2 minute read
By John Chmaj
Posted in Customer Engagement
Knowledge Management (KM) is a core business competency: a way of thinking, acting and learning focused on knowledge creation, maturation and re-use.
As such, the development and evolution of KM requires a combination of individual development, cultural change and organizational practices.
The deployment of a knowledge base, while often the catalyst and focus for renewed focus on KM, is only a framework to enable a new set of practices.
Beyond the nuts and bolts of seating new technology, there are three key sets of activities to consider in effectively deploying/updating one’s knowledge management capabilities:
Whether it’s new technology, new content, and/or new ways of using information in relation to one's work, each update of the KM environment is an opportunity to reinforce and re-train users in how best to access and use knowledge.
Key principle: Seeing/Using Knowledge in Action
The goal of KM is the ability to expand an organization’s capabilities and responsiveness by effectively using knowledge to respond to questions, issues or inquiries. Thus, the most important principle in teaching KM is to show—at each step of any process—how to best access and leverage existing knowledge. The more comprehensively knowledge access can be embedded and shown in training, coaching and live usage, the more powerfully users are encouraged and empowered to use knowledge in the right way themselves.
The entire purpose of the KM endeavor is to enact and evangelize ‘one source of the truth’: the representation of clear, focused answers and responses to common questions. The success of KM relies on how well those using the knowledge tools adopt and embrace the knowledge base. The users will enforce and evolve the best use of this core information, provide guidance to each other, provide feedback on content, and help optimize how information is organized and applied. From this perspective, KM is truly a human, hence cultural, endeavor.
Key principle: Engagement
To develop a ‘knowledge-centered’ culture, the critical enabler is engagement: fostering a work environment that monitors, rewards and nurtures knowledge use. Users should be rewarded and recognized for effective practices, for sharing improvements, teaching others, and taking responsibility for successful knowledge outcomes. A successful knowledge-centered culture relies on explicit organizational support and commitment.
Knowledge management activities will be efficient and coordinated to the degree in which the organization supports them. The biggest driver of long-term, sustained success in knowledge development and delivery is clear governance: a framework that clearly defines and enables KM roles and responsibilities.
Key Principle: Governance
At a tactical/program level, these roles include content authoring and coordination, KM-focused business intelligence, program management, system administration, etc. At a strategic/executive level, the key stakeholders in a KM endeavor must manage communication, commitments and escalations when necessary to help ensure that content, technology, business processes, measures and program activities stay in synch.
KM: It’s a Lifestyle, not a Project
In summary, “deploying KM” means launching or updating one’s KM Program, which includes tools, content, culture and governance. Acting holistically, looking at these facets as interdependent parts of a whole, will help assure the greatest possible impact of KM in driving user efficiency and effectiveness—as well as the overall success of the initiative as an evolving organizational competency.
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