Knowledge Management – Building a Global System

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Sharing insights and learning amongst dispersed groups of professionals can yield great benefits in terms of customer satisfaction, speed of solution delivery and overall organisational costs. Whilst such groups may share knowledge informally they may not know how to get the support of the organisation in setting up a knowledge management system (KMS).

I was hired to assist a global project team implement a KMS for a technical consultancy group in a very large systems integrator. I was employed for my strategic and systems thinking skills and as the project manager and facilitator for the team. Most of the team were technology employees, I was the business specialist providing an external and business perspective

Team members worked from their base offices in US and Australasia. Much of the co-ordination work was done by teleconferencing, usually once a week, but crucially there were workshops when most of the team met for two or three days, requiring international travel for many in the team. They were conducted at the project initiation and at phase completion/next phase initiation points. Those meetings were essential to establish a common understanding and direction

I synthesized and presented learned KM wisdom to the core project team. This ensured that thinking was raised from the information system level to a level at which concepts such as ‘tacit knowledge’, ‘community of practice’, ‘IP’ (Intellectual Property) and value to external clients were adopted.

The team worked on multiple workstreams, developing the KM portal and information system, the community structure, the career paths and training requirements, business processes, contact lists and case histories, leadership responsibilities and culture, and other components of the KM business system. A communications program was implemented across all activities. Feedback was invited and progress communicated as early as possible so stakeholders felt they were ‘in the loop’.

Marketing of the KM system to corporate leaders in US, then out to regional executives, whilst marketing directly to local business leaders created a communications pincer movement. All the time, emphasis was on value to clients, which ensured strategic alignment with, and support for, corporate goals.

After 6 months the project was completed, and the operational system was handed over to an operations group for on-going co-ordination.

Managed communications were absolutely key to success. A small team was able to effectively market to a global organization, by direct marketing to the key stakeholders.

KM is really about people and sharing, any technology that is used is just a tool. Stratege can help you unlock the value of the knowledge inside your organisation.

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