Information today is Knowledge Management tomorrow!
Knowledge Management (KM) started as a buzz word in the late 90´s. The early meaning of the term was to use sophisticated structuring of internal knowledge to capitalize on all important information and learnings existing within a company. Then came Competitive Intelligence, which was about identifying crucial external information about the industry and market. Today these terms have combined to give Knowledge Management a new birth.
Alongside of KM came Competitive Intelligence which was more defining the external crucial information about the industry and market. Today both terms have a natural combined flow and integration and we see knowledge management from a new perspective with two angles:
- Handling knowledge through processes and structures
- Leading through knowledge towards business objectives
Both angles are necessary but leading through knowledge management towards business objectives is becoming highly relevant and the need is more and more obvious. We want to handle the ongoing and unexpected and make smart well-informed choices based on all available information.
How do you implement a structure to gather information?
You need to ask yourself what is important for your business and moving forward:
- Is it brand acknowledgement and awareness?
- What does the target group think and discuss?
- New business opportunities?
- Response to your communication?
- New target groups?
- What are your competitors doing?
- What new channels or forums are important?
- How is your industry and market effected by overall global decisions and
To be able to gather this information you need to start “listening”. You need the right human resources in combination with intelligent tools. The best way is outsourcing to a third party, a specialist. A partner that understands your business and your challenges. Top management needs to be involved.
A good case is the development of Apple. If the competitors of Apple would have followed what they were doing and analysed their internal moves they could have foreseen the launch of Apple Watch. Some objective industry analysts were monitoring the whole industry and had gathered the information about Apple´s hiring top management from a well known and respected watchmaker. From this they drew the conclusion that this would probably affect Apple’s next big launch.
How relevant information adds value to business
You always have to strive towards your objectives and KPI´s. The process works like an ecosystem and we call part of it “The Intelligence Cycle”
The Intelligence Cycle consist of four steps. Collecting data, processing, spreading and planning. To complete it I would like to add some more steps. You plan, execute, analyze results, adjust and change and then plan again.
If you have consistency in this cycle you will be able to follow the development in your business planning. If you do this in a consistent way you will move closer to objectives and goals.
Keep asking yourself, is the information you are collecting leading you towards your objectives. Is it nice to know or need to know?
By Christina Wihlner Lentell