Many global companies maintain expert systems that collate , record and transfer knowledge internally. The intranet is an example of a commonly used expert system. The University-IBM Relations Database described in the case study at the beginning of this chapter is an example of such an intranet. Cushway and Lodge (1999) cite a 1997 survey of 259 organizations, which showed that approximately two- thirds of these organizations used some variant of the intranet. Over half the organizations surveyed used the intranet for disseminating internal core values, mission, vision and strategies. Forty per cent of the organizations surveyed used the intranet to obtain immediate data for day to day operations.
All the global corporations studied for this book acknowledged that the intranet had become an indispensable part of their functioning. The Copernicus Project of CSPB maintained several intranet systems. Many of the global managers surveyed reported that thanks to intranet systems, they saved a lot of time by not replicating existing data systems. All of them agreed that they should have intranet systems that document good management practices found successful at their branches. They could then examine whether good management practices found effective in one cultural context could be introduced to other cultural contexts.
In 1994, Booz Allen decided to place its library information services within the purview of its chief knowledge officer. The knowledge about servicing clients more efficiently was to be made available online on the KOL. Knowledge managers worked closely with client service personnel to place relevant knowledge on the KOL. To be effective, knowledge managers had to network extensively within the organization to ferret out vital sources of information. They also had to be good communicators so that they could package the knowledge base in a user -friendly format.
The content for KOL was selected with great care. After selection, it was submitted for review. Knowledge managers who want to follow leads obtained from KOL do so using conference calls and electronic bulletin boards . Client service personnel are frequently challenged to do further research and then make further contributions to KOL.
Source: Bukowitz and Williams (1999).
Much remains to be done by global companies in the area of knowledge management, as can be seen by perusing Mayo's observations (1998) on the required processes for knowledge management in the future:
Learning so that new knowledge can be acquired and managed.
Capturing, recording and documenting new knowledge created and applied.
Sharing new knowledge and disseminating it rapidly .
Collaborating to facilitate rapid knowledge creation and application.
Organizing knowledge into easily accessible units.
Finding new applications for the existing knowledge bases.
Expanding and building on the existing knowledge base.