With the evolution of knowledge management over the past decades, the need for an integrated framework for knowledge management has become inevitable for organizations. With a well-designed framework, it can work together with other management systems within the business and become a part of it, rather than working as a standalone entity.
Let us try to understand the importance of knowledge management framework and methodology in detail and talk about how an organization can implement this type of framework efficiently.
A knowledge management framework is a structure that guides the organization, understanding, delivery and dissemination of information within the enterprise.
This type of framework makes sure that all the elements of knowledge management are in place and connected with each other. It also ensures there are no gaps in the system and the information flows freely throughout the organization.
The basic components of a knowledge management framework include:
All these processes are dependent on each other and several other factors. This is why knowledge management frameworks are often different in many respects and can be implemented in numerous ways.
Some models may be sequential while others display processes as an overlapping pattern. As knowledge management depends on other aspects of the organization like project management, information management and strategy and includes a variety of systems and processes, a model can be complex at times.
A knowledge management framework is represented as a model that contains proper planning for the components – data, people, technology and processes. It should include the role descriptions, technology functions and process descriptions wherever possible.
The elements should not only work together but also collaborate with the existing systems, technologies, infrastructures within the company. This is why each organization has a knowledge management framework tailored to its own context.
A knowledge management framework helps focus on the business value of knowledge management efforts. The structure should have in place the direction, management and execution of the framework for successful implementation.
When building knowledge management into a strategic framework, one should ensure that all its components are covered, and all the interlinked items are in place to work efficiently.
The structure should include planning for people, processes, data and technology. The first phase of the framework is 'Call to Action' that helps identify the business value and the area of emphasis. An organization should create a framework centred around its business goals.
The framework is built as a matrix with and a knowledge management model is put in place for each axis of the matrix. Here are the key steps involved in building knowledge management into the organization's strategic framework.
The first step is to create a detailed map of the available knowledge with a co-relation of knowledge items with explicit knowledge across the organization.
Knowledge mapping helps define current knowledge items, owners and gaps. It allows evaluating existing knowledge and identifying what knowledge assets should be obtained, improved or preserved.
A well-designed knowledge map is essential for the organization to elicit knowledge easily. It can achieve this with the help of automated workflows that fill knowledge gaps and manage searches for knowledge.
The use of corporate discussion boards helps analyse knowledge absorption within the system. The company should also have a shareable knowledge management system that helps extract useful information or knowledge assets from different systems including CRM, ERP and SCM.
The company should use tools to make knowledge available explicitly throughout the company with intuitive creation of assets, rating and comparison of knowledge items and their classification.
An organization should put in place some push and pull modes for the dissemination of knowledge across departments dynamically. Externalized knowledge can be distributed through intelligent filters that allow instant discovery of knowledge terms and assets.
Another example of this mode is automatic subscriptions to the latest updates for knowledge-related items. Some handy tools for knowledge distribution through push mode include training courses, workshops and articles integrated into the intranet.
The framework should help attend the company's knowledge assets and fill any gaps existing in the knowledge map. It allows regular checking on the relevance and removal of knowledge items and assets and their updating.
The ITIL (Information Technology Infrastructure Library) is a widely used framework among organizations aiming to provide IT service management. It emphasizes customer satisfaction through effective service delivery in a cost-effective manner.
Knowledge management is one of the components of the service transition phase of this framework and focuses on gathering, analysing, storing and sharing information and knowledge.
The knowledge management framework was added to version 3 of ITIL as a part of the process that addresses the development and execution of new and changed services.
This dedicated process for knowledge management enables ITIL to provide a comprehensive set of guidelines and workflow for knowledge in the life cycle of IT service management. ITIL also integrates the framework with Problem Management, Incident Management and Interaction Management aspects of the system.
ITIL knowledge management framework aims to enable the organization to access, update and distribute knowledge related to the ITSM life cycle.
It allows for better handling of knowledge, reduces the chances that stakeholders try to solve problems on their own without sharing knowledge and gives the ability to control access to critical information within the organization.