January 7, 2009

Quick & Dirty: "Real" Applications of KM

Happy New Year!!!

I had planned on having my KM3.0 rant be the first post of 2009, but I've been busy trying to finish up my Q1 Goals at work and the time I thought I'd have free during the holidays ended up being used to party like a rockstar for four days straight (although Mary's in East Atlanta didn't have that song available for Maryoke last Saturday).

Anywho, one of the things I love about my current job is the opportunity to break new ground in how people understand KM. Most folks in my organization either have no idea of what KM is or a very narrow idea so branding is super critical. And, a key component of any branding strategy is the ability to define service offerings which is what I've been working on today for my boss.

Once you get beyond content management, which most people think of as the sole function of KM, you really get into the various ways in which all of that information can be leveraged. This, in my humble opinion, is what puts the 'knowledge' in knowledge management.

While there are many different activities that can potentially fall under the domain of KM, this list is really only relevant to the activities my organization's KM team is involved in (or looking to expand into). Still, this might be a good starting point for folks seeking to demonstrate the value of KM beyond content management (which, I've still included).

1. Content Management…
…refers to the set of processes that support the lifecycle of information, from acquisition, organization and dissemination to expiration.

2. Business Intelligence…
…refers to the process of aggregating and analyzing metrics and data about a particular business unit or function to identify and provide recommendations on potential opportunities.

3. Competitive Intelligence
…refers to the regular, frequent, proactive, and systematic collection, analysis, and management of data, information, and knowledge concerning the business environment in which an organization operates.

4. Key Intelligence Topics (KITs)…refers to topics of great importance which provide purpose and direction for Competitive Intelligence reporting. Three basic KIT categories are:
  • Strategic Decisions and Actions (including the development of strategic plans and strategies);
  • Early-Warning Topics (e.g., competitor initiatives, new technology developments, and government actions); and,
  • Descriptions of Key Players (including competitors, suppliers, regulators, and potential partners).
5. Succession Planning/Knowledge Transfer…refers to the process of planning for the smooth continuation and success of an organization by:
  1. Developing, sharing and transferring critical knowledge, skills, and abilities (KSAs) from out-going to in-coming staff through a combination of training, coaching, and mentoring; and
  2. Identifying the ever-evolving KSAs needed to maintain competitive advantage and strategizing the development and/or acquisition of suitable human resources.
6. Knowledge Discovery
…refers to the systematic analysis of user provided data to reveal previously unidentified patterns, trends, and relationships about customers, products, services, and other activities that can lead to new and profitable business opportunities.

Additionally, KM can provide assistance in the development of:
  • Communities of Practice
  • Organizational Literature (including White Papers, Action Reports, and Case Studies
  • Human Resources Policy and Planning (HRM & HRD), and
  • Technology Infrastructure Planning
The one thing that I didn't include in this list was the education and learning (provided by the KM function) around each of these areas. Keep in mind that with branding, marketing and education are yin and yang; every service offered by your KM function will involve educating your target audience.