In order to enrich a company’s current culture, it is believed that change must start at the individual level. Every employee has a sphere of influence along with their individual knowledge and this is where he/she believes a knowledge-sharing culture can begin.
With the rapid growth of the Internet and people across geographies working as one team, the concept of knowledge management has gained momentum in recent years. In today’s dynamic and challenging environment, organizations depend heavily on the ability to leverage knowledge in developing new services, products and process to continuously outperform the competition. But as so many businesses have discovered the perception that knowledge is power is not easily overcome. The natural inclination of employees at every level in almost every organisation is to hoard knowledge and unless the right environment is established any attempt to encourage effective knowledge sharing will ultimately prove futile.
Knowledge management must occur on three levels within an organisation:
- Organisation: knowledge that is critical to all staff throughout the organisation. This need is typically met by standard corporate intranet content, such as policies and procedures.
- Team or business unit: information that is shared within a team, and is not of general interest to others within the organisation.
- Personal: knowledge, skills and expertise needed by an individual staff person. In technical terms, this is often facilitated by the use of e-mail, while skills are gained through training, coaching or mentoring.
Today, we talk about integration and collaboration of various departments, right? This is nothing but a knowledge-sharing network, which most of the large and mid-size organizations have started developing as a culture. New generation weaned on the Internet and the info highway where humongous amount of information, which has to be processed into knowledge, gives a competitive advantage to an individual or an organization. So, what is the role of technology? “It is a prerequisite for imparting knowledge (e-learning for example), transmitting knowledge (the Internet and social media), sharing knowledge (blogs and tweets) and managing a knowledge management system. However, it cannot happen in isolation and the human factor in administering such systems and processes in supreme.
Technology plays a critical, and in some ways, a decisive role to make knowledge-sharing happen within or beyond an organization. With proper planning, technology can help everyone in reaching out to the appropriate information more quickly and effectively. It is often said that you do not need technology to implement a knowledge management programme. In many ways, it is technology that has made knowledge-sharing a reality – in the past, it was impossible to share knowledge or work collaboratively with co-workers around the globe. Today, it is a reality.
NIIT Technologies has developed a knowledge sharing platform, ‘Matrix’ that captures formal as well as informal critical organizational knowledge. Some of the initiatives taken by them to impart knowledge-sharing within the organization are:
a) create a ‘Spark (Instant messenger)’ for NIITians who can discuss project-related queries and issues through a secured instant messaging channel,
b) use of CommuNIITi (internal collaborative platform) to learn about fellow NIITians and their culture in a more informal way,
c) use of blogs to discuss various things from HR issues to competition to general industry trends,
d) use RSS feed and twitter to communicate with the investment analyst and gain vital insight into their perspective.
Knowledge sharing as a concept is very attractive and provides huge business opportunities that should not be missed. It is an engine that transforms knowledge into business value. However, implementation of knowledge sharing is not easy. Organizations have to grabble with various issues and challenges such as organizational culture, strategy, information technology, knowledge organization, etc. Despite all these issues and challenges companies worldwide have shown keen interest in knowledge sharing. As far as India is concerned knowledge sharing is still in its infancy. It has to cover a lot of ground to come up to the level of knowledge sharing implementation as, say, like Western countries. In India, there is a need of National Knowledge Sharing Concept to create and harness the knowledge of our own people and start creating and using our own software packages. The core competency definitely exists in our R&D laboratories, academic, institutions, software houses and industries. Learning from past mistakes, time has come to amend and take knowledge sharing as the concept in the right direction and reaps its benefits to the fullest.