Knowledge Manning


Knowledge Management  or the Management of Intellectual capital


A proposal
By Dr. Mohamed Taher
 


 
What is Knowledge Management:
Explicitly and systematically stated, knowledge management (KM), deals with cognitive and personal knowledge, or knowledge which is tacit, not explicit. Managing this intellectual capital, or meta-knowledge, or knowledge about knowledge, is the focus here.

Vital Issues under consideration:
-Existing initiatives at management of the knowledge based resources are not sufficient. Initiatives such as,  Total Quality Management, Business Process Reengineering, etc., leave much to be done in KM.

-personal knowledge is today, considered as important as, corporate Knowledge, and this commands a premium price in the market-- this is turning personal knowledge into corporate knowledge for easy access to all and and for sharing among all freely.

-Avoidance of a intellectual step in products, processes, and communications, may be a costly mistake. Applied know-how can enhance the value of product/services.
Implying that sharing of best practices (Knowledge) is then very vital for the growth of the corporate.

Need for knowledge management:
Major decisions, reasoning for these decisions, parties involved in these decisions, transactions at intra and inter-businesses, in any environment, must be documented in its entirety. For instance, purchase of a heavy equipment, or employing different resources, or hiring a consultant, or the implications of a contract or decisions that are taken in these matters require a thorough documentation and record of facts.

Then the process of creating, gathering, organizing, diffusion, use and exploitation of the knowledge, as a collective resource, rather than an individual private property, is the need of the day.

Problems:
Since this is a private and personal knowledge, which some may not like to share, there are problems of a variety in this route. The list of problems and difficulties may be long, but in short some significant ones are listed below:

  • Introverts may not like to open up and talk openly about their experiences, thinking, and ideas that are otherwise of value to the society they belong to.
     
  • Intricate processes or narrow areas of activity may not be presentable to others, though it has its own value.
     
  • Holding it as a secret some would not like to share such knowledge, as it may the sole reason for their credentials.
     
  • knowledge contributions are not recognized as worthy to be rewarded, and hence these do not prop up as obvious subjects of interest and obvious information.
     
  • Knowledge that is tacit or not explicit, is hard to express and harder to codify.
     

     

    Utility:
    Successful innovation, improved customer service, faster problem solving, more rapid adaptation to market changes are the net benefits of KM. The utility of this exercise will be visible by collecting best practices, expert directories, market intelligence, as well as, a way to develop focal points for knowledge skills and facilitating knowledge flow in appropriate channels.



Classification of the corporate knowledge

Area

Key activities

Experiences/ exposure

 

knowledge about products and services (guides, knowledge-intensive services)

gather knowledge in products, about the products, surrounded by products, etc 

evaluation of products, services, feedback, R&D

 

knowledge about people (users, suppliers, organization)

gathering knowledge from suppliers, employees, shareholders, end-users -- gathering needs, articulating unmet needs, and identifying new opportunities.. 

interaction, discovery, communication, knowledge database, human analysts, market updates, 

 

knowledge about processes

environmental scanning for all socio-cultural trends, competition analysis, market intelligence gathering system, identifying knowledge that is embedded into business processes and in management decision making

current trends, techniques, state-of-the-art, capturing knowledge (both internal and external)

 

 

Methodology:
KM calls for developing a) strategy, b) mechanisms, c) tools of the trade, and d) resources for documenting.

To deal with documentation of this knowledge that exists in different forms, there is a need to develop IT solutions, manpower, infrastructure, etc. Building a database, for instance, requires recording of such valuable knowledge, maintaining  the databases and strategies for retrieving the stored information.

One way to tackle the project is by using the IT and this can be done in three phases as follows:

First phase:
Building the resources that need documentation.

Second phase:
Test the available tools and techniques

Third phase:
Documenting of the knowledge.

Tools:
Software: indexing, abstracting, storing, retrieving, etc.

hardware: alternative strategies for the project, either use the hard disk, or develop a web interface for the virtual directory, or download on floppies, CDs, etc.

manpower: documentation research and training

Time duration:
Six months from the date of commencement of the actual process.

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