Wednesday, May 17, 2017

The Five Stages of Information-Knowledge Management

Information/knowledge management is a differentiated business capability and plays a crucial role in running a high-performance business.

Information is the lifeblood and knowledge is the power of modern businesses. All leading businesses across the vertical sectors claim they are in the information management businesses. The information does not live alone but permeates everywhere in the businesses, information potential directly impacts the business's potential of the organization. Managing the information-knowledge lifecycle effectively becomes a strategic business capability. And there are different levels of information/knowledge system models to meet the business requirement at a different stage.

Experiential - Information management entails organizing, retrieving, acquiring, maintaining, securing, updating, distributing, sharing, publishing and finally archiving information. Many organizations still feel overwhelmed by the exponential growth of information. They are at the experimental stage of accessing information and exploring resources. But often lack a structured approach with the right talent to manage those soft assets and capture its business value effectively. The pitfalls might include, they do not understand what raw material they have to play with, or they do not apply the worthwhile evaluation to reveal the inherent value of information; or even worse, they do not understand why they should do these things in the first priority.

Transitional- More organizations are accumulating the experience at the transitional stage, become more fluent in managing information, analyzing information, refining knowledge, and expressing ideas. The effort of valuing information independent of its association with the related tangible seems to be difficult, if not futile, exercise. Information/ knowledge are fluid, they cannot be managed like those other hard assets. More attention needs to be placed on the conditions that allow information/knowledge to flow and generate value rather than try to manage ("control") knowledge like it is a thing that can benefit from that type of intervention. Perhaps you should first work to identify how information is associated with the valued tangibles of your businesses; your products and your resources; like information flows in business processes for example, then its own value will become readily apparent and quantifiable by association. There is the art to figure out the pattern and capture the business insight, and the science to managing the information lifecycle systematically.

Transformational –From transitional to transformational is a leapfrog for improving information/knowledge management maturity. Organizations need to have Information Management strategy as an integral element in the business strategy, in order to manage information lifecycle -processing information, synthesizing knowledge; capturing insight, shaping foresight, and abstracting wisdom seamlessly. It determines the strategic objectives, their risk appetite for achieving them, identifies and assesses the risks, and make sure it’s all joined up. Perhaps in some organizations with low digital IQ, there seems to be the "expectation" that if you have a great business in one place and it's working ok, and then knowledge, ideas, solutions, and advice will easily transfer and that piece of the jigsaw will fit snugly into somewhere else. In less complex situations, one can see how this easily works. However, organizations become more complex than ever, knowledge needs to be facilitated and managed more systematically to reach the transformational stage.

Motivational- Information Management is not just about information or process, often people are still the information master. Hence, gaining perspective, garnering attitude, and motivate people to frame the right problems, and provided an information-based solution is the ultimate goal of achieving information value and practicing knowledge power. It is important to cultivate the learning culture that has awareness and understanding of the importance of learning, plus setting a new behavior expectation for active knowledge participants. A cooperative communication framework like social network permits to share knowledge and create common models that evolve themselves naturally like an organic organism. Briefly put, Knowledge Management needs to be well embedded into the key business processes to shape a culture of learning, motivate people to become more informative, insightful for improving the overall decision effectiveness and organizational maturity. It actually extends to the culture of the company - how the collective mindsets and behaviors of the organization become digital-ready for opening the new chapter of the growth cycle.

Innovative: The ultimate goal of effective information/knowledge management is to keep mind flow, idea flow, and therefore, business flow. Organizations can work toward a knowledge ecosystem view, that incorporates the virtual aspects of the knowledge system, innovation, and intuitive behavior. Collaboration to harness the ideas and ingenuity of your staff cannot be nor should be controlled. Because at the end of the day what you want is companies that are capable of mobilizing all the ideas, experiences, capacities of everyone in the company and partners to adapt to ever-changing challenges. Knowledge can become the commodity shortly, but creativity is always fresh, from one good idea to the next great idea, companies must compete by creating the corporate cultures and ‘labs’ with fertile ground for new ideas to sprout, and blossom to achieve significant business values.

Information/Knowledge Management is the management with knowledge as a focus, involves the use of technologies and processes with the aim of optimizing the value that is generated, and with the goal to improve the organization’s collective learning capabilities. To quote Peter Drucker, knowledge is the most valuable commodity. It couldn’t be truer in the digital era. On one hand, the fresh knowledge can be captured from the abundance of information; on the other hand, it doesn’t take long for that knowledge to become a commodity due to the rapid changes. But information flow can further streamline the idea flow and stimulate collective creativity which can catalyze business growth and build business competency. Information/knowledge management is a differentiated business capability and plays a crucial role in running a high-performance business.


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