Methods of Improving Organizational Knowledge

Knowledge is the new lubricant that runs the world economy. We live in what Alvin Toffler called the “Third Wave Society”. A society built around the new and emerging paradigm around knowledge as the new capital. The information technology and related industries function on the basis of knowledge as the medium of input and output.

Truly, knowledge is wealth and whoever has the expertise has the power. In this article we discuss how Organizations improve their knowledge building capabilities around the concepts listed below. For illustrative purposes, we are taking into consideration an organization that operates in the Information technology space.

Data collection

Data collection can be done through collecting inputs from the employees across the organization in the form of surveys, feedback etc. There are annual surveys that are conducted to elicit the information about the various serviced being offered by the organization.

Data collection can also be done through user forums and collective methods of data sharing. These should then be centralized into a repository accessible by all the employees.

Information Sharing and Management

Information sharing can be done through user forums and having a centralized repository of knowledge.

  • User Forums

    User forums are a means of interaction between the employees on technical, organizational, and other related matters. Questions can be posted on these forums that elicit responses on any subject by the so-called “Subject Matter Experts”

  • Centralized Repository

    A centralized repository of knowledge can be built with the employees participating in contributing to the knowledge store. This can take the form of articles, how to do pieces and other artifacts.

  • Intranet

    The company intranet can be used as a medium of exchange of knowledge between the employees. As mentioned above, the repository can be hosted on the intranet making it possible for all the employees to access and share information and knowledge

Information Systems

An organization can invest in its own Information systems to handle the flow of knowledge through its arteries or buy an off the shelf product. There are several Knowledge management products available in the market. Creation of an intranet, document store (like Documentum) etc are some of the tools by which an organization can manage knowledge.

Continuous Improvement Processes

Typically, organizations have a continuous improvement process like Kaizen, Six Sigma etc in place. These serve the dual function of tapping the innovativeness of the employees as well as adding to the knowledge base. A spin off a continuous improvement process like Kaizen is the evolution of the knowledge store in the company intranet. There are tools like Autonomy that aggregate all the knowledge and serve the function of search engines, but, customized for an organization.

Conclusion

In this era of Knowledge, how organizations manage the voluminous amount of data that flows in and out and how knowledge is sifted from this mass is of vital importance to the success of the organization. These days, all organizations, big or small have a division or unit devoted exclusively to the management of knowledge.

An effective knowledge management system takes care not only of the existing information but also provides scope for continuous refinement of the process thereby leading to increasing gains from the intellectual property that the organization holds.

Notes

1. Toffler, Alvin. The Third Wave. New York: Bantam Books, 1980


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