Managing Knowledge: A Practical Web-Based Approachby Wayne Applehans, Greg Laugero, Alden Globe
Managing "knowledge" is a new and vital skill for corporations. In the information economy, the organization that knows the most about itself and its business is best positioned for success. But, how do you begin to implement a knowledge management strategy? How can you get started making better use of your organization's data, information, and knowledge?
Managing Knowledge is the first practical guide to applying the theories and reaping the benefits of knowledge management. You will learn tools, techniques, and methodologies to help you:
- Evaluate content in the context of corporate goals
- Determine what information should be included and excluded in a knowledge management implementation
- Create a Web-based knowledge management strategy to support critical business processes
- Find the right people to manage important content
- Facilitate and encourage knowledge sharing
Knowledge management allows you to increase productivity and reduce costs throughout your supply chain by getting the right content to the right people at the right time. With this book, you will learn proven methods for identifying valuable informationcorporate intellectual capitaland linking it to business processes before deploying an internal Web, sparing information managers frustration. The authors demonstrate how to begin this challenging task, how to keep it moving forward, and how to overcome cultural, political, and organizational barriers to success.
Read an Excerpt
Who Should Read This Book?
Is your company saving millions of dollars by
getting people the
information they need?
Are you sharing information effectively across time zones,
cultures, and geographic boundaries?
Do you have corporate standards for creating, capturing, and
delivering important content?
At the end of the 20th century, will your organization be among
shrinking number of companies who aren't managing knowledge? Many
companies realize they need to do this, but they don't know how to begin.
This book will help you get started with a knowledge management (KM)
project. To that end, we focus on the practical application of concepts
and techniques that have been useful to us in our efforts. We believe you
can use these concepts and procedures in setting up and running your
own Web-based KM initiative.
Is This Book Right for You?
This book is for those people who have read some or all of the
literature on KM, and who (along with their bosses) are convinced that
they need to go down this path. Hopefully, you have a champion and an
understanding of your company's long-range plan (LRP). If not, you need
to target someone and make them read Working Knowledge by Thomas
H. Davenport and Laurence Prusak, Intellectual Capital by Thomas A.
Stewart, and The Knowledge-Creating Company by Ikujiro Nonaka and
Hirotaka Takeuchi, among the many other academic studies on this
important topic. These are excellent discussions of the scope of KM, and
they were some of the important early motivators for us.
But for those of you looking to get a project or initiative off the
this book can help. Maybe you've been formally charged with looking into
KM and coming back with some recommendations, but you're not sure
where to start. Perhaps your company has a functioning Intranet or
Extranet, but the content is out of date and no one seems to be taking the
lead on keeping it "fresh." Maybe you have an Intranet with thousands of
pages, but you constantly hear the complaint, "I can't find anything, and
when I do, I don't know if it's accurate." If you are facing these
circumstances, this book is for you.
Why This Book Is Different
While the academic literature on KM is essential reading, there are
important differences between Managing Knowledge and those earlier
works. The difference is that those books are exceptionally good at
convincing you that you should do KM, but we'll try to convince you that
you can do it. Accordingly, we make some assumptions that may or may
not be shared with these other works.
Assumption One: Knowledge management does not have to be
Our purpose is not to address the nature of knowledge. Rather, we want
to help you get the right information to the right people so they can take
effective action. In this sense, our definition of "managing knowledge" is
much more modest than what you may have read elsewhere. It involves
understanding who needs what content to be successful in their jobs. In
this book, we give you the tools and techniques to make these
Assumption Two: You have a champion and are figuring out how
to get started.
While it is necessary to "think big," you'll need to "start small."
Knowledge is about picking a strategic place in your organization that can
benefit from managing its knowledge and getting started. In this sense,
we aren't going to take on the whole concept of KM. In fact, we're not
interested in trying to define the entire scope of this important emerging
field. We leave that to others. Accordingly, we don't undertake "literature
surveys" or try to delve into the history of knowledge in Western society.
Assumption Three: Document management concepts,
technologies, and procedures provide the basic discipline to kick
off a successful effort.
The document is an important concept for getting started. In most
documents are going to be the vehicles for knowledge. Whether we're
talking about HTML pages with links to other documents, application
presentation layers with a view into databases, e-mail messages, or
multimedia presentations, your focus will be moving knowledge inside and
outside your company using documents.
That said, document management provides the central framework
discipline for successfully capturing, validating, and moving content to
employees, partners, and customers. We discuss in detail how to set up
classification systems (a.k.a. metadata) and the importance of "tagging"
documents with consistent classifications. Without these skills, even
so-called collaborative technologies won't be as effective as they could
Assumption Four: Yours is a mid- to large-size company with an
Intranet and Extranet, as well as an Internet presence.
Everything we say in this book assumes that you are (or are going to
leveraging Web-based technologies to move data, information, and
knowledge. While conference calls, digital whiteboards, and pen and
paper are viable tools, we believe that the most efficient way to move
information within a mid- to large-size company (1000 employees or
more) is via an Intranet. We also assume that your company is willing to
fund a KM effort. Smaller companies that are centrally located and "tight
knit" may be able to move information using less sophisticated means.
But if you're larger and globally dispersed--and especially if you have an
extensive partnership network--you must have an Intranet/Extranet.
Assumption Five: Your business is consciously preparing for
Your executives or boss or someone influential (maybe you) believes
your company must begin retooling itself for the information economy.
You don't need convincing any longer. Rather, you want to get started so
that you can reap the benefits of competitive advantage before these
advantages dry up and become "me too" processes and "best business
practices." We'll help you get started by providing a method for taking the
oversized concept that is KM and breaking it down into digestible parts
that you can implement in the near term.
Much of the practical, hard-won knowledge that went into this book was
the result of long hours spent between 1994 and 1998 developing
solutions and approaches to worldwide, Web-based KM challenges at
J.D. Edwards, a business software developer in Denver, Colorado.
Thanks go to J.D. Edwards officers Ed McVaney, Chairman of the
Board; Buffy Collison, senior vice president of worldwide marketing; and
Gay Dickerson, director of media creators, for sharing our vision and
helping lead the way.
Members of our Knowledge Resource Strategies Group who helped
develop and refine the concepts presented in this book, and with whom it
has been a great pleasure to work, include Kristen Schiffner, Bob Zasuly,
Michael Lavker, Meredith Monticello, and Debbie Arellano. Special
thanks also go to Laurie Fetterolf, J.D. Edwards information and
interface designer extraordinaire, who in addition to refining many KM
concepts at J.D. Edwards also designed this book. Eagle-eyed online
editor K.P. Nelson has been a tremendous help. Many J.D. Edwards
technologists deserve praise and credit here as well: Paul Orsak, founder
of the Knowledge Garden, and those who helped get us off the ground,
including our Internet Services Group and IT department under CIO
Mark Endry, and our MIS director Gerry Coady. There are of course
many other individuals too numerous to mention.
A tip of the hat goes to SkyWeb's Brian Ward. Thanks to Deb Blecha
Raymond James Consulting. Lee Butler, Sherri Philips, Henry Winkler,
and Tulsi Dharmarajan of Microsoft Consulting Services Denver gave
much of their time, effort, and support. Thanks to Susan Kannel and
Betty Konarski at the Office of Corporate Education at Regis University
in Denver. Thanks to Alexis de Planque, senior consultant of Meta
Group. Thanks to Denise Vega and Chris Katsaropoulos for paving the
path for first-time authors. Thank you to the residents of Steamboat
Springs, Colorado for openness to new ideas, friendship, and kind
considerations over the years.
Thanks also to our charming and seemingly tireless editor,
Spainhour of Addison Wesley Longman, who--appropriately enough--we
met over the Internet and who has been a strong supporter of Managing
Knowledge in every way, from day one.
Ultimately, of course, without loving support from all our family
this effort would not have been possible: Susan, Madeline, Mitchel, Lee,
and Cal Globe; Michelle, Sam, and Jordan Applehans; and Pam Moore.
--Denver, Parker, and Steamboat Springs
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
See all customer reviews