Nick Frank, Co-Founder and Managing Partner at Si2 Partners, discusses how companies can successfully integrate knowledge and data into their business processes in this new article for Field Service News.
While the vast majority of organisations recognise that managing Knowledge and Data is a key source of competitive advantage, how many equip their team members with the understanding to effectively integrate these solutions into their operating processes?
Within the Service Leaders Network, we recently ran a collaboration project with a small number of Service Leaders to look at this challenge. The result has been the development of a pragmatic framework and self-assessment tool, that all service professionals can apply in their day-to-day working environment. A simple management blueprint that encourages managers to ask incisive questions that will increase the likelihood of success of their Data or Knowledge projects
The conversation came about when we asked a group of service leaders about their Knowledge and Data challenges. The topics included access to expert product knowledge, sharing specialist competencies, knowledge retention, competency management, knowledge transfer... The list was indeed long and many of these challenges you no doubt can relate to.
As the collaboration project progressed, the group realised they needed a framework to judge what was good practice across different solutions and approaches. They recognised that most managers understand WHY knowledge and data is important to them and they know WHAT they need (hence the long list). But where there is a big hole is HOW to get there. Through a slow process of virtual meetings, one-on-one interviews (this was the time of COVID) and supporting analysis by a facilitator, we moved towards the framework you can see. A simple tool developed by managers, for managers that helps them take actions that will increase the likelihood of success for their data or knowledge solution.
The thinking framework consists of four interdependent factors that should be considered when integrating a data or knowledge solution into an organisation’s processes:
- Data Architecture
- Process and Tools
For a business process to leverage data and knowledge to the full, all four factors should be considered and where necessary planned for. This is especially important where investment is made in specialist tools and technologies such as a Service Management Software, Human Resource IT solutions and Advanced Analytics Data Solutions. Let’s look at these four areas in a little more detail:
This is the “Why” of the data solution and can be articulated in different ways depending on where the project lies on the Strategy – Operations continuum. Purpose of the data solution should contain some, but not necessarily all the following components:
- Fit with the vision and strategy of the company
- The KPI’s or performance measures to be influenced
- The risk to be managed
- Value created, costs reduced, or loyalty created
Without a well-defined purpose, the project is likely to lack direction and so disappoint or fail in its return-on-investment objectives.
Common mistakes: A company who invests in SharePoint with a generic goal to ‘share data in the business’, without understanding the KPI’s being influences or the data being collected. They are often disappointed with the results.
With a clear understanding of Purpose, it is possible to define the data/knowledge to be collected by the process, or the data/knowledge required to support the process. Knowing whether this data is structured (numbers) or unstructured (text/words) is key to defining how it is collected and analysed within the business process.
Common mistakes: Defining Key Performance Metrics indicators without understanding if the data can be collected and analysed in a sustainable fashion.
Process & Tools:
The next component is to define how data/knowledge fits into business processes and the tools required to ensure it is presented in such a way such that decisions can be made. Often managers will jump to this step without understanding Purpose or Data Architecture resulting in sub-optimal data/knowledge solutions. Common mistakes: Remote Data Capture is a common data solution, but it does need to be built into the Service process if it is to deliver sustainable value. Too often it is seen as just another activity we do.
Without people’s willingness to engage in the Knowledge management process, initiatives will fail. The key is to design this factor into the Knowledge/Data Project at the start, whether that is building a culture where knowledge is shared, developing the skills required to support the process or simply good old-fashioned change management to ensure engagement. This is the component that many business leaders miss when implementing knowledge management solutions.
Common mistakes: Within the Service CRM processes, users do not update master-data, or worse still, simply bypass specific data entry requirements to save time, as they do not understand the implications of their actions.
Want to know more about your own skills, take this very short 4 question self-assessment using this link: https://si2partners.outgrow.us/si2partners-3
If you want to know more the Knowledge and Data Implementation framework, then you can contact firstname.lastname@example.org and he can support you with engaging workshops that will help you and your team identify how to integrate data into your business processes. Si2 also have run a series of workshops that help service professionals to become more data savvy. To date more than 200 professionals have participated in these programmes which aim to raise their bar in terms of how to use data.
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