The Knowledge Park

CIOL Bureau
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Knowledge Management (KM) is one of the business applications of

IT that has long been touted as a panacea for sustained organizational growth.

However, barring a few notable examples, not many organizations have been able

to transform knowledge into quantifiable efficiency units-much less into

economic units (rupees earned or saved). The main reason, often cited by the

critics of knowledge management critics, is its long gestation period and the

lack of rigid deployment frameworks. That suggests that either the initiative

fizzles out during deployment stage or leads to unexpected results.


In the Indian context, these success stories are few, if any,

primarily because of the resource crunch and the senior management's

low-priority treatment for knowledge management initiatives. Moreover, Indian

managers need knowledge management solutions to deliver instant results, or at

least some results in short term.

In our book e-Learning: An Expression of the Knowledge

Economy one of the uses of e-Learning propounded was a co-joint architecture of

e-Learning and e-Knowledge. Accordingly, to keep the employees and the customer

constantly on the learning curve, organizations must have a well-defined

architecture to handle skill-related learning and current business knowledge. As

the architecture consists of both knowledge and learning, we called it the

e-Learning and e-Knowledge architecture (see figure 'e-Learning and e-Knowledge



e-Learning and e-Knowledge architecture consist of two

the skill side and the business side. While the skill side of the

architecture is focused on a learning domain based on the individual needs, the

business side is oriented towards application of the learning based on

organizational needs. At the time of developing the architecture, we did not

realize that the same architecture could be scaled up over the years into a

knowledge management framework.

Over the last couple of years, we have realized how such a model

(see figure 'e-Learning and e-Knowledge Architecture) could be useful for the

managers to purchase instant gratification and push the organization towards a

compelling and comprehensive knowledge management system, in a step-wise


Knowledge Co-creation

Like the first step of a child, the first words it spoke, these are some of

the events that are recorded, primarily because of the emotional value they

carry. Organizations also realize that every time they take a new step or do

something different, they could record it for further improvement. So, next

time, if they were to do something similar, the previous experiences can be used

to improve and enhance the results.


Some of the examples include launch of new product across

distributed regions that might require training of staff and continuous transfer

of knowledge from the head office to nodal points (for example, distributors,

retailers). Using a learning-based knowledge management system, the organization

can train the employees and dealer partners, and support them through the launch

cycle. The support could include answering questions on unique issues not

covered in the formal communication or training, or handling an exceptional

issue. If the organization plans to introduce the same product in different

markets, for example, the learning from the previous launch can be codified as

knowledge and applied to subsequent events.

Obviously, all knowledge may not be useful immediately, or

perhaps not useful at all. Therefore, to some extent, organizations need to

invest in archiving the knowledge and reducing the information overload. Thus,

it makes sense to use IT tools to capture the experience of each event, and

abstract them. This cycle-recycle process enables organization to re-use the

knowledge (see figure 'Feeding on The Past').


The impact can be traced back to quantifiable measures, such as

a reduction in errors, an improvement in production efficiencies, a

specialization in specific activities, multi-tasking and brand image. All of

these work in isolation as well as in tandem with each other. While you can

target specific areas to get visible results, other areas can be simultaneously

improved upon. For example, a reduction in number of errors has a direct impact

on the productivity. And in the same way, efficient production methods will lead

to reduction of bugs. These acquisition and dissemination of knowledge will lead

to improvement in specific areas, while people can learn from the experiences of

other functions and become multi-skilled.

Thus, with technology becoming more reliable and more people and

organizations jumping on the bandwagon of information technology and Internet,

knowledge management should be on everyone's agenda so that knowledge sharing

and co-creation becomes a part of the organizational system. And more so when

skilled and knowledgeable workforce in one reason why India is considered a

preferred outsourcing destination.

Gaurav Chadha and Nafay Kumail

Gaurav Chadha is a business manager at Knowledge Solutions Business at NIIT and
Nafay Kumail is head for Processes and Systems at Training Solutions Group,

Infopro India.