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What is Knowledge Management?

Knowledge Management (KM) has many varied facets and depends on what your
objectives are as to the ‘type’ of KM that you can implement. For sure, we can determine
that KM is to do with people, processes and technology (in that specific order of priority
and importance).

We can also determine that when we refer to knowledge we can also include information
and data. So to define KM in general terms means that we should be focusing on getting
the RIGHT information, data and knowledge to the RIGHT people at the RIGHT time.

What are the different ‘types’ of KM?


Dependant on your objective we can define the different types, based on strategic
objectives, as follows:-
To increase revenue by offering products and services that better ‘fit’ out customer
profiles.
To increase customer satisfaction by establishing/improving call centres, FAQ’s and
Help Desks.
To reduce operating costs by improving efficiency through knowledge sharing and
business process improvements.
To generate further knowledge through innovation and creativity by focusing attention
on the knowledge reporting processes in the R & D areas of operation.

As you can garner from the above, KM can be utilised in many different forms and, with
the right stakeholders ‘buying in’ KM has the power to transform an organisation.

Where to start?
Although KM will eventually be an organisation-wide discipline, it is important to start with
a small project. This will not only be more manageable but will also gain allies in order to
overcome any initial resistance and to gain the confidence of both management and
process owners alike. Many of you may have started a KM initiative already and do not
even recognise this as such.

The fact that so many of you have already established web sites and created FAQ’s
within those sites, (to meet common requests for information that customers themselves
can answer) have already started your KM implementation. This is a first step for many
as they use KM to increase the levels of customer service and support. This ‘self-service’
option is recognition of the growing demands of our customers as they become even
more astute thanks largely to the ‘information age’ of the Internet. Their knowledge
increases but so do their demands.

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In fact, with the upsurge of KM processes such as FAQ’s, Call Centres and Help Desks,
this provides an excellent ‘bedding in’ for new employees to accelerate their learning
practices and to become more competent and confident than would otherwise be
possible without these basic KM methods being employed. The basic necessity behind
all these initial KM processes is a KM knowledge base that gives greater access to data
and information for customers and employees alike, to create a faster, more efficient
problem solving arena.

The 5 levels of knowledge:


Level 1: General Knowledge; conceptual statements give a general idea of what is
meant, is open ended, means everybody can put his own interpretation and detailed
content in the concepts

Level 2: Theoretical Knowledge; is the explanation how the general statement can be
practical implemented.

Level 3: Practical Knowledge: this knowledge explains exactly what the underlying
elements are that we need in order to “implement”, executes tasks within
business processes

Level 4: Potential Knowledge; this is level 3 but enlarged with extra concepts and new
elements of potential knowledge that could be enriched by which the process
performance could have more Added Value.

Level 5: Analytical Knowledge; from all the knowledge used in the process steps, a
complete and very detailed analysis is made.

Introducing the 12 step methodology


Step 1: The KM Strategy:

Formulate measurable business objectives; Think big and start small. Become a
champion of a small project first without losing sight of the overall goals. But you
must ensure that all objectives stay measureable and be specific with numerical
objectives within given time frames.

Obtain executive sponsorship; Few things can succeed in an organization without


active support from senior management. The challenge is to acquire executive
sponsorship early in the process so that the project does not become a candidate for
the chopping block at a later stage.

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Staff the KM Team with the right personnel; regardless of how small the initial KM
implementation is going to be, it needs an adequate number and the right mix of
individuals to succeed. Do not add KM to the responsibilities of an existing Training
Manager as this will dilute efforts and results. Create a KM Team leader; appoint KM
staff from allies and supporters of the cause. A carefully planned and adequately
staffed KM team will ensure that the implementation doesn’t get treated as extra or
additional work, but rather as a key organizational initiative.

Identify and tackle cultural resistance. The strategizing phase of the KM


implementation is also the best time to identify and create plans to tackle any
organizational resistance to knowledge sharing. Resistance usually stems from a fear
of the unknown and how it will affect roles, responsibilities, and job security. Usually
no one will openly admit to being opposed or reluctant to share what they know.
Hence the challenge is to identify and work towards mitigating concerns without
explicitly labelling them as fear or resistance. As far as possible, make tangible
changes to performance measurement criteria and key performance indicators such
that users see the direct benefits of sharing and reusing knowledge.

Step 2: The KM Planning:


Carefully identify and select target consumers. Unless a target audience and
subject matter experts have been clearly identified, a KM implementation is more
liable to move in the direction of a general information dump—a Web interface to
hundreds of documents, presentations, and graphics. Those who need knowledge
will still not be able to find it, making the KM implementation little more than just a
Web-enabling exercise. The challenge is to implement KM not for the sake of KM, but
for the creation of business value for a focused user community.

Identify key subject matter experts. Identify key subject matter experts who need
to spend considerable amounts of time to ensure that the KM system is populated
with relevant knowledge content. Select subject matter experts who seem least
resistant to knowledge sharing. This will not only bring focus to a KM implementation,
but will also help to select subject matter experts, conduct detailed business needs
assessment, and identify appropriate initial content for the KM system.

Create an awareness raising campaign. A reminder of the famous marketing


tagline “Promote! Promote and Promote!” springs to mind here as raising awareness
and seeking a higher profile will bring people’s attention and focus on the issues
which are being considered. In addition, changing attitudes, behaviours and patterns
will emerge, together with mobilising support in favour of new KM policies, thus
promoting the implementation of the KM agenda. Make this awareness campaign
focus internally and externally.

Conduct a Knowledge Audit. The purpose of the audit is to identify the skills that
the organisation needs to carry out its main objectives. You will need to carry out a
“skills audit” within the organisation so as to establish what skills and tools are
needed to achieve the organisation’s main objectives. Whilst also considering what
skills are lacking within the organisation in the context of fulfilling its identified

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objectives. The organisation will need to consider if it has, and/or needs to acquire,
knowledge and expertise, from its own staff or with other organisations or outsourcing
to bring in the required expertise

Identify small first project. We would strongly recommend that a small but critical
first phase project be selected from the outset. The challenge is to not get
overwhelmed by the scope or attempt to tackle too much too soon.

Build bridges between KM and existing organisation practices. Typically,


organizations that are implementing knowledge management already have an
established data centre, so they are not only building a knowledge base – they must
also integrate it into their existing environment – their call tracking system, email,
remote diagnostics and other support systems.

Step 3: The KM Execution:


Invest in meticulous project management. KM implementations are not easier or less
critical projects as compared to other systems. Employ the same scrutiny and project
management methodologies required for any software implementation. Determine project
milestones based on objectives and build a reasonable buffer into the project plan based
on organizational expectations and past experiences. Keep in mind that regardless of the
go-live date, business objectives have to be met and significant user adoption must be
achieved for the KM initiative to be a success.

Manage a flexible project scope. It might seem counterintuitive to suggest that the
project scope should be flexible, especially from a successful project management
perspective. However, the more rigid the scope, the more likely it will not meet user
approval on completion, especially when they have typically never used a KM system.
The challenge is to be open to requests and still not let scope creep play havoc with
project schedules. Deciding to have a well-managed, yet flexible project scope will allow
the KM Team to incorporate viable and useful change requests, manage resources with
confidence, and increase the likelihood of delivering a system that meets or beats
expectations.

Keep the user community involved. It is a common mistake to assume that end-user
input during the business needs assessment process has resulted in clear and
unambiguous requirements for the first phase of the KM implementation. User adoption
of new systems could be extremely low even though the system built is exactly what the
users had earlier said they wanted. The challenge is to keep users involved during the
project, solicit and incorporate feedback, and meet schedules and objectives. An ongoing
involvement of the user community will result in a shared feeling of ownership and
decision making. This will lead to higher user adoption, and the KM implementation will
see increased ROI and greater visibility across the organization.

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Obsess about knowledge quality. If there is anything worse than not being able to find a
critical piece of knowledge, it is finding erroneous, duplicate, or outdated material. Having
determined the right content for the first implementation, the challenge is to ensure that it
is as flawless as possible from a quality perspective. Rigorous due diligence and
obsession with knowledge quality will ensure that the most critical and commonly used
content is accounted for and audited. Knowledge consumers will adopt the system faster,
as they will be able to rely on the quality and accuracy of the information they access and
share.

Market the KM implementation (and report) regularly to all stakeholders. Most


organizations have multiple initiatives competing for executive and employee mindshare
at any given point in time. Even if the initial KM implementation is targeted at a very small
user community, there is a risk that it will get lost amongst many other projects. The
challenge is to stay focused on the business objectives of the KM implementation and at
the same time garner increased exposure and mindshare. Creating awareness of KM
and its benefits across the larger organization will help identify new avenues for KM, help
increase user adoption, further motivate the KM Team, and most importantly ensure
ongoing executive commitment and funding.

Step 4: Process Mapping:


Knowledge maps can be either strategic or tactical depending upon the need and intent.
The best way to start the mapping exercise is by targeting processes that need
improvement, from either the enterprise or process level.

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The highest level mapping - at the enterprise level - is what is known as an expertise
review. This is a crucial area of mapping as it identifies the various silos of knowledge
available in the organization as well as the key assets of knowledge. The expertise tacit
knowledge map focuses specifically on business units and other such entities. The
purpose being to identify the processes where specific knowledge resides.

Step 5: The Knowledge Atlas:


Typically, there are approximately 150 different processes in an organisation, consisting
of 14 inputs resulting in 150 processes and producing 8 outputs.

Step 6: The Knowledge Processes:


Once the Process map has been created, it is then necessary to highlight the KM
processes from the total. The purpose of this step is to identify the processes which
create the most Added Value to an organisation. There are approximately 8 – 15
processes that fall into this category from the total of 150.
Next we have to separate the Knowledge Processes from the Work Processes. We can
identify Knowledge and Work Processes by using workflows for each process and then
correlate which of the actions are defined as Knowledge Centre (KC) and which, Work
Centre (WC).

Step 7: The Knowledge Carriers:


We then have to identify the Process Owners (the people who carry out the tasks in a
process) who “do” the KC work. This can be one or more persons within the Knowledge
Centre. This will result in a list of names of Knowledge Carriers and these are the people
who are defined as the most important sources of knowledge within an organisation. It
also identifies the risk for the organisation as it identifies the people who. Should they
leave the organisation (voluntarily or otherwise) the knowledge would also leave the
organisation with them. We should prioritise the list of names using age, health and
social standing as parameters.

Step 8: Capture:
Capturing the knowledge from the Knowledge carriers can be achieved through various
methods such as Focus Interviews; Visualisation; 7 why techniques and Social Network
Analysis. It is important to distinguish between Explicit and Tacit Knowledge and to
identify the learning elements such as case studies; Lessons learned; stories; tips and
tricks acquired and little methodologies.

Step 9: Storing the knowledge:


Distinguishing the differences between data, information and knowledge is important for
IT purposes. Indexation, codification and classification are all used to make accessibility
so much easier for future users. Web Collaboration tools and software packages
designed for sharing and leveraging of knowledge and must be able to generate
knowledge that can be readily understood by others.

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Step 10: Make Knowledge Re-usable:
This topic was intended for IT specialists. However it is important that each KM
Professional understands the basics of KM indexing and codifying. Utilising the power of
J-learning (Just enough; Just appropriate; Just in time) techniques will assist in
understanding the requirements of the KM system users. Who needs knowledge and
when is it needed?

Step 11: Become a KM mogul and create your own Best Practices:
Become your own best Practice ASAP. You must continually promote and Champion the
KM cause. Identify individual allies that believe in the project, enthusiastically advocate it
and have the influence to “make things happen.”
Likewise, obtaining some early successes in the form of “Good Practices” and better still
some Best Practices will endear more people will want to ‘buy-in and come on board.
External Best Practices can help but identifying your own internal Best Practice will have
a defining moment in your KM storybook.

Step 12: Value the Knowledge Assets:


Areopa offers companies the solution to calculate the knowledge as part of the overall
Intellectual Capital Calculation (ICC) that constitutes the organization. ICC is based on
the newly developed 4-leaf Model of Intellectual Capital integrating Human Capital,
Structural Capital, Strategic Alliances (business partners), and Customer Capital. These
four components form

There are 15 intersecting areas that explain, define and document the components of
Intellectual Capital. From a practical point of view, ICC offers a sample of formulas that
will calculate the value of Intellectual Capital for a company as a whole or for specific
parts (departments, agencies, one country, training course (ROI) and even individual
people).

The Areopa 4 leaf Model


We at AREOPA believe that Intellectual
Capital (IC) is the only and true method to
determine the net present value of a company
in a constantly and rapidly changing business
environment. Traditional assets are of course
still a valuable source of capital, but in a
business context, the human aspect is gaining
more and more importance, especially through
its scarcity. When a highly qualified individual
leaves an organization, this has dramatic
consequences on the total value of the human
asset. The company does not only lose a
factor of production, but also the total human
and intellectual added value that the individual brought to the company (social network
skills).

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In this context, we believe that it is important for a company to be aware of, to identify, to
value, to account for and manage its Intellectual Capital. By doing so, the company will
be able to clearly identify the sources of Intellectual Capital (IC), develop methods to
attract and retain IC, as well as being able to position itself on a market tending more and
more towards the use of IC.

What makes the Areopa Intellectual Capital Calculations (ICC) unique?


AREOPA is able to provide companies with packages that contain all the relevant and
essential formulas to determine their IC.
Through our Strategic Alliances, we can provide the necessary IT solutions to implement,
operate, and further develop IC calculations.
When you want to know the impact of your decisions on your company's IC, Areopa can
provide you with a simulation package based on the use of its SIMIST® tool. When is
measured it can be managed!

Areopa will guide you through the change process necessary to manage your company's
Intellectual Capital. In short, the whole uniqueness resides in the fact that AREOPA is
simply the first company in the world to offer complete and coherent solutions for IC
calculations and management.

Contact:
Nigel Dawes
Vice president, Areopa S. E. Asia
nigel.dawes@areaopa.com

KM – Features and Benefits


KM related effects

Greater & easier access to Knowledge Time saved

Improved understanding of relevant More efficient organisation


expertise

Increased Knowledge sharing & creation More pro-active creative


organisation & job satisfaction
increased
More effective renewal/ removal of Up-to-date database
Knowledge

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Internal Benefits -Operations
Focus

Knowledge Carriers even more motivated to Increased respect for expertise in


use Knowledge organisation

Improved re-use of technology & lessons Shorten R & D lead-time for


learned projects to reach commercial stage

Access to more data and information will Huge potential savings and lower
reduce errors operating costs

Quicker decision making due to access to Improved efficiency


more information

Improved deliverables- Service


Focus

Greater customer service understanding Increase customer focus and


service levels

Products or Services with better ‘fit’ to Will lead to increased orders &
customer’s needs revenue

Higher quality services Will lead to increased orders &


revenue

Faster response/ quicker delivery of Increase customer focus and


services service levels

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Bottom Line Benefits

Market Image improves Brand value increases

Organisation profitability increases Company & Share values increased

Organisation viability increases Increased revenues & profitability

Employee, community & Society relations Better branding & increased


improve corporate reputation and values

External Benefits -Customer Focus

Increased range of products or services more Added Value for customers

Increased customer satisfaction Improved reputation, image & brands

Increased level of service to customers Increased demand & orders &


revenue
Improved relations for customer & Improved corporate image
organisation

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