Sunday, May 18, 2008

IS 456 Class VII - Homework - Elevator Questions

1. "I see from your transcripts that you took a course in KM. What is KM?"
  • Knowledge management can be defined as Structuring, Storing, capturing, disseminating, using knowledge we gain out of this relationships between nodes in an organization.
  • Knowledge Management focuses on the content of Knowledge in the process of " Acquire Create (and refine) Store,à Transfer/Share Use, Improve Performance".
  • One view point to describe KM is to look at it as data stored in a database: Data is stored in Fields, Information is stored in Records and Knowledge is the pattern(s) that can be discovered across tables and data sets. Everything can be looked at as a Knowledge Problem if you wear the right glasses/lenses!!.
2. "Tell me how you would apply KM in my organization."
  • KM can be applied to Discover hidden assets - information and expertise, Eliminate duplicate and redundant projects, Assimilate employees faster into the organization
    Innovate faster, and bring products to market faster, Break through knowledge silos to find relevant content and Discover untapped talent and expertise
  • KM could be applied to reduce the pain that your organization faces in dealing with the mass quantities of information that the organization and its customers are exposed to on a daily basis.
  • Use KM to effectively manage and contain the tension between the users and the IT department
  • Use knowledge management to diagnose and solve knowledge and information problems that the organization faces today.

3. "What KM technologies would you recommend here?"
  • Stealth KM. Since adoption follows the porter curve, it is important to follow the stealth KM model to acquire knowledge before recommending technologies.
  • Diagnose the existing content management system by understanding how the "Create, Manage and Publishing" process works and supplement that with KM domains of "Capture, Route and Covert".
  • An effective "Knowledge Search" mechanism to access knowledge when and where needed.
  • 1) Collective Search Toolbar: Delivering collective intelligence to users at their point-of-search.
    2) Social Bookmarking and Tagging: Information Discovery and sharing.
    3) Social Networking: Social Networking for getting your work done.
    4) User Communities: Enterprise information flow business processes

4. "KM sounds great, but how do I justify KM here?"
  • The best justification for KM is its capability to reduce "Information Pain" faced by the organization.
  • Each organization is unique, therefore any justification has to be made within the context of the knowledge or informational problems the organization faces.
5. "KM sounds great, but what KM metrics do you recommend?"

  • Measuring knowledge management (KM) is not simple. Determining KM’s pervasiveness and impact is analogous to measuring the contribution of marketing, employee development, or any other management or organizational competency. It is nonetheless a necessity if KM is to last and have significant impact in an organization.
  • There are two things that all organizations should keep in mind as they develop measures and metrics. First, it is extremely difficult to create any measure of knowledge sharing that will show an absolute one-to-one correlation between a knowledge-sharing action and a business result. Much like measuring the success of training and development programs, measuring the impact of knowledge sharing requires correlation and some assumption. Second, to truly understand the impact of knowledge sharing and reuse, an organization must first understand the baseline business or process performance before beginning KM efforts. If you do not know where the starting line is, how can you say what your time is at the finish line?
  • An effective metric or gauge for Knowledge Management might be an index that is comprised of the following four types of measures:
    1. Awareness – knowledge of what to document, how to document it, how to access KM data bases, etc.
    2. Behavior – participation in KM activities such as committees/teams, making presentations, etc.
    3. Outputs – creation of data bases, white papers, lessons learned reports, best practice documentation, etc.
    4. Outcomes – impact of new knowledge on key measures of organizational performance such as new product sales, productivity, cost reduction, or quality improvement.

  • The Department of NAVY put out a good paper on measuring KM. The following url points to this paper. This guide presents a practical framework for measuring the value of investments in KM initiatives. Since the value of KM depends on each organization’s goals and people, it is not a “cookbook” of standard procedures but rather an aid to help you identify and apply appropriate metrics for your initiative. The reader should be familiar with the concepts and approach for KM described in the KCO Toolkit; these topics are not discussed in detail since they are thoroughly covered in the Toolkit.

6. "Tell me the main barriers to adopting KM I can anticipate. How would you overcome
  • Adoption barriers are the most common ones to anticipate. Rogers adoption curve shown below indicates the process/timeline for adoption of Change.

7. "Summarize for me what you learned in that KM class."

Most of what I have learned in class falls under the following themes
  • Collaboration
    Knowledge management systems
    Personal Knowledge Management
    Problem solving and decision making in in organizations
    KM Technologies
    Knowledge elicitation - Organizational learning and knowledge transfer
The class also provided me better insight into social networking, blogging and microblogging, Problem solving, decision making, organizational learning and knowledge transfer.

The blogging exercise in class has the potential to help me hone my writing skills that will come in handy as I work on my PhD dissertation.

The Wiki collaboration tool, while cumbersome (sharepoint versus media wiki) provides insight into collaborative writing skills.

The best bang for the buck, I got from class is my exposure to twitter and related tools that let you follow conversations of selected genre. I have been able to gain a lot of insight into KM and related technologies by following conversations in twitter and friendfeed and Google Reader. I highly recommend, a feed based approach in augmenting ones reading on specific subjects and microblogging to follow current trends through conversations.

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