As part of the CTI blog series “knowledge management via process management”, we introduce Probst’s building block model and report on our experiences with the individual building blocks of
knowledge identification, knowledge acquisition, knowledge development, knowledge distribution (knowledge transfer), knowledge use and knowledge preservation based on practical use cases from our consulting practice. This article on knowledge identification is the second article in this series.
Identifying knowledge is intended to make the organization’s knowledge base visible and explicit. In this way, the knowledge available both internally and externally should be made transparent to the organization’s participants and an overview of the company’s knowledge base should be created.
A critical point in knowledge identification is the differentiation between relevant and irrelevant knowledge so that the artificial knowledge repositories in the form of databases, for example, remain clear, structured and therefore usable. Poorly structured databases can increase the opportunity costs for employees, as it takes them a long time to find the relevant knowledge they need. This can severely limit the practicability of artificial knowledge repositories.
A typical use case for knowledge identification
The following practical example illustrates the scenarios in which knowledge identification creates added value and the problems that can arise if you are not aware of the knowledge base in your organization.
A group with a brand structure would like to centralize its SAP services more strongly in the future, but initially has no overview of which services are currently being used by which brand. As a result, transparency is to be created about the services already provided so that synergy effects can be exploited and the services that are already used in several group brands can be used company-wide. Furthermore, the Group brands that are already leaders in certain areas and provide high-quality services should set up a competence center for these services and thus make their knowledge and expertise available to the other Group brands. In addition, a wiki is to be enriched with knowledge, contacts and service descriptions relevant to the services and made available company-wide. The result of such a project is a considerable reduction in costs through the use of the synergy potential described above. The use of the knowledge already available in the company – up to that point, however, only in individual brands – which is made transparent, reusable and available in a central collection point, forms a central point of contact for further projects and services. This means that the individual brands do not have to acquire this knowledge from scratch, but instead obtain it from a wiki enriched with the necessary information.
Knowledge identification through process management
In order to counteract the risk of unstructured databases, an evaluation of existing knowledge should be carried out in order to decide which knowledge should be formalized. Centralized process management in the company can be a good starting point for both the evaluation and the assessment of knowledge. By recording processes in the form of interviews with the process owners and knowledge carriers involved, including the subsequent modeling, knowledge can be made visible and transparent and knowledge gaps can be identified. Furthermore, the business processes provide a good basis for distinguishing relevant knowledge from irrelevant knowledge. It should be critically questioned which knowledge is actually needed and actually available so that the processes can run smoothly and at which points or to which organizational units the knowledge must be made available. This optimizes planning and the use of resources.
Process management also generates an overview of the company’s knowledge base. In addition, the creation of wikis or expert directories is a good way of structuring and documenting knowledge that was previously not made visible. This creates transparency with regard to knowledge and knowledge carriers, which saves time in the application of knowledge. On the other hand, the identification of knowledge gaps can lead to new knowledge being acquired or developed in a more targeted manner, which is also associated with a reduction in costs and effort.
CTI CONSULTING supports you in identifying, developing, acquiring, distributing, utilizing and preserving your company-specific knowledge. Through the interdisciplinary collaboration of different skills, we achieve the ideal balance for you between schedule, budget and a sustainable target architecture.
In addition, CTI CONSULTING offers you comprehensive knowledge in the field of process management and can support you in the various stages of setting up process management. CTI CONSULTING accompanies you from process mapping, modeling and evaluation of your business processes to implementation. We always aim to support the establishment of process management by linking it with various knowledge management measures, thus ensuring that your knowledge is available within the company regardless of who is involved.
Read the other blog articles on this topic here.