Saturday, July 25, 2015

Knowledge is the Power, Is your Knowledge Management System Powerful?

Data, information, knowledge, and wisdom are the different stages of the information lifecycle that organizations need to manage more effectively and improve its business capability and maturity.

Knowledge is one of the most invaluable assets to every organization and its integrity, availability, and confidentiality can be crucial to how the organization functions or maintains its services and products. But how to manage such an intangible asset more effectively? Knowledge is the power, is your knowledge management system powerful enough?

Knowledge Management System: It really depends on what you actually need to provide in support of your lines of business. Any knowledge management system has these basic components: data entry; data storage; data retrieval; and results management. Access is a fairly rigid database that may not always be suitable if you wish to store and retrieve data-sets for “policy and procedure documents and other needed documents necessary for business continuity.” Perhaps a relational database would make better sense for your group since this will allow your administrator to retrieve all related documents with a minimum of queries. This will avoid the need for hyperlinks and will allow for better management of the available information. Data entry on relational databases work but will allow for better information management. Finally, data mining is not the same as data retrieval. You are talking about data retrieval and if you wish this process to lead to “elevated systems-level thinking,” then you had better look at how the data will be stored, retrieved, and displayed.

Configuration Management systems are usually tools for information management. You need to provide up-to-date access to company information to the key individuals. Software designers often use configuration management systems, and they can be complex. You may want to look around and see what is out there. Developing your own may be more work than you need to do, depending on the complexity of your information. The real bugaboo that most companies find with having a configuration management system is the employees' willingness to use it, especially during the development phase of a project/product. Each iteration of a product should be stored in the configuration system to ensure that two people are not doing the same work, and a person's work that is done is not lost in some computer glitch. Employees have been reticent about "publishing" half-finished work for fear of criticism. Another reason for not using the system is the additional effort to search for the information.

Often Knowledge Management is mixed with technology management and document management. Russell Ackoff places wisdom after understanding which came after knowledge – so a wisdom-based will be built on an understanding-based which in turn rests on a knowledge-base (then information base and finally a database). However, in many legacy organizations, their methods, and procedures/knowledge base are so large and their internal search capabilities so limited that using it is a dreadful chore. Without knowing more about the types of activities to be supported, Even in a small firm, variations between the amounts and types of data need to support different lines of business can be impossible to efficiently rationalize from an IT/systems perspective.

Knowledge needs to be managed more systematically. Perhaps in organizations, there seems to be the "expectation" that if you have a great business in one place and it's working ok, then knowledge, ideas, solutions, and advice will easily transfer and that piece of the jigsaw will fit snugly into somewhere else. There is no hard asset that you can buy today that will guarantee the success of your organization, data, information, knowledge, and wisdom are the different stages of information lifecycle that organizations need to manage more effectively and improve its business capability and maturity.