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Knowledge Management Case Study With Solution

Managing Knowledge and Information Systems explained with Knowledge Management Case Study.

IntroductionKnowledge Management Case Study With Solution

Knowledge management is an important aspect of every organization. This is because, in a knowledge-based setting, organizations usually encounter problems as they seek to diversify their processes and manage knowledge. Consequently, the need to identify the causes of the problems they face arises, and thus, proffering solutions to this problems become one of the major challenges. This is exemplary in the case study of this paper. TPMT is faced with some challenges that require a high level of knowledge management to solve. In order to address some of these problems, web 2.0 technologies would be needed and applicable, especially when the need to develop customer relationship arises. And since web 2.0 is a technology trend that fascinates perfect information sharing, increased collaboration, and improved functionality of a website, it can further address the major problem under study.

The Key Knowledge Management (KM) Business Problems in TPMT

The flow of communication is absolutely imperative to business success and performance. Especially, when the business is operated in different countries, it is very important to maintain an excellent level of communication and motivation across all branches, with the agents, customers, and offices. Although, different countries have their specific unique business environments, the growth of any business is based on the cooperation of all staff working as part of a particular organisation. (“Nibusiness n.d”)

Additionally, there are various means of communication which include formal and informal communication. The absence of any of these communication means could lead to a serious low productivity within an organization. (“Reference for Business”) In order to create or establish a strong relationship with customers for their premium satisfaction, it becomes necessary to provide a means whereby customers can easily interact with the organization at any level so that the integrity and the name the organization is building or protecting can remain successful. Furthermore, it is also a known fact that customer service is imperative for business success. However, to many organizations, customer service is one of the most difficult and challenging aspect of their management, including those that are provided with modern call-centres.  (“businessballs n.d”) To many customers, the quality of customer service determines whether they can confide in an organization to buy, and most importantly to remain a customer or become a repeat buyer to an organization. (“businessballs n.d”)

Moreover, business communication encompasses other important issues, such as brand management, corporate communication, customer relations, community engagement, interpersonal communication, reputation management, employee engagement, and marketing communication. (“Business Dictionary n.d: Wikipedia”) When any of these is lacking between the management of an organization and its consumer or customers, it may deter the productivity of that organization. Employing interpersonal communication with customers also helps develop a strong relationship with them. This can be achieved using several methods of business communication including the web-based communication which provides a better and enhanced communication, anytime and anywhere, video conferencing which permits people in various locations to hold any interactive meetings, reports which helps in documenting the activities of the department of an organisation, presentations which gives an audio-visual relationship with customers, telephone conversation for long distance communication, face-to-face meetings which allows interpersonal conversation and succeeded by a written follow-up, (Newman et al. 2013: Wikipedia)

Therefore, in the case of TPMT, these are the major challenges being faced. The management at headquarter in the UK finds it difficult to maintain an excellent relationship with the customers in other parts of the country in which they are operated in. In the countries that are provided with agents, the agents are supposed to develop a high level of communication with the customers. However, TPMT should also ensure there is a direct link customers can reach them directly from any part of the countries in which they operate through any of the above-listed communication mediums. On the other hand, for countries that are not provided with agents, but have to be contacted when they are needed, there are more indications that the organization may not be successfully run since they are not operating a full-time operation. Therefore, customers still have to be linked with TPMT directly based on any of the above-listed communication tools. Thus, building a mutual relationship with the customer to improve and support sales as required.

An Overview of the Characteristics of Web 2.0 Technologies

Web 2.0 technologies have so many descriptions attached to it. But, it can be simply described as the representation of an important shift based on the way digital information is created, stored, shared, administered, distributed, collaborated, and manipulated. (Wolcott 2007) Basically, one of the major features of this technologies is the fact that it had led to the development of hosted services and Web-based communities, such as the social-networking sites (that is, Facebook, MySpace, Twitter, etc), video sharing websites (that is, YouTube), blogs, wiki, etc. This is because it is the changing trends in the utilization of World Wide Web (WWW) technology and Web design targeted at enhancing its main function of creating and securing information sharing. (Stern n.d) Some of the key features of Web 2.0 technologies include:

  1. User control: In the traditional web, the content provided on a website is done by the site owner, and the user always receives it, thus making the information model One Way. However, Web 2.0 user can contribute to the content through evaluation, commenting, and reviewing. (“WebAppRater 2010”)
  2. Network as a platform: This is applicable in the delivering of information and applications completely through a web browser. For example, Google Docs and Spreadsheets. (“usf.edu 2011”)
  3. Social network features: With this, users can freely share information with one another. Most of the web 2.0 websites offers the accessibility to build a network of other users for sharing resources that could have been stored online. For example, del.icious a social bookmarking website that allows the storage of bookmarks on the Internet and sharing them with other del.icio.us users. (“usf.edu 2011”)
  4. An architecture of participation encouraging users to put together value to the application the moment it is used. For example, a website that performs the responsibility of tracking popular news stories and any other blog posts using users to vote on the. (“usf.edu 2011”)
  5. Folksonomy: Web 2.0 does not have to stick to existing framework of categories, but allows a user to create free arrangement/classification of information. (“WebAppRater 2010”)
  6. A rich, interactive, and user-friendly interface: Many of interactive website on the Internet are map services. For instance, Google Maps or Yahoo Maps. Additionally, Web 2.0 makes use of Ajax (Asynchronous JavaScript with XML) offering dynamic and rich user experience to the users. (Levy 2010)

The Benefits and Challenges of Applying Web 2.0 Technologies

Every tool or technology will be developed comes with amazing features that could either offer awesome benefit to its application for the user or pose a challenge when using it for a particular purpose. Consequently, different organizations benefit from Web 2.0 and this could be used to address TPMT’s problems, however, using these technologies to solve TPMT’s problem may come along with some challenges.

Benefits of Web 2.0 Technologies to Solving TPMT’s Problem

Web 2.0 offers a high level of socialization. Web users now experience a level of customization and interactivity in the sites they visit. (Kooser 2007) Business owners can only provide this through social networking. In the case of TPMT, the barrier between the Director and the customers can be eradicated with the use of Web 2.0 technology when integrated into the social networks. Since this is majorly the problem even with those countries that still have agents, there is need for strong communication to build an effective relationship.

Furthermore, integrating an interactive community in which users (TPMT customers) through which they can communicate with the directors can help gather feedbacks, allowing the customers to provide suggestions and also provide input for developments. Although, achieving this has to be constructively carried out. (Hinchcliffe 2007: Kooser 2007) When TPMT employs this integration into the social networks, they will achieve a lowered support cost, and thus earn more customer satisfaction. (Quarterly 2009) The need for this in TPMT is necessary since it is a networked company that has to interact with other countries. Thus, an internal integration of the Web 2.0 technologies tools among the agents will strengthen the company ties with even the external stakeholders who are the customers and business partners (Quarterly 2009) of TPMT.

Additionally, Web 2.0 offers the benefits of expanding opportunities for collaboration and also allowing the spread of knowledge more effectively. This provides the capability of the director to put powerful collaboration tools in the hands of the employees, agents, and the customers, this is where the chain of command begins to look similar to a spider web. The director can integrate a hosted online collaboration service based in the UK that mixes with wikis, group calendars, blogs, and file sharing. (Kooser 2007) These tools are basically popular among consumers too. For example, organization who made use of these tools have cited that many RSS, blogs, and social networks are very important in the exchange of knowledge. Some other companies reported to use web videos too since they are easier to produce and disseminate within and outside of the organizations. (Quarterly 2007)

Challenges of Web 2.0 Technologies to Solving TPMT’s Problem

The risks of the information security must be considered. This is related to the protection of intellectual property, personally identifiable information, trade secrets, or any other sensitive information. Putting information with the agents or customers is certainly not uncommon. But having to monitor shared information on the Internet requires strict and close security controls. This is because many of the Web 2.0 applications do not contain provision for the monitoring of content or traffic to make sure that sensitive information is not being aired inappropriately. (Cunningham 2009)

Furthermore, infrastructure duplication is one of the major challenges while implementing Web 2.0 technologies. As much as many organizations find the use of Web 2.0 applications very easily in meeting their daily needs, many other organization still needs to retain their e-mail infrastructure and licenses to only commercial off-the-shelf software. TPMT would have to spend more to ensure this is successful. From helping the agents understand the processes as well as the customers. Thereby, defeating the aspect of cost savings as well as the infrastructure management promised by the Web 2.0 technologies. (Cunningham 2009)

Moreover, being very smart is necessary while implementing the Web 2.0 technologies. The public nature of many of the Web 2.0 technologies invites users to share information about themselves. One factor to consider is the blurring lines between personal details and business details. However, many organizations have some challenges with some employees who leak out information about their company in their personal spaces on the Internet. The more the adoption of Web 2.0 tools are considered, the more it is necessary to take great care to clearly define what belongs to the organization and what should belong to the individual. (Cunningham 2009) In TPMT, some agents work part-time only when they are needed, and even those full-time workers who work for 2 years get more information about the company that they could use it elsewhere. So implementing Web 2.0 in this regard can be very risky.

Recommendations

TPMT is assumed to be a small organization with temporary employees and agents in other countries. In order for TPMT’s Directors to be able to have their employees maintain good relationships with the buyers or customers so they can place future orders, TPMT Directors have to develop an innovative strategy to implement Web 2.0 in order to reap the benefits of better web interactivity, collaboration tools, and customization.

This can be implemented with knowledge management practices ensuring active participation of users. An instance this could be functional is using the social networks or blogs where users or TPMT knowledge can be shared and preserved. This knowledge depends on the users and without them, these activities cannot occur. When customers, who are the active users participate through comments and suggestions on contents placed via blogs or the social media, the Directors can see and understand the market value of their product as well as the rate of success of their business and would also motivate the employees to work knowing too well that the Directors are seeing comments made by customers which could be detrimental to their jobs. Additionally, when the customers’ participation is encouraged by the agents and employees, the need to add contents will arise and convincing people to comment and also add contents would arise as well. This implies that the contents have to be very simple, accessible, and also appealing. Basically, direct communication with customers through the agents is the major focus to build the relationship for a great revenue. This can also be integrated into the existing system through the need for building an effective RSS where customers are alerted on what’s new in the organization website and also ensuring the customers have a way of commenting or reviewing the products.

 

References:
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