Finding a KM Job, Putting Ideas to Work, GE SupportCentral, SLA KM Certificates, KM Concepts-Methodologies-Tools-Applications

22-Jul-08 Archive of Weekly KM Blog by Stan Garfield

KM Question of the Week

Q: What advice do you have for those seeking a KM job? Are there any tricks of the trade that are worth passing on?

A: Set up daily email job alerts for “knowledge management” at these sites:

Attend conferences, blog, publish in periodicals, and lead or participate in KM communities. Volunteer to speak on a community call or at a conference. Develop a good reputation as a thought leader, useful correspondent, and generous helper.

Personal connections are the key to finding a position. Do things for other people without worrying about yourself. Send email to people to share useful information, ask for advice, and connect people with similar interests with one another.

Take advantage of your social and professional networks. Cultivate friendships, offer help, and answer questions. If you wait until you need to find a job to start networking, it is too late, and your motive will be obvious. Continuously build your network in both good and bad times.

Connect in meaningful ways with members of your network. For example, invite them to speak to a meeting which you organize, quote them in your blog, or ask them questions. Reach out regularly to members of your network, including respected thought leaders who you may think are too important to care about you. Each point of contact is a reminder that you are out there, and may trigger a subsequent connection.

Don’t be afraid to let everyone you know that you are seeking a job and to ask for their help. You never know which connection will be the one that pays off. Members of communities have empathy for one another, and will go to great lengths to try to help other members in times of need.

Let the communities you belong to know that you are seeking a job, providing links to your resume, blog, and personal profile. Update your Facebook, LinkedIn, and other social software profiles to show your status as seeking a job. Share job postings with other members — by helping them, you will set an example which will encourage them to reciprocate.

KM Thought Leader of the Week

I was asked by APQC, “If you were invited to give a keynote speech on knowledge management, what words of wisdom or lessons learned would you impart?”

I posed this same question to many KM thought leaders. This week features Tom Davenport and Larry Prusak.

Putting Ideas to Work by Thomas H. Davenport, Laurence Prusak, and Bruce Strong

Knowledge management can make a difference — but it needs to be more pragmatic

Over the past 15 years or so, many large organizations have embraced the idea that they could become more productive and competitive by better managing knowledge — the ideas, insights and expertise that originate in the human mind.

In practice, however, some of them are still struggling to make it work. Their knowledge-management efforts, while useful in some ways, haven’t necessarily led to better products and services, more effective employees or superior work processes.

What went wrong? Some firms stumbled by focusing their knowledge-management efforts solely on technology at the expense of everything else, while others failed to tie knowledge programs to overall business goals or the organization’s other activities. A new approach is needed if knowledge management is to transition into a more pragmatic discipline, one that can be used to improve specific job functions and work processes.

Back to School

  • The Issue: Knowledge management, in practice, has fallen short of its goal of transforming the way companies work.
  • The Problem: Many firms have focused solely on disseminating knowledge via technology, ignoring the other aspects of knowledge management.
  • The Bottom Line: Organizations need a broader management strategy, one that addresses how they are creating, sharing and using knowledge.

The article provides a closer look at each of the three knowledge-related activities and suggestions for managing them effectively.

  1. Knowledge Creation
  2. Knowledge Dissemination
  3. Knowledge Application

Additional Links

KM Blog of the Week

From Chris Johannessen

GE’s Enterprise Collaboration Backbone by Oliver Marks

General Electric, the venerable multinational that was founded in 1878 in New Jersey, have at their core a hugely sophisticated enterprise collaboration system that is arguably the largest in the world.

A major corporate culture change sponsored by Gary M. Reiner, GE Senior Vice President and Chief Information Officer, defined more collaboration and transparency as goals for the 21st century in the late ’90s. Development of SupportCentral subsequently started internally at the turn of the century in January 2000, and today the system is at the center of GE’s worldwide operations. A development team of about one hundred is located in New Haven, Mumbai and Mexico.

The numbers are huge: 400,000 global users in 6,000+ locations around world, all working within a 100% web interface available in 20 languages (your user interface language is defined by your sign in permissions). The system gets over 25 million web hits a day, greater than employee usage of Google and Yahoo combined. Users have created over 50,000 communities with over 100,000 experts signed up to answer questions and manage information; experts are GE workers with full-time jobs who use the system because it helps them do their job better.

Thousands of business processes have already been digitized in an internal world where knowledge and work processes are critical. Everything is behind the firewall except for ‘pinholes’ to external destinations which allow external vendors, suppliers and customers to collaborate on specific projects. There are 30,000 external users who come in through the firewall pinholes to participate in specific communities.

The cost savings are so many millions a year that GE, despite being a famously metrics driven company, doesn’t require an ROI justification model for SupportCentral budgeting. As CIO Gary Reiner said in a recent Fortune interview, SupportCentral “is becoming…the heartbeat of the company.”

A Humbling Experience by Chuck Hollis

GE’s SupportCentral

Yes, they do the blogging, wiki, discussion thing — that’s just for starters.

We debate on ideal SM models occasionally — people-centric, community-centric, discussion-centric, document-centric, process-centric, etc.

They had support for every one of these models — seamlessly integrated. People can engage in any mode that makes sense to them. As one example, personal workspace content can be part of a community, discussion, process, etc.

Presence? Just part of the environment, thanks. They described themselves in a “post-email world”. Nice.

Mashups? Deployed for quite a while, thanks — all corporate repositories could easily be accessed. They’d lost count of the umpteen thousand mashups people had created.

What really blew me away was their integration of process tools. Business processes can be defined by anyone, refined by anyone, instantiated by anyone, measured by anyone. As a result, they could count 50,000 different business processes that were captured on the platform in some form or another.

When you get a glimpse of the future at work, it makes you take a moment to reflect on a few things.

First, the functionality they’d deployed was many years ahead of anything I’ve seen or heard about in the marketplace. More importantly, it was developed and deployed in response to documented business needs from proficient users who’d made this platform the core of their business life.

Second, they invested early and continuously. Sure, they had to fight for budget and recognition just like any other business investment, but their sustained commitment had obviously paid off in a tangible, sustainable business advantage.

Third, the rest of us are now at a substantial competitive disadvantage if we decide to compete with GE. Thankfully, they’re a customer and not a competitor. Because they were so early, they probably had to invest more than those of us slowpokes who are relative noobs to all of this.

Fourth, it gave me tangible proof that social media / social productivity / social computing can work at mega-scale — and I had a greater case that these techniques would re-make how business gets done in the future.

Fifth, if you’re running one of those cool “web 2.0 in the enterprise” events, I’d make a special point of inviting Mark (or one of his team) to present. Everyone else talks big about the future — but it appears the future has existed for quite a while at GE.

And if you’re contemplating being a vendor or consultant in this space, I’d make a big effort to see what they’ve done, how they did it — and, most importantly — why they did it.

What Got Tossed Out The Door?

A whole bunch of “conventional wisdom” that I really didn’t agree with anyway.

First, it clearly isn’t a generational thing. If you’re of this view, I now have documented proof that you’re dead wrong. Score one for my generation’s ability to adopt new ways of working.

Second, traditional corporate cultures can’t change. If there was any corporate culture more button-downed than GE’s, I’d like to see it. And it now appears to be completely transformed around social computing.

Third, the assumption that this has to be a top-down mandate. Sure, Mark and his team are pretty senior, but they had to do this the hard way — by convincing hundreds of thousands of people that this was a better way to work.

Fourth, that business justification is impossible. GE’s culture is all about hard savings, and documented value. They routinely discredit soft justification. And they have been convinced in a big way — and for quite a while.

Fifth, that social media is incompatible with business concerns. Their environment is pretty much business-oriented. There’s not a lot of “social” going on the platform — and it works very well, thank you.

KM Link of the Week

From Mary Morgan in SIKM Leaders

SLA Knowledge Management Certificates

The Knowledge Management/Knowledge Services Certificate Program, offered by SLA in partnership with SMR International, is designed to help information professionals better manage the use and application of proprietary and industry information within their organizations. Through a combination of theoretical and practical approaches, the program will equip knowledge workers with the expertise and skills they need to build an enterprise-wide knowledge culture that delivers measurable and tangible benefits in the use of information, knowledge, and strategic learning to make decisions, spark innovation, and achieve the corporate or organizational mission.

Program Value

In the Certificate in Knowledge Management/Knowledge Services Program, you will:

  • Gain the essential theoretical and practical understanding, techniques, skills, and tools to launch or enhance your organization’s KM/KS practices and to apply knowledge management and knowledge services immediately and effectively for the organization’s benefit;
  • Acquire the necessary depth and breadth of knowledge, understanding, and experience to begin practicing knowledge management and providing knowledge services for clients and enhance their participation in enterprise-wide knowledge management/knowledge services activities;
  • Benefit from a flexible program that matches your professional goals and interests and allows you to balance them with your work schedule, lifestyle, and other requirements;
  • Engage in live lectures, live and online discussions, selected readings, and exercises that build and reinforce your existing expertise and skills in knowledge management/knowledge services; and
  • Enjoy dynamic and experienced instruction, an extensive curriculum, quality training materials, and high value that are the hallmarks of SLA’s professional development programs and SMR International’s KM/KS training.

Course Descriptions

  • KMKS101 Fundamentals of Knowledge Management and Knowledge Services
  • KMKS102 The Knowledge Audit: Evaluating Intellectual Capital Use
  • KMKS103 Knowledge Strategy: Developing the Enterprise-Wide Knowledge Culture
  • KMKS104 Networking and Social Media: Technology-Enabled Knowledge Sharing
  • KMKS105 Change Management and Change Implementation in the Knowledge Domain
  • KMKS106 Critical Success Factors: Measuring Knowledge Services

KM Book of the Week

From Paul McDowall in ikmf_figs

Knowledge Management: Concepts, Methodologies, Tools, and Applications (6-volume set) edited by Murray Jennex

Knowledge management (KM) is an emerging, interdisciplinary business model dealing with all aspects of knowledge within the context of the firm, including knowledge creation, codification, and sharing, and using these activities to promote learning and innovation. It encompasses both technological tools and organizational routines of which there are a number of components. These include generating new knowledge; acquiring valuable knowledge from outside sources; using this knowledge in decision making; embedding knowledge in processes, products, and/or services; coding information into documents, databases, and software; facilitating knowledge growth; transferring knowledge to other parts of the organization; and measuring the value of knowledge assets and/or the impact of knowledge management.

Knowledge Management: Concepts, Methodologies, Tools, and Applications is the defining reference source for all theories, concepts, and methodologies within the KM discipline. This comprehensive, six-volume collection of research from an international body of KM experts includes chapters on Implementing Knowledge Management (KM) in Organizations; KM Systems Acceptance; KM Communication; Knowledge Representation; Knowledge Sharing; KM Success Models; Knowledge Ontology; and Operational KM. Encompassing over 300 chapters from more than 500 contributors drawn from the world’s leading KM experts, this collection will provide libraries with the defining reference to the field and set the standard for all fundamental and emerging models within the discipline.


  1. Section 1: Fundamental Concepts and Theories in Knowledge Management
  2. Section 2: Knowledge Management Development and Design Methodologies
  3. Section 3: Knowledge Management: Tools and Technologies
  4. Section 4: Utilization and Application of Knowledge Management
  5. Section 5: Organizational and Social Implications of Knowledge Management
  6. Section 6: Managerial Impact of Knowledge Management
  7. Section 7: Critical Issues in Knowledge Management
  8. Section 8: Emerging Trends in Knowledge Management

Knowledge Management Author and Speaker, Founder of SIKM Leaders Community, Community Evangelist, Knowledge Manager

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store