Is there a gain to structure documentation and knowledge gathering?
In most companies, there is simply no structured documentation and knowledge management practices. And in the many case, people use the phone around the company or friends who might know.
Is there a company that tried to gather the value of knowledge ?
Which tools and activities were used for managing tacit knowledge and explicit knowledge?
A lot of companies have tried to capture knowledge of their business. A lot have failed, why? Until today having information was the rule to retain some power. With internet revolution and web 2.0, the time are changing, having one piece of information is not anymore a profitable benefit for companies. Today value is created from confrontation of ideas, collaboration, having trusted sources of information and being able to find the right information at the right time and be faster than competition. I propose to check a case from Tata consulting Services which is a good case which shows what can practically be done in knowledge management.
Tata Consulting Services Case study
Analysis of the knowledge management at TCS using the knowledge management value chain model.
The knowledge value consists of the following steps:
Knowledge creation and processing
Having a huge number of consultants among many countries is a factor of complexity in knowledge management because knowledge depends on cultures and his situational.
TCS has started an acquisition phase with explicit knowledge in three phases:
-TCS has created communities of practices (CoPs) with an animator expert in an area of knowledge to gather best practice on different area of expertise using business case documenting problem and solution.
-Then TCS tried to capture technology, processes and case studies called Process Asset Libraries. So their intent was more on capturing structure data in the first wave.
-In the implementation of Ultimatix, TCS tried to use captures of intelligent technics or knowledge work system meaning knowledge tools like wizard, templates for software productivity improvement, knowledge training modules and information on tools.
TCS knowledge management stores:
-Business cases with solutions. For example on mainframe around 1500 business cases.
-Process Asset library permit exchanges of around 10000 documents on industry practices and 21000 services practices in six month during 2003.
-Line of businesses, line of technology, and projects
TCS has disseminated knowledge by:
-Customizing for each are of practice/technology, customer and industries.
-Creating an initial training program and a continuous learning program for experience employees based on role and competence definition.
-Encouraging people to move and go outside TCS to learn and bring back knowledge.
-Using information letter per expert area and tip of day are used.
To acquire and disseminate more tacit knowledge, TCS started to use:
LiveMeeting sessions during project for status meeting and after project lesson learned are recorded in the knowledge database. In 2007, it has been obvious that is still a lot of tacit knowledge which can not simply digitize. It has been to take a people centric approach through collaboration with specific tools from videoconferencing, instant messaging, VOIP, collaboration portals, presence awareness, blogs, wikis, internet specific task or personal sites. It result in travel costs and telecommunications costs cuts but also to better communication thus a dissemination of knowledge.
TCS has used to apply knowledge:
-To create business related document. It can be retrieved by searching similar business case.
-To innovate and decide with a tool called TIP and IdeaStorm. The IdeaStorm process is in three steps one idea / question are submitted, people can brain storm on it and after vote.
-Just ask process to get direct access to experts
TCS has various Portals which permit a uniform access to knowledge. It can be accessed through queries or using taxonomies created by CoPs.
Lotus notes is a well-known messaging tools. It also provides collaboration tools and knowledge databases.
IBM Lotus Sametime is a client–server application on windows server 2003 and middleware platform that provides real-time, unified communications and collaboration for enterprises. It has following functions presence information, enterprise instant messaging, web conferencing, community collaboration, and telephony capabilities and integration on BlackBerry (RIM).
IBM Lotus QuickPlace is a proprietary Web-based collaborative software application. Lotus QuickPlace is a self-service for non-technical users to easily create a browser-accessible Web workspace to support a task, project, or initiative with the ease of adding material in the way of a wiki. It integrates with IBM Lotus Sametime providing presence awareness of other users online and available for conferencing. This tools permits easily to exchange information on project, technology, pre-sales preparations.
Lotus domino collaboration tools can provide multiple services.It is an alternative to MS Outlook.
The core services include:
- ·Email server (supporting Lotus Notes, POP3, IMAP, web browser and Outlook clients and SMTP support)
- ·Applications server (the Lotus Notes client provides the runtime)
- ·Web server (Lotus Notes data or other surfaced via a web browser)
- ·Database server (Notes Storage Facility)
- ·Directory server (LDAP)
Add-ins to the Lotus Domino server can provide the following details:
- ·Data integration (LEI)
- ·Instant messaging and Web conferencing (IBM Sametime)
- ·Document management (Domino Document Manager)
- ·Collaboration space (Domino Quickplace)
- ·Mobile application server (Domino Everyplace)
- ·Mobile « Push » synchronization to Handheld devices (Lotus Notes Traveler)
Avaya VOIP and Polycom IP conferencing are companies that provide best in class IP phoning and conferencing tools.
How did the growth of knowledge management systems at TCS helped in its business?
It permitted to capture all explicit knowledge. Today, they have an IT history and experience memory for 20 years. Also using a people centric approach, they reach to disseminate tacit knowledge among their employees with a better communication. At last using collaboration tools served to create emulation among employees. One key of getting returns on investment on IT investment is users training (Ref. Business Information Systems Paul Bocij Andrew Greasly Simon Hickie).
JustAsk permits to reach experts easily. It is doing a link between employee who search and employee who know. Blog is quick and easy, inexpensive setup provides easy access. It is adequate for news or list oriented items. It is search engine friendly and appears accessible to employees. The employee doing the blog appears authoritative. It creates also brand awareness, permits relationship building, gain an insight into employees.
Employees can use My Site to create sites integrated in the internal IT infrastructure for more complex web presentation. At last, blog permit to reduce number of calls and emails which increase employee efficiency. IdeaStorm and TIP permits to check new ideas/questions a large number of employees, brainstorm and structure return.
How do you think KM tools have changed some key operational processes at TCS, such as bidding for new projects, project development and implementation, customer service, and so on?
TCS core business is to produce project in India to be delivered all around the world. TCS processes have been simplified and communication has been streamed with those KM tools.
Three bricks are missing for a 100% effective knowledge sharing:
-The collaboration inside a document. For example, during an offering, it is frequent that many people are working on the same document.
-The search engine technology. Having Tera’s of document emphasize the need to have a good search engine in order to find relevant document.
-The document life-cycle would permit to exclude outdated document.