Jan 312017

AJ Rhem Logo with Tag LineKnowledge is recognized as a valuable asset in organizations across many industries. How knowledge is shared, leveraged, obtained and managed will be the difference in how successful and sustainable an organization will become. The use of knowledge management principles, practices and procedures has expanded enormously in recent years. This expansion has also brought about the proliferation of knowledge management systems in its many forms, Contact Center Knowledge Repositories, Expertise Locators, Content Management, Document Management, Knowledge Repositories/Libraries, Social Media Applications, Decision Support Systems, to name a few. The inclusion of KM from a strategic point of view to streamline revenue, increase revenue, improve performance, attract/retain customers and manage human capital have enabled organizations to maintain and/or improve their competitive edge. Knowledge Management in Practice is a resource which presents how KM is being implemented along with specific KM Methods, tips, techniques and best practices to get the most out of your KM investment.

This blog post features two videos from the presentation of my latest book: Knowledge Management in Practice. This presentation was conducted at the Knowledge Management Institute (KMI) Certified Knowledge Manager (CKM) training class held in Washington DC.

The second video features the question and answer session that followed. Feel free to ask questions regarding the book here on this blog and/or make comments on YouTube. I look forward to hearing from everyone!





Jan 112017

KM Wizard2As we enter into 2017, I am dedicating this first blog post to answering some of the pressing KM questions presented by my clients.

Do you recommend any standard model of KM to follow/implement? If so, please describe the model in summary.

There are several models of KM that I have worked with at various organizations to implement KM strategies, methods, processes and solutions, these include; The SECI Model (knowledge capture); The Continuous Knowledge Model (Connect, Collect, Catalog, Reuse, & Learn); KM Maturity Model (Maturity Level 1 – Initial: – Knowledge management is a one-time process with no formal KM practices within the organization, Maturity Level 2 – Repeatable: – KM processes are implemented and tested, Maturity Level 3 – Defined: KM roles are created, defined, and filled, Maturity Level 4 -Managed: – KM is more standardized and Organization-wide KM practices are defined and measured regularly, Maturity Level 5 – Optimized: – KM is mastered and flexible to external and internal changes ) for assessment, understanding knowledge gaps, implementation of KM and the evolution of KM within an organization.

How has the evaluation of effectiveness of KM actions been accomplished, such as readiness assessment, maturity assessment and ROI?

When my firm is engaged with an organization to assess KM we tailor the KM Maturity Model activities to assess where the organization is with KM as well as develop activities in which to resolve gaps that have been identified. This leads to the development and operationalization of a strategy/roadmap to achieve a desired level of maturity.

What are the main reasons of KM success in an organization?

There are many reasons (or factors) for KM success. These reasons include:

Implementing a KM Strategy: The KM Strategy must be positioned to drive specific initiatives that align with the mission and objectives of the organization. The KM Strategy includes formal procedures, methods and processes to collect knowledge throughout the organization, a well-established infrastructure, networks for transferring knowledge between employees, and tools to facilitate the process. The KM Strategy will lay the foundation to align specific tools/technology to enhance individual and organizational performance.

Besides implementing a KM Strategy, other reasons for KM success are:

  • Having Executive Leadership/Sponsorship
  • Having adequate Budgeting and Cost Expectations
  • Having participation from all levels of the organization
  • Having adequate (or developing) processes and technology that support KM
  • Having adequate (or access to) Resources
  • Having adequate education and understanding of KM
  • Implementing sufficient metrics to measure the impact of KM on the corporation
  • Having adequate monitoring and controls in place to ensure the knowledge is relevant and is current and accurate
  • These reasons can be applied to all companies implementing KM and the absence of one or more of these factors may cause the KM effort (i.e., KM Program or KM Project) to fail.

Which solutions do you recommend be utilized in order to motivate and to increase the participation of people in KM?

The organizational culture plays an important role in motivating people to participate in KM. Creating an environment where informal networks are encouraged within the organization play a key role in the level of participation in KM activities. I have found the following solutions help increase participation of people in KM:

  • Incentivize people by awarding those who ideas create value for the organization
  • Highlighting those that participate in KM related activities (communities of practice, contributing to Wikis, active in blogs, learning a new skill important to the enterprise, attending conferences and presenting key learnings to the organization (knowledge transfer)
  • Tie participation in KM related activities to opportunities in which employee bonuses are increased
  • Communicating successful KM initiatives and the people who worked on them throughout the organization.

Creating knowledge-driven culture is one of the most important challenges of KM implementation, what is your suggestion for tackling this problem?

Here are some suggestions for creating a knowledge-driven culture:

The structure of the organization plays an important role in determining how knowledge is distributed, how decisions are made, the degree to which people feel comfortable sharing. It is important to remove barriers that exist between different groups and individuals. Organizational structure strongly influences the ability and willingness of people and communities to share and create knowledge, create an environment both physical and mental (open and trusting of individuals to share ideas) will help in developing your knowledge-driven culture.

Centralization: The degree to which decision making is centralized. In highly centralized

Organizations, decisions are made by few managers at the top of the organization. This puts a heavy demand on the cognitive capacity of these managers. Research and experience have identified that decentralized structures as being more suited for KM.

Formalization: The extent to which behaviors in an organization are governed by rules, policies, will have an effect on developing your knowledge-driven culture. In general, rigid, formal structures are regarded as being detrimental to KM.

A simpler organizational structure, which leads to less silos tend to make it easier for KM to be implemented. The complexity of the organizational structure also affects how it must be managed and what managerial roles are necessary to effectively implement KM.

What is your idea about trends and orientation of KM in 2017 and the near future?

One of the major areas in which KM will make an impact in 2017 and in the near future is within the customer service industry. Customer Service is the area in which most customers will have their only connection and interaction with your organization. It is this area where customers will form their opinions about the organization and determine if they remain a customer or move on to another competitor. Customer service is where organizations are investing a major portion of their revenue and attention to improving their customer service. Knowledge structures to support cognitive engagement in customer service is a future trend. Cognitive engagement solutions, interactive computing systems that use artificial intelligence to collect data, information and knowledge along with having the ability to understand and communicate in natural ways are all aspects of future customer service.

BIG Data continues to make an impact and present a challenge in the industry, which specifically points to how KM will be positioned to gleam knowledge from the various repositories of structured and unstructured data contained within the organization. Infusing Big Data with KM will provide organizations with a competitive edge to not only bring about significant innovations, but deliver knowledge across the enterprise to the right people at the right time and in the right context.

Social media is another future impact where KM will make a difference. Younger employees and customers having grown up in the social media era, and are more open to sharing information than previous generations. With adoption of enterprise collaboration tools on the rise, new streams, formats and sources of enterprise knowledge are being created. This consists largely of unstructured content (social chats, team forums, etc.) and this must be incorporated into a broader KM strategy, and be made easily accessible/findable by customers and employees. This will see a future impact of the use of Information Architecture in the delivery of knowledge.

Personal KM and Wearable Technology, with all of the advances in technology becoming accessories for us to wear is producing a multitude of data, information and knowledge accessible to the user. This includes Fitbits, Apple Watch, Google Glasses and more… all deliver and collect information that allow us to make personal decisions during the course of the day. What to eat, drink, wear, how much we’re exercising (or not) are all decisions in some part influenced by our wearable tech!

Wearable technology is gathering information not only about us but also the environment around us. Where is this all taking us? Will our physicians have the capability to tap into all of this personal information? How about potential advertisers? KM will be at the center of how can we capture the decisions we make from this information to improve our lives. Personal Knowledge Management the key to taking control of our personal information created by these devises.

What are your more pressing KM questions? Feel free to join the conversation here… and/or receive KM Mentoring and Guidance through the KM Mentor.

Oct 272016

ajrhem-italy-corp-meetingThe Central Knowledge Management Office (CKMO) is comprised of Senior Management and Core Team members and is the vehicle for implementing and keeping under review the KM initiatives that will be championed by the organization. The CKMO will support KM innovation, and enhance individual and organizational performance, by delivering improved learning, collaboration, and knowledge sharing into the culture of your organization’s environment.

The challenge of knowledge management is to determine what knowledge within an organization qualifies as “valuable.” All information is not knowledge, and all knowledge is not valuable. The key is to find the worthwhile knowledge within a vast sea of information. Oftentimes, knowledge management is misunderstood as simply maintaining websites or other technology. Besides what is mentioned above, the following list outlines what a CKMO delivers:

  • CKMO is orderly and goal-directed. It is inextricably tied to the strategic objectives of the organization. It uses only the knowledge that is the most meaningful, practical, and purposeful.
  • CKMO is ever-changing. There is no such thing as an immutable law in CKMO. Knowledge is constantly tested, updated, revised, and sometimes even declared obsolete when it is no longer practicable. It is a fluid, ongoing process.
  • CKMO is value-added. It draws upon a vast amount of knowledge located throughout many repositories across your organization.
  • CKMO is visionary. This vision is expressed in strategic business terms rather than technical terms, and in a manner that generates enthusiasm, buy-in, and motivates managers to work together toward reaching common goals.
  • CKMO is complementary. It can be integrated with other organizational initiatives such as KCS and ITIL.

Once the process captures the organization’s knowledge, the real power occurs when an organization’s members act on that shared knowledge.

The following are essential components to establish and maintain the CKMO (Vision, Mission and KM Governance)

CKMO Vision

The CKMO enables the retrieval, creation, sharing, collaboration and management of knowledge and through the implementation of workflow, search and collaboration capabilities, the CKMO vision is to quickly provide reliable solutions to questions and support the organization’s knowledge management needs.

CKMO Mission

The CKMO mission is to support the vision of CKMO and implement the initiatives that support the best practices identified by the CKMO strategy. The CKMO Team will execute a Knowledge Management program that embodies situational understanding, organizational learning and decision making by providing knowledge products and services that are relevant, accurate, and timely.

CKMO Governance

Knowledge Management Governance ensures policy adherence and provides controls to guarantee that the knowledge stored and accessed provides the best value for the organization. CKMO Governance describes the policies, procedures, roles, and responsibilities to successfully maintain the organization’s knowledge assets. Effective governance planning and the application of the governance plan are critical for the ongoing success of knowledge management within the organization.

The governance plan will establish the processes and policies to:

  • Avoid proliferation of unnecessary knowledge by defining consistent review process (workflow).
  • Ensure that knowledge quality is maintained for the life of the knowledge asset by implementing quality management policies.
  • Provide a consistently high quality user experience by defining guidelines for knowledge creators.
  • Establish clear decision-making authority and escalation procedures so policy violations are managed and conflicts are resolved on a timely basis.
  • Ensure that the solution strategy is aligned with business objectives so that it continuously delivers business value.
  • Ensure that knowledge is retained in compliance with organizational retention guidelines.

As always, I look forward to comments and conversation on this topic.

Dec 312012
USAID KM_framework


Thinking about crafting your Knowledge Management Strategic Plan?

Not sure where to start?

Here I am presenting a “straw-man” to get you started!

Following the information presented below will get you on your way:

1.     Executive Summary

The executive summary is often considered the most important section of a KM Strategic Plan. This section briefly tells your reader where your company is, where you want to take it, and why your business idea will be successful when implementing Knowledge Management. The executive summary should highlight the strengths of your overall plan and therefore be the last section you write.

2.    KM Vision Statement

The KM vision statement takes into account the current status of the organization, and serves to point the direction of where KM in the organization wishes to go. As a means of setting a central goal that the organization will aspire to reach, the vision statement helps to provide a focus for the mission.

3.    KM Mission Statement

The KM mission statement serves as a guide to the actions of the organization as it pertains to KM, spell out its overall goal, provide a path, and guide decision-making. It provides “the framework or context within which the company’s KM strategy is formulated and aligns with the KM vision (Note: the KM Vision and Mission are often combined).

4.    Current KM Environment (Include If one exist)

This section details the current knowledge environment. Any knowledge management activities and experience will be detailed here. This section will also outline any benefits that have been gained and how they can be built upon or leverage in future initiatives.

5.    KM Best Practices

This section details the KM Best Practices that this KM Strategic Plan will align to.

6.    Challenges and Knowledge Needs

The key issues and knowledge needs of the organization will be summarized here and will include any knowledge resources, processes and tools that will be needed to effectively execute the knowledge management strategy.

7.    Strategy Details and Key Initiatives

The key activities to implement the Knowledge Management Strategy are as follows:

i.     Knowledge Transfer

Knowledge Transfer is a culture-based process by which adaptive organizational knowledge that lies in people’s heads and which lies in documents, programs, reports, etc is exchanged with others. This section will indicate how knowledge transfer will play a role in the overall knowledge management strategy.

ii.    Dependencies

This section will detail critical dependencies such as the availability of key personnel, approval of budgets, and available technologies to initiate the knowledge management strategy. This section will also analyze the effect of not executing the knowledge management strategy at all.

iii.   Ongoing Knowledge Management

To continue to foster an atmosphere of sharing, transferring, harvesting and creating knowledge within the organization an adherence to this strategy will be imperative. On-going support will include:

– Identifying the key knowledge holders within the organization.

– Creating an environment which motivates people to share.

– Creating opportunities and utilizing tools to harvest knowledge.

– Creating opportunities to foster knowledge creation.

– Designing a sharing mechanism to facilitate the knowledge transfer.

– Measuring the effects of executing the knowledge strategy.

8.    Establish a Central Knowledge Management Office

The Central Knowledge Management Office (CKMO) comprised of Senior Management and Core Team members and is the vehicle for implementing and keeping under review the KM Program and on-going KM initiatives that will be championed by the organization.

9.    Tools

This section details the tools and how they will be utilized to deliver Knowledge Management through out the organization.

 Feel free to leave your comments and/or questions regarding this KM Strategic Plan “straw-man”.



Dec 312012

ripplesIn many of my Knowledge Management (KM) engagements, organizations look to initiate KM through a specific initiative or project. Once that project is concluded many of these organizations believe that there KM involvement is done and they move on to the next initiative. In order to have a sustainable KM presence at an organization we must move from the tactical approach of a KM project to that of a strategic approach of a KM Program. In order to accomplish this a KM Strategy has to be developed. The KM Strategy is positioned at the Program Level and this strategy will drive specific initiatives that align with the mission and objectives of the KM Program. The KM Strategy includes formal procedures to collect knowledge throughout the organization, a well-established infrastructure, networks for transferring knowledge between employees, and tools to facilitate the process.  The KM Strategy will lay the foundation to align specific tools/technology to enhances individual and organizational performance,. This is accomplished by incorporating the following three (3) components into the fabric of an organization’s environment:

  • People, those who create, organize, apply, and transfer knowledge; and the leaders who act on that knowledge
  • Processes, methods of creating, organizing, applying and transferring knowledge
  • Technology, information systems used to put knowledge products and services into organized frameworks

The KM Strategy is constructed to establish effective knowledge management operations.  The intent is to outline how organization will organize and implement KM to get relevant knowledge, to the right person, at the right time, and in the right format to enable rapid situational understanding and decision-making.

The KM Program must optimize the organization, exchange, currency, and accessibility of knowledge so employees and other stakeholders spend less time looking for what they need in order to make critical decisions and complete specific tasks and activities. Effective workers do not just need to recognize their own knowledge and skills, but they must also recognize and strategically use those of others.  The KM Program must leverage the KM Strategy to focus on developing the following practices among individuals and groups to make them an integral part of the organizational KM culture:
  • Recognition and valuing of individual knowledgeRecognition and valuing of knowledge held by othersEnthusiasm to search for new knowledge
  • Skills to search for that new knowledge
  • Enthusiasm for sharing knowledge with others, and a capacity to link personal and shared knowledge to organizational goals and performance
  • Enthusiasm for contributing to the intellectual capital of the organization

One important aspect of the KM Strategy to keep in mind is that all KM Strategies must include the initiatives required to implement the KM Program’s enterprise mission, vision and objectives. For those who are contemplating building a KM Program/Strategy and those already executing their KM Strategy on behalf of creating a sustainable KM Program I would like to hear from you!

May 012012
ITIL MapKnowledge Management (KM) has taken hold in many organizations. The implementation of KM will depend on how the organization views and leverages its knowledge assets (people, process and technology). Processes such as the Information Technology Infrastructure Library (ITIL) are recognizing the value of KM and incorporating its concepts within the ITIL framework. The alignment of ITIL and KM occurs specifically through its Problem Management and Service Management processes.  This alignment emerges through ITIL’s latest version, ITIL v3.
Knowledge Management was added in ITIL v3  as a new central process. This one central process is responsible for providing knowledge to all other IT Service Management processes. In ITIL v3, KM becomes a requirement within the processes of Service Strategy, Service Design, Service Transition, Service Operations, and Continual Service Improvement.  As indicated in the ITIL Wiki, “ITIL Knowledge Management aims to gather, analyze, store and share knowledge and information within an organization. The primary purpose of Knowledge Management in ITIL is to improve efficiency by reducing the need to rediscover knowledge” (ITIL Wiki, 2012).
The Service Knowledge Management System (SKMS) serves as the mechanism to facilitate KM within ITIL. The SKMS, as stated by ITIL, “is the central repository of the data, information, and knowledge that the IT organization needs to manage the lifecycle of its services” (ITIL Wiki, 2012). However there are shortcomings of how KM has been integrated within the ITIL. These shortcomings have contributed to knowledge being defined inconsistently, which includes a lack of defined and measurable metrics. This identifies the fact that ITIL lacks a sufficient Knowledge Management Strategy. For Knowledge Management to work with ITIL v3 it must be integrated with industry recognized Knowledge Management Best Practices.
To mitigate these shortcomings, the primary activity is to provide a Knowledge Management Strategy. The focus of this strategy must be to identify and support the service management needs of the business and associated IT environments currently and one to three years out.
The next step is to create a historical repository of incidents to support the service desk and incident and problem management processes. This knowledge repository will be difficult to develop unless the organization has kept historical records of incidents. However, if no historical information is available, there’s no time like the present to start this process and be sure to include incident/problem resolutions and associated fixes. In addition, integrating KM into Incident, Event, Request, and Access Management as well as Problem, and Release and Deployment Management processes will be essential to establishing a consistent and structured problem solving framework, as well as environment of accountability and responsibility.
In addition to mitigating the shortcomings of ITIL as mentioned earlier, the following activities will contribute greatly to successfully integrate Knowledge Management into your ITIL process:
  • Establish a culture of sharing and collaboration within your organization.
  • Establish a vision of what Knowledge Management means to your organization.
  • Establish how your organization will view and leverages its knowledge assets (people, process and technology).
  • Develop and execute a change management process to support your organization through this alignment and to ensure adoption occurs across the enterprise.

For those who are utilizing ITIL and KM I would like to hear from you! Feel free to provide your comments.

 Posted by at 4:57 am  Tagged with:
Feb 292012
High Impact Talent ManagementTalent Management is often referred to Human Capital Management. Many organizations are faced with the problem of retaining talent as well as capturing the knowledge of the talent as it moves in and out of the organization.
Knowledge Management (KM) plays an important role in converting individual knowledge into corporate knowledge making it available to be cataloged and shared throughout the organization.
As part of a comprehensive KM strategy applied to Human Capital Management it is vital to establish a program that is executed when staff enters your organization and continues until the time that staff member leaves the organization.
How is this accomplished? Initially through employee orientation, establishing a mentor/protégé relationship, mapping their roles, responsibilities and their work products to the specific duties that are being performed, and executing a comprehensive exit interview. These are all aspects of a KM strategy aimed at moving your human capital to corporate capital.
This strategy does not begin and end here! As staff members evolve in their roles, the sharing, and cataloging of knowledge continues through the use of Communities of Practice (Cops), the creation of knowledge repositories, capturing lessons learned, and instituting a culture that values life-long learning and sharing of knowledge.
Getting started with a KM strategy entails a collective visioning as to how sharing knowledge can enhance organizational performance, and the reaching of a consensus among the senior management of the organization that the course of action involved in sharing knowledge will in fact be pursued. Implicit in such a process is a set of decisions about the particular variety of knowledge management activities that the organization intends to pursue, including how the knowledge assets of the organization will be leveraged and the execution of the process and tools that will enable sharing and innovation to occur.
Here are a couple of links to additional information to kick start the process of effectively managing your human capital: Human Capital Management – Capturing Worker KnowledgeThe Case for Human Capital Management, Human Capital Institute, The Benefits of Effective Human Capital Management.
I look forward to your comments and understanding how your organization is tackling this Human Capital Management Challenge!
Dec 192011

Drinking the KM-Kool_AidMany organizations have begun to understand the value and promise Knowledge Management (KM) can bring to their workforce.

Delivering innovation through collaboration and sharing remains the cornerstones of KM; however, once your organization has established its KM strategy, and/or rolled out it’s initial KM offering (i.e., KM system, KM process, tools, etc.) what happens next?

What happens next is the adoption process.

Whether its a new process, procedure, or system; getting your workforce to leverage and use it in the course of executing activities and delivering on their task will be essential to your KM program’s success. In order to achieve this there must be processes and vehicles in place to allow, encourage, and reward staff members as they work within this new paradigm.

It will not be easy.

As with anything new, it will take some time for adoption to occur. To move this along there must be KM supporters, mentors, and/or evangelist at all levels of the corporate infrastructure to encourage the workforce to “drink the KM Kool-Aid”. In other words buy in and practice KM in all aspects of performing tasks and activities.

Developing an organizational culture of knowledge sharing, collaboration, and lifelong learning should be the goals of any KM program. Organizations such as Fluor Corporation have been successful in infusing KM within their culture. From human resource activities, to leveraging knowledge for strategic purposes to engaging with clients, Fluor remains an example of how KM can be leveraged effectively at an organization.

Drinking the “KM Kool-Aid” is a slow and deliberate activity grounded in a basic KM process of Connect–>Collect–>Catalog–>Reuse–>Learn and Innovate. When practiced effectively this process will be a cornerstone to enabling the adoption of KM throughout your organization.

I am very interested in hearing comments on this subject as well as examples of how your organization has or suggestions or will adopt KM.

May 242010
AJ Rhem Corp WordleDuring this challenging economic time many corporations are facing the prospect of merging with other firms to not only survive but to have a sustainable and viable business in the future. With the consolidation of the telecommunications industry underway (see CenturyLink/Qwest Merger) as well as the airline industry (see United Continental merger) there is a need to identify the key knowledge holders in order to ensure the success of mergers and acquisitions.

The effect of these mergers will and often lead to a loss of valuable knowledge from both sides of the merger/acquisition equation. This loss of knowledge is due to positions being consolidated and/or eliminated, other personnel taking early retirement package or other financial incentives. The question is how do we identify who the key knowledge holders are and what knowledge do they hold? Also, has it been determined that this is viable knowledge to the “new” organization going forward and what is our plan to retain, capture, or acquire this knowledge?

All of these questions can be answered with a comprehensive Knowledge Management Strategy geared to identify viable initiatives that will address these questions. One such initiative will be to develop a knowledge map of the organization to be acquired. A knowledge map is a mechanism used to identify key knowledge and the knowledge holders of the organization. Once these maps are completed further analysis is needed to determine the process, procedures and initiatives necessary to prioritize, retain, and/or acquire knowledge that may leave. Often organizational knowledge is the reason certain mergers happen. Knowledge Management is the mechanism to transition individual knowledge to corporate knowledge and make it available for all employees to access.

There will be additional parts of this blog entry to follow over the next week. I welcome your comments on this timely issue!