Friday 24 March 2017

When you need more than one KM solution

The goal of Knowledge Management is to embed an effecting Knowledge Management Framework, that enables a thriving KM culture and impacts organisational outcomes. But sometimes one Framework is not enough.

I have blogged before about the different sorts of Knowledge which need to be managed, and suggested that Knowledge Management may look very different if it is Process-focused, Product-focused or Customer-focused.

A process-focused organisation will set up communities of practice who develop Best Practices, while a product-focused organisation will set up product-based communities focused on Best Designs.  The solutions will be similar in outline, but different in detail.

However there are many organisations which have more than one focus, as shown in the Ternary diagram here showing results from the Knoco 2014 Knowledge Management survey.  Manufacturing organisations, for example (the red square in the diagram) are equally focused on Process and Product. Info and Media companies (blue star) are equally focused on Product and Customer. Professional services (yellow circle) are concerned with all three.

These organisations may actually need to set up more than one Knowledge Management Framework.

An example

For example, we are working right now with a manufacturing company, looking at the way it manages knowledge.  We have found that they are not doing too badly in terms of product knowledge, but really need to sharpen their process knowledge. To this end, we are recommending two KM Frameworks, which we can summarise as follows:

A Product KM framework including

  • Knowledge Gap Analysis
  • Toyota A3 process
  • A set of Subject-matter-responsible engineers
  • Development of engineering checksheets
  • Linkage between the issues list, the checksheets and the failure-mode analysis
A Process KM framework including
If and when this company starts to look at Customer-focused Knowledge as well, we might recommend a third framework for their contact centre, including
  • Creation of knowledge articles based on consumer contacts
  • Contact centre coaches
  • Knowledge base software
What we find is that its mainly the bigger organisations that need more than one framework, but even for the medium sized organisations it's worth asking whether one framework will fit all needs.

We often hear there is no "one size fits all" for KM, and sometimes there is no one KM solution that fits all parts of the organisation either. 


Unknown said...

hi Nick,
Is it correct if I say that a port management and service provider has 2 focuses: customer focus and process focus? The reason is because the company has to provide the best service to its customers by providing the best and fastest business processes.


Nick Milton said...

Hi Sapta

the important point is not the Business focus, but the Knowledge focus. Does this service provider need to manage Process knowledge or Customer knowledge in order to deliver their objectives?

If they serve the customer by providing best and fastest business processes, then I would suggest that Process knowledge should be their focus.

If they served the customer by understanding the needs and issues of specific customers and providing tailored services to meet those needs, then customer knowledge would have been their primary focus.

I hope this helps.

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