“Do we have a KMS (Knowledge Management System) in our company?” asked my accountant while completing a survey form mandated by the government. When I told her that we do, she seemed surprise. “I thought we only implemented CRM (Customer Relationship Management)?” she stressed. Nonchalantly, I challenged her, “How do you define Knowledge Management System then?” She replied, “According to the form, KMS is a system that manages information/knowledge in organizations.”
“That exactly defines what our system is doing now,” I told her.
When we built a website for FingerTec many years ago, we already equipped it with all the KMS features. The knowledge accumulates over the years, allowing renewals of some outdated materials, covering almost every aspect of the business; constant sharing among the staff and customers according to the level of accessibility, and it is indeed the hub for our daily operations. Our sales, technical support, brand building, admin & accounts, and R&D teams are constantly contributing their knowledge towards the system besides their daily duty whether they realize it or not.
In fact, knowledge is derived from processed information that originated from analytical data. Every organization produces knowledge, along with the products and services that they market to customers. Knowledge helps organizations to invent products or deliver services. Even in a trading company, product is a matter of transferring the goods from a supplier to a customer. Still, there must be some valuable knowledge in the supply-chain from the mere transfer process of goods. To remain competitive, it depends on how well you manage knowledge, and maintain a system that encourages renewable knowledge, and sharing of information.
Without knowledge management, the wastage of knowledge is high. For example, if a technical solution is not documented and shared, it needs to be repeated, and the answers would be most likely inconsistent the next time it’s presented.
Knowledge flow in organizations can be described using APQC’s Knowledge Flow Process that shown below. And now, since we are living in the age of digital technology, with reduce usage of papers, the knowledge flow cycle has been smoothened ever since, but in an invisible way.
Knowledge now, is easier to transfer and share. And the knowledge sharing is always associated with informal learning. Our website, as a digital hub, also serves as a self-service library, as a means to develop social networking, nurture new knowledge, stimulate innovation, or share tacit knowledge within and between individuals or organizations. And knowledge, in general, produces wiser individuals and organizations.
Dr. Hewig Rollett, the knowledge management guru said, the increasing complexity of both the environment in which companies operate and of their internal workings, combined with the speed demanded from them, the pressure for innovation, and the scarcity of attention as the ultimate limited resource, make knowledge central to business success today. Knowledge is now seen as a factor of production not only at par with land, labor, and capital, but surpassing them in importance.
To us, knowledge management has always been an integral part of what we do.
by Teh Hon Seng, CEO, FingerTec HQ