Business Process Analysis
This part of the assessment considers how well KM integrates into organizational objectives and operations. In labelling this stage 'business processes' we are really using short-hand for a range of KM-organization interactions:
- Routine and repetitive operations - these may be well documented as business processes or simply carried out as a set of routine tasks without formal process documentation
- Knowledge worker tasks - the tasks that individuals across the organization under take as part of their job
- Decision making - of all sorts from day-to-day operation decision to high level strategic ones (such as investment plans, new markets/products), responding to anticipated vs unexpected events
The key point is that the focus is the organizational and business at several levels, from corporate strategy to individual jobs and tasks. And what the assessors are considering are the knowledge and KM linkages to these organizational aspects, ideally expressed explicitly, or evidence that it is being addresses, albeit implicitly.
Linkages to Assess
The following are given as examples of the kind of KM-business linkage to review:
- Corporate mission, vision and values statements - are there explicit statements about knowledge, learning, sharing, and the capabilities of people?
- Corporate plans - to what extent do key strategies and objectives identify the knowledge contribution?
- Departmental plans - what range of tasks are performed? What are the knowledge inputs and outputs? You can record these on a four column template: objective (or task), knowledge inputs, knowledge outputs, comments. See also (currently in our archive) the Knowledge Input-Output tool.
- Minutes of management committees, task groups etc. - what types of decision are typically made at various forums across the organization? How do they access and process the knowledge needed to make informed (evidence based) decisions?
- Business process diagrams or workflows - what flows of information and knowledge are indicated on the various steps?
- Recent surveys and consultant's reports, e.g. employee surveys, IT systems proposals - analysis may well highlight areas of knowledge needs or barriers to knowledge sharing.
- Internal directories - this is a key aspect of assessing how well an organization manages its know-who - do they convey where the expertise for a given subject resides?
- Online applications and systems - to what extent do existing IT applications and computer tools support business plans and processes and the tasks of knowledge workers?
The ease with which such information can be gleaned is also an indication of how well embedded knowledge and knowledge management thinking is in the culture and mind-set of your organization.
Last updated: 19th March 2011