Problem Areas of Knowledge
Loss and Knowledge Retention
If you study the problem areas
which are to be solved using knowledge management solutions,
loss of critical knowledge has been recognized as one of the
central problems in an organization. One can really comprehend
it, if one understands that knowledge and expertise once acquired
do not necessarily remain at the disposal of organizations
for all times to come. For this reason knowledge retention
has won in stature and meaning in the recent past and is frequently
leading to concrete projects in organizations. Knowledge collected
over the years can be lost through a mere unnecessary reorganization
or with the merger of different companies. Other circumstances
such as job cuts, attrition, force the organizations to respond
to impending knowledge loss. Otherwise it could lead to a
collective loss of knowledge. Also the events like 9 / 11,
where the whole teams or departments with their valuable knowledge
were destroyed, make organizations more sensitive to the problem
of knowledge loss. Retention of competencies and documents
though require a more systematical management of knowledge,
where adequate methods are used to bring the critical retained
knowledge back into the organization.
Employees often use their precious
time, which they require to fulfill their job requirements,
for a futile search of knowledge. The required knowledge is
somewhere in the organization but is not available when needed.
Studies show that with the implementation of knowledge management
solution, the productivity can be increased by 30 %.
Examples of missing Knowledge
- A number of employees, groups
or departments in an organization work on similar problems.
They do not know about the activities and expertise of the
others. Result: Duplicate work.
- One team has developed an
extremely efficient system to solve their problems. Other
employees in the same organization could profit from their
method. However, there is no official policy to transfer
this knowledge. Result: Knowledge cannot be used and
will be forgotten in a short period.
- An employee tries to negotiate
a business transaction with a customer. But the deal does
not come through. The report usually mentions that the transaction
has fallen through. The reasons for this failure are not
always documented and communicated. Result: Other employees
do not learn from this experience.
- A customer complains about
a product but also gives suggestions for its improvement.
This information is usually appreciated by the service
department or call centre, but it is seldom communicated
to the design or development departments. Result: Useful
user related knowledge cannot be utilized for product enhancement.
- A project has come to a
conclusion. The project management has all the finding and
results. But the whole business process with all the "trials
& errors", the faults, the negative results and
"lessons learned" are usually not documented.
Result: Important expertise and knowledge cannot be communicated
and transferred to other projects.
- An employee is leaving the
organization. His /her knowledge has not yet been transferred
to the others. Result: Knowledge loss. For example, personal
notes and documentation is also useless unless the others
know about it and were trained to use these.
- An employee suddenly gets
ill. He / she is the only one, who through his / her experience
know what to do when a certain machine is not properly functioning.
Result: An expensive search for that expertise and knowledge.
Six Steps to successful "Sharing and Retention"
of Knowledge using powerDOCUMENTS
1: Identification of the "real" Problem.
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