Knowledge Mapping in Organizations

February 16, 2007

This article has been moved here…..

Why is establishing a knowledge map important for your organization? Well, lets look at it this way, unless you had a travel map you wouldnt know what was out there and more importantly you wouldnt know how to get there. A knowledge map for a company works in pretty much the same way. It tells the company where their knowledge resides and where the gaps are.

However the most important thing to keep in mind when creating a knowledge map in your organization is to map it in the context of the business processes that you are trying to improve. Otherwise you end up mapping knowledge you have no idea what to do with.

It’s critical to understand that if you are starting a KM initiative in your organization first create a knowledge map, this will establish a platform upon with you could build your KM approach. Since institutionalizing KM is such a mammoth task you will most definitely create unneccessary hurdles for yourself if you dont know where the gaps and strengths are.

Knowledge maps can be either strategic or tactical depending upon the need and intent of the organization. The best way to start the mapping excercise is by targeting processes that need improvement, from either the enterprise or process level.

The highest level mapping – at the enterprise level – is whats known as an expertise review. This is a crucial area of mapping as it identifies the various silos of knowledge available in the organization as well as the key assets of knowledge. Unfortunately due to the nature of the knowledge this map quickly gets outdated.

The expertise tacit knowledge map focuses specifically on business units and other such entities. It’s purpose being to identify resources with specific knowledge.

The knowledge map gap analysis however is the most specific map of all. This map gathers specific information about what knowledge is needed, who possesses it, who uses it, where it is located, and what business issues it addresses. This however is a time consuming excercise as it defines the flow of knowledge in an organization.

When a process such as the one described above is completed it gives an organization amazing insight into the knowledge it possesses and how it can go about maximizing its use.