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Knowledge Management - Some Ways to Ensure Success in Knowledge Management Projects

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July 07, 2011

Some Ways to Ensure Success in Knowledge Management Projects

By David Sims
TMCnet Contributing Editor


There is an interesting article in the Kansas City Examiner, by industry observer Chiedozie Chukwu, a senior IT consultant in Kansas City, on the challenges of knowledge management.

“Businesses must focus on sharing knowledge across the organization,” Chukwu said, “storing it for future, lesser experienced employees, categorizing massive amounts of data, and using or purchasing tools to mine this data. This is knowledge management.”

Chukwu does the valuable service of imparting some words of wisdom pretty much everybody should consider to succeed with a Knowledge Management, whether starting a system or running an existing one:

There will be some failure. It’ll happen when the KM effort focuses on the technology side, Chukwu says, to the detriment of adequately addressing the non-technology issues of the organization. Basically, trying to use technology to address what’s essentially an organizational issue is as sure a road to failure as you’ll find in a KM project.

You need to motivate your people to use the Knowledge Management system. Don’t overlook this step, many a perfectly good system has quietly died because nobody uses it. Chukwu says the managers' job will be to introduce “the most useful application and processes first,” as well as cooking up a rewards system to encourage folks to actually share knowledge.

Your employees are comfortable with the existing system, and probably don’t see the need to change. Management support is key here, which means you need quality training, ongoing support -- “budget and forecast resources accordingly,” Chukwu advises.

The quality of knowledge must not suffer from a lack of time to put it in the system. “Managers must analyze the business processes and look at the expectations on personnel to use the system,” as he advises, noting that one way to do this is to create “reasonable processes” to let users access information and input in real-time.

And probably most important, you have to be able to show measurable benefits to the people you’re asking to use it. Well, and the bean counters you’re asking to pay for it, too. It’s called ROI, return on investment, and don’t think that just means a financial return on the bottom line, although it certainly does mean that. Think of the investment you’re asking your stakeholders, those using the system, to make too, and what’s in it for them. Show them how they benefit from their investment and your success is pretty much assured.

David Sims is a contributing editor for TMCnet. To read more of David’s articles, please visit his columnist page. He also blogs for TMCnet here.

Edited by Juliana Kenny

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