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Data

How we are putting all of our employ­ees behind your transformation

June 19, 2019

Through­out human his­to­ry peo­ple have passed their knowl­edge of crafts and trades on to appren­tices, and fam­i­ly busi­ness­es have passed on their accu­mu­lat­ed knowl­edge to the next gen­er­a­tion. How­ev­er, knowl­edge man­age­ment (KM) as we now under­stand it real­ly began to take off in the 1980 and 90s.

In a nut­shell, KM is about mak­ing the right knowl­edge avail­able to the right peo­ple when they need it. It’s about mak­ing sure that the organ­i­sa­tion can learn and then retrieve and use that knowl­edge to gain ben­e­fits and, hope­ful­ly, com­pet­i­tive advantage!

Astute CEOs recog­nised that intel­lec­tu­al prop­er­ty was a huge asset, and that, care­ful­ly cat­e­gorised, stored, made acces­si­ble and used effec­tive­ly, it could dri­ve major bot­tom line improve­ments. Man­age­ment con­sul­tan­cies, for whom knowl­edge is undoubt­ed­ly a core asset, were among the first com­pa­nies to join the rush to aggre­gate their knowl­edge. Rapid engage­ment with new infor­ma­tion tech­nol­o­gy enabled them to gain easy access to their wealth of accu­mu­lat­ed knowl­edge and dri­ve value.

Nowa­days knowl­edge man­age­ment is a famil­iar buzz term in most mid-size to large busi­ness­es, but as I have seen across a wide range of indus­tries around the world, it’s often ineffective.

In recent projects in chem­i­cal man­u­fac­tur­ing in Asia, pub­lic trans­port in New Zealand and telecom­mu­ni­ca­tions in the UK, we’ve encoun­tered sim­i­lar issues with the clients’ KM pro­grammes. These have includ­ed a lack of atten­tion to cat­e­gori­sa­tion, poor acces­si­bil­i­ty, incor­rect and miss­ing data and, cru­cial­ly, inabil­i­ty to use the huge amount of data that is avail­able to any ben­e­fi­cial effect.

Tru­ly effec­tive KM pro­vides sys­tem­at­ic man­age­ment of an organisation’s knowl­edge assets, cre­at­ing val­ue and meet­ing tac­ti­cal and strate­gic require­ments. It encom­pass­es all the ini­tia­tives, rel­e­vant process­es, strate­gies and sys­tems that sus­tain and enhance the stor­age, assess­ment, shar­ing, refine­ment and cre­ation of knowledge.
If you sus­pect you’re not get­ting knowl­edge man­age­ment right with­in your organ­i­sa­tion, it’s a good idea to go back to basics. Here are some key points to consider:

1. Where and in what forms knowl­edge exists with­in your organisation

2. How best to gen­er­ate or acquire new rel­e­vant knowledge

3. How to pro­mote a cul­ture con­ducive to learn­ing and shar­ing knowledge

4. How to make the right knowl­edge avail­able to the right peo­ple at the right time

5. How to man­age these fac­tors to enhance per­for­mance, con­sid­er­ing your organisation’s strate­gic goals and short-term oppor­tu­ni­ties and threats

Like many of our clients, a con­sult­ing company’s fore­most asset is its inher­ent knowl­edge, so of course it’s cru­cial that we make the most of it. So how have we our­selves walked the talk?

When I spoke to our Knowl­edge Man­ag­er, Rick Smith, he con­firmed that our dynam­ic KM infra­struc­ture, sup­port­ed by our cul­ture of knowl­edge shar­ing, is cru­cial to deliv­er­ing the high­est lev­el of con­sult­ing ser­vices to our clients. He explained that when he joined Renoir in 2011, while our intranet had some good fea­tures to work with, its func­tion­al­i­ty was insuf­fi­cient, out­dat­ed and unin­tu­itive. It also wasn’t eas­i­ly scal­able. These down­sides vast­ly out­weighed the positives.

He cal­cu­lat­ed that our knowledge-dependent staff (70% of our work­force) were each spend­ing around four hours per week search­ing for rel­e­vant doc­u­ments and tem­plates, and around six hours per week ‘rein­vent­ing the wheel’. An inter­nal analy­sis sug­gest­ed that a more robust knowl­edge man­age­ment and search solu­tion could save us over £500,000 a year through improved productivity.

That busi­ness case gave him the go-ahead to revamp our KM sys­tem and inter­re­lat­ed process­es, focus­ing main­ly on doc­u­ment man­age­ment and client engagement.

Rick decid­ed that the best approach would be to split our doc­u­ment man­age­ment into two areas:

  1. Sam­ple doc­u­ments focus­ing on each indus­try ver­ti­cal and rel­e­vant method­olo­gies, tools, tem­plates and best practices
  2. Client-specific files relat­ing to sales, analy­sis, project admin­is­tra­tion and deliverables

This effi­cient sys­tem would enable us to pro­vide the rel­e­vant peo­ple with easy access to the right infor­ma­tion, increas­ing our core com­pe­ten­cies with imme­di­ate pos­i­tive effect.

When it came to the imple­men­ta­tion, Rick and his team applied KM best prac­tices and cus­tomised tech­niques proven to work in the con­sul­tan­cy are­na. This enabled them to save valu­able time, so we and our clients could start ben­e­fit­ing from the new sys­tem as soon as possible.
What dif­fer­ence did it make?

With more than two decades of con­sul­tan­cy expe­ri­ence, we have worked with clients around the world in vir­tu­al­ly every con­ceiv­able indus­try. Today, before embark­ing on a project, our KM sys­tem allows our con­sul­tants to gath­er data from rel­e­vant past projects, such as typ­i­cal indus­try find­ings and pit­falls, areas of oppor­tu­ni­ty and returns on invest­ment. This enables them to tru­ly hit the ground running.

Renoir con­sul­tants can now flu­id­ly and effec­tive­ly use our knowl­edge base to help com­pa­nies improve their pro­duc­tiv­i­ty and prof­itabil­i­ty. Easy access to the infor­ma­tion they need means they can work more effi­cient­ly and spend more of their time actu­al­ly help­ing clients.

Our KM sys­tems also enable con­sul­tants to iden­ti­fy and con­tact col­leagues with rel­e­vant exper­tise and spe­cial­ist knowl­edge when they need advice, infor­ma­tion or assistance.

So now, when they engage Renoir Con­sult­ing for a project, clients can feel con­fi­dent that they will ben­e­fit from the col­lec­tive knowl­edge of the entire organisation.

Talk to us to find out how you can ben­e­fit from the col­lec­tive exper­tise of every one of our employ­ees, across more

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