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Knowledge Management Consulting

What is "Knowledge Management" in business ?

Pinoak Consulting's definition of "knowledge management" in business is;

“Knowledge Management” (KM) is the practice of explicitly managing an organization's valuable knowledge assets and best practices. Knowledge assets and best practices consist of valuable knowledge about all aspects of the organization's business, including products, processes, services and customers. Knowledge assets have a complex usage cycle, since knowledge is SOURCED or CREATED, VALIDATED, STORED, USED, CONTINUOUSLY IMPROVED, (INCREMENTAL or RADICAL INNOVATION) TRANSFERRED or DISCARDED. KM is the management of each stage in the cycle. (see diagram below)

In KM it is usual to distinguish three different fields; (1) The valuable knowledge involved in the creation and implementation of Business Strategy. The KM challenge here is to create and implement a better strategy than those of your competitors; (2) The valuable knowledge involved in the creation and manufacture of Products or that involved in the creation and delivery of Services. This includes managing knowledge of your Customers and the knowledge required for Marketing, Sales and Distribution. The KM challenge here is to innovate faster and better than the competitors; (3) In the third field KM is about managing the best practices or best processes involved in business support services such as Human Resources, Finance, Information Technology and Infrastructure. The KM challenge here is either to create or to follow international best practices.

All three fields require that your knowledge workers are efficient. They have to acquire, validate and apply knowledge more efficiently and effectively than the competitors do. This is where After Action Reviews, Communities of Practice, and many of the other tools of knowledge sharing are most evident. It is also the field most discussed by popular books on KM. The knowledge efficiency of knowledge workers is a basic concern of the education development and training function. Knowledge management is by its nature closely linked to learning as it requires that the skills and competencies of your staff must be managed to support the use of your best practices and best processes. A major aspect of knowledge worker efficiency is about setting the standard for, or sharing international best practices.

Copyright 2004

Knowledge Management is deliberately treating business knowledge with the same managerial seriousness that is applied to managing strategy, finance, human resources, infrastructure and I.T. in order to achieve competitive advantage. The place where you do Knowledge Management is with those practices and processes in your business where you add value — your products or services and customers. One of the basic things which knowledge management does is to bring people, processes and technology together around really valuable, competitive edge giving, knowledge.

The point of effective knowledge management is that it enables an organization's knowledge assets to be optimally leveraged to maximize stakeholder value. In the new knowledge economy an organisation’s knowledge assets cannot be optimally leveraged if you manage finance, human resources, land, infrastructure and I.T. but do not manage your most valuable resource which is knowledge.

Pinoak Consulting can assist you or your organisation with:

  • Best practice for managing the use of valuable competitive edge giving knowledge which is vital for for making better decisions, repeating your successes and avoiding the same mistakes more than once
  • Knowing what your competitors are doing around managing best practices and knowledge assets to gain competitive advantage and to increase shareholder value
  • Knowing what all the latest (internationally benchmarked) knowledge management TOOLS and RESOURCES are which are being used by FORTUNE 500 companies
  • A knowledge management strategy (practical and cost effective) which allows you to tap into what your organization knows and needs to know in order to deliver outstanding business results
  • Doing a knowledge management needs analysis or knowledge audit to establish how well your knowledge assets or best practices are being managed
  • The creation of "knowledge assets" or the introduction of the use of "best practice" methods to store and share knowledge in an area, section or programme. This will include international best practice about how to document, protect, store, benchmark, transfer and continuously improve "best practices" and "knowledge assets."
  • Developing the means to both protect and make available the personal knowledge of best practices of your high fliers and those with valuable experience in your organization, especially during times of rapid change
  • Knowing how well you are doing in using knowledge effectively to shape the design and implementation of your business strategies
  • Designing and producing a short practical manual which sets out in a step by step way the actions, tools and techniques of knowledge management. This manual could be distributed in hard copy or electronic format to all knowledge officers and knowledge management champions and to all staff in selected programmes or sections or areas where knowledge management is to be implemented
  • Best practices to review meetings and new learnings from a knowledge management perspective
  • Putting clearly defined knowledge management measures and standards in place
  • Providing documents and slide shows for use in raising awareness about knowledge management and its benefits
  • Suggesting content and learning outcomes for workshops, conferences and presentations

We have first-class international experience in delivering the above mentioned services. We can deliver these internationally benchmarked services at a reasonable cost

  • Pinoak Consulting is one of the most experienced knowledge management and learning strategy consultancies in Southern Africa. We have consulted to leading Fortune 500 companies in the United Kingdom and many of Southern Africa’s leading companies including the Toyota Academy ( a Division of Toyota South African Manufacturing);Anglo Platinum, Nedcor, Old Mutual, Standard Bank, British Airways, Chevron Texaco, Lonmin Platinum as well as to the Gauteng Provincial Government and NGO’s in the Western Cape. Two of our most recent contracts have involved designing an academy for Hollard Insurance, and providing a knowledge management strategy for the Department of Economic Development and Environmental Affairs of the Eastern Cape Province.
  • Pinoak Consulting has recently consulted to and collaborated with The Old Mutual Business School, The London Business School, U.C.T.Graduate School of Business and Pace University in New York. The work we did towards creating a learning strategy for the Old Mutual Business School received recognition from the United States based Corporate University Xchange in Paris in September 2003. Our CEO Antonia (Toni) Gillham was invited to Paris to be part of the delegation to receive an award for best corporate business school. We are confident that we know what counts as internationally benchmarked education in the field of Knowledge Management.

Some well-documented benefits of doing Knowledge Management

  • Increased innovation and speed to market
  • Reduced duplication of effort
  • Cost savings on your improved business processes and products or services
  • Minimised mistake making through less trial and error
  • A focus on benchmarked (international or regional)best practices means you can practice incremental innovation by managing continuous improvement
  • Your documented best practices are available to those who need them 24/7. In a knowledge management culture the valuable knowledge in best practices is not only stored in people's heads, it is also stored so that those who need to use it can get at it (at any time)without asking someone. This saves time and money.
  • Your best practices stay in your organisation when your high fliers who brought them into the organisation leave
  • Focus on best practices ensures that everyone does the same thing in similar circumstances guaranteeing consistency and quality
  • Having best practices documented and available for those who need them means you don't have to keep on reinventing the wheel
  • Organisation wide knowledge perspectives rather than departmental ones for increased competitiveness
  • Informed, smart employees focused on high performance
  • Focus on best practices makes training easier and less expensive
  • A faster research process
  • A more innovative culture
  • Effective knowledge use enables your organization's knowledge assets and best practices to be optimally leveraged to maximize stakeholder value
  • A culture of effective knowledge use helps to ensure your stake in the future of the fast moving knowledge economy

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See our Knowledge Management Education and Training pages

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