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Operational Excellence

Making Sense of Knowledge Management Systems (KMS)

Knowledge Management System (KMS) is the brain of an organization. Like the human brain, which captures knowledge using different senses, KMS should also capture Organizational knowledge through different channels.

“Knowledge is for investigation, not for belief”

Here are my quick views on Knowledge Management Systems

  • Knowledge Management System (KMS) is the brain of an organization. Like the human brain, which captures knowledge using different senses, KMS should also capture Organizational knowledge through different channels.
  • Like we use our own judgment in applying our knowledge in the right way, organizations should also build systems and culture to apply captured knowledge in the most effective manner.
  • The culture should promote understanding and investigating knowledge. This helps in improving knowledge. Blindly applying knowledge without a thorough understanding of the context and outcomes is risky in the long run.
  • Trying to define organizational knowledge too narrowly does not help. Knowledge evolves over time. And it is highly context-specific. Capturing context is also equally important.
  • Viewing KMS as an external (and often) isolated tool only limits the true power of KMS. It should be an integrated part of all organizational systems, preferably with built-in intelligence.
  • KMS should ideally be the backbone in the background communicating with all enterprise systems like ERP, CRM, PLM, etc.
  • Try to embed knowledge into processes and tools as much as possible without a need for explicit search or request. Intelligent KMS applied with ease.
  • De-skilling is one of the powerful knowledge management strategies. Free-up bandits for acquiring new skills.
  • A balance between ‘push’ and ‘pull’ strategies while implementing knowledge management. Both in terms of capturing knowledge as well as using it.
  • Often people view knowledge management as a way to capture tacit knowledge in the form of explicit knowledge. While this is true, converting explicit knowledge into tacit knowledge for efficient execution is also important.
  • The scope of knowledge management is not just limited to internal knowledge. It should ideally cover external knowledge like market information, competitive data, etc. Also, often people view employees as the only source for knowledge. Ideally, organizations should include extended workforce, distributors, retailers, suppliers, etc. along with the internal workforce as the source of knowledge. In fact, there are very good examples of organizations sharing their knowledge to build and expand an efficient ecosystem.
  • There are many other innovative strategies to capture knowledge, e.g. gamification, contests, virtual knowledge assistants, etc. Advances in artificial intelligence, machine learning, data sciences, etc. should help organizations build more advanced knowledge management capabilities into their systems.