Knowledge management

WHAT KNOWLEDGE MANAGEMENT IS AND WHAT IT STANDS FOR?

Knowledge management is an easily retraceable, integrated set of knowledge-based data of the continuous process, actualisation, and practical application of the system. Its purpose is to increase the intellectual power of the organisation, the utilisation of the accumulated knowledge, and the creation of new organisational value.

Well run knowledge management allows employees to have access to the common intellectual values, the knowledge any time, and to use it during their everyday work.

WHAT KIND OF KNOWLEDGE, KNOWLEDGE MANAGEMENT DEALS WITH?

Knowledge management deals with all three components of knowledge: explicit, implicit, and tacit knowledge. Information or knowledge that is set out in a tangible form is called explicit knowledge. Information or knowledge that is not set out in a tangible form, can be connected to people with high level of experience, based on individual experiences is called explicit or tacit knowledge. The latter ones are more difficult to discover. The difference between implicit and tacit knowledge is that tacit knowledge cannot be recorded in a tangible form, the implicit one can, but could be made explicit.

WHAT MAKES IT WORK?

An internal demand is needed for the operation of knowledge management. This is a part of the structural culture. If it is not present, this demand must be created and institutionalized. The basis of knowledge management is its supporting structural culture, partnership within a group of companies. The only way knowledge management works, is when both leaders and employees are aware of the fact that the utilisation of knowledge management and the sharing of knowledge and its synergies depend only on our people's attitude, we cannot make it work by external constraint.

HARD & SOFT ASPECTS OF KNOWLEDGE MANAGEMENT

Knowledge Management has hard & soft aspects. Both aspects are needed for the success of the project. The hard aspect is described by a "Knowledge base" scope of the term, soft aspect is described by the "acceptance and structural culture" scope of term.

  • Hard aspects: Knowledge base. During the creation of knowledge management, knowledge base is established. The components of knowledge are registered in this special database. Knowledge base is special because its content is not permanent, it is continuously updated, developed, modified. The saved knowledge topics are updated, innovated, and managed by our counsellors and the professional responsible, they register new topics, complete old ones and delete those that are out-of-date. This way, data can easily be searched by components of knowledge and key words.

  • Soft aspects: Acceptance, structural culture. The key of the acceptance of knowledge management is the human factor, the inspiring atmosphere that is ready to accept new things. To support/create this thing, instructions and workshops are continuously organized in which priority topics are initial reluctances, overcoming doubts and fears, the acceptance of the knowledge management project, its introduction into the consigner's scale of values and structural culture. In addition, to that, we provide individual competency rating questionnaires (DISC) and competence analysis as well.

We have to "tackle" more to obtain the hidden knowledge than the explicit one. The role of the human factor is determinant. On the one hand, among new and old employees, and, on the other, between the organisation's atmosphere, scale of values, leadership style and employees. A part of the hidden knowledge can be documented in form of a questionnaire, storytelling, case study, or audio. Our counsellors help to methodically explore the tacit knowledge, they help to bring out hidden information from the colleagues who have them. We prepare "new" colleagues to receive that knowledge from the "master". The transmission of the hidden knowledge is always a long process, which must be planted in the transformation of the organisational culture.

HOW MUCH ADDITIONAL WORK IS NEEDED FOR THE INTRODUCTION AND OPERATION?

In order to save time of the internal experts during the project planning and to overcome the initial reluctance, we introduce the programme with a "step by step" method which means that we don't start knowledge management at the same time in several areas and topics, but we start in a single area and develop the system progressively. The components of knowledge to process are selected by the project managing team. The work takes 1–3 days every quarter from the project manager, each topic takes 1–1 and a half days every month from all the knowledge topic experts.

WHAT KIND OF ADVANTAGES DOES THE INTRODUCTION OFFER?

For the IT support of knowledge management, we recommend Microsoft SharePoint or other similar types of IT technology that doesn't have any licence fees besides the operational system, database management and hardware fees. Savings on the software can be used for customisation to conform to the organisation's demands and for the creation of methodology. After the installation and the configuration of the basic system, we adapt each month during the entire duration of the cooperation, the SharePoint environment, to the results on the basis of the business results of the knowledge management project. The IT support continuously monitors the development of methods, and creates a total-valued, company-specific tool supporting knowledge management.

WHAT KIND OF ADVANTAGES DOES THE INTRODUCTION OFFER?

At the level of the company, the disposition of knowledge management institutionalizes the organisational knowledge, minimalizes the loss of the acquired knowledge and increases the efficiency of work. It results in the avoidance of knowledge loss at the level of employees, colleagues, and results in the case of a new colleague's instruction, in time savings and a unified approach within the team and interoperability between professions. At a group level, the system of knowledge management results in the increase of the organisation's value.

WHY IS IT SPREADING NOW?

The wide-range spreading of the modern knowledge management systems was impeded by technical and human factors. The lack of a human IT system was a technical barrier, especially because they could not search for information from large quantities of human data with the help of key words or notations. Many leaders were discouraged from the practice of knowledge management by the slow processing and the outdated search methods. Due to information technology development, all this is in the past.

The introduction was, and still is, partly impeded by other human factors. As an unknown system, knowledge management was accompanied by uncertainty, doubt and sometimes fear. The key of the introduction is still the human background, the organisational and structural culture and its new introduction, the human side of the realisation. This gives 60–70% of all knowledge management projects and 30–40% of the IT matters.

HOW MUCH DOES IT COST?

Knowledge management programme demands an external consultancy input, which will bring multiple returns during the application. The price depends on several factors. The situation of the company organisation culture (positive and accepting attitude, willingness to cooperate to transfer tacit and implicit knowledge etc.) Integration of human organisation and knowledge management Development of a human IT system (are there computerised registers, supply-project, job descriptions, competence measuring, etc.)

Generally speaking, the creation of knowledge management is an 18 to 24 month long process, for which a fee for the whole period is 0.1–0.3 % of the company's turnover.

WHERE MAY I GET ADDITIONAL INFORMATION?

The project of the knowledge management is recommended collectively by McMillan & Baneth Kft. with 22 years of experience in management consultancy activities, and an information technology subcontractor. Please don’t hesitate to contact us if you're interested.

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