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Strategic implementation of knowledge management

This chapter describes Knowledge Management ( KM in short), types of Knowledge Management its strategies and tools. It will be presented what kind of strategy is suitable for the presented company. Knowledge is the most important factor for an organization to succeed. Knowledge management helps a company to act intelligently, be fruitful and earn great results with high productivity and quality through using the best relevant strategy ever. To manage knowledge in an organization helps your firm to work effectively, spare time, increase your productivity, acknowledge your staff to new technology, eases the use of your system, increases economic benefits, reduces risks by risk analyzing method, simplifies the communication technology among your staff and finally help you to reach your goal. A company needs to set their vision, gaol, risk analyses and use a relevant strategy. Many companies pursue different strategies which suit them best.

Strategic implementation of knowledge management


What kind of strategy should be used for managing knowledge in your company? One should understand that knowledge management needs lot of resources and every strategy can not be suitable for every enterprise. There have been projects which ended up to failure because of not having an exact strategic recipe or using a particular strategy while at the same time another firm uses the same strategy and succeed in their goal. The point is where to begin and what kind of knowledge process and tools must be used. You need tools to manage knowledge in your firm. They are either codified that make your knowledge available for the others, or knowledge transfer tools which minimize communications problems in your firm. Sometimes you need active or passive tools. By using active tools, you may illuminate and notify the users due to acknowledge and help them to earn information. Sometimes the users may seek the information without using any support system.

Managing the knowledge is like managing the business and KM helps operating the business smarter. The following chapter is a short presentation of your firm along with analyzing your situation, suggesting a strategic choice and finding out the possible remedy for implementation of KM in your firm.

About Bull & co

Present situation:

It is relevant to present your firms current situation for analyzing better and highlight the gap and vision in order to find a better strategic choice for implementing KM. Bull & co is established in 1864 in Oslo, Norway. This is a leading Norwegian firm and has been practicing law since the date of establishment. The company has offices in Oslo, Trondheim, Bergen, Stavanger, Tromsø and one office in Washington DC in the USA. Bull & co organized in three categories: Partners, associates and administration.

The type of knowledge that your company maintains comprises of data from past cases and tactful information that is used for future cases. Bull & co is not interested in maintaining the data that does not directly relate to their business. Hence the finance, market and other information are not stored or maintained. Presently the company store information in the database but does not involve the special skill data that a lawyer has. Those data are treated as non-shareable resources and not made available to anyone except the person himself. The lawyers have a know-how, insights and judgment knowledge which are person- to-person basis strategy. The firm does not have an Intranet which supports communication among offices. The database does not have good function and the current system is not stable enough which is frustrating for staff. That’s why the server is busy most of the time and employees have communication problems. The experts don't share their knowledge with new employee which makes it difficult to be aware of present situation. There are just a few courses every year and not everyone is aware of what news they have across the country and abroad. The employees at the office in Washington DC/USA are not updated to project plans and strategy. Currently the competitors have been able to open more offices which are a great risk for Bull & co.

The firm needs a great head leadership for leading and following up the important factors for implementing of KM at Bull & co.

The company's desired situation:

Bull & co wish for:

- Juridical expertise with the best quality of service

- A great leadership

- More development in industrial products, media/culture/entertainment, information technology, the service industry, real estate & enterprise, corporate finance & insurance and public services.

- Gaining a number of assignments both from Norway and the other countries

- Bringing in more benefits to company and improve their economic goals

- Being the best well-known and best company

- Having Happy clients

- Attracting more clients from both Norway and the other counties

-Implementing usable IT solutions

- Competing effectively with the competitors

- Acting smart in a reasonable time frame /spare time

- Less frustrations among employees

Goal:

- To be one of the best advocate companies in the world

- To gain more finances and attract more affiliates and sponsors due to improve their financial needs

- Having happy clients

- Attract more clients

- Better customer service

Vision:

To be one the best, knowledgeable, well informed international district attorneys and advocate companies in Europe and possibly to have more affiliates in the USA. Their vision is to establish some offices in the Europe and Australia and hire more expertise and young lawyers.

It is necessary to make an effective IT strategy in order to find out the critical success factors. The questions are where do we start and what must be done to be successful? It is mandatory that the involved members have understanding, knowledge and information of the system usage. It is necessary that the system should be effectively organized with high quality. That's why it must be updated all the time due to establish a good client relation.

Critical success factors

Information requirement

Establish an effective IT strategy What kind of requirements will IT cover?

Good customer service Customers/clients demand, need, their expectations and their experiences

Make sure that the employees have knowledge of using the system Organizing courses for employees and staff

Great law experts, lawyers and district attorneys Customers/clients demand, need and expectations beside their earlier experiences of using the Bull co’s service

Profitability

What could be at company's disposal?

Competitor and analyze SWOT

The firms strength and weakness, opportunities, threats and analyses Competitors situation Swift and fast response when it’s necessary, less paper works How long clients should wait?

Happy employees ( giving reward and bonus to well done jobs) take care of staff's needs which is possible through a good leadership What will be the productivity, work quality? How could we increase the service quality and staff's productivity? Great infrastructure system and information system. A high quality intern system for a better communication with staff across the country and overseas.


Critical success factors

Information requirement

Establish an effective IT strategy What kind of requirements will IT cover?
Good customer service Customers/clients demand, need, their expectations and their experiences
Make sure that the employees have knowledge of using the system Organizing courses for employees and staff
Great law experts, lawyers and district attorneys Customers/clients demand, need and expectations beside their earlier experiences of using the Bull co’s service

Profitability

What could be at firm's disposal?

Competitor and analyze SWOT

The firms strength and weakness, opportunities, threats and analyses Competitors situation
Swift and fast response when it's necessary, less paper works How long clients should wait?

Happy employees ( giving reward and bonus to well done jobs) take care of staff's needs which is possible through a good leadership
What will be the productivity, work quality? How could we increase the service quality staff's productivity?
Great infrastructure system and information system A high quality intern system for a better communication with staff across the country and overseas
Figure 1: The table above shows the success factors and information requirement for Bull & co

Technological support (resolution )

This company suits the best for Knowledge Management
implementation due to your inherent data driven business. The Knowledge Management
with law firms has to be tackled in a different ways, as not each and every data that looks important needs to be shared or managed. Technology supports the KM in the law firms in many ways. To store and organize the data for the users and electronic libraries and databases back up the retrieval are some of those ways.

Intranets are simple private networks and allow the computer terminal across the organizations interactions. It also allows the terminals to connect with the Internet. The benefits of intranet other then previously mentioned are:

-Ease of access
-Simple design
-Secured
-Company wide policy

Realization of Knowledge Management
at Bull & co


To assert more pressure on the need of implementing KM at your firm, a virtual scenario is considered. Presently your top-level heads and lawyers have gained lot of knowledge from their experience. In many of the cases handled by the firm, the knowledge from these experts is used. Thus their knowledge is an asset for the firm. Now if a person retires or leaves the job then the knowledge he has will walk out along with him. This will not only create a void in the firms working pattern but also affect their business. Maintaining the knowledge will ensure that in case of a person leaving the firm, their knowledge will still be retained and a situation like "re-inventing the wheel" won't arise.

Prior Analysis and implementation approach

For maximizing Bull & CO's knowledge related effectiveness, there are four areas which KM should be realized.
(1) The management functions: Mange intellectual assets, implement incentives to motivate knowledge creation, sharing and use, pursue knowledge focused strategy and restructure operations & organization
(2) The staff functions: Focus on lessons learned so far, knowledge professional's resource pools & inventories, comprehend multi- path knowledge transfer development capability
(3) The operational functions: Discover and innovate constantly, educate & train, maintain knowledge basis, conduct research & development, transform & embed knowledge
(4) Realize the value of KM: Use best knowledge, share knowledge, collaborate and use appropriate knowledge, adopt best practices and offer great service with high quality (Four areas of KM, Karl Wigg 1997 p. 7 inspired me to do the analysis for implementing the KM at Bull & co)
Bull & co need to analyze their work environment prior to designing the KM structure.

The following steps will help this company to generate an idea about their working environment.

- Carry out a survey to find out the information about the company.
- Find the gaps / loopholes in the present working structure
- Explain people the advantage of organizing the information.
- Develop a pilot model to shift from legacy structure to KM based structure.
- Assign roles and rights.
- Arrange for seminars explaining the importance.
- Before and After implementation training for the users
- Combine your organizational and individual knowledge as a result you gain innovation knowledge creation which is possible by shared knowledge Technology related analysis ( strategy: codification )

There are many technologies available that can be used to implement knowledge management. In this case codification strategy is relevant. This company should provide a reliable codified knowledge. They should screen each technology side by side and compare the advantages and pit falls.

1. Have a great leadership by taking care of staff's needs, following up the procedures such economy, productivity, quality and Knowledge management processes

2. Train the people, design the layout and components and decide the technology to be used.

3. Technology keeps changing so make sure that your design and setup is flexible to adjust to changing technologies with the other employees 4. Carry through a Risk analyses for IT system in your firm as a result the data and information will be safer

Knowledge management tools are needed such as:

- Web portal: For receiving internal and external information

- Make a document management system: For storing, controlling, keeping and searching files and documents

- Help Desk application tool: It allows your firm to manage internal & external client support, Intranet and Extranet should be considered for your firm.

This is important to give an assurance of creating knowledge as much as implementing KM at your company. You should develop an explicit to explicit knowledge and explore a new knowledge along with implementing KM which as a result will lead to a great success for Bull & co.

- People to documents (strategy): developing an electronic document system that codifies, stores data for reusing knowledge
- Economics of reuse: Reuse the software products which have been paid for. It saves work and allows your firm to take on more projects.
- Maintain people: Hire postgraduate staff, train them to develop and change your information system. Let the firms experts come up with better solutions by giving then a reward
- Keep your clients happy by giving them good services
- Have a great policy to have a functional internal communication
- Arrange seminars, courses and encourage your experienced staff and attorneys to share their knowledge

References


Earl, Michael ( 2001). Knowledge Management Strategies: Toward Taxonomy. Journal of Management Information Systems Vol. 18.No. 1.pp.215-233. @2001 M.E. Sharpe. Inc. 0742-1222/2001
Leibowitz, R. Wendy (2002). Knowledge Management in the Law Firm, Retrieved on November 6th, 2006
Sanders, Catharine (2002). Assistive Technology for Knowledge Management Initiatives Retrieved on November 6th, 2006 URL:http://www.abanet.org/tech/ltrc/publications/km101.html
Staudt., W. Ronald (2003). Perspectives on Knowledge Management in law Firms, Retrieved on November 5th ‚ 2006
Wiig, M. karl (1997) article: “Knowledge Management”Knowledge research institute,Inc.;5211 Vicksburg Drive, Arlington, TX 76017-4941,USA.
Wiig, M. karl (1997) article: "Knowledge Management: An introduction and perspective", The Journal of Knowledge Management Volume 1 Number 1 September 1997, institute, Inc.; 5211 Vicksburg Drive, Arlington, TX76017-4941; USA. p. 7