Creating the Collaborative Enterprise
David J. Skyrme
Chapter 7 Update
In one sense there have been many developments that affect this chapter. A growing number of organizations (some suggest two thirds of large companies) now have formal KM programmes and so are addressing the challenges and practices discussed in this chapter. On the other hand, the toolkit as it stands continues to be used in the author's consultancy practice as a good initial diagnostic of an organization's KM capability. The developments below therefore reflect emphasis of current practice rather than of the fundamentals.
Developments in Practice
Information Resources Management (pages 188-190). There is growing interest in information management by two distinct communities - librarians and IT people. Both have their disciplines and methods e.g. the IT community is devoting significant effort to Enterprise Architecture, but believes that solutions lie in new technology. Furthermore both have distinctive language, often for very similar concepts e.g. how different is an information inventory from a data definition repository? I sense a real need for these communities to collaborate and develop a common language and share methods.
Expertise Profiling (page 191). This continues to grow in popularity and is a feature of more and more knowledge management suites and specialized software products. It still causes organizations significant problems - do you make the updating of personal profiles voluntary or compulsory? Whatever the difficulties their benefits are widely extolled. For example, the merger of BP and Amoco went smoothly since staff in both companies could use 'Connect' to quickly find their counterparts in the other organization.
Knowledge Hubs and Centres (pages 193-195). Beyond management consultancies and some professional service organizations (e.g. lawyers) there still appears a reluctance to (re)create knowledge centers, since companies want to avoid bloated centralized groups. The distributed (networked nodes) model therefore seems to be gaining ground, but it does need a strong Community of Knowledge practitioners to help them work collaboratively together.
Measuring Intellectual Capital (pages 197-200). This has been a subject of growing interest, and some variants on the models outlined have emerged. More companies are using balanced scorecard and performance models, such EFQM as starting points to add intangible metrics. The various developments will be published in an update of the Measuring the Value of Knowledge report.
Knowledge Management Practices (Table 7.4, page 209). Various organizations, writers and suppliers are inventing specific terms for methods, tools or practices e.g. knowledge harvesting, cognitive dialogue, creative abrasion. However, none is sufficiently widespread in use or significantly different to require an update to the table at this stage. I do, however, continue to monitor developments. So, please let me know if you have a favourite method or practice that should be featured in a future update.
Share with us your views and experience on this toolkit. In recent uses of this toolkit, we have found that most organizations still score very low on measures (group 8, pages 197-200), while many knowledge teams think they are better at technology than the evidence from user interviews suggests. As noted in the text, the interesting points for dialogue are not the average scores, but where different groups score markedly differently. Do you have such examples, where the ensuing dialogue has led to significant changes in strategy or practice? Do share them with us and the other readers of this page.
The Knowledge Connections web site provides a comprehensive resource for many topics covered in the chapter. You can also subscribe to a free monthly email briefing I3 UPDATE / ENTOVATION International news. Also make sure you check out Butterworth-Heinemann's Knowledge Management section from time to time for details of new publications and special offers.
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