KM Roadmap: Overview
The focus of this section of the website is an overview of the main phases of an enterprise knowledge management initiative. As well as selecting menu items on the left, you can click on the image below to take you to more information on the main phases (top row) or individual steps (coloured boxes). We also delve into ten topical themes that should permeate the thinking of KM practitioners wanting to achieve successful business outcomes. In addition to the enterprise roadmap, this section of the website will in the future include:
- Personal toolkit - managing your career in the knowledge economy
- Team toolkit - how to develop high performance virtual knowledge teams
- Policy toolkit - the role of governments and international agencies in developing knowledge economies
Phases and Stages
The map below gives an overview of the main phases and stages of a typical corporate KM initiative. Bear in mind that this is an idealized case (though based on many practical examples). While the phases are generally sequential, several can be pursued simultaneously and the process can be iterative, earlier stages being refined as later ones provide further insights.
The key to successful implementation of KM is that a holistic approach is taken. Too frequently KM initiatives are IT-led. Our holistic approach is an alignment of four dimensions - the business, human factors, technology and knowledge, with the business strategy the lead dimension. Our roadmap is divided into the following five phases, with specific stages addressing each dimension:
- Drivers: What are the business business strategies, priorities and issues that KM can address? What are the triggers to action?
- Analyse/Assess: As well as the familiar information/knowledge audit, this phase also includes analysis of business processes, stakeholder analysis and assessment of KM capabilities including the ICT (Information and Communications Technology) infrastructure and systems.
- Design/Develop: The starting point for determining the details of this phase is an overall KM strategy; from this emanates governance (how KM is managed, core principles and standards), which sets the parameters for an information architecture (for explicit knowledge) and KM practices (mostly concerning tacit knowledge); these are underpinned by appropriate ICT project plans and standards.
- Deploy: The main considerations for implementation are the content, human and technological triad of creating and managing content, putting in place the appropriate organizational structure, culture, people and skills and developing, testing, training and rolling out the appropriate ICT solutions; driving these to successful outcomes requires leadership.
- Evaluate: The final phase is that of evaluation - measuring the benefits and value of KM; this is not a one-off task but rather sets the stage for an approach of continuous improvement.
Ten Topical Themes
The origin of the ten topical themes was research carried out in 2004 in preparation for a review of the state-of-play of KM (unpublished). You can read the background in the final (special) edition of I3 Update (archived here). They have been used in various presentations during 2004-6 by the author (one of which will be uploaded soon). The topics have now been brought up to date (2010) with some regrouping and relabelling. They are:
1. Smart Strategies - ensuring not only that KM and business strategies are aligned, but thinking how KM can create new business opportunities.
2. KM with Everything - applying a 'knowledge lens' to all facets of the business
3. Human-centric KM - putting people first; understanding the social and cultural dimensions of KM
4. PKM (Personal Knowledge Management) - understanding the nature of knowledge work s that individuals create, develop and manage their own information and knowledge more effectively
5. Tapping Tacit Knowledge - mapping your 'know-who' and then putting in place mechanisms to capture and share this knowledge
6. Creative Communities - how inter-organizational communities of practice (and purpose) can be the engines of innovation
7. Collaborative Technologies - exploiting the power of social and collaborative technologies such as blogs and wikis
8. Meaningful Measures - developing realistic ways of measuring the value of knowledge and knowledge management
9. Commercializing Knowledge - turning KM inside-out by exploiting your knowledge as knowledge products and services in the wider marketplace
10. Governance and Ethics - taking responsibility for your knowledge assets and not misusing them to the detriment of others.
Last updated: 19th March 2011