Why you may need more than one KM strategy
Complex organisations may be involved in more than one type of activity, and may need more than one KM strategy and framework.
Two of the early activities in any Knowledge Management implementation are to develop a Knowledge Management Strategy (as we discussed yesterday), and start to map out a potential Knowledge Management Framework. However a large organisation, with many different divisions working in different ways, may need more than one strategy and more than one framework.
Let’s take, as an example, a utility company, providing water and gas to consumers.
This imaginary utility company has a Projects division, which installs new pipelines and new processing plants. They have a maintenance and operations division which maintains the supply of water and gas to customers. And then they have a customer care division, which signs up new customers and manages the relationship and the interaction with the existing customers.
This organisation might need 3 strategies and 3 frameworks.
The strategy for the projects division will be about cost reduction, and ensuring that projects are delivered on time, to budget and to specification. The KM framework will focus on learning from experience in order to improve project performance, and will involve processes such as Retrospects and Peer Assists.
The strategy for the Operations division will be about operational reliability and the continued provision of service. The KM framework will focus on maintenance methods and best practices, and on sharing tips and hints in communities of practice.
The strategy for the customer care division will be about customer satisfaction and customer retention. The KM framework will focus on provision of knowledge to customers, either through online self-help or via a contact centre, and the division will almost certainly need some sort of knowledge base software.
Although the whole organisation can share a KM policy and KM principles, each division will need to interpret these in their own context, and will need their own KM framework embedded in their divisional ways of working.