posted 3 Aug 2005 in Volume 8 Issue 10
By Arun Hariharan, senior vice president, knowledge management at Bharti Cellular Ltd.
Most companies today suffer not from a lack of knowledge, but from an inability to effectively deploy all available knowledge and expertise relevant to their business, resulting in less than full potential performance. But all the knowledge you require to run your business (and more) exists. The 360-degree Knowledge Management Model introduced here will help you deploy KM more effectively and raise your business performance to its full potential.
The 360-degree KM Model
360-degree KM will unleash the combined power of knowledge and expertise from within and outside your organisation along Six Knowledge Dimensions for each critical business measure. 360-degree KM provides single-window access to all knowledge and expertise relevant to your business. It enables each community of experts to manage and improve performance on their business measure better, faster and without re-invention. And because your communities are organised around business measures, overall business performance is bound to improve.
The Six Knowledge Dimensions: Think of the 360-degree KM model as a central core with six circles around it (each circle represents a knowledge dimension). At the core are your top business measures. For each measure, 360-degree KM organises knowledge and expertise relevant to improving performance – under six dimensions.
Dimension 1 is the community of experts itself, led by a knowledge champion. This is the most critical dimension. The experts collaborate to form a common pool of talent available across the organisation. It is these experts who deploy knowledge from the other five dimensions to improve performance on their business measure.
Dimension 2 is your internal measurement of “how are we doing” on each measure.
Dimension 3 is “what customers think” on that measure (sometimes what customers think can be different from our internal assessment).
Dimension 4 is internal knowledge that could help improve performance on that measure – such as best practices, lessons learnt, innovative ideas or training material.
Dimension 5 is external knowledge relevant to a measure - including case studies, articles, and market or competitor information.
It is critical for knowledge champions to ensure that content in dimensions four and five has high replication potential, and at the same time, promote a culture of knowledge sharing.
Dimension 6 consists of replications or applications of knowledge from your knowledge base resulting in quantified improvement in a business measure. It is important to document each knowledge replication to capture the business results of KM, to create visibility and encourage more replications and results. Each replication also adds new knowledge – because in most cases, there would be some value addition during replication.
Standard KM processes
360-degree KM will deliver exponentially higher results if you establish close-looped processes for knowledge sharing, replication of knowledge submissions and measurement of results. As KM-maturity increases, these KM processes must get embedded in regular business processes.
The 360-degree KM model introduced here is not an IT tool – although IT could play a useful role in enabling single-window access to information from different systems.
The model is an integrated approach to KM that will help increase the focus and relevance of your KM initiative to your business and maximise the effectiveness of KM in delivering real business results.