One of the key phrases in the traditional management consulting tool kit is “People, Process, Technology.” It comes from Harold Leavitt’s 1964 paper “Applied Organization Change in Industry.” But with the advent of the internet, business intelligence, and automation, the time has come to update this model with a fourth factor to empower business management: knowledge.
Knowledge management is still developing, but successful organizations leverage customized knowledge capture strategies across multiple domains. It all comes down to recognizing one point of failure that any business management strategy based on Leavitt’s maxim simply cannot cover: tribal knowledge loss.
Tribal knowledge is the institutional knowledge that lives in the heads of employees at both the staff and executive levels. This type of knowledge is almost never written down in traditional frameworks based on the People, Process, Technology because there is no focus on the value of knowledge retention tools.
The problem is that tribal knowledge is the main support for day to day operations. And the lack of such knowledge support is evident when key business performance metrics are off track. When a company suffers from low productivity, high defects/issues, and a lack of well-defined process, something might be off with knowledge management.
After all, how does a successful business function? In traditional models that use the People, Process, and Technology framework, when an organization cannot solve a problem, they will often escalate the problem to a group with expertise or engage a specialized consultant. However, this leads to higher cost and time per solution, and can slow down overall efficiency within the process.
In this framework, the business is dependent on the tribal knowledge of others to resolve issues and improve processes As a result, when employees leave the company or even just go on vacation, they take their tribal knowledge with them and leave the organization in the lurch. That “People” problem leads to “Process” break downs that “Technology” cannot fix.
Something is missing. And that something is “Knowledge” management.
With knowledge management strategies in support of people, processes, and technology, the interactions of these three pillars are secured by a solid foundation of knowledge. That foundation is called a knowledge base, and it is what it sounds like: a record of tribal knowledge that can be retained within the company for the long term and referenced by service desks.
A knowledge base can take several forms, but one of the most important developments in knowledge management is the rise of Big Data analytics. Big data is particularly helpful Business Intelligence (BI). Organizations that know how to properly use BI to fill strategic gaps in tribal knowledge become more resilient in the face of tribal knowledge loss. That leads to independent employees who are empowered to proactively solve problems on the first contact with reduced time and without the need to escalate.
So the big question now is: how can your company implement the fourth pillar of the “People, Process, Technology, Knowledge” framework when the traditional three-pillar model is already in place? Doing so requires expertise in change management strategies, which is where Precise Process Consulting comes in. To learn more about how Precise Process Consulting can help your organization transform your service using this empowered service management strategy, visit http://www.preciseconsultingfirm.com today.