** This blog post was originally posted on December 29, 2020 **

KM focuses on people, process, and technology that enable and support knowledge sharing, transfer, access, and identification. KM competencies represent what KM practitioners must understand to facilitate KM methods established by the organization. KM has both soft and hard competencies. The soft competencies include ensuring that knowledge processing is aligned with the organization’s business goals and objectives and is integrated into the organization’s everyday business and work. The hard competencies include elicitation and representation of knowledge (both tacit and explicit) and it also includes structural knowledge in the form of business rules and business process; as well as software development, business and systems architecture, and workflow management.

KM Competency Model

KM Competencies serves as the foundation for functions such as training, education, development, and performance management because it specifies what essential knowledge, skills, and abilities are needed. KM Competencies identified in the following table will contribute to enterprise-wide KM adoption and use and create a culture of collaboration and knowledge sharing.

Competency AreaGoal(s)Action to Achieve Goal(s)Suggested Learning Methods
KM Principles & FoundationUnderstand KM principles, methods and its applicationFormal training is either developed or accessed by an accredited (creditable) institutionStandardized KM courses taught via instructor lead and/or online
KM StrategyDevelop and socialize the vision and mission of knowledge management by developing and operationalizing a detailed in the KM Strategy.Develop an effective knowledge management (KM) strategy to support your KM program through the establishment of a short term (1 – 3 years) and long term (3 – 5 years) roadmap which includes the identification of initiatives to support the vision, mission and objectives of your organization.  Focus on building a holistic, enterprise-wide KM program. Your organization may want to pilot certain KM methods, KM Practices and/or tools in targeted areas of the business, but do this as part of a larger plan.
KM Leaders and ChampionsUnderstand what KM professionals do, their roles and responsibilities, and how they influence the use of KM practices within an organization  Seek out KM champions throughout the organization to support KM activities Develop specific KM expertise within the organization  KM champions act as liaisons between the KM professionals and practitioners. Explore the need to create leadership and lead technical positions such as CKO, Knowledge Architect, and CoP leaders and facilitators  
KM CultureIdentify and understand the cultural issues that impact the adoption and use of KM practices, procedures and methodsEstablish a “life-long learning culture” to ensure the capture and use of lessons learned throughout activities and initiatives at the organization. Reward and recognize knowledge sharing and collaboration to ensure staff remains motivated to contribute.Development of KM Executive Councils, along with the development and execution of KM policies, procedures and standards.
Communities of Practice (CoPs)Understand the KM approaches to knowledge sharing, transfer, and collaboration  Encourage the establishment of Communities of Practice (CoP) around professional activities and Communities of Interest (CoI) around non-professional activities. Establish policies and practices to best use your Subject Matter Expert resources.  Provide the resources to allow CoP and COI activities to emerge and grow throughout the organization and encourage participation. CoPs provide a forum to share expertise and build a body of knowledge, as people interact and network they will build trust and relationships that cross departmental boundaries SME activities could include CoP facilitation, mentoring and coaching, internal consulting, and expertise transfer techniques.  
Content Management (Explicit Knowledge)Understand content-lifecycle management, content library structures, content labeling and tagging, and search as it pertains to KM practices (Information Architecture)  Review current content management procedures to ensure compliance with formal policies and guidance; ensure all content is credible (has authoritative source, has contextual consistency, is actively managed) Develop a consistent organizational approach to metadata along with the structure and guidelines to enforce metadata tagging by utilizing Information Architecture (IA)    Assess how documents are created, stored, accessed and archived; audit records to ensure compliance with formal record-keeping requirements; develop an Information Architecture plan/strategy for addressing discrepancies and poor practices. Create metadata elements that will enhance the retrieval of content across the organization; look at both manual and automated methods of metadata creation; explore methods to provide social tagging to content to supplement controlled terms (details should be included in the IA Plan/Strategy)  
MetricsUnderstand the reasons for monitoring and evaluating performance, considerations of what to measure, and using metrics to refine KM strategies  Use metrics to assess the accomplishment of organizational strategic goals and objectives Use metrics to measure efficiency (output – activity based) and effectiveness (outcome – results based) Standardize measures across the organization to ensure they are focused on strategic outcomes Measure only what is necessary to drive the intended results  Measurement against strategic goals and objectives provides insight on how KM efforts are closing the knowledge gap between what your organization knows and what it needs to know to be successful Use a combination of both output and outcome metrics to track both hard (factual) and soft (perceptual) measures Focus organizational metrics on strategic goals and accomplishing the mission; ensure alignment across all departments When measuring for outcomes it is best to manage no more than five to seven measurements; the results should drive decisions that refine KM strategy  
ProcessesUnderstand the use of KM techniques in order to find opportunities for simplifying current processes or making them more efficient or effective  Use KM techniques to simplify or increase the efficiency or effectiveness of current business processes Create process maps and conduct knowledge audits to identify where critical information and knowledge inputs and outputs are  Assess current processes that may be streamlined or eliminated; understand why the process steps must be performed as is to achieve the desired result Process maps used in conjunction with knowledge maps can drive process redesign projects that help define the most appropriate roles and responsibilities for information and knowledge management, tightly integrated into the operational workflow  
KM Technology (Systems/Tools)Understand how technology impacts KM, and the tools that are available to facilitate knowledge sharing and collaboration  Ensure the organization Information Architecture (IA) fits the needs of its primary user groups whether it’s for a single platform such as an Intranet or knowledge portal, or across several platforms. Assess how the organization currently uses technology to accomplish tasks such as content creation, capture, review, sharing, collaborating, and archiving Stay abreast of current and emerging technologies and how they can be (or are being unofficially) used within your organization  An IA will make sense of how the different platforms relate to each other, how users will navigate between them, and how expectations for content discovery (search) can be met Develop a list of tools that are used by the organization to connect people to explicit knowledge and tacit knowledge – these include everything from email, phone books, and meetings to technologies such as Blogs, Wikis, and Podcasts; map how these technologies work within the IA and how they help the organization meet its strategic goals and objectives – use this information to guide KM strategy    
KM GovernanceUnderstand balancing the need to know with the need to share, and how KM coexists with information management policy  Accept that KM and content assurance must coexist, and that secure knowledge management considers the aspects of confidentiality, trust and privacy management Balance the need to know with the need to share Develop security strategies, policies, plans and procedures (comprehensive Content Governance Plan) that not only address content management but consider KM strategies, and is tightly integrated with business strategies  Understand that secure KM is much more than protecting classified information; security strategies, secure operations processes, and security metrics need to be incorporated into KM strategy and plans Organizational assets such as intellectual property, trade secrets and privacy information need to be protected from malicious or unintentional access and use; ensure technology incorporates access controls, credential mechanisms and encryption systems to secure KM practices Review existing content management policies; consider supplemental policies that incorporate security controls into the KM lifecycle while maintaining appropriate access to knowledge. This should be part of the Content Governance Plan and the subsequent development of the Content Governance board.  

Competency alone is not sufficient; it must be accompanied by an organizational culture shift towards knowledge-sharing and collaboration. For more on how you can prepare for and implement KM Core Competencies sign up and/or download (google of Apple App Store) Knowledge Management Mentor (KM Mentor).

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