Dear Workforce How Do We Use Knowledge Management to Build an Effective Workforce

By Staff Report

Sep. 10, 2004

Dear Need Knowledge:

Knowledge Management, also known as KM, is broadly defined as providing a workforce with information and knowledge to successfully accomplish its job tasks.

It can include strategy and governance, content architectures and processes, roles and responsibilities, technical tools and infrastructure, metrics and incentives, and change management and learning. KM is not a technology and isn’t technology-driven, but it’s reliant on technology.

To be effective, align your knowledge-management program with your critical business processes. Don’t simply put in new technology tools and hope that they get used. Instead, make sure those tools are used to target specific business goals. Your goal might be to decrease repeat calls and increase cross-sales in call centers. Or it might be to reduce the cost of new-product development. Don’t rely on general cost-savings predictions, such as saving everyone 20 minutes a day searching for material.

If you’re just starting out, pick a pilot program that will clearly demonstrate the value of KM, and select realistic goals that can show this value quickly. You can then define and design the components of the KM services to meet these business goals. Pilot all the KM services, not just the technology. Involve the employees in all aspects of the pilot—testing the interface, the functionality, the incentives and so on. After the KM services are defined, you can determine which services are best handled at a global, functional or local level, also allowing you to decide which services to outsource, buy or build internally.

Use the pilot to refine the total array of KM capabilities and move to additional business functions where value can be provided. Tie KM to workforce-management functions like learning and performance management. Integrating these different functions minimizes turf wars and optimizes performance.

SOURCE: Bill Ives, associate partner, Human Performance Service Line and the lead for the global Knowledge Management practice of Accenture, Boston, Oct. 16, 2003.

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The information contained in this article is intended to provide useful information on the topic covered, but should not be construed as legal advice or a legal opinion. Also remember that state laws may differ from the federal law.

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