Wednesday 9 May 2012

"Before and After" - the Knowledge Management Makeover

Before Painting versus After Painting What does an organisation look like, when it is fully engaged with Knowledge Management? What will the After shot of the KM make-over look like?

Or to put it more prosaically, what are the roles, the accountabilities, the reporting structures? What is the structure of the knowledge-centred organigram?
It has become increasingly clear to us at Knoco over the years that if KM is to be embedded into an organisation, it needs to be embedded into the organisational structure, as well as into organisational process, the technology infrastructure, and the governance system (including the recognition and reward structure).  The KM organisation is not just a case of
  1. The KM team
  2. Everyone else
If KM is part of the business, then it needs to be part of the accountabilities as well. For example, at Tata Steel (widely recognised as one of the leading KM companies in the world), the KM team supports a KM organisation of
  • 500 SMEs identified by the communities who validate the accuracy and reliability of all the good practices being submitted;
  • 25 champions for the various communities;
  • 250 practice leaders, who lead the sub-communities;
  • 250 conveners who help manage the communities and sub-communities;
  • 200 experts who help others over the discussion databases to resolve problems;
  • 50 KM coordinators; and,
  • 1000+ part-time evangelists. (Figures from 2009)
Or think about the US Army, with
  • A full-time Centre for Army Lessons Learned
  • An owner for every Doctrine
  • Lessons Learned Integrators in every battalion, as well as the training centres
  • Combined Arms centre staff who run the Battle Command Knowledge Centre
  • Facilitators and core teams for the Communities such as, etc
  • Hundreds of trained AAR leaders
  • etc
Or Wipro, with
  • Full time functional team of 32 in Wipro Technologies (45 in consolidated Global IT Business).
  • More than 400 part time KM Primes/Champions across various groups - typically committing 10-15% of their time to KM activities for the group.
  • Full time team of 15-20 to support and enhance IS platform for KM.
So one question every organisation needs to think about, when implementing KM, is "What will we look like afterwards".  You will almost certainly need

  • KM roles in the operational units and projects, to facilitate the processes and act as champions
  • KM roles within the communities of practice, including community sponsors, leaders, core teams, facilitators
  • Subject matter experts to look after the codified knowledge base
  • People to support the KM technology infrastructure
  • People to manage the lessons learned system(s)

You will need a Knowledge Management organisation.  Increasingly, organisational design such as this is becoming a part of our consulting offering, as companies take the KM Make-over.

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