A sound business case for knowledge management: utopia or myopia

Artist: Clark Little http://www.clarklittlephotography.com
Artist: Clark Little http://www.clarklittlephotography.com

For me, as a manager of a large customer contact center, knowledge management is essential.

In my working environment I see more and more organizations denying the need of additional investing in systems and approaches (which are very often established around the millenium). And that behaviour existed before the financial meltdown of 09/2008.

Knowledge management has Рin my opinion Рbecome an important area of focus for many organizations in order to be successful in today’s business environment. However, many companies are reluctant to undertake new KM initiatives.

There are undoubtedly many reasons for this; however, foremost amongst them is related to the difficulty in establishing a sound business case and justification for this type of an undertaking.

The difficulty in establishing a business case for knowledge management programs is really an issue of cause and effect, and often stems from the fact that, since knowledge is intangible, there is no direct link from a knowledge management process to a demonstrable business outcome.

Knowledge, knowledge management and systems are often judged as an investment in systems. An approach that in the earlier times when IT was the initiator of these kind of project might be a “sound” reason. But in 2009 business is or should be in the lead. And the business is not capable to show a sound business case.

Let us be honest. No one – senior management or HR – ever asks for a sound business case for a training initiative. And for investing in knowledge it is often an imperative.

Artist: Clark Little http://www.clarklittlephotography.com
Artist: Clark Little http://www.clarklittlephotography.com

One might also notice a big difference in the approach to knowledge based on the position of the staff member involved. Very often, the senior management – still working within their concepts of implicit knowledge – does not merit a knowledge mangement approach. On the other side, the blue collar worker – heavy end-users computers – acknowledge more and more the fact that knowledge management is their lifeline to a sound operations. And in case of the younger generation, their approach to knowledge is even more straight: the internet is there & knowledge is know how to get there.

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Inspired by: http://www.tlainc.com/articl69.htm

Artist: Clark Little http://www.clarklittlephotography.com
Artist: Clark Little http://www.clarklittlephotography.com

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