The Management System Standard for KM
and what it might do for you
15 Oct 2019
15 October 2019Copyright Knoco Ltd 2
Before ISO 30401; the update to ISO 9001
7.1.6 Organizational Knowledge Requirements:
•Determine the knowledge necessary for the operation of processes and to achieve conformity of
products and services.
•Maintain this knowledge and make it available to the extent necessary.
•Consider current knowledge and determine how to acquire or access the necessary additional
knowledge (when addressing changing needs and trends).
•NOTE 1: Organizational knowledge can include information such as intellectual property and lessons
•NOTE 2: To obtain the knowledge required, consider: a) Internal Sources (e.g., learning from failures and
successful projects, capturing undocumented knowledge and experience of topical experts within the
organization); b) External Sources (e.g., standards, academia, conferences, gathering knowledge with
customers or providers).
•Changes: This clause on organizational knowledge is a new requirement. It should be an input to clause 7.2
•“Knowledge” is defined in the terms section as the available collection of information being a justified belief
and having a high certainty to be true
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Why ISO 30401?
In January 2014 ISO received a proposal from the Standards Institute of Israel (SII) to develop a
management system standard for Knowledge Management.
The justifications provided by the SII for this proposal for new work included:
SII BSI ANSI DIN etc
• An increasing recognition of the need for, and
importance of, Knowledge Management;
• Ambiguity in the understanding of what KM is;
• Multiple and common failures of KM projects and
initiatives due to an incomplete approach.
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For example -
“I think that KM is to date a theoretical, 'pie in the sky' type of field. not understood by business. This is
one of those fields or subject areas that has failed, failed us the practitioners, organisations and the
society at large.
What we are taught at varsities as KM is totally different from what we are expected to do when we get
There still is no one common definition, a practical one of KM as yet.
For example, when a person tells you they are doing communications, you know what they mean, you
already know the kinds of activities they undertake, same with ICT, law and etc.
I am regretful I followed this line of work. There simply is not hope at all especially within the SA
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ISO alone cannot approve the creation of standards
ISO sent the proposal to the various member bodies, who convened feedback from a
number of experts in the field of KM, some of whom, including myself, had been
suggested in the SII proposal.
We sent our views to BSI, and BSI collated our responses (which were in favour of the
proposal) and sent them on to ISO.
• By the end of March 2014, 36 countries had replied,
• the majority were in favour of accepting the proposal for development of a MSS for
• 12 countries agreed to be involved in the work, including the UK.
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The drafting process
about 3 years
Done by working groups of experts drawn from the member countries,
Working under the umbrella of a technical committee responsible for a specific
Various levels of draft are cycled through working teams in the member countries
called “mirror committees” for edit, review and input at national level.
Mirror committee membership is open to all.
Working group is open to all members of mirror committees.
Work is through the principle of consensus, which is why the work is done face to
A period of public consultation on draft 4.0
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Standards creation stages
Stage code Stage Associated document name
00 Preliminary Preliminary work item
10 Proposal New work item proposal
20 Preparatory Working draft or drafts
30 Committee Committee draft or drafts
40 Enquiry Enquiry draft
50 Approval Final draft
60 Publication International Standard
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Management Systems Standards
• The one which
provides requirements (e.g.
• The one which
provide guidelines (e.g. ISO
The new high level structure for all
management system standards of the
The same high level structure,
identical core text, as well as common
terms and definitions.
Whilst the high level structure cannot
be changed, sub-clauses and
discipline-specific text can be added.
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Standard format for ISO management
1 • Scope
1 • Normative references
3 • Definitions
4 • Context of the organisation
5 • Leadership
6 • Planning
7 • Support
8 • Organisation
9 • Performance evaluation
10 • Improvement
A management system standard
provides a model to follow when
setting up and operating a
Some of the top level benefits of
a successful management
system standard are:
• Enhanced use of resources
• Improved risk management
• Increased customer
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Clause 4: Context of the organization
4.1 Understanding the organization and its context
4.2 Understanding the needs and expectations of interested parties
4.3 Determining the scope of the managements system
4.4 The management system
4.4.1 – Knowledge development/lifecycle
4.4.2 – Transitions
4.4.3 – “Enablers” (roles, processes, technologies, governance, culture)
As the flagstone of a management system, clause 4 determines why the system is needed. As
part of the answer to this question, the organization needs to identify internal and external
issues that can impact on its intended outcomes, as well as all interested parties and their
requirements. It also needs to document its scope and set the boundaries of the management
system – all in line with the business objectives.
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Clause 5: Leadership
5.1 Leadership and commitment
5.2 KM Policy
5.3 Organisational roles, responsibilities and authorities
The new high level structure places particular emphasis on leadership, not just management as
set out in previous standards. This means top management now has greater accountability and
involvement in the organization’s management system. They need to integrate the requirements
of the management system into the organization’s core business process, ensure the
management system achieves its intended outcomes and allocate the necessary resources. Top
management is also responsible for communicating the importance of the management system
and heighten employee awareness and involvement
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Clause 6: Planning
6.1 Actions to address risks and opportunities
6.2 Knowledge objectives and planning to achieve them
Clause 6 brings risk-based thinking to the front. The planning phase looks at what, who,
how and when risks and opportunities must be addressed. This proactive approach
replaces preventative action and reduces the need for corrective actions later on.
Particular focus is also placed on the objectives of the management system. These
should be measurable, monitored, communicated, aligned to the policy of the
management system and updated when needed.
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Clause 7: Support
7.5 Documented information (about the KM system)
Organizations will have to look at the support needed to meet their goals and objectives.
This includes resources, targeted internal and external communications, as well as
documented information that replaces previously used terms such as documents,
documentation and records.
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Clause 8: Operations
8.1 Operational planning and control
The process elements of the management system are covered by this clause.
Clause 8 addresses both in-house and outsourced processes, while the overall process
management includes adequate criteria to control these processes, as well as ways to
manage planned and unintended change.
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Clause 9: Performance Evaluation
9.1 Monitoring, measurement, analysis and evaluation
9.2 Internal audit
9.3 Management review
Here organizations need to determine what, how and when things are to be monitored,
measured, analysed and evaluated.
An internal audit is also part of this process to ensure the management system conforms to the
requirements of the organization as well as the standard, and is successfully implemented and
The final step, management review, looks at whether the management system is suitable,
adequate and effective.
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10.1 Non-conformity and corrective action
10.2 Continual improvement
Clause 10 looks at ways to address non-conformities and corrective action, as well as
strategies for improvement on a continual basis.
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A. The knowledge spectrum
B. Boundaries between KM and adjacent disciplines
A. Information management
B. Data management
C. Business intelligence
E. Human Resource Management
G. Organisational learning
H. Innovation management
I. Other management systems
C. KM culture
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Standards myths busted
• The standard is deliberately generic
• You define what you do and how you do it, within a framework.
It doesn’t define how
you do KM
• A framework for every kind of organisation.
• For small businesses, to put in solid foundations from the start.
It’s not only for big
• Shouldn’t be a burden
• An opportunity to stand back and ask “could we do better?”
It won’t take months
• No mandatory requirements for external audit.
• You can implement a standard and claim to be compliant
You don’t need to
Text from www.british-assessment.co.uk
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The 54 “Shall”s
“The organization shall determine external and internal issues
that are relevant to its purpose and that affect its ability to
achieve the intended outcome(s) of its knowledge management
Using the standard as a guide
Suitable for those starting in KM
Tells you what’s different about KM
Tells you some of the principles
Tells you where to begin
Tells you what you need to consider
Tells you what you should put in place
Helps you avoid the common pitfalls
Image from wikimedia commons
Audit against the standard
Suitable for those with mature KM
Internal or external auditors
Interviewing, and reviewing documents
Looking for evidence against the 54 “shall”
Documentation of compliance
Identification of areas of non-compliance
Image from bluediamond galleryl
Why seek to show compliance?
Who is interested?
Your team – what more do we need to do?
Your management – what more do they need to
Your organisation – show KM is a “real
Your clients – to show you handle knowledge
Your potential clients, e.g. in bids - to show you
handle knowledge responsibly
Image from maxpixel
Certification against the standard by an accredited body
Not possible (yet?)
Requires audit by trained auditors working for a
Certification body should be accredited (e.g. by
UKAS or UAF, IAS, IOAS)
Major certification bodies do most of their work
against 4 to 8 of the 60+ MSSs. KM is not yet a
major area of focus
UKAS accredits certification bodies against 16
standards. KM is not (yet?) one of them
Image from wikimedia commons