Knowledge Management System & MIS

A successful organization strives to attain Critical Cutting Edge Knowledge in its domain which gives it advantage over competitors and is vital for its long term success. Knowledge Management has developed as a strategic domain in dealing with creation, storage & application of critical knowledge applicable to an organization. 

Critical knowledge is increasingly being recognized as a key strategic input for competitive edge. Knowledge Management leads to a constant learning process & improvement to make organization as a whole more productive & creative.

An organization can be lacking in critical knowledge when it is not able to innovate at a faster pace or when its relations with customer fail to improve. Knowledge management is integrally linked with competency creation as well as business intelligence. It is an essential input to achievement of overall business mission & objectives.

Knowledge Management is a Key Corporate Governance objective. This involves following steps:

  • Knowledge Management Officer (KMO) appointment to lead the KM effort.
  • Knowledge Management Group to support KMO in designing and implementing KM framework.
  • Critical Knowledge Identification as applicable to company and its different business units and functions.
  • Knowledge Gaps Identification: Knowledge required to solve critical problems of organization.
  • Macro Environment Analysis System for collection of External Knowledge from sources such as News Letters, Govt. Notifications, Court Case Laws, Conferences etc.
  • Internal Knowledge Collection System to record critical information generated in form of Flow Charts, Learning Experiences etc.
  • Critical Research & Development Framework
  • Environment Feedback System to collect feedback from customers, vendors, visitors, bankers and wider environment.
  • Creativity Management Policy to develop highly creative company. 
  • Knowledge Preservation System: Technology & systems for storage & processing of this information
  • Knowledge Protection System.
  • Knowledge Culture Development: Developing an organizational culture where knowledge is treated as a valuable asset. 
  • Knowledge Management MIS: Feedback & follow up system to check effectiveness of knowledge management system. 

CSM Strategy Approach to Knowledge Management

The CSM Strategy approach to knowledge management is outlined below:

1.  Appointment of Knowledge Management Officer (KMO): A Knowledge Management Officer (KMO) shall lead the efforts to design and implement Knowledge Management Framework of organization. KMO should be person of high analytic abilities with a grasp of vision of company and industry as a whole. He may not be a person from industry but he should have sound experience of KM function.

2.  Knowledge Management Group: Knowledge Management Group shall be the support group to help KMO design and implement KM framework. It should have ideally executives from different units and functions. KM group should have persons who has time and inclination to spread KM culture in organization.KM group should meet periodically, may be once a month. The group should keep in contact by forming a communication group for sharing mails and views.

3.  Critical Knowledge Identification: Knowledge Management is practical when it focuses on knowledge which is critical and useful. It is futile to create & store knowledge & information’s if it cannot be used. Company should identify critical knowledge factors for different functions and units. This list can be quite vast and include factors such as Industry demand, competitor news, new products launch, new technology, Govt. Policies, Labor Laws, Taxation laws, environment risks etc. 

4.  Knowledge Gaps Identification: Company should make an inventory of problems of its own business as well as industry as a whole. As a strategy , company shall work towards core bottlenecks of market & operations. Every bottleneck is associated with a particular knowledge gap to be filled. It is this gap which has to be identified & knowledge has to be created for this.

5.  Macro Environment Knowledge & Analysis: The company should have a Macro Environment Analysis System which involves identification of critical macro factors which can affect company, identification of sources which provide such information and system for collection & analysis. External Information comes from inputs from macro environment, training program as well as publications. It also comes from interaction with various Govt. agencies and trade bodies. 

6.  Internal Knowledge Collection: A company generates substantial information internally which comes from experiences of doing business. The company should create an appropriate system for collection & development of this knowledge. Internal Knowledge is coming from experiences in form of flow charts & written reports as well as from an effective MIS to gather inputs & analyze to find critical gaps. The company should initiate a learning process in all its operations. As far as possible flow charts, checklists & written reports should be made for each function & process. 

Flow Charts if properly maintained shall keep on improving from experiences & ideas. This should be preserved and can become a reference for future workers executing that operation. This should extend from process in shop floor to all service functions like accounting. This should also involve flow charts for important decisions taken at different level of management. This knowledge comes out of actual experiences & hence is valuable.

7.  External Feedback System: System should also be created for collection of views & opinions of external agencies. The company should have a policy of asking its executives to file a Monthly Feedback Report on their interactions with external agencies. Company can also integrate security function with social feedback system. The gate register should be supplemented with social feedback register incorporating opinions, suggestions & views from people visiting company. 

8. Creativity Management Policy: This company should to have a sound Creativity Management Policy. This involves providing adequate platforms to generate peak creativity in every individual & organization as a whole. Further company also has to develop cross functional teams to create knowledge for complex problems which requires integration of various functions. 

An organization with high level of creativity & focus leads to constant flow of practical ideas and latest information in company. Hence company shall always have an edge over its competitors even if some of this information is leaked out. 

One additional advantage is that it shall reinforce image of company as a highly creative organization in industry which shall result in  additional benefits like: attracting more information, brighter employees and better brand equity. The company shall thus become an information junction for industry.

9.  Research & Development: Every company must have a Research & Development budget to work pointedly on specific issues and problems facing company. Objectives of R&D should be linked to Core Bottlenecks and Problems of company. R&D cost is not a waste but investment in future for organization. 

10. Storage of Information: Knowledge Management system also involves creating system for proper storage & retrieval of critical knowledge. This requires providing for technology & space along with system for protection. This should also involve policy for destroying information when it is not needed. 

11. Knowledge Protection System: System has to be made for protection of critical information. While doing this, one has to see whether information is really secret. Too much secrecy is harmful for organization which should be avoided. 

The strategic approach to Knowledge Protection is to focus on knowledge which is really critical and requires protection. In present age of information era, most of information is not confidential. With advent of Internet most of information is freely available.

However, there is certain knowledge which really gives the company a critical edge over its competitors. It should focus on protecting this knowledge. A hard look needs to be given whether it is really that confidential. This means focus has to be made on really critical & secret information.

 The Threat Analysis has to be on following lines 

  • What are sources of threat of leakage of this information?
  •  Which of these sources present maximum threat?
  •  What are strongest motives of this threat source?

Once this information is peeled over, company shall focus its energies on protecting this information. Further the company shall have a backup strategy – what to do in case the information is leaked in spite of precautions?

12. Knowledge Management MIS & Feedback System: Knowledge Management Officer (KMO) should develop a Quarterly MIS on KM function to KM group and Management Committee. This should include factors such as Implementation of different measures, Quality suggestions and feedback received, Costs incurred, Knowledge security audit, Benefits received from KM framework etc.

13. Knowledge Management Culture: The key to KM framework is to develop a culture in which knowledge is considered a valuable asset which has to be cultivated, preserved and used judiciously. Developing culture is a key strategic function of corporate governance and is discussed separately. 

Knowledge Management is a dynamic function involving system for collecting & analyzing information from internal as well as external environment. If handled properly can lead to long term changes in organizational productivity, creativity & competitiveness.


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PS: The article is part of publication “Strategic MIS” by author. Detailed formats are provided in manual. More information about Strategic MIS Manual can be downloaded from following link:

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