MDS Corporation is a business whose 1000 employees are scattered all over the world. MDS Corporation also works closely with sub-contractors and freelancers.
MDS Corporation started off as a trading company but has since expanded into consultancy and professional services and has been in business for past 60 years.
Need for knowledge management has occurred in MDS Corporation in order to maximize profit, eradicate redundancy, eradicate errors, minimize time, to know procedures of work done and to know about internal factor like motivation of employees and external factors like competitors, government policies etc. Since MDS has expanded itself into consultancy services so in order to capture knowledge from its employee, freelancers, sub-contractors MDS Corporation need Information and Knowledge Management system.
As first Information and Knowledge management Manager my job will not be very easy because I have to deal with individual and organisation behaviours towards change which is never be positive during initial phase of implementing strategies. I have to also build infrastructure like technologies before implementing IKM, and also I have to find a reasonable way to capture knowledge from freelancers and sub-contractors which is the most difficult part of my job.
It is said that knowledge is equal to effective action (right sills) taken so my focus will be on developing relationship of employees with each other and with organisation. Making them feel comfortable. I have to also make employees learn the use of technology I'll be introducing. (Figure 1.1)
The following report consists of:
- What strategy will be adopted
- Action plan for adopted strategy
- Review of strategy and action plan
DEVELOP THE INFORMATION AND KNOWLEDMENT STRATEGY
A plan which describes how an organisation will collect, manage and will make use if it fir attaining company goals and objectives is called a knowledge management strategy. The benefits of Knowledge management strategy are:
- Commitment from top level to bottom level of organisation
- To tell employee why we are doing this.
- Make communication better in organisation
- Attract employees because a good KM strategy tells that what is there for employees.
- For analysis gaps
Q1(a) Firstly I will start with strategy document. There are many ways to approach developing a knowledge management strategy but I prefer strategy document because it provides a general guideline to the process of development of KM strategies. It set the parameters for the development of strategy. Generally the strategy document tells the three very important condition of KM in organisation, that is:
Current situation of KM in organisation
As we know that MDS Corporation has just started the KM process so there is no previous knowledge captured. All the knowledge is in implicit form in the mind of employees. It also tells whether MDS current culture will support KM process or it will resist it. It will give the assessment of enablers, barriers which will affect the effectiveness of individual, team and organisation.
Desired situation of KM in organisation
It will tell the desired level of KM required by MDS Corporation. This will help organisation setting mission and vision for the company. This will tell that waht might be good knowledge management practices. This will help is analysing gap between current situation and desired situation.
Path should be used to attain desired situation
It describes the action plan will be taken to reach desired situation. An action plan specifically covers three aspects of organisation people, process and technology. It gives the outlook of which tools, techniques and process we will use to capture knowledge. How employee will be motivated to take part in knowledge sharing. How to develop culture which will support KM adoption by MDS. It also tells that what technological structure MDS wants to support KM process.
1) Start with MDS objectives and goals: Objectives and goals of a company is the most important guiding factor. The KM strategy should precisely describe the goals of organisation. Get people to know that how sub-optimal KM might be limiting organisation to achieve its goals.
2) Knowledge Audit: It is to take a look into an organisation's KM. It will look at following things
- What are the organisation knowledge needs?
- Knowledge assets (sub-contractors and free lancers) they have and where they are?
- Gap analysis of KM
- How should knowledge flow around the MDS Corporation?
- What are the restraining forces of implementing KM?
Knowledge audit will reveal the organisation KM needs, strengths, weakness, opportunities, threats and risks.
3) Look at people, processes and technology: When planning your to introduce knowledge management, we should address each of the three key aspects of people, processes and technology. KM is destined to fail if we don't include the three aspects.
4) Think about capturing versus connecting: Select knowledge management tools and techniques by focusing on explicit and tacit knowledge - in other words, knowledge management strategies should involve a combination connecting people with information and connecting people with people.
5) Set mission for the company and small visions: Creating mission and vision will make people work towards it. This will give them specific goals and targets.
6) What's in it for contributors: Strategy should be such which tells every contributor that what benefit he will get by contributing toward KM. The strategy should answer the three key levels of “me”: myself, my team/department/function, and my organisation as a whole.
7) Build pilot projects: Pilot projects are like a dummy of actual thing we will introduce in the organisation
8) Exit interviews: Exit interview will not only help in capturing human resources but will also help in gaining knowledge from employees leaving the organisation.
9) Identifying and sharing best practices: A best practice is simply a process or a methodology that represents the most effective way of achieving a specific objective. This is to take out the tacit knowledge that how a project is done in most easy way.
10) Develop Knowledge Centres: It provides a path for organising, collecting and disseminating knowledge and information.
11) Knowledge Harvesting: Converting tacit knowledge of experts into the explicit. The tacit knowledge lies within the experts.
12) Peer assists: Conducting meeting among the people working on same project for seeking knowledge and insights of project.
13) Analysing Social Networks: For analysing flow of relationship between people, groups and organisation.
14) Storytelling: The use of stories to train people by telling them past experiences of people.
DEVELOP THE ACTION PLAN TO SUPPORT THE IKM STRATEGY
First of all we have to focus on the KM Environment that is people, process and technology because they prove to be biggest hurdle in their own way.
People restrain change due to their behaviour, culture, loosing job fear etc. Process restrain due to incompatibility of process structure with KM strategies. Technology restrain because lack of technological background.
People can be changed by changing their culture. This can be done by following ways:
- Managers and top management should lead by example by changing themselves and taking part in KM process
- Employees should be motivated by giving them rewards and recognition.
- Knowledge work should be made integral part of everyone's job.
- There should be relationship building among employees and among management and employees
- Educate people about what is involved and skill them to do it.
- The employees should be demonstrated the value of sharing knowledge.
- Champions and heroes should be created among employees.
- Make it painless and easy for employees to share their knowledge.
Process should be made simple for an employee so that it is easy to share knowledge. This can be done by:
- Building KM infrastructure
- Making knowledge managers and the core team
- Steering committees
- Support from outside
- Introducing a good mission and short time vision
Technology is very important part. This is the way of connecting whole organisation. The MDS Corporation has to bring following technology in the organisation:
- Collaborative tools: connecting people with people through email, discussion boards, video conferencing, work flow tools, taxonomies, thesauri, search engines, portals.
After developing KM environment the following things will be done:
1) Developing after action reviews: It is discussing of a project or an activity which give answer to why it happened, what was good in project and what are the lesson learnt for individuals. This will be done by conducting following steps in organisation:
FIG 1 STEPS FOR CONDUCTING AAR
2) Developing communities of practices: Communities of practices is creating a network of people of same interest, same field or same specialization. We will encourage people to take voluntary membership. The procedure of developing COP is as follows:
FIG 2 STEPS FOR CONDUCTING COP
The COP should be develop and sustained in an organisation. To do so the following steps should be done:
FIG 3 DEVELOPING STRATEGY FOR SUSTAINING COP
3) Mission and vision of MDS Corporation: As we are entering into a new business of counselling and we require new mission to tell employees their new objectives in MDS and also giving them a path to work on. Mission of organization should be measurable and should be logical. I purpose a mission for MDS.
“WE WILL THRIVE TO ACHIEVE BEST PRACTICES ACROSS THE GLOBE SHARING OUR PRACTICES TO MAKE OTHER EMPLOYEES KNOW THE PROCESS. WE WILL GIVE OUR CUSTOMER SAME QUALITY OF SERVICE EVERYTIME”
We should also have small visions for the employees to attain and get motivated by short wins.
4) Knowledge Audits: Knowledge audit consist of following steps:
FIG 4 KNOWLEDGE AUDIT
5) What's in for contributors: Generally it is seen that individuals and teams doesn't support sharing of knowledge due to fear of losing jobs, the fear of losing identity of their own and the losing of power. So we will tell individual and teams that what will be the benefits of sharing knowledge to them, by giving them rewards and recognisation. By giving them power of decision making and by giving them different responsibilities. In short we will make them the initiators of change.
6) Build pilot projects: Building pilot projects will not only help making employees practice of real situation but will also contribute in adding up the captured knowledge. This will also help in knowing what are the best practices and what should be improved.
7) Conducting Exit interviews: Planning of exit interview for an individual should start as we get to know he is leaving. We should determine specifically that what information we need from him. The documentation should be done to capture both implicit and explicit knowledge of the employee.
In case of explicit knowledge we should make sure that the leaver should transfer all his relevant files, folders and documents to the organisation to the successor. The knowledge can be in hard copy form or electronic form.
In case of implicit knowledge we need to have face to face interview. The interview should be prepared keeping in mind what was his role in organisation based on his annual performance. We should discuss with that employee that how he use to do that particular job, and what skills were required for this. If possible try to include his successor in this interview so that live handover can be done.
The interview should be taken by person from HRM and a person from KM department so that HRM people can also know why the employee is leaving which can help them retaining other type of employees.
8) Identify, capture and share best practices: David Skyme recommended 6-step approach for doing so and we will follow his steps. The steps are as follows:
- STEP1- Identify requirement of users: Determine the areas of poor practices and determine people who are not doing well.
- STEP2- Discover good practices: Determine area of good practices and how people from that area are working
- STEP3- Document good practices: There should be a standard format for keeping record of good practices. People from area of poor practices can retrieve information easily if we have standard format. The standard format should look like:
- STEP4- Validate best practices: If the end result of a project is up to or better than the expected result then we will consider it as good practices otherwise it is not a good practices
- STEP5- Disseminate and apply: This can be done by using COP, AAR'S as discussed above.
- STEP6- DEVELOP A SUPPORTING INFRASTRUCTURE: As discussed above it talks about technical aspects of KM process.
9) Developing Knowledge centres: Development of knowledge centres is done on the path of Ernst and young. In 1990s, consulting firm E&N created three knowledge centres, each working very differently from each other. We will also have 3 knowledge centres which are:
- The centre for business innovation through research.
- The centre for business technology for creating knowledge into standard form
- The centre for business knowledge for gathering internal and external knowledge of organization.
10) Knowledge harvesting: Following are the guidelines for harvesting knowledge:
- Focus on the specific knowledge we require.
- Understand who will use the knowledge.
- Find experts who have knowledge
- Find the person who will retrieve the information.
- Interview the experts
- Organise the information for sharing
- Application and evaluation
11) Peer assist: There is no right way or prescribed way for peer assist but we will follow the method which worked for British Petroleum which is:
- Clarify the purpose and communicate to participants
- See whether same problem has been solved earlier or not.
- Bring a facilitator from outside to record the event and give conclusions
- Timing should be between half a day to two days.
- Selection of participants taking in mind the experience and skills
- Make every participant clear what we require from peer assist
- Allow time to socializing to ease everything.
- Start with purpose
- Encourage for questions and feedback
- Analyze and agree .
12) Story telling: Employee will be told benefits, needs, organisation demand, goals, objectives etc in form of story to motivate him.
13) Social network analysis: Stages for analysis are:
FIG5 STAGEG FOR SOCIAL NETWORK ANALYSING
JUSTIFY STRATEGY AND ACTION PLAN
If strategy and its action plan is beneficial for MDIS Corporation then it justify itself. So I will be telling the benefits of different strategy and action plan recommended by me.
- Strategy documents: This will give the outlook of current situation, desired situation and technology and process required to meet desired situation.
- KM Environment: It gives clear roles to all the levels of organisation and also tells what technology is required in organisation for KM process
- Setting up goals and objectives: This provides a clear path to employees and makes them understand that how they have to work in order to attain level desired by organisation.
- Setting up mission and vision: This tells employees that what company desires in future so employees can change their behaviour, culture. This also helps organisation as they get there path and also bring change in employees.
- Developing after action review: Just 5 minutes of meeting a day can help in converting implicit knowledge into explicit knowledge, so this can be used to gain knowledge from person not willing to share his knowledge. It also provide SWOT of projects
- Developing COP: This is capture specialist knowledge and can be put across the organisation. It is flexible to use and provide opportunities and threat.
- Knowledge audit: It helps organisation to identify the knowledge needed to support organisation objectives. It will indicate where improvement is needed. It tells the flow of information. It helps in analyzing gap of knowledge. It also helps to tap unused potential. Reveal both good and bad practices. It makes information more accountable and visible. Also helps in making key decisions.
- Exit interviews: Through exit interviews vital knowledge is not lost when people leave. It will also shorten the time required for new employee which can be done quickly and less expensively.
- Sharing best practices: Helps in identifying and replacing poor practices and raise the performance level of the employee. It also save the cost and time by minimizing re-work due to poor practices. This is the best practice for MDS Corporation as the employees are widely spread across the globe.
- Knowledge Centres: A knowledge centre bring all the responsibilities under one umbrella. This helps in avoiding duplication of data and efforts. This helps in pooling expertise. The major help which it give to company is reusing knowledge again and again.
- Knowledge Harvesting: It clearly defines the purpose of process. The knowledge of few people are available to large pool of people in an organisation. The knowledge can be easily assessable when required. The tangible knowledge can be increased. The efficiency of organisation can be increased.
- Peer assist: This helps in gaining knowledge and insights from the people which are outside the group. It is very inexpensive. It will help the team when it will face some difficulty during the course of projects.
- Social network Analysis: It will help in identifying core individuals and teams so that leaders for change can be choose. This will also help in finding people who will be barrier to the change. This will accelerate the flow of knowledge. Employees can share the knowledge without hesitancy. Will improve the communication channel.
- Storytelling: This conveys the real message among the employees in a very informal way. Increase the awareness for meaning full knowledge transfer. They are excellent medium for learning. Since stories can be memorized easily so can be passed to others easily. This can also lead to direct action as it can motivate people.