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.

Jan 132016
 

K15968-v2As we move into 2016 it is time to reflect on knowledge management and look at the future of this discipline. In my latest book: Knowledge Management in Practice I address what I believe is the future of KM in 2016 and beyond. An excerpt from chapter 18 follows.

Future of Knowledge Management:

One of the major areas in which KM will make an impact 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. Due to this scenario (and others) organizations invest a major portion of their revenue and attention to improving their customer service.

In an August 2014 Harvard Business Review article by Peter Kriss entitled “The Value of Customer Experience, Quantified” he states “Intuitively, most people recognize the value of a great customer experience. Brands that deliver them are ones that we want to interact with as customers that we become loyal to, and that we recommend to our friends and family”. Also, he states that the “value of delivering such an experience is often a lot less clear, because it can be hard to quantify” Delivering consistent and concise knowledge to provide answers to customer inquiries in an efficient way leads to providing value to the customer and improving the overall customer experience.

In support of this trend of KM in customer service, Forrester’s “Top Trends For Customer Service in 2015”, author Kate Leggett points out in trend #4, knowledge management’s impact when she states “Knowledge Will Evolve From Dialog To Cognitive Engagement. Organizations will look at ways to reduce the manual overhead of traditional knowledge management for customer service. They will start to explore cognitive engagement solutions, interactive computing systems that use artificial intelligence to collect information, automatically build models of understanding and inference, and communicate in natural ways. These solutions have the potential to automate knowledge creation, empower agents with deeply personalized answers and intelligence, scale a company’s knowledge capability, and uncover new revenue streams by learning about customer needs.”

IBM Watson is playing a significant role in the evolution of applications that automate knowledge creation by providing deeply personalized answers and intelligence. This technology will not only effect customer service, but a multitude of industries with its capability to extract knowledge from Big Data sources. The IBM Watson ecosystem will provide deep content analytics and intensive scientific discovery that will lead to improve cognition contributing to an organization’s knowledge capabilities. This supports Kate Leggett’s research and points out that KM will continue to play a significant role in delivering knowledge and decision making capabilities to the customer service industry for the foreseeable future (2016 and beyond).

Global View of KM

In reviewing the 2015 Global Knowledge Management Observatory Report, authors David Griffiths, Abi Jenkins and Zoe Kingston-Griffiths state “The Knowledge Management function in many organizations is in a state of general decline”. This as they indicate is due to the following factors:

  • “Satisfaction in Knowledge Management’s contribution to strategic and operational objectives within organizations is often poor.”
  • “Knowledge Management lacks maturity and integration within the vast majority of organizations.”
  • “Knowledge Management continues to be predominantly seen as a technology-led function.”
  • “Satisfaction with technology-led Knowledge Management solutions is not improving.”
  • “Many Knowledge Management professionals do not appear to have the necessary awareness and/or permissions required to respond to unmet demand for KM activities in organizations.”
  • “Knowledge Management, as a field or area of practice, is argued to be suffering from a lack of specialist practitioners.”
  • “The value and/or significance of Knowledge Management activities is still not being appropriately recognized or reported within most organizations.”

Solutions that address many of the findings of the 2015 Global Knowledge Management Observatory Report are essential for KM success in 2016 and as KM evolves as a discipline. This includes producing a comprehensive KM strategy, KM education options, adopting KM programs, project and systems, and addressing why KM programs/projects fail.

All of these aspects from the 2015 Global KM Observatory Report are addressed in Knowledge Management in Practice. This book should be leveraged as a reference/guide and presents a tremendous resource to support the growth of KM at your organization.