Jul 012012

Knowledge Management in the Military Knowledge Management (KM) in the United States (US) Military has been implemented using a top down approach that is resonated through each branch, command, directorate, division, group, battalion, etc.

The US Military has established a culture of KM that leverages its personnel, processes, and systems to facilitate a consistent flow of knowledge and the mechanisms to execute and make decisions from this knowledge.

The current Military KM strategy

It is widely acknowledged that knowledge management (KM) strategy is a desired precursor to developing specific KM initiatives. KM Strategies are established from the top down in every branch of the US Military. As this strategy is propagated and aligned through the organization, it is often a difficult process due a variety of influences and constraints. These KM influences and constraints include understanding, conflicts with IT organizations, funding, technology usage and configuration, and outsourcing.

Each branch of the US Military works to overcome barriers to KM adoption. To this effort an establishment of processes and tools, which involves providing approaches and solutions for knowledge sharing has influenced a change in people’s habits. This change will drive values to move US Military organization culture father to overall KM adoption. In support of the US Military in its knowledge sharing efforts, Communities of Practice (CoP) have become an integral method of sharing and distributing knowledge across all branches of the military. In addition enterprise web search capabilities have been implemented to increase “findability” of key content, which is leverage for decision making at all levels of command.

Continuing KM Challenge of BRAC

The Base Realignment and Closures (BRAC) specifically represents the challenge of capturing knowledge both tacit and explicit before it leaves a command from personnel shifts and loss due to a BRAC move. The US Military has already experienced this knowledge loss and unless steps are taken at least a year in advance of a BRAC move, this loss will continue.

The loss of knowledge has the potential to compromise mission activities and the soldier in theater. Leveraging the US Military’s ability to share knowledge through its established process and tools will help lessen the adverse impact of this knowledge loss. However, without process and tools to capture, catalog, and reuse knowledge, the US Military will be challenged to keep the various commands fully operational and effective long term for the solider in theater.

I am interested to hear from our men and women across the military, this includes active, inactive, reservists, as well as civilian personnel who have worked or are currently working with KM. I would like you to share your thoughts about how you are utilizing KM and/or if you feel KM is/will be a benefit for 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.

Feb 012011

knowledge management at your organizationHave you ever wondered what all the fuss is about concerning knowledge management (KM)? What is knowledge management anyway?

At its core KM is about sharing and collaborating about what you know, capturing what you know, and reusing that knowledge so as to not reinvent the wheel and/or to combine with other ideas to foster innovation.

Recently I had the privilege to attend a KM meeting conducted by the APQC (APQC’s January 2011 KM Community Call), which had representatives from Conoco Phillips, Fluor, IBM, GE, and Schlumberger. What I came away from this meeting with is the need to have KM become part of an organization’s culture. I believe that this is important because we do not want KM to be “another task to complete on the checklist”, but the way we conduct business. This includes the business between the various individuals and entities within our corporations as well as with our customers. Talking, listening, capturing, and applying what we learn from each other is a constant never-ending and always evolving process.

I challenge all of us to take this attitude into our workplace and remember that when you share what you know you don’t lose that knowledge, but rather you enhance that knowledge with the other individuals you share it with. Take a minute to review the slides from the APQC Jan 2011 KM Community Call as well as this video from YouTube Discover What You Know.

Feel free to comment and share your knowledge!

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

Sep 282010
the need for diversityThe power that Knowledge Management (KM) brings to an organization is its ability to leverage the power of diversity. I am not speaking of just diversity of race, gender and/or religion, but diversity of thought.

Through collaboration, knowledge sharing, and knowledge reuse it is important to leverage different points of view, different experiences and different cultural backgrounds to stimulate diversity of thought. This diversity of thought leads to innovation. This innovation will enable organizations to deliver unique and or improved products and services to its customers as well as improve the way the organization does business.

Diversity of thought is encouraged and utilized today in the push by corporations to support Board Diversity in expanding the makeup of their corporate boards, through Affirmative Action programs to promote a diverse workforce and through a myriad of organizations that understand that diversity of thought will improve everything from our educational system, healthcare system, create new jobs, and improve how our politicians work together!

Communities of Practice (CoP) is a tool utilized within KM which provide environments where people can collaborate, catalog, and reuse knowledge centered around a certain topic, practice area, or profession, to name a few. This community will bring “like minded” people together regardless of their race, gender and/or religion to stimulate thought, exchange ideas and learn for each other. All focused on innovation, and improving performance. The need for diversity of thought will continue to be a catalyst for our culture to improve the way we live, work and play. I welcome everyone to share their stories where this diversity is happening, where it should be happening and where it has been successful or not!

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.