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The evolution of barber services and what it highlights for knowledge management

Since we were born, something we have always needed is a haircut. As a kid, our parents cut our hair, and then later, we went to a general haircut place. Then, as we grew older, we developed a sense of style. This led us to find a specialist in our hairstyle.

When we started work, many of us found that our employer’s policies limited our style to a few choices. Military service members often relocate and travel, and depend on advice from those in the new area about which shop they are best to use. When I moved to Indiana for my job, I sought that advice, and wound up choosing a small barbershop that was always busy. The Jefferson Street barbershop has only four chairs, but they could fit my style and comply with the work regulations.

Similarly, web service evolution1 is the process of maintaining and evolving existing web services to cater to new requirements and technological changes:

services consumers … are those entities that use Web services functionalities through their applications, and service providers are the entities that implement and offer the services. Due to diverse change requirements, service evolution issues arise

So what does this mean for knowledge management (KM)? Some organizations will start their KM journey by needing then adding a document or SharePoint specialist. If the person doing the job is good, they will grow their services from basic to advanced offerings. This will normally expand the job duties to include training and other services. Each service will be tailored within the regulation, law, or ISO the organization follows.

This holds true for any organization. As new practices come out or trends become realized, we must forecast the need in the organization to ensure we are advancing within the structures given. This advance knowledge will help the knowledge manager train personnel and identify processes and tools for the organization before they are needed.

Doing this enables the organization to slowly blend the new technologies into their environment, removing the resistance normally found with implementing new “toys.”

These toys are the shiny new things that the organization thinks it wants, rather than actually needs. For example, with cybersecurity, some organizations will say they are addressing cybersecurity, when all they have is a helpdesk. While a helpdesk can assist the organization to manage cybersecurity risks2, what is really needed is a comprehensive cybersecurity program3.

Conversely, other organizations are needlessly requiring degrees for middle-skill jobs4, creating the paradoxical situation where organizations are claiming to need workers more than ever, but are actually excluding people who can do the work5,6.

In another example, taxation agents try to find loopholes in corporate taxes, only to have those loopholes turn around and cost the organization more money than what was saved, or see the organization facing serious legal consequences7.

This misalignment between need and service takes organizations down the wrong route. A good knowledge manager will conduct research, ask about the requirements, and guide the organization leaders into what they need, not what they think they want. The knowledge manager asks the leaders why they genuinely need a service. It may seem that the knowledge manager is imposing their will on the leaders, but truly, the knowledge manager is doing what is best for the organization.

As the needs of the organization evolve, seek to find the correct service that will genuinely meet those needs.

Header image source: Orna Wachman on Pixabay, Public Domain.

References:

  1. Wang, S., Higashino, W.A., Hayes, M., & Capretz, M.A.M. (2014). Service Evolution Patterns. 2014 IEEE International Conference on Web Services, 201-208, doi: 10.1109/ICWS.2014.39.
  2. Rezaeian, M., & Wynn, M. G. (2019). Cybersecurity and the Evolution of the Customer-Centric Service Desk. International Journal on Advances in Intelligent Systems, 12(3/4), 147-157.
  3. Headquarters Department of the Army. (2019). Army Regulation 25–2, Information Management: Army Cybersecurity. Washington, DC.
  4. Fuller, J. (2017, December 20). Why Employers Must Stop Requiring College Degrees For Middle-Skill Jobs. Forbes.
  5. Reed, E. (2017, November 7). Employers Can’t Find Workers, So They’re Making It Harder to Get a Job. The Street.
  6. Fuller, J. B., & Raman, M. (2017). Dismissed by degrees: How degree inflation is undermining US competitiveness and hurting America’s middle class. Accenture, Grads of Life, Harvard Business School.
  7. Harrison, L. (2013). Throwing Darts at the S Corporation Tax Affecting Valuation Dartboard-After Years of Tax Court Abuse, Do We Finally Know How to Hit a Bull’s-Eye. J. Passthrough Entities16, 13.
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John Antill

John Antill is currently a Knowledge Manager at US Army Expeditionary Workforce. With over 14 years of progressively responsible knowledge management experience in complex technical roles – both military and civilian – requiring exceptional project coordination, problem solving, and management skills, John has established a track record of success by leveraging a collaborative leadership style to accomplish all short- and long-range objectives. An engaging and articulate communicator, he is able to clearly convey complex technical information and propose novel solutions to build consensus with key project stakeholders, including high-value clients and executive leadership. Furthermore, his consistent focus on remaining at the forefront of rapidly evolving technology allows him to drive enterprise-wide innovation and maintain a competitive advantage.JOhn is on the Board of Minority Empowerment Through Technology which provides underserved college STEM students to get the technology they need to be successful in their courware and projects.John Holds a Master of Science in Knowledge Management from Kent State university and a Master of Certified Knowledge Management from the KMInstitute.

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