Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Driver Or Enabler ...

There is a very interesting my friend Nirmala has created ... to get a better understanding of the nature of KM initiatives in organizations, and the answer queries about KM. You could read about it here. Its a rather interesting idea ... in that, it attempts to provide a certain amount of structure about the entire idea of facilitating knowledge.

There is, however, a thought i had regarding this. One question which came to mind when i was reading this was about the entire idea of whether KM is the driver or the enabler. This, to my mind, is not the appropriate question to ask. This is because, in my opinion, KM is not the end in itself. Rather, a means towards achieving something. Hence, KM should not be considered the driver in the first place. Rather, i would look at KM as an enabler of specific business processes, or drivers.

This is analogous to the question that i have asked earlier ... whether KM should be considered a function, or a tool. This question is an important one for the reason that this gets us thinking about whether KM should be a business objective, or a facilitator to specific business objectives. As a function, KM becomes an area of business itself, like Sales, with objectives which drive the working of this function. However, as a tool, KM becomes aligned with business functions, and functions in a way determined by the needs of the business.

In other words, what i am saying here is that KM needs to be more closely aligned with business objectives in order to derive mileage from the initiatives that form a part of KM activities, along with the toolset that KM brings.


Nimmy said...

Umm...I definitely agree with you that KM is not an end in itself. And also that it needs to be aligned with the business objectives. No two ways about that. :-)

What I was trying to do by classifying it as a Driver or Enabler was to simply mention whether it should be run by the KM function/team or not...! In terms of the responsibilities, credit and accountability. It could be activities revolving around the setting up of objectives, running the whole show, monitoring it, controlling it and reporting it etc. I think the implicit message in my post is to do with organizational politics. Somethings are not bound to succeed if they are run (read driven) by the KM team...rather, they may be driven by some other team (HR/Strategy/Quality etc)- with inputs and support from the KM team. Does this explanation change your interpretation of my post or have I not got the point? :-) An example would be appraisals - KM cannot drive it but should enable it in a way. Another example would be social networking - KM can very well drive this practice and need not 'give it off' to some other function.

Mark said...

hey Atul, you have changed the theme / look of your blog. :) looks nice

Atul said...

it surely does, Nimmy, and i quite agree with this interpretation! yes, the place of KM is something which i feel is something which hasnt quite been well-defined as yet, but KM must work in conjunction with others, and you have a point ... who does what, can be defined with your framework.

Mark, thanks, man! :-)