Implementation of Knowledge Management. Roadmap and Steps

Knowledge and Intangibles Management


Best Practices
Belay Gezahegn
Director, Ethiopia

Implementation of Knowledge Management. Roadmap and Steps

Why Knowledge Management (KM) Matters

Firms do not only compete to sell their product, but also to acquire the best resources/inputs. One of these resources is the acquisition of skilled labour.
Labour is a resource that has the capacity to make a difference in any organisation. On the other hand, its mobility also makes it possible that companies lose their competitive advantage to competitors very easily and of course also death, retirement and other factors are beyond human control.
Because of the above, it is crucial to capture knowledge, so that skills and knowledge are retained and can be transferred to successors. However, it is difficult to capture knowledge in the brain of an employee because he may not even realize he has such knowledge, let alone be able to transfer it to another person.

How to Implement Knowledge Management?

What is then, a good methodical way to capture knowledge for companies and not to lose the resources they developed to competitors?
In my view, the IMPORTANCE of capturing knowledge has to be decided on before firms embark on the PROCESS of capturing knowledge as it is a costly process. This allows organisations to focus on and give priority to the knowledge that best contributes to achieving their vision and strategic objectives.

The 10-Step Knowledge Management Road Map (Tiwana)

More in detail, Aarit Tiwana (1999) distinguishes 4 main Phases and 10 Steps in a Knowledge Management Road Map:

Phase 1: Infrastructural Evaluation
1. ANALYZE THE EXISTING INFRASTRUCTURE: This implies that in knowledge management process you need to know what you presently have in your company. Then identify the gap by evaluating your present resource for KM and then build up on it to close the gap.
2. ALIGN KM AND BUSINESS STRATEGY: knowledge is not managed for the sake of managing it. Companies have to take into account and align their KM strategy with their business strategy

Phase 2: KM System Analysis, Design, and Development
3. DESIGN KM ARCHITECTURE: One must select the infrastructural components that constitute the KM system architecture.
4. AUDIT EXISTING KNOWLEDGE ASSETS AND SYSTEMS: It is a good thing to know the existing knowledge that an organisation owns.
5. DESIGN THE KM TEAM: Organize a team with relevant expertise to design the knowledge management system.
6. CREATE THE KM BLUEPRINT: The knowledge Management Team builds a KM blue print that provides a plan for building and incrementally improving KM system
7. DEVELOP THE KM SYSTEM: This is about putting together a working system of the KM.

Phase 3: System Deployment
8. DEPLOY USING THE RESULTS-DRIVEN INCREMENTAL METHODOLOGY. Pilot tests help to make sure that the KM systems meets the need of users.
9. MANAGE CHANGE, CULTURE AND REWARD SYSTEMS: After putting the system in place, you need your employees to use it. Your employees are not like troops they rather like volunteers. You must encourage your employees to use the system and come up with new ideas.

Phase 4: Evaluation
10. EVALUATE PERFORMANCE, MEASURE ROI AND INCREMENTALLY REFINE THE KMS: This is about computing the return on investment using the best metrics.This helps to see the impact of the KM system and lets you refine KM design through subsequent iterations". (p. 70-74).

Reference: Tiwana, Aarit (1999), "The Knowledge Management Toolkit", Prentice Hall.


N. Zaki (UITM PP), Malaysia

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