Dec 072010

The following blog post is by my guest blogger – David Schneider – I look forward to your comments:

Why do Knowledge Management (KM) Initiatives Fail?

Why do Knowledge Management (KM) Initiatives FailThe fact is that few knowledge management initiatives are successful. But, why is this result? What is the cause and effect? Is it because under qualified professional? Or is their more to it than that? What about a magic “silver bullet”? Is a cultural issue?

I believe the reason why knowledge management initiatives fail are varied as there are stars in the sky. I believe one of the main reasons knowledge management initiatives fail is based on how the organization views knowledge management. Knowledge Management is viewed just as a function of the call center. KM is more than a function of a call center and its benefits are far reaching as any Lean process or any other initiatives a corporation take put into practice. KM is mainly viewed by most corporations that have a KM effort as a cost of doing business. This is an error in philosophy, KM is a method of reducing expenses, improve productivity, and enhancing value.

KM will improve efficiencies that will increase a corporations’ profitability, enhances the quality of work, performance, and overall value of the corporation. KM allows tacit knowledge to be leveraged, transferred to increase the quality of work performed across the corporation. This tacit knowledge allows KM to eliminate the “reinvent the wheel” syndrome. This transfer of knowledge is the essence of knowledge management.

Outside of a corporations’ philosophy error there are several reasons for KM initiatives fail. Some of those reasons are as follows:

  • Expecting KM technologies to replace KM processes or create processes where none exists.
  • Lack of participation from all levels of a corporation.
  • Forcing inadequate processes into new technology.
  • Lack of maintenance and resources after initial standup.
  • Lack of education and understanding of what KM means to the individual.
  • KM does not become ingrained into the corporations work culture.
  • Lack of involvement in creating and evolving KM content.
  • Lack of metrics to measure the impact of KM on the corporation or insufficient/incorrect metrics being captured.
  • Lack of monitoring and controls in place to ensure the knowledge is relevant and is current and accurate.

KM initiatives are essential to a corporations’ growth and is more than just the cost of doing business. Successful KM initiatives once completed and funded correctly it increase a corporations’ profitability, enhance the quality of work, and overall value of the corporation.

David Schneider

Jan 112010

Army Enterprise Knowledge Management Competency ModelI recently read the discussion, and the associated comments, around KM education, which includes university courses (Masters programs), Certification programs, and Certificate programs.

This discussion is hosted by Art Schlussel in the CKO (Chief Knowledge Officer) forum in LinkedIn. It inspired me to elaborate on my thoughts concerning KM education. As I stated in my comments to Art, for any education to be effective it must be supported by practical application, including having experienced mentors work with participants who have recently completed any number of various KM training venues.

In the discussion, Art mentioned that a partnership between the US military and a well know accredited university would build a comprehensive KM training program is in its preliminary stages. However, the major issue is, what does or will this training consist of, taking into account the fact that the US military wants it to follow their KM Competency Model (see above).

I believe that the KM Training should have a holistic approach, which will cover the following:

  • The basics, and differences between data, information, and knowledge.
  • Establishing “your” definition of knowledge management.
  • Developing/executing knowledge management strategy (including knowledge audits, knowledge mapping, KM process.)
  • Identifying and addressing knowledge gaps (result from knowledge audit.)
  • Collaboration and knowledge sharing (Communities of Practice.)
  • Knowledge transfer planning (mentor protege, knowledge codification.)
  • Collecting and applying knowledge management metrics.
  • Identifying, planning, and executing KM projects/initiatives.
  • Knowledge management tools (wikis, blogs, search, KM systems.)

While this is not an exhaustive list, the approach must include the planning, strategy, and processes applied for knowledge management as well as the software that will enable and support the execution of the KM program initiatives.

The Army’s KM Competency Model serves as a foundation to how the Army will approach KM and forms the basis of what KM will address from the Army’s perspective. The Army’s Enterprise KM Competency Model represents one holistic approach to institutionalizing KM.

I believe that a holistic approach to KM is where we must begin in our training as well as our execution of KM at our organizations.