Business Process Management
You Are Here : Services Synergy Microsoft Gold Certified Partner Synergy CMMI Level 3 Certified
 
KM Resources
What is Knowledge Management?
The 7 Logical steps to KM
Implementation
The 9 Step KM Process
Know your organization’s KM level – KM Maturity Model
15 Tips for KM success
10 Best ways to promote a KM portal
Some of KM Benefits
 
KM News
KM India Summit 2013
Knowledge Management over
a cup of tea!
Knowledge is the New Currency!
 
KM Case studies
Industry Advisory Report on KNOWLEDGE MANAGEMENT
 
 
Is Knowledge management part of Learning & Development in an organization?

L&D always strives for enabling better familiarity which can help employees acquiring better skills and competencies. If it can be done through trainings it can be done through existing knowledge base within the organization. That also helps decreasing the cost of trainings in organization. KM must be very much part of L&D.

Nancy Dixon

Design and Facilitation of Meetings Where Knowledge is Effectively Shared

When KM first started there was a bit of a territorial fight over where KM would be located. And L&D lost; most KM ended up located in Technology. Now I see KM most often located in operations, although IT is still a strong contender. In one way it is too bad that L&D has not been more involved because 70% of KM is about learning, e.g. peers learning from each other through CoPs or AARs or Peer Assist or knowledge cafes, etc. KM people if they are from IT have had to learn about learning.

Albert Simard

Knowledge Manager at Defence Research & Development Canada

I agree with everything that Nancy says. I'll respond from a different perspective. Some time ago I did a short piece on positioning KM in an organization. It turns out that virtually every functional home has some disadvantages. Case in point - if learning is on top, it comes under HR, and consequently so will KM. But in my experience, HR groups are unable to evlove from managing HR transactions, just as libraries have difficulty in going beyond managing collections. If positioned in HR, KM will become simply a training tool.
The solution I propose is to position KM as a staff function, very close to the top, with access to the CEO, so that they span all aspects of the enterprise. Learning and adaptation are fundamental to long-term organizational sustainability, and so supporting these processes becomes a strategic goal for KM. The other is facilitating the flow of knowledge from where it is created to where it is needed,which enhances short-term competitiveness at a tactical level.

Nick Milton

Knowledge Management consultant, coach and trainer with Knoco Ltd; author of The Lessons Learned Handbook

based on the figures presented here http://www.nickmilton.com/2012/11/km-reporting-lines-updated.html
KM reports to HR (and is therefore linked to L&D) in 14% of companies surveyed
KM reports to IT in 13% of companies
KM is a staff function in 7% of companies

Rupert Lescott

Management consultant

I agree with Albert's point - with "KM as a staff function, very close to the top, with access to the CEO, so that they span all aspects of the enterprise."
True, L&D have levers on which to pull to effect the changes required by good KM (i.e. the learning) but then so does every department. In the British Army, the requirement to learn from operations and training (and manage the knowledge therefrom) comes from a formal directive from the head of the Army himself which gives it some priority. However, the teams responsible for encouraging and responding to such learning are located some way lower down, alas, which has its own consequences, as one might imagine.

Paul McDowall

Senior Knowledge and Change Management Advisor at Know How Works

It's not about the placement, it's about the relationships and alignment.
Since each organization's culture, structure and modus operandi is different, the optimum placement for KM can vary significantly. The ideal scenario is for all operational areas to do KM for themselves within their bailiwick, assisted by some corporate-level support function for organization-wide issues and opportunities. In theory operational areas are responsible for their own areas and are well supported from a corporate-wide perspective by the corporate support functions, like HR, IT, finance, communications, L&D, IM, etc. Does it all work well? No, of course not. This is where integrated planning needs to become a much more effective tool. IMHO effective integrated planning is a requirement for fully aligned and effective organization, regardless of the organizational placement of key functions.
I managed a KM staff function within a large operational area and we were recognized as a best practice across government. Then someone had the bright idea that they could simply move my function to a corporate level staff function. A number of factors were involved but it was dead within one year, that decision killed an exemplary practice despite our efforts. That doesn't mean it can't work well if placed in a corporate-level staff function.

Timothy Maciag

Knowledge Analyst at eHealth Saskatchewan

I would argue that placement actually can impact KM effort as, if placed well, it can help coordinate collective sensemaking efforts (part of integrated planning as you refer to Paul). If KM is placed poorly within an organization, hidden, seemingly linked/placed in specific areas within an org, coordination and communication efforts may suffer. For example, areas within an org may not see (or feel) the need to collaborate on a collective level (and that's beside the fact that that sounds kind of borg-ish :). I seem to be running into this issue in my own org. KM is a sub-area of one specific function of IT (as Rupert indicates). Due to this placement, our voice is "muddled in the mix" and our efforts to communicate and develop an integrated strategy is impacted. Perhaps there are other narratives that people can provide that may help (my situation and others who are having similar experiences)...?

Albert Simard

Knowledge Manager at Defence Research & Development Canada

I had a similar experience to Paul. A small program-level KM group was highly successful - implementing one or two new applications per year and getting uptake. Then there was an attempt to rise to the corporate level. Suffice it to say that I now consider such a move as a "risk factor" for KM that needs to be managed as such. That also led to my keen interest in transforming explicit knowledge into authoritative knowledge. For example - getting something approved.

Timothy Maciag

Knowledge Analyst at eHealth Saskatchewan

Albert - Can you elaborate on your comment, re: explicit vs authoritative. If your team is well below the CEO level, hidden under "layers of administration", do you (or others) have any suggestions for ways to deliver and communicate an integrated strategy within an org?

Paul McDowall

Senior Knowledge and Change Management Advisor at Know How Works

Hi Tim: the integrated planning function I mentioned was for the entire organization. Re. KM strategies, there are three basic types, in relation to the business strategy: independent, aligned, and embedded. Independent KM strategies are nice things to do, good KM type things like collaborative software and repositories, search engines and lessons learned tools for managers to use. Unfortunately they don't directly address specific business needs so while they are the most frequent type of KM strategy they are also the most prone to failure. Aligned KM strategies are those that specifically address real business needs as a direct support done for and in conjunction with the business areas. Embedded strategies are those that are embedded in the business areas plans as part of the 'how'. My successful program was an aligned type.
Communication of results depends on several factors especially the type of strategy noted above. Embedded types should need little or no explicit communication. Aligned types may need some form of regular results reporting, however, the closer it's aligned to the business the less the need for explicit reporting. I had lots of stats but it was never needed to prove the program's value. I had middle managers and senior leaders tell me that their people couldn't get their work done if it were not for my program. Independent strategies are difficult to communicate as you are always trying to make the leap between KM activity and business benefit, and that's too often an impossible sell. In fact, middle and senior managers may even see the KM program as a competitor for scare organizational resources. Say good night, Dick.

Albert Simard

Knowledge Manager at Defence Research & Development Canada

Timothy - see section 8.2.4 (Authorizing Explicit Knowledge) in
http://cradpdf.drdc-rddc.gc.ca/PDFS/unc121/p536618_A1b.pdf

The key point is that knowing what needs to be done and how to do it is only the beginning. Getting approval and resources to move forward (usually a single step in most process models) is the most important and hardest part.

As for working your way through several layers, there's good news and bad news.
1. Find yourself a champion at the top, (good news) or
2. Do everything listed for each layer, remembering that one has to convince each decision maker that your project is important and will benefit them directly. Of course, every layer represents a risk of ending the quest (bad news).

Ian Fry

Knowledge Management consultant at Knoco Australia

Unfortunately what I see in Australia is that L&D is firmly embedded in HR and in no way knows about or attempts to embrace those components of KM that help. By the same token, KM does not seem to reach out to either the L&D or OD components of HR. In 2013 I sat on an L&D subcommittee of AHRI and helped to run sessions to address this divide. Well received, but not a lot of subsequent action. The silos highlighted in Nick Milton's post above seem to dominate

Timothy Maciag

Knowledge Analyst at eHealth Saskatchewan

Thank you all for your responses! The silos, the "bad news," and the "well received but inaction" are all some of the things I am facing.

I (too) am envisioning an aligned type integrative approach as Paul has experienced. I may, as Albert mentions, also have a key champion close to the top. Even with these, the hierarchical design of my org, the capacity to break through all layers of administration, the idea of KM being a competitor ("leaning or individuals and teams") are all real challenges I am facing. Perhaps exciting ones though...(I hope my early optimism is lasting!)

Larry Baumgart

Lead Military Analyst at Alion Science and Technology (KM Manager ST1)-Norfolk, Va

how about Learning and Development is a piece of the overall knowledge management puzzle for an organization. In my experience, the learning and mentorship that a CoP can bring to an individuals learning PLUS Learning and Development will result in knowledgeable employees

Stefan Lafloer

Senior Associate for Knowledge Management at Creative Associates International, Inc.

One could argue that KM could be part of the OD (organizational development) of an organization. KM could be seen in a lot of regards as a capability (like the capability to perform good project management). An organization needs to learn and become good at KM (its processes, responsibilities, value generation, governance and last, not least technologies).

Learning imho is the process between gathering information and learning from its application, thereby generating knowledge.

   
   

View demo
Fast track enquiry
Support
 
Upcoming Events
KM HUB, 9th August 2014
 
KM Blogs
Is Knowledge management part of Learning & Development in an organization?
How far Information technologies help improving the quality of knowledge?
Retaining knowledge - human and intellectual capital
Knowledge management and innovation
KM is a B****, we have a KM portal and nobody uses it !!
 
 
Contact Synergy for an informative, no-obligation consultation today. Let’s address your goals and challenges together. salesenquiry@synergycom.in