Knowledge Management or the
Management of Intellectual capital
By Dr. Mohamed Taher
What is Knowledge
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
Vital Issues under
-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
-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
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
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.
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
- 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.
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.
of the corporate knowledge
knowledge about products and services (guides,
gather knowledge in products, about the products, surrounded by
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
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)
KM calls for developing a)
strategy, b) mechanisms, c) tools of the trade, and d) resources for
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:
Building the resources that
Test the available tools and
Documenting of the knowledge.
abstracting, storing, retrieving, etc.
strategies for the project, either use the hard disk, or develop a web
interface for the virtual directory, or download on floppies, CDs, etc.
research and training
Six months from the date of
commencement of the actual process.
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