Information Management

Information overload has become a significant problem for companies of all sizes, with some large organizations losing billions of dollars each year in lower productivity and hampered innovation. Interruptions alone cost companies in the U.S. $650 billion per year.

It’s not just a case of too much e-mail, too many interruptions, too many projects, and too much content. It’s all these things clashing — sometimes like an orchestra without a conductor.

Basex recently released a report that looks at strategies companies can use to cope with information overload, including ten tips designed to ease the burden immediately.

A few weeks ago, Basex Chief Analyst Jonathan Spira was the featured speaker at a Churchill Club event on Information Overload. Click here to listen to the podcast.

Knowledge Management

The area of Knowledge Management is extremely diverse encompassing almost anything that is connected with a knowledge resource.   A survey of Knowledge Management literature reveals a diversity of options and approaches to Knowledge Management by organizations.  

It is not practical to implement everything that is covered under the umbrella of Knowledge Management. What is important though is that the organization identifies a real need for Knowledge Management, be clear about what is to be solved, improved, or changed; and to be clear about the Knowledge Management approach that will be implemented.

Knowledge Management Overview

The Knowledge Agenda

What is Knowledge?

  • framed experience, values, contextual information, expert insight, grounded intuition
  • embedded in documents, repositories, routines, processes, practices, and norms

What is Knowledge Management?

  • systematic processes by which knowledge needed for an organization to succeed is created, captured, shared, and leveraged

What is NOT Knowledge Management

  • knowledge engineering
  • digital networks; it’s about process
  • building a smarter intranet
  • knowledge capture

The primary focus of knowledge Management

  • is on creating, getting, importing, delivering, and most importantly helping the right people apply the right knowledge at the right time

Knowledge Management Value Proposition

  • without effective mechanisms in place to capture and utilize knowledge of experienced employees, organizations make costly mistakes or have to pay again for knowledge they once had on tap
  • organizations have saved significant resources a year by taking the knowledge from their best performers and applying it in similar situations elsewhere
  • organizations applying knowledge management methods have found that through knowledge networking they can create new products and services faster and better

Knowledge Management Drivers

  • the failure of organizations to know what they already know
  • the need for smart knowledge distribution
  • high dependence on the know-how of walkouts
  • the need to support cross functional collaboration
  • the need to deal with complex expectations
  • the need to avoid repeated mistakes
  • the need to avoid reinvention
  • the need to capture the decision-making process of your expert employees
  • create a catalog of decision processes
  • accumulate an auditable knowledge-base of decision-making and best practices

Difficulties in Coping With Knowledge Management

  • lack of tangible outcome — selling the idea to senior management
  • building people to work around technology mentality
  • knowledge management is not a technology problem; it’s a process problem
  • lack of incentives for knowledge contribution
  • knowledge access is only the beginning of knowledge management
  • knowledge management is an infinite loop that never ends
  • organizational policies come into play when knowledge exists, is used, and is exchanged

Knowledge Management Key Concepts

Classifying Knowledge (categories, types, components, integration of knowledge sources)

Categories of Knowledge

  • tacit
  • explicit

Components of Knowledge emphasis on conversation and discussion

  • judgment
  • experiential knowledge
  • values, assumptions, and beliefs
  • intelligence

The Three Fundamental Steps of Knowledge (acquisition, sharing, and utilization)

Knowledge acquisition

  • process of development and creation of insights, skills, and relationships

Knowledge sharing

  • disseminating and making available what is already known
  • collaborative problem solving, conversations, teamwork generates knowledge assets

Knowledge utilization

  • available knowledge can be generalized and applied

Leveraging the Knowledge Potential

Knowledge Strategies

  • Knowledge drives strategy and strategy drives knowledge management
  • Have plan of action is important
  • Remember one size does not fit all
  • Don’t lock yourself in

Knowledge management strategy supports four levels of knowledge:

    Know-what, Know-how, Know-why, Care-why

Knowledge Approaches 
The processes by which knowledge is transformed within and between forms usable by people. For example: the shared formation and communication of tacit knowledge between people; enhancing the flow of tacit knowledge, converting it to a more explicit form; sharing knowledge via documents and emails or through education and training; manage and search collections of explicit knowledge; reading documents from many sources, and creating new knowledge by combining existing tacit knowledge with the knowledge of others.

I think a great approach for building a KM systems is Rapid prototyping. This is an iterative approach, which allows the expert to verify the rules as they are built during the session.  This approach can open up communication through its demonstration of the KM system.  Due to the process of instant feedback and modification, it reduces the risk of failure.  It allows the knowledge developer to learn each time a change is incorporated in the prototype. This approach is highly interactive.

Knowledge Process

    Identify, Map, Capture, Store, Share, Apply, Create

Knowledge Maps to Link Knowledge to Strategy
A knowledge map is a graphic representation of the scope and structure of knowledge

Why Knowledge Mapping?

  • Shared perception of gaps in critical knowledge
  • Focus on the important knowledge
  • Manage important information
  • Understand the cause and effect relationships behind behavior
  • Identify critical actions to take
  • Defining critical thinking and decisions for getting the job done
  • needed information for making the decisions
  • keeps all the players on the same page
  • makes discussions more effective

Maximizing the Use of Technology

Effective knowledge management typically requires an appropriate combination of organizational, social, and managerial initiatives along with deployment of appropriate technology.

There are many technologies that can support or enhance the transformation of knowledge. Examples are: content management tools, elearning tools, collaboration tools, authoring tools, structured repositories, knowledge mapping tools, process modeler tools, and more. These individual technologies are not in themselves knowledge management solutions. For each business objective we can assemble a set of tools to address the specific business risk or challenge. To maximize the use of these technologies, it is important to invest resources in information architecture, content strategy, and adhering to standards.

Knowledge Culture: Promoting Best Practices and Processes

The technology is not the primary limitation of knowledge management projects. There are usually several serious cultural/organizational issues to be overcome for projects to be successful. A knowledge culture must be fostered if it does not exist. To understand and develop the organization’s vision for knowledge culture, it is necessary to find out and document how the organization currently grapples with information and knowledge management including how it compares to best practices in the industry. An organization with a knowledge culture has the following characteristics:

  • Rich collaborative environment for knowledge sharing and transfer
  • Formalized process of transferring best practices, including documentation and lessons learned
  • Systematic way for identifying knowledge gaps and well defined processes to close them
    Organizational knowledge is central to the organization’s strategy
  • Knowledge sharing behavior is recognized and rewarded
  • Well defined knowledge management functions are visible to the executive team
  • Systems are in place to capture and reuse internal information and leverage past experience
  • Top management is interested in the issue and willing to commit resources and training
  • Knowledge sharing is valued within the organization