Creating the Collaborative Enterprise
David J. Skyrme
Chapter 2 Update
The knowledge agenda continues unabated, and almost every large organization has some form of knowledge initiative. There are a growing number of cases that amply support the concepts of the two thrusts and seven levers. The Knowledge Processes (pages 59-62) have stood the test of time, and have proved exceptionally helpful in consulting assignments. One of the more recent developments is the growth in use of a strategy that links strategic lever 1 (customer knowledge) with that of relationship knowledge (lever 6), namely Customer Relationship Management. Unfortunately too many organizations still see CRM as providing automated responses to customers based on a superficial depth of customer knowledge. True (more 'intelligent') CRM means providing relevant customer knowledge to all those involved in a customer interaction, in order to develop deeper knowledge exchange relationships (c.f. figure 8.3 on page 218).
The Bottom Line
As with many management initiatives, as well as the growing number of successful cases, there are also the usual tranche of failures, and some disillusionment. This makes it esepcially important to do two things:
Communities are becoming an increasingly important feature of many corporate knowledge programmes. Simply loading content on an intranet is insufficient to induce widespread sharing. However, good use of communities of interest and communities of practice (for the distinction see table 6.2 on page 170) are practical ways of getting people to share and co-develop their knowledge. A good example is that of Siemens Business Systems whose NewsBoard and KnowledgeLink solutions blend a degree of formal structure (through virtual knowledge teams and content owners) with that of informal knowledge sharing networks.
Do you have any discussion points that arise from this chapter or your thinking about the Points to Ponder at the end of the chapter? One thing that concerns me is that knowledge is still not seriously considered in many organization's core decision processes. For instance, I still see many corporate business and strategy planning processes that are carried out without considering the knowledge dimension (e.g. the seven levers), or actively involving knowledge teams (other than from a narrow functional perspective). What is your experience of this, and what difficulties arise through this omission?
The Knowledge Connections web site provides a comprehensive resource for many topics covered in the chapter. You can also subscribe to a free monthly email briefing I3 UPDATE / ENTOVATION International news. Also make sure you check out Butterworth-Heinemann's Knowledge Management section from time to time for details of new publications and special offers.
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