Here's a very interesting article on the lessons learned from implementing Knowledge Management at Siemens.
They talk about two "implementation traps".
- The first, which they call the customer trap, is the need to balance the expectation of the business, in terms of delivery of the KM program, with the expectations of the user. These two customers may have diﬀerent expectations and requirements that need to be taken into consideration.
- The second, which they call the standardisation/customisation trap, points to the need to balance standardisation in KM (which is often needed due to the global scale of knowledge management initiatives) with customisation to the user, to make it locally useful.
The article contains many stories and examples from Siemens KM implementation, and finishes with the following conclusions;
For the Customer trap, the most successful strategies in Siemens were
- To clearly diﬀerentiate the customers of the initiative
- To provide quick wins to create visibility among top management early on, while anchoring the initiative in constraints and user preferences.
- To be nimble: to reposition the initiative continually with the company’s evolving strategic direction.
For the Standardisation/ customisation trap trap, the most successful strategies in Siemens were
- To focus primarily on the user as the direct customer.
- To keep the change goals and milestones relevant to top management perceptions and constraints
- To standardise in the early stages to push the initiative top-down and to create critical mass.
- To personalise later to remain relevant to users’ needs and constraints
- To avoid fragmentation and losing ground to larger initiatives later on by teaming up and forming alliances with other initiatives to create joint value propositions.
They summarise as follows
A senior manager planning to implement, or having already initiated, a knowledge management system that has to transform the way organisational members interact, should consider the following questions:
- What are your most recent change experiences?
- Which groups of stakeholders are most likely to have a major impact on the design and execution of the change eﬀort?
- Is your initiative ﬁrmly anchored in these constraints? For example, have you identiﬁed who your direct customer is in the organisation?
- Have you segmented your ‘target market’ thoroughly enough? That is, are you clear about how the change eﬀort adds value to your customer’s daily routine? To what extent are you actively using this knowledge?
- How do the needs and requirements of your direct customers impact not only on the initiative itself, but also on how it is to be presented to your superiors to get through the next round of funding?
- What ‘drives’ your boss these days?