Knowledge Management - Few ways to contribute

Knowledge Management has evolved as one of the most important tools for not only the companies in IT space but also companies in Pharma, BPO and Research space. According to a report released by AMR Research, U.S. companies spent $73B on knowledge management software in 2007, and spending will grow nearly 16% to an average of $1,224 per employee in 2008.
As a growing number of needs and initiatives are left unsupported by established enterprise applications, the demand for KM technologies has increased, leading to record-level activity in knowledge management; content management; navigation, search, and retrieval; and collaboration platforms.

Almost all research companies like AMR have written something or the other (like above)about the kind of investments that are going in KM applications worldwide but another area that is still relatively less researched and emphasized is the power of sharing knowledge within the organization
Traditionally, companies have been following few methods of creating, spreading and sharing knowledge and have got a decent level of success with them. I keep on getting lot of queries on how knowledge management contribution can be maximized. Also, people want to know about the different ways to jot down their contributions and what exactly should be the content structure in those different ways.
There are few traditional methods and then some of the new and more interactive methods of knowledge sharing that can help people putting in their contributions. The traditional ways are:
1. White Paper - This is the oldest and the most used form or knowledge sharing and still remains the favorite of a big number of research analysts across the world. It has its wings spread from business transformation to hardcore technology operations to research publications. The term white paper is an offshoot of the term white book, which is an official publication of US national government. A white paper is a report or guide that often addresses problems and how to solve them. White papers are used to educate readers and help people make decisions. Like all Knowledge sharing techniques, It is always a re-usable document. 2. Best Practice - The world knows that Six Sigma was devised by Motorola but GE perfected it and reaped much more benefits from it than Motorola. This is the power of best practice sharing. Best Practice asserts that there is a technique, method, process, activity, incentive or reward that is more effective at delivering a particular outcome than any other technique, method, process, etc. The idea is that with proper processes, checks, and testing, a desired outcome can be delivered with fewer problems and unforeseen complications. Best practices can also be defined as the most efficient (least amount of effort) and effective (best results) way of accomplishing a task, based on repeatable procedures that have proven themselves over time for large numbers of people. 3. Case Study - Chrysler was almost bankrupt when Lee Ioccoca revived it and the company rose to the 3rd biggest car manufacturing company among all car companies in the USA in 1960s. How could he achieve this stupendous success? What are the steps he took and what were the difficulties he conquered in his quest for reviving the company? Everybody is interested to know the details of a success story so that the learning can be applied elsewhere. This full process is called a case study. A case study might not be a complete story of a successful venture or a project but it will have the bullet points that will provide substantial knowledge about the project’s success factors. 4. Training - DocumentsTraining documents have become part and parcel of all the projects and these days these are primarily used for knowledge transfer from an outgoing member to an incoming project member. These are also used to share knowledge with other team members generally within a team/track to let them know about a latest development in process/technology. 5. Knowledge Sessions - This is actually a cusp between traditional and new methods of knowledge sharing and the reason I classified this into traditional methods is that it is very similar to the earlier seminar and presentations modes of knowledge transfer. These sessions are a great source of knowledge since the interactive mode of these sessions allow the audience to clear their doubts within the session itself, which makes these much more useful.

Some of the New Ways to Share and Spread Knowledge are:
1. Crossword - This is one of the newest and the most attractive forms of sharing and spreading knowledge that has a fun content also attached to it. Not only it excites the audiences for solving the teaser and in process getting the knowledge content into their heads but also is a payful manner for creating knowledge content. This is becoming hugley popular these days. 2. Quiz - Quiz, as we all know has the power of learning with fun and has been regarded as one of the best tools to teach and remember things. Its use in knowledge management though is quite in nascent stage still. It helps the knowledge seeker by not providing content heavy rich documents but still has the power to communicate the crux of any functionality or a concept. It also generates a competitive environment among the readers and challenges them to find the answers themselves. 3. Newsletters - A newsletter is a small piece of information that is required to be shared in a team or an organization that generates excitement about the subject. They are best used as teasers for a white paper or a best practice or a knowledge session and can be very handy or people who want to get certain insights on the subject before committing their time to the actual event. Newsletters can also be used to send frequent updates on the changes or new developments in a technology or a business so that people can leverage from the information on time. 4. Did you know statements - Another teaser that is hugely becoming popular these days is “Did you know statements” format where a less known fact or an out of box thinking idea or an efficiency improvement tip is shared with the audience. This became a quick hit in small time and helps generate interest in a topic or subject. A series of these statements can also be used to share knowledge in one or other areas.

With the increasing focus on KM, the list is ever increasing. The next wave after KM content creation is to store and search relevant content within a repository which will actually realize the potential of KM fully and I will not be surprised to see specific products coming in market from companies like google or microsoft where they offer search engines that can sit on companies KM data and help retrieving relevant content for reusing it.


  1. any clues how we can measure the quantified benefit of km. please give some pointers.

  2. Take the case of IT services - A custom code developed for a customer took, say, 40 person hours to complete and test. If this code is stored in the KM repository and a process is defined in the org for looking at the KM repository before going to develop codes for any customer, then this code can be fully or partially utilized for the other customer and the org will have the potential to save upto 90% of the person hours deployed for first instance of code development. Similarly, it is valid for manufacturing, trading, retailing or any other business

  3. So is your company passing on the 90% cost saving to the customer. If 90% has been ahieved by your company, I think it os path breaking, because even the biggies like Infosys or Oracle do not claim that much.


Your thoughts are welcome