How to evaluate a Management Information System to manage knowledge?
In this post we address the information issue facing Knowledge Management. Because of complexity, the importance for the organizational knowledge management and by the resources and skills required to manage information, technology and communications, we present the article in 3 parts, deepening from the conceptual and general to the functional and pragmatic, with in order to offer a wide vision to implement knowledge management in an organization and to define the computed information system to support this objective.
KNOWLEDGE AND INFORMATION
Knowledge is intimately linked to the existence and coexistence, to survival in the human and social context. Individuals use it to understand their own world; organizations use knowledge to fulfill their purposes.
At the individual level knowledge is acquired by neural via, instinctive, emotional and rational, through communication, reflection and memorization, acceptance, doubt or rejection. It’s a brain process that involved senses and highlights human qualities such as intuition, perception, creativity, talent and skills, under the cultural influence of customs, practices, beliefs and ways of transmission of knowledge in society.
Also through the information.
Information IS NOT knowledge. It is formed by data of various kinds: physical and ethereal, qualitative and quantitative, which facilitate the knowledge processes derived from conceptualization, vision and discernment of human beings that process information flows versus a matter of interest, single or collective.
Computer systems require economic, technological and human resources for evaluation, installation, management and development; they are increasingly used in modern companies and is useful to facilitate knowledge management.
Organizational Knowledge is structured: strategic, technical, practical and functional. Social Knowledge is human natured and is closely linked to organizational knowledge through people interacting in production and communities processes, linked to the organization.
The today organizational environment is complex, hyper-informed, immersed in a continuous change process, governed by objectives, business units, teams, processes, activities, tasks, responsibilities, policies, standards, procedures, machines, applications, tools, social networks and other systems, of different types.
Knowledge management is a process of continuous learning and improvement for knowledge generation, organization, transfering and application.
Medullary involves the whole organization. It supports the strategic and quality objectives; includes Organizational Knowledge Management and Social Knowledge Management. It’s desirable to develop an explicit Knolwdege Management proposal, involving people, production processes and technology, faced to the knowledge processes.
Since it is an endless process, to develope it requires to strength the leadership and innovation organization culture, integrating corporate and learning strategy, error handling, knowledge research and sharing information, as neural organization elements.
INFORMATIC MANAGEMENT AND KNOWLEDGE MANAGEMENT
A computered Knowledge Management system is part of a Information Management System -IMS, which incorporates a set of modules and applications to automate and computerize processes, best practices or standards in the organization.
The process logic emphasizes “who does what, to achieve the desired result“, a concept which normally constitutes the starting point in Knowledge Management Software, to integrate information, processes, people, technology and to cross data with other modules of corporate IMS.
The selection of the computer tool to support knowledge management is a complex issue that involves technological, human and economic resources, and must be adapted to the requirements of short and medium term the organization. It is an acute decision that must be evaluated under different points of view:
- Maturity of the organization for Informatic management.
- Software features.
- Manufacturer’s value proposition.
- Custom development.
- Software value and utility.
- Consulting and Support.
- MATURITY OF THE ORGANIZATION FOR INFORMATIC MANAGEMENT
The maturity of the organization for Knowledge Management is the turning point to evaluate the first instance of the decision. In this light it is desirable to have:
- The state of knowledge management in the organization.
- An involving people explicit Knowledge Management Proposal,
- The IMS faced to the Information Knowlede Management System -IKMS
- Corporate Support.
Installing the IKMS does not mean to implant the Knowledge Management Process. Previously we must know necessary conditions to introduce it successfully, and to avoid costly, economic and motivating people mistakes.
The first is to know the cohesiveness of the organization faced to knowledge management processes, which is obtained through the diagnosis, which presents the current KM status and generates recommendations for the Strategic Knowledge Management Proposal, which must be explicit and include Stakeholders. IMS Diagnosis must be done in a separated stage.
The Knowledge Management software should not be an island in the IMS. On the other hand its introduction should not affect the installed system and in its development, we will need to interact with other data in the IMS. This scheme must be previously evaluated to understand the whole system and their inter-relationships to establish the requirements for new software.
The success of a program of this nature depends on the Corporate Support, at the highest level, and obviously on the resources required for introduction and development. Integration of Knowledge Management in the new ISO quality standard 9011: 2015 recognizes its importance and encourages leaders and managers to the strong implementation of a knowledge management process in their organizations.
In the next post we will develop point 2. Software features.
1 See KMi©evolution – Integral Knowledge Management
2 ISO 9000 defines Process as “The set of interrelated activities that interact and transforms inputs into outputs”.