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Phase 2: Knowledge Management System Analysis, Design, and Development

The second phase of KM implementation involves analysis, design, and development of the KM system. The five steps that constitute this phase are:

  1. KM architecture design and component selection

  2. Knowledge audit and analysis

  3. KM team design

  4. Creation of a KM blueprint tailored for your organization

  5. The actual systems development process

Let us briefly examine each of these steps and understand the key tasks that need to be accomplished at each step.

Step 3: Knowledge Management Architecture and Design

As the third step toward deploying KM, you must select the infrastructural components that constitute the KM system architecture. KM systems use a seven-layer architecture, and the technology required to build each layer is readily available. Integrating these components to create the KM system model requires thinking in terms of an infostructure, rather than an infrastructure. Your first big choice is the collaborative platform. We will reason through the choice of the preferred collaborative platform to decide whether the Web or a proprietary platform is better suited for your company. You will also identify and understand components of the collaborative intelligence layer: artificial intelligence, data warehouses, genetic algorithms, neural networks, expert reasoning systems, rule bases, and case-based reasoning. You will also examine how newer developments, such as peer-to-peer platforms, hold promise for corporate KM.

Step 4: Knowledge Audit and Analysis

A KM project must begin with what your company already knows. In the fourth step, you audit and analyze knowledge, but first you must understand why a knowledge audit is needed. Then you assemble an audit team representing various organizational units, as described in Chapter 8. This team performs a preliminary assessment of knowledge assets within your company to identify those that are both critical and weak.

Step 5: Designing the Knowledge Management Team

In the fifth step on the KM road map, you form the KM team that will design, build, implement, and deploy your company's KM system. To design an effective KM team, you must identify key stakeholders both within and outside your company; identify sources of expertise that are needed to design, build, and deploy the system successfully while balancing the technical and managerial requirements. We examine the issues of correctly sizing the KM team, managing diverse and often divergent stakeholder expectations, and using techniques for both identifying critical failure points in such teams.

Step 6: Creating the Knowledge Management System Blueprint

The KM team identified in Step 5 builds on a KM blueprint that provides a plan for building and incrementally improving a KM system. As you work toward designing a KM architecture, you must understand its seven layers specifically in the context of your company and determine how each of these can be optimized for performance and scalability, as well as high levels of interoperability. You will also see how to position and scope the KM system to a feasible level where benefits exceed costs. Finally, you will see ways to future-proof the KM system so that it does not "run out of gas" when the next wave of fancy technology hits the market. This step integrates work from all preceding steps so that it culminates in a strategically oriented KM system design.

Step 7: Developing the Knowledge Management System

Once you have created a blueprint for your KM system (Step 6), the next step is that of actually putting together a working system. We will tackle the issues of integrating a system across different layers to build a coherent and stable KM platform.

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