Free Custom «Knowledge Management (KM)» Sample Essay

«Knowledge Management (KM)»

Introduction

Knowledge management (KM) entails knowledge creation as well as information concerning a company or organization. It extends to the aspect of dissemination in order to have it used to run the entity together with other activities. It involves the generation, transfer and use of the knowledge to help in achieving the objectives of the organization. It is also used in various fields such as information systems, administration of businesses, information sciences, and library management (Nihalani 23). In knowledge management, knowledge in defined as implicit (knowledge or information not existent in a tangible form but can easily be made tangible), explicit (knowledge or information exists in a tangible form) or tacit (knowledge or information cannot be easily expressed in a tangible form). Organizations employ KM systems to make the flow of knowledge more proficient from both within and outside the company comprising information planning, workflow and cultural values of the organization (Ahmad, Robert & Mohd 75). Therefore, a set of processes are required to enable a connection of available individual’s knowledge to the organization’s KM system to link an individual’s insight of knowledge with the knowledge insight of an organization

Approaches Toyota Motor Corporation Has Used to Develop Knowledge Management within Their Organization

Toyota Motor Corporation is among the largest carmakers in the world. It is highly reputed for the high quality of their cars in terms of their durability and reliability. Due to the fact that Toyota Motor Company is a leading international and most profitable manufacturer of automotives, it needed to adopt knowledge management as a strategy for their business (Vargas and Rozanne 97). The KM system used by the company referred to as Toyota Production System.

The typical approaches included the use of knowledge management as a management tool where the company was able to improve all the already existing flaws within the organization, especially concerning its business operations. It can be put to practice as an instrument for strategic management. Toyota has done this by developing systems of capturing and reassigning internal knowledge into the already existent unique practices of the company (Örtenblad 28). The company first considered the aims and objectives of their existence and estimated the expected results from the knowledge management strategy. It was their way of enhancing the productivity, performance, and competitiveness of their company against their competitors such as Honda, Subaru, and Ford. They managed to incorporate it through interrogative questions and assessments whereby the company sought opinions on what goals the company wanted to attain and what improvements it needed to make from both the employees and managers (Apistola 23). On acquisition of the answers to these questions, Toyota Company had to implement knowledge management in its practices. They also have incentives for employee productivity through coming up with a reward system.

The implementation of knowledge management in the perspective of intellectual capital is essential for Toyota Company. Intellectual capital is a business’ unseen worth which examples are structural and human capital. Application of intellectual capital involves the incorporation of the measurement and strategy. Toyota Motor Company has incorporated both in the knowledge management. Strategy involves forming and utilizing knowledge and the relationship between knowledge and value creation (Hasanzadeh & Malihe 173). A part of the Toyota’s strategy includes owning production facilities on every continent of the world and increasing the numbers and capabilities consistently. It is a Toyota’s way of achieving global balance and adaptation locally leading to the increased sales and returns to scale as they meet the customer demand for their products (Joseph 89). To cut down the charges for shipping, the company has launched a program for producing vehicles right in the market. This strategy has borne fruits in various locations such as Western Europe and North America. It, however, faces the challenge of whether the same strategy will work equally well in emerging markets of the developing countries. They aim to solve this problem through the materialization of the free trade agreement (Nihalani 56). This has allowed them to produce vehicles not made and sold in Japan for the first time in their history. Measurement concerns itself with the development of new information systems that can measure both non-financial and financial data. It has also standardized the way engineering data is stored leading to the formation of the very unique Toyota production System. Toyota was able to achieve this through tremendous support from the top management (Ahmad et al. 51). They did it by supporting and encouraging procedures for sharing and learning. Their strategy also involved the acceptance and adoption of creativity within the organization. They also have an effective and timely evaluation system to scrutinize the work of their employees.

Lastly, Toyota uses knowledge management as an operational tool. Knowledge is often used as a tool for handling trouble. It involves forming, organizing, and utilizing knowledge acquired from various sources and then storing the collected information in a storage system. The information is then become available to employees and other people through technological advancements such as databases and the Internet for them to use in making decisions. Toyota was able to do this by encouraging effective communication and creating networks for learning within the organization (Richards and Byeong 97). This encouraged knowledge sharing through the expression of individual opinions enhancing learning within the organization despite increased competition among employees. Toyota has enhanced collaborations with other firms like New United Motor Manufacturing and General Motors in a relational system referred to as keiretsu. Networks between various Japanese companies are formed leading to the formation of special ties that encourage openness and richness due to sharing of information leading to the creation of totally new knowledge and the emergence of learning alliances (Vargas and Rozanne 97). It has also created its own transmission and engine plant (TMMP) in Europe and a JV plant for engines that use diesel in Toyota Industries Corporation based in Poland. Sharing has also been done through holding of seminars and group discussions. Also, focusing on employees and their culture came in handy. Toyota focused more on understanding their employees more than the technology thus leading to increased productivity within the company. This is because issues are thereby easily resolved and save the company from cultural related disadvantages.

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Knowledge Management System in Microsoft Company

Microsoft is an American based multinational computer technology company. It was introduced in 1975 by Bill Gates together will Paul Allen. It executes its functions by developing, licensing, manufacturing, supporting, and disposing off the software for computers. Some of the software includes Microsoft suite, Microsoft Windows operating system, and web browsers such as Edge. Consumer electronics offered by the company include Xbox video games, personal computers, and computer services.

Main Business Objectives That Led to the System Implementation

Most multinational companies have had the need to employ knowledge management as a strategy in the business dealings and Microsoft is no an exception. Microsoft implemented the knowledge management system for the purpose of achieving some of their objectives that include increasing customer, employee, and shareholder awareness of Microsoft, enhancing redeployment and learning of knowledge and intellectual property value increasing (Rooney et al. 16). Together with increasing the uniqueness of its products and services, creation of new knowledge and improving the sharing of high quality innovations and work processes has been fostered. It does so by the use of teams of communities and experts, portals, publishing and content management, high collaboration, and in depth analysis of data.

Knowledge management in Microsoft Company is founded on two technologies messaging and collaboration and complete Intranet. The two technologies have been used to come up with a strong infrastructure that helps in the support of transportation, structuring, accessing, and collaborative management of information (Örtenblad 51). The systems were further made more sophisticated to support management of content, diverse delivery of information, tracking of data, workflow processes, and analysis of data. Microsoft has three management entities, Microsoft Dynamics 365 (allows the creation of knowledge rich articles by embedment of external multimedia contents such as videos and images as the links), Microsoft Dynamics CRM, and Microsoft Dynamics CRM online. Microsoft has currently embraced a new form of knowledge management through its knowledge management software known as Team Productivity Update for BackOffice Server 4.5 (Örtenblad 189). This was after it dropped its former software, Microsoft BackOffice Server 4.5 used in its branch offices, mini sized organizations and departments. Team Productivity Update allows teams of users to manage any shared documents such as calendars and contacts online. Microsoft BackOffice is critical in the execution of knowledge management. As a consequence, content management modules, portals and search, communities and teams, real time collaboration and analysis of data are all enabled.

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Microsoft has a goal of launching the NET Enterprise Server, which will include servers like BizTalk, SQL, and Commerce server 2000 developed and expected to function in collaboration to help Web applications be upgraded. It has also created Microsoft Solutions Framework (MSF) which provides services of MSF white papers. MSF advocates for the adoption and implementation of a model that designs and implements the distribution of business components and solutions (Örtenblad 20). It is a service based application model meaning that its functionality is based on a collection of set services. The MSF application is founded on a network of consumers and the suppliers of the services needed.

Possible Challenges of Implementing the Knowledge Management System

Implementing knowledge management system can pose some challenges and issues identified during the designing phase, especially in an IT based company like Microsoft Company. Microsoft Company has implemented knowledge management through numerous meetings, discussions and brain storming sessions with the company’s shareholder that includes the top management members, engineers, managers and staff from different departments.

The first challenge is data redundancy. The company can face this issue in such situations where data is duplicated causing usage of excessive database space and repetition of the information that is being conveyed through the software (Apistola 42). Stream lining the data input process through reducing manual inputs and replacing it with pre-defined list with combo boxes to enable the software to prompt on desired repetition of selection can be used to avoid this problem.

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Secondly, multiple information sources pose another limitation. The organization has to ensure that the information they get is from authorized employees and in a systematic manner because of the risks associated with getting information from random sources. The knowledge management system has to be checked to make sure the information source is no bogus and false. Counterfeit information is another challenge. There is no guarantee that all the information being shared through the knowledge management system is authentic. Sometimes it might be bogus and fake. There should be some mechanism in the standard or system operating procedure within the company that ensures such redundant and sham information does not find its way into the knowledge management system.

Access control forms the third challenge where the presence of an open access to the software can be a big threat to the possibilities of information being shared. The software should have an open access if it is assumed that each person participates and gives their best (Hasanzadeh & Malihe 167). Therefore, they will have permission to change, amend, delete, or even alter the software data. To avoid this, the system has to be designed in a way that it assigns different access levels to different users and determine who can and who cannot access the data from within.

Disseminated and unclassified information may be disadvantages to the company. When there are incidences where information gathered in huge botched data that is piled up together, it will not be easy to sort it out, search or retrieve. This brings up the essential aspect of inputting information in a manner that can be classified by the use of some buzzwords, Meta data or by using statistical procedures.

Lack of employee motivation is one of the most critical challenges by the top management of a company that implements the knowledge management system. The very first layer of sources of data is made up of the company’s technical staffs; field engineers, resident engineers and the research team because they are in direct contact with the complainants (Joseph 103). At times, they might not show any interest in sharing information at their part, and therefore, there is a need for motivation.

Lastly, the challenge of approval of imperious knowledge requires attention. Employees that have the authority to stamp mark the inserted information from the sources as the knowledge are needed in each knowledge management system implemented in an organization (Vargas, & Rozanne 20). There should be a software provision to register special users who will act as data and information verifiers rather than as the data sources.

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Measures Microsoft Could Undertake to Ensure the Success of KM

When using MSF for knowledge management, the company should include the following factors in consideration, include the design objectives of Microsoft, the availability of scenarios though which Microsoft users and businesses require for instance, the building of community forums that allows flexibility and dynamic demand of forums. It needs a well-established virtual community offering services, such as shared contacts, industry news, and easily located information (Joseph 77). Exchange 2000 can do it. The presence of sufficient information defines a given set of services and their required interfaces, all possible technological and infrastructural constraints once the technological implementation begins, and the status of the model in terms of its definition.

Microsoft uses the knowledge management software to provide companies with a system to transform data and information from diverse systems such as back office application, data bases, and the Web to enable them make business decisions. Microsoft did this to solve the problem of centralization of information among users. It has also applied knowledge management in its customer service by introducing Microsoft Dynamics CRM which enables giving timely data to their customers to help them solve their issues. The system has also quickened the customer feedback processing and easier through rich content authoring (Ordóñez and Miltiadis 145). This is whereby they use a rich editor to simplify authoring such as copy and paste. It has also introduced knowledge management dashboards that offer interaction on knowledge authoring.

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Social media has a transformative effect on knowledge management regarding cloud computing such as HTML and Facebook which helps in expanding the boundaries of KM in an organization by involving other people apart from employees and mobile technologies, which have helped employees to easily and regularly access KM tools such as mobile phones, which are easily portable (Ordóñez andd Miltiadis 25). Artificial intelligence, augmented and virtual reality have made KM more affordable and it allows the digital interaction of employees and digital sharing of knowledge. In addition, it gives the required information in newsfeed such as the history of employees. Companies can use the knowledge shared in social media to strategize. Owing to the above ideas, many companies have resorted to the initial knowledge management approaches.

Conclusion

The advancement of any organization has been dominantly determined by its professionalism and efficiency, and knowledge management is a crucial part of any company disregarding the size. It is a system upon which most multinational and successful organizations in the world are based. It has been applied in various giant companies such as Coca Cola, Microsoft, Toyota, and the United Nations. This is because it aids managers in their decision making to enable achievement of high quality decisions. It also helps stimulate the accommodation of information as well as knowledge sharing, creativity creating networks within organizations, encouragement of cultural change and innovation within an organization, fully exploiting the already existent expertise and experience of employees, fast and wide communication of important information within an organization and proving to customers how knowledge is used for their own benefit. It also prevents companies from ruining their public image or customer trust in them. The need for a change of strategy, organizational structure, processes and technologies has to be recognized to maximize the value of knowledge management systems. Thus, any company aiming at success should adopt knowledge management to help in the achievement of its goals and objectives.

 

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