How to Build a Successful Knowledge Management System

Example of a Successful Knowledge Management System: Infosys

The previous articles in this module introduced the term knowledge management and presented some real world examples of how knowledge management works in contemporary organizations. This article examines the ways and means to build a successful knowledge management system and the process by which essential components of the knowledge management systems can be designed and incorporated. To take the example of the famous Indian IT major, Infosys, the company and its founders have an abiding commitment to knowledge management as is exemplified in their assertion that their key assets are their people and that their brand derives its value from intellectual capital. Towards this end, Infosys has a highly successful knowledge management system in place that is vertical as well as horizontal in design and approach. It is vertical because it covers all the components of the traditional hierarchy driven organizations and it is horizontal because it incorporates the entire gamut of divisions and groups in its ambit.

The key aspect about the knowledge management system is that it does away with hierarchical boundaries meaning that all employees are treated equal in the creation, sharing, and dissemination of knowledge. In other words, any employee at any level can contribute and any employee at any level can participate in discussions and knowledge sharing with those higher or lower in the hierarchy.

Components of a Successful Knowledge Management System

The second aspect of a successful knowledge management system is that it must make the preservation and furnishing of project artifacts mandatory which means that project managers have a responsibility to upload the project documents into the knowledge management system upon completion of the projects. In this way, discipline and a structured system of knowledge dissemination as well as a rigorous method of sharing and distributing of knowledge is assured. The third aspect of a successful knowledge management system is that the employees who give more than they take must be rewarded for their contributions to the knowledge management system and the rewards system in place in the organization must have incentives for employees whose contributions are valuable. Further, a successful knowledge management system would also enforce strict quality control wherein the documents submitted to the portal are checked for accuracy and reliability and only those that are found to match the quality standards are accepted. Moreover, the key aspect here is that there must be both voluntary and mandatory participation wherein employees are required to contribute a certain amount of time compulsorily and above that, it must be made voluntary.

Closing Thoughts: Do not reinvent the Wheel

The real purpose of a successful knowledge management system is to avoid redundancy and to prevent duplication of effort. After all, who wants to reinvent the wheel and spend time doing things that has already been done by others in the organization. Hence, a successful knowledge management system would not only help the employees avoid redoing work but also introduce synergies because of complementary activities that can be taken from the system and supplemented with work that is specific to the project.


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