail groups Discussion groups Shared virtual workspace interactions Community Yellow Pages, and Community of practice groups (otherwise known as CoP’s) (Dalkir, 2005)
A community of practice group is “a group of people, along with their shared resources and dynamic relationships, who assemble to make use of shared knowledge, in order to enhance learning and create a shared value for the group” (Dalkir, 2005).
There are several different types of community of practice groups. “… They are typically defined as a function of some common focal points such as: A work-related function or process such as production, distribution, marketing, sales or customer service A recurring or nagging problem situated in a process or function, and/or A topic such as technology, knowledge retention or innovation (Dalkir, 2005)
Community of Practice groups will contain: Member generated content Member-to-member interaction Events, and Outreach(Dalkir, 2005)
There are a number of roles in a community of practice group that must be filled in order for the group to be successful.Champion – “The champion ensures support at the highest level, communicates the purpose, promotes the community, and ensures impact.”Sponsor – “The sponsor serves as the bridge between the group and the rest of the formal organization…”Facilitator – The facilitator ensures that everyone in the group participates, organizes events and administer all communications.Practice Leader – The practice leader “… provides thought leadership for the practice…, and validates innovation and best practices…”Knowledge Support Center – These members “… ensure clarity and lack of duplication of information….” They also “…filter knowledge and requests for help.” (Dalkir, 2005)
Some tools that help capture knowledge are: Data Mining Content Management Tools GroupWare Blogs, and Wikis(Dalkir, 2005)
For management consulting firms, their “core product” is knowledge. “Consulting firms sell their expertise and experience to customers.” Therefore, knowledge management is very “critical” to consulting firms (Kim & Trimi, 2007).Accenture (formerly Arthur Anderson Consulting) is a management consulting firm that has a highly developed knowledge management system in place. They have more than 186,000 employees and is located in more than 200 cities in 52 countries. Accenture’s net revenue for fiscal year 2008 was 23.29 billion dollars.Their clients “include 96 of the Fortune Global 100 and more than three-quarters of the Fortune Global 500”(Taylor, 2009).
Accenture has identified five critical goals for their knowledge management program.They are: Fostering and sustaining a knowledge sharing culture Improving the time to competency for new hires Enabling and enhancing their sales capability Ensuring and improving the ROI for KM, and Improving margins and delivered quality on client engagements( Meister & Davenport, 2005)
Accenture’s knowledge management “… strategy focuses on [the] central management of knowledge that relies on the codification and re-use of knowledge (70%), and also in a de-central management of knowledge that relies on networks of individuals and on individual’s experience to solve client problems” (Grolik et al, p. 11).Accenture uses a “centralized/codified” strategy. A centralized/codified approach is “… knowledge [that] is codified and stored in the knowledge base of an organization. Then the stored knowledge can be accessed and reused easily by anyone in the organization. The emphasis is on capturing existing knowledge and reusing it” (Kim & Trimi, 2007).
A knowledge repository is an intranet or portal “… of some kind that serves to preserve, manage, and leverage organizational memory” (Dalkir, 2005).In 2004, Accenture began to use Microsoft SharePoint as their knowledge repository. Their focus was on a “… set of core capabilities related to a document repository, expertise directory, topic area and search functionality.”Some “… key insights that drove the overall design were: Search quality is the most important aspect of the infrastructure Topic pages are very important for providing context to users who do not immediately find what they need or who are seeking a broader range of content about a subject, and Collaborated capabilities… for those who can’t find what they need or are working in an area that requires expertise. (Meister & Davenport, 2005)
The types of documents found within the Accenture knowledge repository are: Contributions and Accenture Developed ContentSome examples of these are: “program/project execution material, engagement profiles, alliance/vendor profiles, marketing and selling tools (such as credentials and client experience) and methods” Discussion Postings Expert Profiles Topic Pages which are “managed pages that provide overviews of key strategic areas including offerings & assets” Learning Assets which are “courses” Methods Assets Portal Content which are “… internal processes and communications” Externally Purchased Content, and Other External Contentwhich is “anything accessed externally via the internet”(Meister & Davenport, 2005)
This is Accenture’s User Request Model. This model follows the path that a user at Accenture would take in order to find the right content. At the right of the model is the information that would be found in the knowledge repository at Accenture. (Meister & Davenport, 2005)
The knowledge management framework at Accenture is:AcquireCreateSynthesizeShareUse to Achieve Organizational Goals, andEnvironment Conductive to Knowledge Sharing (Rubenstein-Montano, B. et al., 2001)Accenture uses a descriptive framework. This framework “… acknowledges non-task-oriented aspects of knowledge management such as culturalfactors… linking knowledge management to strategic business objectives… and the need to include feedback loops for responding to changes inthe knowledge management environment” (Rubenstein-Montano, B. et al., 2001).If an organization does not focus on knowledge creation and on creating repositories to store their knowledge, then they risk losing their market share and revenue from lost time while employees search for information that they need in order to complete their assigned tasks. Therefore, it would be beneficial for them to implement a knowledge management system.
What is Knowledge Management (KM) "Knowledge Management is the discipline of enabling individuals, teams and entire organizations to collectively and systematically create, share and apply knowledge, to better achieve their objectives."Ron Young, CEO/CKO Knowledge Associates International
Benefits of Knowledge Management• Reduces time-to-market• New products are designed and commercialized more quickly and successfully Resulting In• Increased Revenue• Retained Market Share• Expanding Profit Margins
Benefits of Knowledge Management• Chevron reduced its operating cost structure by more than 2 billion• Texas Instruments generated 1.5 billion in annual increased fabrication capacity• Scandia reduced start-up time for new ventures to seven months• Arthur Andersen (Accenture) has improved their quality of service, helped lower research costs, and shortened delivery time
How Knowledge is Formed Knowledge Information Data
Two Types of Knowledge • Information that isExplicit written down or codified • Information that is Tacit stored inside a person’s mind
Knowledge Acquisition Explicit knowledge is organized or coded Tacit Knowledge isknowledge is shared or created or dissemination elicited Knowledge Acquisition
Types of Tacit KnowledgeProcedural KnowledgeDeclarative Knowledge
Capturing Tacit KnowledgeInterviewing Learning by Learning by Experts Being Told Observation Learning Ad Hoc Road Mapsfrom Others Sessions Learning Action Histories Learning E-Learning
Sources of InformationOther PeopleE-Mail GroupsDiscussion GroupsShared Virtual Workspace InteractionsCommunity Yellow PagesCommunity of Practice (CoP) Groups
Community of Practice Groups“A group of people, along with shared resources and dynamic relationships, who assemble to make use of shared knowledge, in order to enhance learning and create a shared value for the group.”Seufert, von Krogh, and Bach,1999; Adams andFreeman, 2000
Types of Community of Practice Groups• A work-related function or process such as production, distribution, marketing, sales or customer service• A recurring or nagging problem situated in a process or function• A topic such as technology, knowledge retention or innovation
Community of Practice Groups ContainMember Generated ContentMember-to-Member InteractionEventsOutreach
Community of Practice Roles Champion Sponsor KnowledgeFacilitator Practice Leader Support Center
Accenture(Management Consulting Firm) Case Study
Accenture Knowledge GoalsFostering and sustaining a knowledge sharingcultureImproving the time to competency for newhiresEnabling and enhancing their sales capabilitiesEnsuring and improving the ROI for KMImproving margins and delivered quality onclient engagements
Knowledge Management StrategyAccenture’s knowledge management “… strategyfocuses on [the] central management of knowledgethat relies on the codification and re-use ofknowledge (70%), but also uses a de-centralmanagement of knowledge thatrelies on networks of individualsand on individual’s experienceto solve client problems”.