Careers in Knowledge Management

By Mishu Jain, 1st year, MBA(IT),IIIT A

The way to invite people to donate their intellectual capital to the company will involve revisiting and reworking many of the concepts such as shared decision making, creating a team, and employee loyalty that have been floating around organizations for years.

The revolution in the field of knowledge is gradually leading to the establishment of a knowledge society, knowledge economy and knowledge organizations with knowledge workers and in the process giving a strong momentum to the all-pervasive concept of 'Knowledge Management'.

Knowledge Management is a new branch of management for achieving breakthrough business performance through the synergy of people, processes, and technology. Its focus is on the management of change, uncertainty, and complexity. It evolved from the need for advancing beyond the failing paradigm of Information Technology Management that accounts for 70%-80% system failures. As 'IT' becomes more of a commodity and endowed with more complex 'potential' capabilities, there is need for re-focusing on strategic execution. As we transition from an era of information scarcity to information glut, there is a need for re-focusing on sense-making processes, underlying decisions, choices, and performance. In this new paradigm for increasingly uncertain and complex business environments, dynamically evolving performance outcomes are the key drivers of how 'smart minds' and 'smart technologies' together leverage strategic opportunities and challenges.

" Knowledge Management caters to the critical issues of organizational adaptation, survival, and competence in face of increasingly discontinuous environmental change. Essentially, it embodies organizational processes that seek synergistic combination of data and information processing capacity of information technologies, and the creative and innovative capacity of human beings.

A definition of knowledge can thus include 'know what' (knowledge about fact), 'know why' (scientific knowledge of the principles & laws of nature), 'know how' (skills or capability) and 'know who' (information about who knows what & how to do that). In short it is the familiarity gained by research and experienced knowledge worker. It can apply equally to an eminent scientist, a skilled craftsman or to a receptionist with an expert knowledge of who's who in the organization and where all the useful information is.

Knowledge and information being major sources of creating value, the following are the driving factors of the knowledge society.

* Greater investment in R & D

* Greater use and rapid changes of technology

* Growth of knowledge-intensive business

* Increased networking

* Rising skill requirements

There are a number of Knowledge Management certification programs in the world designed to provide education and support to serious KM practitioners.

A Certified Knowledge Manager (CKM) deals with two areas of study;

* General Knowledge Management (GKM) and

* Knowledge Environment Engineering (KEE)

Some job titles for which a course in knowledge management is essential are
Chief Knowledge Officer (CKO), Chief Learning Officer (CLO), Knowledge Engineer, Knowledge Architect, Sr. Medical Knowledge Engineer, Systems Architect, Knowledge Coordinator, etc.

The GKM track focuses on knowledge and innovation management from the point of view of a manager or executive. The program is designed to equip a KM professional to assume the role of a senior manager, such as Chief Knowledge Officer (CKO). The CKO communicates with senior management regarding the strategic value of knowledge management and develops business plans and financial reports justifying the investment. The GKM training focuses on the analytical side of KM.

The field of KM is still evolving but it has career options like Knowledge Engineers (KE) who look into the technology aspect of KM. They should be well versed in the software available for the capture, storage and retrieval of internal knowledge assets. Knowledge Managers (KM) address the culture of KM, and Knowledge Editors (KE) primarily handle the content and composition of knowledge. It is useful if knowledge editors have some creative writing skills. Knowledge Navigators (KN) are responsible for locating the knowledge pool within their organization and hence need to be conversant with data mining. Knowledge workers need to have a penchant for reading and acquisition of knowledge from every source.

The B-schools which were merely touching on KM as a starter are now offering the subject as the main course!

We are on the threshold of a new era that's going to make knowledge management a career to reckon with.