Knowledge Management Right Sized End User Controlled Km Tools


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Knowledge Management Right Sized End User Controlled Km Tools

  1. 1. Knowledge Management - Create right sized End User controlled KM tools to ensure optimum Knowledge Sharing - Summary There are many large, companywide and integrated Knowledge Management Systems. Many of these work well for mission critical Corporate Knowledge and high value information, many other areas are less well served due to two main factors: • The lack of direct relevance to the End Users in their day to day activities • The lack of adaptability of the systems to the activities and behaviours of the End Users Therefore a solution to further enhance the information and knowledge management and sharing is the creation of more locally defined KM tools and capabilities focussing on specific departmental needs or project needs. These mini systems and tools can then be linked into the global corporate networks by KM administrators as appropriate. This approach ensures that local and operational sharing of knowledge and experience and team working is enhanced as well as making long term corporate wide KM sharing easier and better. Due to the lack of experience, time and inclination a KM support administration team and small budgets have to be liberated at the team or department level but the End User (the Team leader or department head) needs to be in control and his or her needs need to be the most important ones. Problem – Too Much Time Spent Re-inventing and Communicating Formally to Share Knowledge and Experience – Sharing and institutionalising knowledge is the key to ensure that a department is more than the sum of its parts. Although companies spend a lot of time and effort in these networks they very rarely work at the departmental or project level as the structure, taxonomy and management are too generic and aggregated to adapt to the needs of the individual End Users. However sophisticated the Knowledge Sharing system is, in practice the End Users either completely ignore these as they are too remote and alien to their day to day activities or at best only use them infrequently. This leads to frustration for both End Users and Providers who know that the knowledge is there but is not found. Objective – Create Organic Knowledge Sharing capabilities at Team, Project or Department Level that Can be Distilled Further to Form a Corporate Brain– Ideally each team, project and department would be able to create its own Knowledge Sharing capability that it would be able to integrate totally within its activities to enable it to work faster, quicker and better without needing substantial overhead in terms of management and organisation.
  2. 2. The consolidation and sharing of these Knowledge Pods can then be the responsibilities of Knowledge Agents or Administrators to consolidate into a Corporate Network and to identify inter pod links. The structure of the Knowledge Pods would be as shown in Fig 1. Ideally the same tools would be used, but that is not the essential part, it is more important that the Knowledge is consolidated, structured and shared at the operational level as this is the only way that the information is captured without unnecessary delays and overhead. The Corporate wide aggregation is a second order issue except for mission critical information. Hurdles – The Need for Top down Control and Lack of End User Support, Stop Local and Operational KM Happening – Both the Corporate Centre and the End Users unknowingly collude to stop this approach taking place. From the centre there is a need for order and “transparency” makes this bottom up, democratic and delegated approach very frightening and often strongly resisted. Also even though it is easy to obtain a multi million pound budget for a corporate KM system it is virtually impossible to obtain £10,000 for a project based or team based system or KM support. At the End User level the lack of support and familiarity with any KM system makes them unlikely to volunteer to create these systems formally in particular as they cannot justify any budget allocation. Many informal self managed and unknown repositories of knowledge exist sometimes simply stored within the e-mail programme which has a relatively good multi dimensional as well as free text search capability (at least for Microsoft Outlook users). Solution – Team Support for the Creation of Local Personal Knowledge Management Capabilities or Knowledge Pods – The solution would be to create a dedicated team or entity to support and serve End Users, Teams, Project and/or Departments to set up and manage their Knowledge into Knowledge Pods rapidly and cost effectively. The activities that this support team could be engaged with could be: • Creating Wiki: The team leader would identify the type of information that is required and ask the KM administrator to ensure this information is aggregated on a team WIKI • Create Information Capture and Storage Capabilities: The KM could also create web based information capture tools to ensure that important information that is dispersed within the group is easily captured and shared in the form of ad-hoc databases • Creation and Moderation of Message Boards: Again within the requirements of the team message boards could be created and the KM administrator would be mandated to ensure that the flow of information requests and responses are as smooth and rapid as possible to limit the tendency to bypass these for rapid response
  3. 3. • Manage Team Calendar: Although all team participants would contribute it is important that someone is responsible for the management of the calendar and the conflicts or communication • Maintain Electronic Database of Documents: Although tools exist for version control and co- authorship of documents again someone needs to ensure that this capability is maintained and cleaned to ensure that accessibility and visibility is optimised • Searches and Recovers Key Data: The KM can also be responsible for finding the required information both internally and externally to support the Team and ensure that minimum overlap takes place • Creates Data bases or Data sheets: depending on the information and the usage to be made of it the KM could create and maintain databases or Datasheets in Excel • Identify and Distil Key Tools, Knowledge and Lessons: Again under the overall control of the Team leader this KM support entity would identify and distil the key tools and Etc. You will notice that this role is a combination of three roles: • Team Assistant: The person that in previous times ensured that the information flowed within a Project Team or department as smoothly as possible • IT Support: The person(s) that support individual End Users with the creation of bespoke IT tools for their own use (e.g. MySQL database, WIKI, email Newsletter, etc.) • Knowledge Manager: Structures and distils the Knowledge for immediate and long term re-use and endeavours to identify corporate data that would be of help to the team The key for this role to be successful is that the first responsibility and focus needs to be on the End User Client and the Team, not on imposing corporate standards. Our experience talking to many End Users is that the Central Units typically focus on the Senior Management (naturally!) and have a quite remote and dictatorial approach to more junior or remote End Users making their services of limited use and often perceived as non collegiate. How BQu can help – Creating True End User Client focussed KM Capabilities, While Encouraging the Use of Corporate Standards and Linking with Other KM Capabilities Cost Effectively and Rapidly – BQu has as its core values and ethos Knowledge Creation and Knowledge Management. We invest our training, technological tools and approaches to ensure the optimum efficiency and effectiveness in the creation, collation, storage, management and distribution of information and knowledge. We also have a focus on rapid and cost effective creation to enable its use by entities that previously would not have thought it would have been cost effective for them. Finally we have integrated Knowledge Management, Business Research and IT teams to create a marriage of IT tools within the service delivery under the JIDOKA (IT with a human touch) concept. Therefore the use of BQu would have several benefits over any internal support: • End User Focus: Although our teams can be provided with standards to follow they will be focussed on the needs of the End Users and therefore will feel as a support tool not a control tool. This will ensure that whatever KM environment is created is viewed as owned by the End Users
  4. 4. • Lower Cost: As our teams are specialised in this activity they are able to create the required tools and capabilities much quicker and also being partially located in Sri Lanka are much more cost effective • Innovative can-do approach: We have an innovative, can-do approach and we will tackle any challenge on a maximising value within a given budget approach rather than a defined programmatic approach. A problem we have not faced before is for us a challenge to resolve and add to our capabilities rather than a hurdle that needs additional resources and budget to resolve We would welcome discussing with you our possible approach to see how it could benefit you in your overall KM approach. About BQu BQu is a company dedicated to provide business decision makers with the support they need to make better fact based decisions and to improve their communication and engagement with all stake holders and end users. BQu was created to close the gap that exists between business leaders and consultancies in terms of the support they have to enable them to research topics, gather or create information, analyse data and present results. We do this by focussing our resources in assisting management rather than advising management while still using the problem solving approach of the leading consultancies and the communication framework devised by Barbara Minto also used by the major consultancies. Our motto is: - the right information - at the right time - in the right format - at the right price - For more information refer to the links below. About the Author Jacques de Cock. Jacques de Cock is Chief Executive of London-based business intelligence and research consultants, BQu. He has over 25 years’ experience in consulting and Business management. A physics graduate from Oxford University, he gained an MBA from the London Business School and worked for McKinsey where he set up the first research centre for the information technology markets in Europe. He then became a principal of Booz|Allen|Hamilton before leading the creation and floatation of patsystems and the creation and development of other entrepreneurial businesses. Contact him at ● Tel: +44 20 7431 4597 ● Fax: +44 20 7691 1189