Existing KM implementation frameworks that help practitioners design particular implementation strategies include a myriad of recommendations. Despite taking somewhat different approaches, the implementation recommendations contained in each framework can be summarized around three topics:
- Securing a set of required conditions
- Choosing and prioritizing a set of KM initiatives
- Establishing evaluation criteria
[Ed: Unfortunately with the exception of Wiig, the implementation frameworks seem to be only available behind a paywall. However Wong and Aspinall provide a valuable meta-analysis of the frameworks examined by Saito and several others, concluding that any implementation framework should be designed to meet these criteria:
- Provide clear directions on how to conduct and implement KM
- Clearly delineate the knowledge resources or types of knowledge to be managed, and the strategies to be used for each
- Highlight the necessary KM processes or activities that are needed to manipulate the knowledge
- Include the influences or factors that will affect the performance and bearing of KM
- Provide a balanced view between the role of technology and of human beings in KM]
The elements that are often cited as required conditions for (or indicators of) successful KM programs include:
- senior management support
- alignment with strategy and business requirements
- consideration of organizational dynamics and culture
- involvement of key personnel and stakeholders
The actual implementation happens through a series of KM initiatives designed to support knowledge processes, usually balancing human- and technology-oriented approaches. A frequent recommendation is to prioritize initiatives according to a trade-off between opportunity (easy to carry out) and strategy (valued business results), and to implement them in stages, starting with pilot projects that provide lessons for further expansion.
Finally, almost all frameworks mention the need for evaluation criteria to assess results and provide for accountability. This includes:
- identifying expected business benefits and developing a business case
- collecting anecdotal evidence
- adopting KM-specific and business-driven performance indicators and metrics
Implementation approaches can be either top-down or bottom-up. The necessary considerations tend to be the same; only the order in which they are presented seems to be different. Top-down approaches usually start by securing the required conditions and establishing evaluation criteria, while bottom-up ones start with local initiatives that expand later by focusing on the other elements.
Next edition: Defining and discussing KM competencies.