Aug 312016
 

Knowledge Management in Practice by Anthony J RhemKnowledge 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. This book is a culmination of my years of experience within the knowledge management (KM) discipline. Since 1998 I have been involved in knowledge management, from researching, developing processes for capturing and codifying knowledge, developing knowledge management systems, developing and operationalizing knowledge management strategies across several industries, writing articles, books, developing and teaching KM curriculum and speaking at numerous KM conferences.

My latest book Knowledge Management in Practice covers how knowledge management is leveraged in several industries. An examination of the various uses of KM practices, policies, procedures and methods including tips and techniques to create a competitive advantage are presented. The industries that are covered include first responders, military, healthcare, Insurance, financial services, legal, human resources, merger and acquisition firms, and research institutions.

Essential Knowledge Management concepts are also explored not only from a foundational perspective, but from a practical application. These knowledge management concepts include capturing and codifying tacit and explicit knowledge, KM methods, information architecture, search, KM and social media, KM and Big Data, adoption of KM, and why KM Initiatives fail.

The following are the subjects that are covered and what you can expect from the various chapters:

  • The Case for Knowledge Management (KM): Chapter 2 – The Case for Knowledge Management details the factors you must consider to in order to make the case for your organization to start instituting KM and its various practices and policies. This chapter details what will be necessary for your organization to either launch a KM initiative/project, and/or establish a KM program.
  • Being Social – KM and Social Media: Chapter 3 – In this chapter KM and Social Media examines how social media tools and techniques are becoming facilitators of knowledge for the organization. In this chapter specific guidance and insight is given to develop your organizations social media strategy and to determine the social media tools, techniques and platforms that can be utilized to begin taking advantage of what social media can bring to KM.
  • Dude, where’s my car: Utilizing Search in KM: Chapter 4 – Utilizing search in KM details the importance of search in knowledge management and in particular a knowledge management system. Several aspects of implementing search are examined including the importance of having user centric information architecture.
  • The Age of Discovery: KM in Research Institutions: Chapter 5 – Research institutions play a key role in product innovation. Knowledge Management is a catalyst to stimulating and sustaining a high level of innovation. This chapter examines how KM is utilized; focusing on various KM methods that can and in some cases are being incorporated at research institutions.
  • Where has all my experts gone? – KM in Human Resources and Talent Management: Chapter 6 – When it comes to talent management KM can play a critical role in ensuring the knowledge assets are captured and made available to the enterprise. KM in talent management when applied holistically involves capturing and sharing employee knowledge from onboarding to exit interview.
  • Sound the Alarm! – KM in Emergency and Disaster Preparedness: Chapter 7  – Emergency and disaster preparedness is enhanced through the incorporation of knowledge management. Putting the right knowledge in the right context at the right time in the hands of First Responders could be the difference in saving lives and preventing casualties. It is important to begin with a comprehensive KM strategy in order to establishing a plan to deliver the knowledge in a timely manner.
  • Happily Ever After – KM in Mergers and Acquisitions: Chapter 8 – When organizations merge or are acquired there is a level of uncertainty both from a macro (organization) level and from a micro (employee) level. Applying KM to mergers and acquisitions will enable the organization to know what knowledge is important to retain, who those knowledge holders are, what are the knowledge gaps and how to quantify the knowledge of the organization. From an employee standpoint having the organization share knowledge about the pending transaction as well as incentify employees to share what they know and to assist employees in transitioning (within the new organization or to a new organization) will go a long way to ensure a smooth M&A transaction.
  • Is there a Doctor in the house? – KM in Healthcare: Chapter 9 – Healthcare has become focused on the individual. As the healthcare community moves to electronic record keeping and capturing patient information at the point of initial interaction; having accurate knowledge about that patient as well as having the patient knowledgeable about his/her own health is essential to the success of caring for that patient. KM is an essential ingredient for healthcare success, especially in the areas of drug interaction analysis, sharing of patient diagnosis between hospitals and doctors, and furthering the development of healthcare informatics.
  • Show me the Money! – KM in Financial Services: Chapter 10 – Knowledge Management in the financial services sector centers on being able to attract, serve and retain customers. By delivering the tools to customers that provide knowledge in order to make sound financial decisions is at the heart of what KM will provide. In order to bring innovative financial services and products to the marketplace and have an understanding of how it will best serve and benefit the customer; putting specific knowledge at the fingertips of employees serving the customer will also be critical component of what KM will bring.
  • Are you in Good Hands? – KM in Insurance Industry: Chapter 11 – In this chapter you will learn how KM in the insurance industry is used to communicate knowledge to customers, agents and customer contact centers while providing mechanisms for employees to share, capture and catalog knowledge. KM in the insurance industry will provide the knowledge to (among other things), complete applications, bind insurance, and service a claim.
  • Sign Right Here! – KM in the Legal Profession: Chapter 12 – In this chapter an examination of how KM can/should be used to enhance the management of a law firm and execute on client engagements will be presented. KM in law firms is primarily executed through the building and fostering communities of practice around practice specialties. This enables legal representatives to respond to a situation with the right expertise, equipped with the right knowledge to resolve a legal matter.
  • Get That Knowledge! – Knowledge Management Education: Chapter 13 – This chapter examines the state of knowledge management education. This examination includes KM certification programs, KM curriculum at institutions of higher learning, as well as KM education policies, procedures and future direction of KM education. In addition this chapter will present specific criteria to consider when selecting a KM education option.
  • Big Knowledge! KM in Big Data: Chapter 14 – In this chapter an examination of how KM can and should be used to gain knowledge from your Big Data resources will be presented. How KM will be used on Big Data to provide a rich structure to enable decisions to be made on a multitude and variety of data is the essence of this examination. Along with specific analysis of the various types of data and KM methods for examining this data, a detailed understanding of KM’s impact on Big Data can be realized.
  • What have you done for the War Fighter Today? – KM in the Military: Chapter 15  – There is a rich history when it comes to KM in the Military. An examination of how KM in the military is being used with special attention to such events as Base Realignment and Closures (BRAC) will be examined. In addition a look at the various branches of the military (Army, Air Force, and Navy) and their KM Strategies, KM systems and KM methods are presented.
  • Drinking the KM-Kool-Aid: Knowledge Management Adoption: Chapter 16 -Adoption of KM programs, policies, methods, and systems, is a challenge for all organizations. This chapter is all about adoption! If your organization does not adopt its KM principles, practices, processes, procedures or systems that deliver KM they may be recognized as a failure. This chapter will present specific guidance on how to improve KM adoption and how to position your KM initiatives for success.
  • Failure is not an option! – Why KM Projects Fail: Chapter 17 – With lofty promises come unrealized results. Knowledge Management gained widespread popularity in the 90’s, however many KM initiatives failed and this popularity has tapered quite a bit. Since the mid 2000’s a renaissance of KM began to occur, some disparate KM success started to be achieve (call centers, research, human resources, military ) and KM is now considered as a discipline to use as a competitive advantage. Although KM is being used with some success in this new knowledge economy, many KM initiatives still fail. This chapter details the factors that contribute to KM initiatives failing as well as measures to adhere to in order to achieve KM success.

Included in this publication is an in-depth synopsis of each chapter and an overall introduction to the book in chapter 1. The book concludes with chapter 18, which offers a summary of the book and insight on what’s next for knowledge management.

For those individuals and organizations who have purchased my book I would like to thank you and invite you to ask me questions about the material covered in the book and/or any KM questions that are on your mind.

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!

Jan 272012
 

KM in specific industriesOver the next few weeks I will examine several industries in which knowledge management (KM) is making an impact. I will take a brief look at Customer Service Centers, Research Institutions, Talent Management, Legal Institutions and the Military.

In this blog post I will take a look at what’s happening with KM as it pertains to Customer Service Centers.

Customer Service Centers are looking to leverage their knowledge assets, KM processes and tools in order to get knowledge to the customer service rep to convey to the customer or directly to the customer in a timely manner. The KM concepts of collaboration through live chat, content management and search as well as KM workflows and expertise locators to enable the “right” resources to solve customer problems are being deployed.

Used properly, knowledge assets with the proper KM tools will enable the customer service centers to not only answer customer questions and solve problems but also increase sales and customer satisfaction through an improved customer experience. KM being leveraged at Customer Service Centers achieve the following:

Lower service cost by reducing repeat calls, call handling/resolution times, and brings down the cost of agent training

Better Quality of Service, Customers are more likely to receive the right answers faster

Consistency in service, with the right KM processes, procedures and tools in place KM ensures that customers with the same question receive the same response, regardless of agent as well as interaction channel or mode

Speaking of tools, some of the tools being utilized for KM in Customer Service Centers include salesforce.com, Kana, and SharePoint. In considering the use of these tools organizations must understand first their knowledge management strategy, how such tools fit within the KM strategy as well as their specific requirements for using one or more of these tools. Keep in mind that if multiple tools are being used to deliver on the KM Strategy your organization should look at ways to integrate the tools in order to deliver consistency in response and service to the customer.

For those organizations leveraging KM or want to utilize KM as part of your Customer Service Center solution I want to hear from you. I look forward to knowing more about what is happening at your Customer Service Centers.

May 242010
 

knowledge management for law firmsOver the last several weeks I’ve been discussing knowledge management specifically in the areas of healthcare, telecommunications, government (military) and mergers/acquisition.

During these conversations a colleague of mine mentioned law firms and whether KM can provide viable assistance for lawyers and other legal personnel.

The conversation went quickly to KM tools such as those provided by Lexis Nexis (www.lexisnexis.com). I cautioned however that KM is not about IT. Technology is an enabler for KM initiatives. You must first understand the business of the law firm and the lawyers who operate in it (every firm and lawyer has different knowledge needs). So, I suggested you start with crafting a KM Strategy to understand how KM will be leveraged by the firm.

Law firms’ focus centers around client relationships and understanding the clients’ legal needs. These needs can range from, but are not limited to,  litigation, intellectual property, criminal, divorce, and bankruptcy. In understanding what a client needs the law firm partner has to determine who would be the best (lawyer/lawyers) to address specific needs of the client and how can they effectively and efficiently handle these needs. Therefore knowledge around servicing the client would be a good start for the KM Strategy to focus.

The KM Strategy should address the knowledge needs, processes, initiatives and tools that will increase the performance of the staff, provide outstanding services and increase revenue of the firm.

Some resources to review are: Effective Knowledge Management for Law Firms, Knowledge management and the smarter lawyer, and Lawyer KM.

I look forward to your comments.

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.