Monday, 1 June 2015

The Siemens view of Knowledge Assets

In further research on Knowledge Assets, I came across this article by Dirk Ramhorst on the Siemens KM Framework.

Siemens had a view of knowledge transfer, sharing and re-use within the organisation which they described as a "knowledge market". Knowledge was "brought to the market" and made available to others for re-use.

They differentiated explicit knowledge into "non-validated" (ideas, work products, observations, insights) and validated knowledge (knowledge assets). The knowledge assets were seen as the elements that represent Siemens knowledge and experience of value-adding processes. Ramhorst qualifies this.....

These elements can be samples, examples, checklists, case studies, templates, architectures, business frameworks, practice guides or even a methodology component developed from practical experience gained in projects. 

Siemens developed a simple method of promoting non-validated knowledge to validated knowledge assets, where  knowledge assets - along with a short synopsis of their contents and context - were stored and submitted to a knowledge asset creation process involving the subject matter experts.

The knowledge assets were stored in a separate knowledge base from non-validated project documents, and structured to be most useful to the user. For example in the Siemens Business Services Proposal Knowledge Base....

"the topic-specific contents are incorporated into the standard processes of the project work by the knowledge center and specific knowledge modules (knowledge assets) are displayed for each individual project step. Project managers, as well as those responsible, for example, for creating proposals, quality management, and so on, can find important method modules for completing their tasks, as well as networks of experts working on the same topic". 

Once the knowledge asset was validated by the process owner, it could then be reused in other projects, thus initiating a cycle of constant reuse and further development, making sure that the knowledge asset continually increased in value.

Siemens identified a number of roles to support this process:

  • Process owners were identified to validate and manage the knowledge assets. 
  • Communities of practice were set up to cover all practice areas.
  • The communities defined "best practice" teams including subject matter experts (SMEs), the community leader and a technical editor. The best practice team was responsible for measuring the business value and defining the life cycle and maturity level of the knowledge assets.
  • The technical editor was responsible for the quality, consistency and design of the knowledge assets.

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