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Friday, August 12, 2005

KM can empower each employee to leverage the entire organization's collective knowledge to service customers. Here, Arun Hariharan details seven categories of KM enablers.

1. Strategic focus - The biggest enabler is the focus and seriousness of top management and high expectations from KM. Performance appraisals at all levels include KM-specific measures. For example, "president and CEO" awards for KM.

2. Alignment with objectives - KM and its results form a permanent agenda item on the president's business reviews with CEOs of each business unit and the CEOs' reviews within their units. Top-priority business measures should be defined and mapped with at least one of the president's three strategic imperatives. All KMinitiatives, including knowledge repositories, sharing, replication and communities of experts, are structured around each of these top-priority business measures.

3. KM organization and roles - Dedicate KM coordinators centrally and at each business unit. These people act as catalysts in the KM process - change agents who bring in and spread the culture of knowledge sharing. They influence other employees and facilitate the process of sharing and replicating knowledge and measuring results.

4. Standard KM processes - Define standardized, close-looped processes for knowledge sharing, replication and measurement. Knowledge sharing and replication to improve performance on critical business measures won't be a matter of chance or choice, but a mandatory activity like any other business process.

5. Culture and people engagement - For creating an organization wide culture of knowledge sharing and replication, and to institutionalize KM, it's critical that employees engage in KM activities, not just a fraction. Put in place a measurement of"employee engagement in KM." Each month, the percentage of employees in every business unit and critical business process who have been part of at least one knowledge submission, knowledge replication initiative or knowledge-sharing session to the company knowledge base will be measured and reported. This will be included in regular business reviews.

6. Content under scrutiny - Ensure quality of content in two steps. First, all content submitted should be scanned by a KM team member to ensure relevance to the business, quality of documentation and adherence to standard formats. It then goes to the knowledge champion and community of experts who "own" the concerned knowledge repository. They review and approve, edit or reject content as required.

7. Technology enablement - Deploy technology as a powerful enabler for KM. An effective KM portal is a common virtual platform for all employees to share knowledge and replication.

Source: Excerpted from "Implementing seven KM enablers at Bharti" by Arun Hariharan

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