Originally posted 23-Apr-20

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Companion Webinar Recording

Effective process, platform and software integration can help achieve a productive knowledge management ecosystem. Smoothly integrating processes, workflows, platforms, applications, systems, and software makes life easier for users and delivers improved business results.

In this first part of a three-part series, I’ll suggest ways to integrate business processes in support of a knowledge management program. There will be a companion free webinar on May 20, 2020 (subscription link at the foot of this post).

Process integration for a Knowledge Management (KM) program means embedding knowledge management into the flow of work, connecting separate business systems to get knowledge flowing between them, and spanning boundaries to break down organizational barriers. To achieve this level of integration, you have to work with multiple business units and functions, other enterprises, and especially, your partners in the Information Technology (IT) department.

Seek out business units, functions, and departments that are not yet using knowledge sharing tools that could benefit their operations. Propose, pilot, and implement such tools for them. For example, in the marketing function, integrate blogging into their communications processes. For the IT help desk, integrate threaded discussions into their support processes. In the Human Resources (HR) function, integrate skills profiling and expertise location with the personnel database. In Learning & Development (L&D), integrate proven practices and lessons learned into the Learning Management System (LMS).

Integrating KM into Business Systems

Identify business processes that are related but not yet fully integrated through technology. Map the existing workflows between these processes and identify gaps that should be addressed through new workflows. Propose new and improved ways to connect processes through shared data, standard procedure calls, and software modifications. Here are examples of business systems and the KM components that can be used to integrate process within those systems.

  • Sales and Marketing
  1. Business: Customer Relationship Management (CRM), Sales Management, Marketing Management, Lead Generation and Tracking, Order Processing and eCommerce, Reservation Management
  • Operations
  1. Business: Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP), Operations Support, Engineering, Manufacturing, Distribution, Logistics, Inventory and Stock Control, Scheduling, Process Control, Procurement
  • Research & Development (R&D) and Medical
  1. Business: Research Management, Laboratory Information Management System (LIMS), Scientific Information Management, Intellectual Property Management, Clinical Information System (CIS), Hospital Information System (HIS), Electronic Medical Record (EMR), Electronic Health Record (EHR), Drug Information System (DIS)
  • Finance
  1. Business: Accounts Payable, Accounts Receivable, General Ledger, Budgeting and Planning, Forecasting and Reporting, Expense Management, Funds Transfer, Investment and Portfolio Management, Shareholder and SEC, Tax Processing
  • Human Resources
  1. Business: Human Capital Management (HCM), Talent Management, Recruiting and Hiring, Personnel Data, Payroll, Staffing, Performance Management, Time Entry, Expense Reporting, Travel, eLearning, Learning Management System (LMS)
  • Management
  1. Business: Executive Information System (EIS), Management Information System (MIS), Decision Support System (DSS)
  • Program Management
  1. Business: Portfolio Management, Project Management, Project Team Collaboration

Spanning Boundaries

Process integration can have enormous value in creating new connections across previously isolated organizational silos. Boundary spanning integrates people who are not part of the same work unit. Here are examples of how to use KM approaches to do so.

  • Weave together multiple functions and business units
  1. Example: Connect people in R&D, Engineering, Manufacturing, Distribution, Marketing, Sales, Manufacturing, Finance, and HR.
  • Collaborate internally
  1. Example: Create a single activity stream showing all business tasks.
  • Collaborate externally
  1. Example: Connect internal project teams with partners and customers.
  • Integrate a new workforce
  1. Example: Welcome the members of a newly acquired company.

In the second part of this series, I will discuss platform integration.

Read my posts for Lucidea’s Think Clearly blog.

Written by

Knowledge Management Author and Speaker, Founder of SIKM Leaders Community, Community Evangelist, Knowledge Manager https://sites.google.com/site/stangarfield/

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