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Knowledge Management: The Journey IS the Destination

Knowledge management (KM) is a well-accepted practice for organizations that want to develop and use their information assets as effectively as possible. What is often not as well understood is the ongoing effort and focus required to achieve the full measure of these benefits.

The KM Lifecycle: Evolving Knowledge Management as a Core Competency

Knowledge management is a core competency, a fundamental way of doing business that requires vision, expertise, specific methodology, targeted resources and organizational commitment, as well as enabling technology. Companies that achieve the greatest results from KM are those that are in it for the long haul.KM_screen_capture_from_microsite_JChmaj_blog_Aug_26_resized

Achieving—and then evolving—effective, high-value knowledge development and delivery capabilities is a journey in itself. It is a continuous lifecycle of evolution and development, an ever-expanding loop of activity, learning and expansion, which can be expressed in five phases:

Define: Establish the vision and goals for your KM initiative, including enabling technology, resources, and approach

Design: Create and/or update the current knowledge development and delivery environment toward the future-state vision

Deploy: Bring new content and capabilities online in a way that stimulates adoption and creates a ‘knowledge-centered culture’

Optimize: Leverage targeted measurement and continuous improvement practices to quantify, assess and respond to areas of opportunity and improvement

Evolve: Extend and expand the value of the KM program capabilities to additional groups, users and lines of business

We will examine each phase of the lifecycle in turn. Let’s start with the need to define direction:

Define Your Future

As is the case in so many disciplines, “well begun is half done.” When developing knowledge management, organizations have to reconcile their aspirations with their capabilities.

Knowledge management is the expression of the aspiration to leverage the wealth of corporate knowledge to address customer and support needs, executed in a comprehensive, efficient, value-driven way. To achieve those goals, one must address the tools, resources, assumptions and constraints that comprise an organization’s knowledge environment. So how do you get there from here?

A recent KMWorld survey of nearly 500 KM professionals indicates that “49 percent of respondents see too little understanding of the strategic value of KM in the organization.” Developing that strategic value requires a true strategic plan—a ‘KM blueprint.’ A strategic blueprint includes at least the following:

1. Deep assessment of current state KM environment

•       Business goals, challenges and opportunities

•       Content sources and repositories

•       KM resources and processes

•       User feedback on usage and effectiveness of knowledge

•       Content tools and technology capabilities

2. Targeted analysis and actionable recommendations to improve all facets of your KM program

•       User experience: key features and capabilities to drive effective knowledge use

•       Content: content modeling, categorization and management workflow

•       Metrics: KM-focused analytics and KPIs clearly linked to overall business value

•       Governance: standard, scalable approach, processes and roles/responsibilities

•       Culture and engagement: environment that empowers users and promotes collaboration

3. Strategic plan that clearly links recommendations to overall KM and business objectives

•       Roadmap: how it all comes together given current initiatives, resources and phasing

•       Organizational approach: how to develop a repository of capability and value that can be propagated and extended over time

•       Critical success factors: how to navigate key obstacles and help ensure that you’re on the right path

Essentially, a KM strategic blueprint helps you determine where you want to go, how to get there, and how to know when you have arrived. Every great KM journey starts with a plan. If you begin with a view toward creating comprehensive strategic value from KM, your compass will be properly set for everything that follows.

The post Knowledge Management: The Journey IS the Destination appeared first on Customer Experience Management Blog.

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