Knowledge Management Infrastructure

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Knowledge Management Infrastructure

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Knowledge Management (KM) Infrastructure:

Knowledge Management (KM) Infrastructure Dr. G C Mohanta, BE(Mech), MSc(Engg), MBA, PhD(Mgt) Professor

KM Infrastructure:

KM Infrastructure KM infrastructure reflects the long-term foundations for knowledge management. KM infrastructure at the organizational level, supports KM mechanisms and KM technologies. KM infrastructure itself benefits from KM mechanisms, KM technologies and KM processes.

KM Infrastructure:

KM Infrastructure KM infrastructure includes five major components: Organisation culture Organisation structure Information technology infrastructure Common knowledge and Physical environment

Organization Culture:

Organization Culture Organizational culture reflects the norms and beliefs that guide behaviour of the organization's members. It is an important enabler of knowledge management in organizations. Attributes of enabling organizational culture include: Understanding value of knowledge management practices, Managing support for knowledge management at all levels, Incentives that reward knowledge sharing, and Encouragement for creation & sharing of knowledge.

Organisation Structure:

Organisation Structure Knowledge management depends to a considerable extent on the following: Hierarchical structure Decentralization Matrix structures Communities of practice Specialized Structures and Roles Chief Knowledge Officer Separate Department for KM R&D Department and the Corporate Library

Hierarchical Structure:

Hierarchical Structure Hierarchical structure of organisation affects people with whom each individual frequently interacts To/from whom he is likely to transfer/get knowledge. Traditional reporting relationships influence: flow of data and information nature of groups making decisions and affecting the sharing and creation of knowledge

Decentralization:

Decentralization By decentralizing/flattening organisation structures, companies often seek to eliminate organisation layers, Place more responsibility with each individual and increasing the size of groups reporting to each individual. Knowledge sharing occurs with a larger group of individuals in more decentralized organisations .

Matrix Structures:

Matrix Structures Matrix structures in which a manager reports to two or more superiors and takes instructions from them This type of structure emphasises on “leadership” rather than on “management” facilitating greater knowledge sharing by cutting across departmental boundaries.

Communities of Practice:

Communities of Practice A community of practice is an organic and self organized group of individuals They are dispersed geographically or organizationally but regularly discuss issues of mutual interest At Xerox Corporation, professionals frequently interact among them informal y & promote knowledge sharing An organisation’s external stakeholders: customers, suppliers & partners can act as a greater knowledge reservoir than the organisation itself. Relationships with university researchers can help new biotechnology firms to maintain their innovativeness.

Specialised Structures and Roles :

Specialised Structures and Roles Chief Knowledge Officer - Some organisations appoint Chief Knowledge Officer & make him responsible for KM efforts. Separate Department for KM - Some organisations establish a separate department for knowledge management, which is often headed by the Chief Knowledge Officer. R&D Department and the Corporate Library R&D department supports management of knowledge about the latest, or future developments. Corporate library supports KM by facilitating knowledge sharing and serving as a repository of historical information.

Information Technology Infrastructure:

Information Technology Infrastructure Knowledge management is facilitated by organisation’s information technology (IT) infrastructure. Certain information technologies and systems are directly developed to pursue knowledge management. Organisation’s overall IT infrastructure includes : data processing, storage, communication technologies & systems.

Information Technology Infrastructure (Contd.):

Information Technology Infrastructure (Contd.) IT infrastructure comprises entire spectrum of organisation’s information systems. It consists of: databases (DB), data warehouses and enterprise resource planning systems. Capabilities of IT infrastructure depend on four important parameters: reach, depth, richness and aggregation.

Reach:

Reach Reach pertains to access, connection and the efficiency of such access. Reach reflects the number and geographical locations of the nodes that can be efficiently accessed. Reach refers to the locations and IT platform, capable of linking “anyone, anywhere”. Much of the power of internet is attributed to its reach and the fact that most people can access it quite inexpensively. Reach is enhanced not just by advances in hardware but by progress in software. Standardization of communication standards & languages, make it easier for firms to communicate with other partners

Depth:

Depth Depth focuses on detail and amount of information that can be effectively communicated over a medium. The dimension closely corresponds to the aspects of bandwidth and customization. Communicating deep and detailed information requires high bandwidth. Availability of deep and detailed information about customers enable customization. Technological progress in channel bandwidth has enabled considerable improvement in depth.

Richness:

Richness Communication channels can be arranged along a continuum representing their “relative richness”. The richness of a medium is based on its ability to: Provide multiple cues (e.g., body language, facial expression, tone of voice) simultaneously; Provide quick feedback; Personalize messages and Use natural languages to convey Information technology has traditionally been viewed as a lean communication medium. Progress in IT, has shown a significant increase in its ability to support rich communication.

Aggregation:

Aggregation Rapid advances in IT have significantly enhanced the ability to store and quickly process information. This enables the aggregation of large volumes of information drawn from multiple sources. Data mining & data warehousing enable synthesis of diverse information from multiple sources, producing new insights. ERPs also present a natural platform for aggregating knowledge across different parts of an organisation.

Physical Environment :

Physical Environment Key aspects of physical environment are: design of buildings and the separation between them location, size & type of offices and type, number and nature of meeting rooms, etc. Physical environment can foster KM by providing opportunities for employees to meet & share ideas In coffee rooms, cafeterias, water coolers & hallways employees can learn & share insights with each other Employees gain knowledge about work from informal conversations in these areas

Common Knowledge:

Common Knowledge Common knowledge refers to: Organisation’s cumulative experiences in comprehending a category of knowledge & activities Organizing principles that support communication & coordination Common knowledge provides unity to organisation It helps in enhancing value of an individual expert’s knowledge by integrating it with knowledge of others. It supports knowledge transfer within the organisation but impedes leakage of knowledge outside organisation

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