Good Example Of Case Study On Knowledge Management Systems
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The systems that are currently in use in ABC involve constant communication of different departments of the company and actively encourage knowledge transferring. IT is important to conduct the internal analysis of the systems in use in order to identify their strengths and weaknesses. The major strengths of ABC information systems are:
Long-term experience of employees in the same industry within one working team;
High loyalty and commitment to the operations of the company, which created a productive and trustful company’s culture;
Information database that included different types of information, such as the track of purchases made by customers, which helped to observe the performance of the company and identify the trends of sales, such as buying behaviors of customers and consumers’ preferences;
Frequency of reports from different departments to the managers, because monthly briefings about the company’s performance in certain aspects may generate positive outcomes.
Besides significant strength of ABC timber and hardware, the company also possesses several weaknesses that the company’s management should be aware of and should strive to eliminate them.
Long duration of the reports’ delivery to managers, which leads to the situation when the reports are out of date and, consequently, do not represent the overall picture for the current moment;
Lack of constant reviews of all the information in the system, which lead to the storage of different types of data, part of which may not be relevant and should be deleted;
Limited access to the reports, because only manager has the access to them, while they may be extremely useful for the sales representatives in order to improve their work.
Internal analysis of the company’s information system in use give a representation on the activities within the company and on the overall inflow and outflow of different types of information. This structure of information storage, transferring and availability raises a number of questions. First, as it was mentioned, one of the weaknesses is the limited access to reports, but why do not managers provide overview of the reports for general access? If the information systems allow the generation of major points of the reports and if managers could prepare recommendations for the sales representatives based on those points, it can significantly improve the operations of employees in meeting company’s objectives and customers’ preferences. Another question for the current operation activity of ABC timber and hardware is what knowledge transferring techniques the company’s management is encouraging. /the company has a system with various types of information, but, for instance, a new employee will have to look through all of this information in order to get a representation about the company’s activities, requirements and sales techniques and patterns.
New employees that will come to ABC after the retirement of employees who have stayed with the company for many years will need specific learning tools that will assist them in gaining experience and becoming real professionals in their working field. The thing is that in most of cases, new employees feel sometime uncomfortable and not confident enough and the potential success of their work requires careful recommendation, review and constant communication with employees, who have stayed with a company longer. In such a way, knowledge management system should provide techniques that will give new employees constant online assistance, where they can ask questions online and immediately receive answers. In order to reduce training time for new employees, new KMS should actively engage online services and should establish a special platform for the company, where former employees can share specific cases and can provide a broad foundation of necessary knowledge.
The stakeholders of new KMS are everyone who is concerned in the implementation of this system and everyone, on whom this system may have a potential impact. First, the major stakeholders are the employees of the company, because KMS has a direct connection to them, as it will serve as a major tool of information communication among personnel. Company’s customers compose another significant group of stakeholders, because they will experience the results of KMS implementation through the level of services and through sales representatives’ confidence and general working behavior. Moreover, former employees of the company are also the stakeholders, because they have worked for ABC for many years and have strong ties with the organization, showing loyalty and commitment, and thus, they have a concern about the company’s performance with new employees.
Implementation of knowledge management system will require significant financial resources as well as hard work of the personnel. First, creation of this system will require one IT specialist, who will be in charge for writing the script fir the program and taking into consideration all of the requirements and suggestions of the company’s management. Employees of ABC who are about to retire will also have to contribute to KMS creation by systemizing their knowledge and adjusting it to the new information system, which will make it available and which will divide the provided information into categories based on the established criteria. IT services are quite expensive, and the company will have to compensate the time the workers will spend on their knowledge transferring. Thus, the process of new KMS creation is time consuming and requires financial investments with the major role of human work contribution.
New KMS will need some appealing promotion within the company, because it is a new tool and employees may experience contradictive feelings and emotions while using it. One of the promotional activities should provide unspoken incentives for employees, implying, for example, that those, who achieve better results using the system, will get bonuses or will receive certain benefits. What is more, any company should carefully promote knowledge management system among employees by assigning certain tasks and providing detailed guidelines associated with KMS implementation. The workers should gather knowledge not in only efficient manner, but also complying with the code of conduct and following ethical principles while developing and choosing appropriate data. The decisions that managers take during the KMS implementation process should be timely and realistic. It is also essential for employees to share the information, taking into consideration confidentiality constraints within the company (Management Standards Centre).
The next crucial step in the implementation of KMS is conducting appropriate and timely monitoring in order to identify the issues and see the effects on the company’s performance. One of the monitoring systems that ABC should use is behavioral monitoring. This type of monitoring system may be very challenging for the company and the employee who performs monitoring should be extremely objective. Still, this monitoring technique can generate very specific points and recommendations, because behavioral monitoring involves customers’ feedbacks, thus providing different perspectives for further evaluation. In addition, ABC timber and hardware should use quantifiable monitoring systems that rely on solid numbers and thus can provide precise objective information for the company’s use. Quantifiable monitoring is easier than behavioral one, because it is more convenient in defining, collecting and analyzing. This type of monitoring can generate concrete results that will give a representation on the actual situation within the company, as well as on the emerging issue, and it will help to develop recommendations for future improvements. Moreover, quantifiable monitoring can cover longer periods, because they do not require real-time data and can rely on the existing information in the system (Shpak).
There are certain procedures that help the knowledge management system to run effectively. Those procedures involve various steps directed at the careful usage of the system and attention to details and categories of knowledge. Among those steps there are:
Identifying the creation, development and sharing of knowledge and observing what values it brings to the company;
Ensuring the availability of knowledge management system and providing necessary guidelines for the competent usage;
Encouraging top managers (and aging personnel in case of ABC) to actively share their knowledge in the system, so that other have the access to broader sets of information;
Carefully determine how certain principles of organization’s culture may decrease the effectiveness of KMS and developing necessary changes or alternatives;
Evaluation of the value that KMS brings to the company (Management Standards Centre).
Furthermore, ABC timber and hardware should pay attention to the legal aspects of knowledge management systems. Legal side is very crucial for property rights and for proper use of technology sources. Thus, legally the company should remain certain types of information confidential within the company’s employees and every employee should sign a nondisclosure agreement. A company should also continue to rely on employee, not putting full responsibility on technology systems (Balan).
Overall, implementation of new KMS is a process that requires careful preparation process, implementation procedures and constant evaluation. ABC timber and hardware should place an emphasis on the ethical and legal sides of KMS and on the procedures that will make new KMS an effective tool for use within the company and that will help to facilitate the performance of the company in future. Thorough consideration of knowledge management system and employees’ commitment to the company’s operations will bring positive results.
Balan, A. (n.d.). Legal Knowledge Management (A Knowledge Managers Perspective). Retrieved April 9, 2015, from http://www.hg.org/article.asp?id=6413
Promote knowledge management in your organization. (n.d.). Retrieved April 9, 2015, from http://www.management-standards.org/sites/default/files/E13 - Promote knowledge management in your organisation.pdf
Shpak, S. (n.d.). Monitoring Techniques for Management. Retrieved April 9, 2015, from http://work.chron.com/monitoring-techniques-management-3959.html
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