A Guided Tour through the Siemens Business Services Knowledge
(SIEMENS Siemens Business Services GmbH & Co. OHG, Germany
Abstract: This case study illustrates the knowledge management
framework that was designed during the introduction of knowledge management
instruments at Siemens Business Services GmbH & Co. or SBS, as it is
known. The knowledge management framework will give the reader an understanding
of the holistic approach to knowledge management and the different stages
of implementation. It also introduces the key learning processes experienced
by Siemens Business Services (SBS) during the various implementation phases.
The knowledge management (KM) requirements, challenges and solutions within
the service business are highlighted. The case study also shows the challenges
and objectives of knowledge management (KM) programs, in general, and at
Siemens Business Services (SBS), in particular. Based on the experience
of the implementation of KM at SBS, the case study closes with critical
success factors for other KM implementations, both within and outside Siemens.
Keywords: Information Systems, Knowledge Management
Categories: H.2, H.3
SBS was part of one of the first Siemens' core business-driven service
units There was, consequently, a clear understanding of the importance
of people-oriented knowledge management. Many groups within SBS, however,
work in the field of tools, which means that tools - not people - are the
focus of many discussions about the KM program.
In parallel with the internal activities, the SBS KM team combined KM
competencies from the technical side with the management consulting side
in an SBS-wide knowledge management Community of Practice.
In many discussions, both internal and external, the team learned exactly
how difficult KM issues are to discuss. The whole field of KM is very complex
and has many links to other areas, such as HR, project management, etc.
Slides - many of them - were needed to explain the team's understanding
of and approach to KM. It was rather like building the tower of Babylon.
In order to change the direction of those KM discussions, the team developed
a KM framework that allowed them to discuss the creation of a common understanding
through the use of only one diagram, rather than a whole set of slides.
Utilizing this framework as a basis for understanding KM, KM at SBS aimed
primarily to develop an understanding and a transparency of the knowledge
and competencies of the employees. The next step involved personal and
organizational learning through
experiences within projects and the creation of reusable knowledge modules
that present knowledge for new projects in a structured and precise way.
When SBS was established in 1995, a number of core units emerged from
units within Siemens Nixdorf Informationssysteme AG. Within those units,
the CEO, Gerhard Schulmeyer, had successfully pursued an extensive process
of "culture change". As a result, it was possible to base KM
at SBS on a corporate culture that was already familiar with and receptive
to the subject. In direct contrast with their competitors, the challenge
of a KM initiative at SBS did not involve finding a "classic"
consulting culture as the basis for KM. Instead, it required the change
of a corporate culture that was still strongly shaped and molded by past
products and industries.
The aims and the general cultural conditions supported the view of an
integral KM approach and fostered a lasting impression that the specified
objectives could not be achieved just by KM solution that was mainly just
tool-oriented. Tool-oriented solutions often take the form of "stand-alone"
solutions, which rarely meet the requirements of the business and often
result in huge problems of resistance in both management and employees.
Furthermore, many tool-oriented KM initiatives present problems when it
comes to discussions of benefits. Another challenge facing SBS was a rapid
and strong organizational growth - as high as thirty percent in some units.
The fundamentals of KM also needed to be imparted to these new employees
to lay the foundation for a knowledge-based culture.
A description of the KM framework will be provided as a guide to presenting
the individual method modules that form the complex world of holistic KM
2 Corporate structure
In the current fiscal year (1999/2000), SBS has a turnover in excess
of eight billion German marks and more than 34,000 employees in over sixty
countries around the globe. It is one of the leading full-service providers,
supplying consulting services, system integration, operational services
and outsourcing on an international level. Within the Siemens group of
companies, SBS was one of the first units whose core business was solely
comprised of services.
3 Introduction to the KM framework
The objective of the KM framework, as described earlier, is to develop
a standardized KM understanding based on the presentation of the dimensions
and operation of an integral KM model. Its special feature is that it is
compressed into one single image. The framework is used both internally
and externally as a method of describing KM instruments and judging the
comprehensiveness of their customers' KM programs and the way in which
the instruments interact.
The framework must be read from the outside in for a complete understanding
of this KM approach.
The core of the framework describes the basic principle of successful
KM: the knowledge market, where the knowledge sellers (knowledge providers)
and the knowledge buyers (knowledge users) meet.
We now have enough background knowledge to start on our guided tour
of the ten steps.
Let's start with step 1.
3.1. Knowledge management meets business strategy
An important success factor in designing KM programs is their relationship
to business strategy and their integration into the core processes.
In concrete terms, the business strategy for KM at SBS involves better
equipping other service units to provide for the needs arising out of its
interaction with Siemens and external customers. In the event of above-average
growth, the KM strategy will allow SBS and the corporate culture to keep
pace with this growth.
On the one hand, SBS, having grown out of Siemens Nixdorf Informationssysteme
AG, already has successfully completed the paradigm shift from a product-oriented
to a service-oriented company. On the other hand, KM for SBS as a pure
service company, relates directly to intellectual capital management in
that its corporate value is not reflected by the balance sheet value of,
say, the fixed assets, but is based primarily on the intellectual assets.
These assets, in turn, are represented by the processes, the structures
and the relationships SBS has with customers, partners and employees.
From this point of consideration, then, we derived the guiding principle:
manage knowledge as a corporate asset.
From the strategy used at SBS and in the individual units as KM carriers,
the team then developed the objectives and the timeframe for each of the
steps in the form of a roadmap. In so doing, it was important to consider
which modules were already in use and needed only to be developed further,
specifically for KM.
This strategy had two important results:
- the enhancement of individual KM initiatives that were designed to
add value in the relevant business areas
- and the description of the core competencies.
This meant that SBS had to concentrate on KM in the area of projects.
On our tour, this strategy thus forms the framework for further KM activities
and we can now move on to Step 2.
3.2 Knowledge culture and organization
Of all the elements integrated into the KM strategy, it is the corporate
culture and prevailing company values - in particular - that determine
the success of a KM initiative.
In order to evaluate the initial situation within the organization,
the team carried out interviews and surveys to get an idea of how ready
employees were to accept KM. In this context, the team discovered that
the values of "sharing" and "trust" were particularly
crucial for the success of KM. This posed a huge challenge, one that still
exists, to maintain KM values during times of rapid organizational growth
and constant internal development.
Given the importance of project work at SBS, the culture of teamwork
and cooperation within the organization are also extremely important for
the success of KM activities.
If you analyze the status of an organization with a view to implementing
KM, a important question is: How can the employees be motivated to share
The exchange of knowledge, in the long term, should ideally be a basic
concern of every single employee (an intrinsic motivation), as is already
the case with some consulting firms. In the short term, however, the team
had to resort to using extrinsic motivation. An example of this would be
where the consultants get a percentage of their variable income based on
KM results (sharing and re-use of Knowledge in management consulting).
On the other hand, the results of the initial research indicated that
time was seen as a demotivating factor - a huge obstacle to KM. The team,
therefore, tried to design "windows of time" for employees, in
which they could dedicate time to exchanging knowledge or creating new
knowledge within a specialized subject area. The extent to which this goal
has been achieved is measured in terms of a cost-benefit relationship.
By successfully satisfying these requirements, employees can determine
part of their variable income.
KM has also been incorporated into the annual staff dialog, in which
it is possible to assess how an employee is getting on with knowledge as
a resource (among other things), as part of 360-degree feedback or full
feedback from employees, colleagues and superiors. This can also result
in the implementation of certain measures, including changes in the employee's
future career plans. In this way, incentives are used not only in a positive
sense but also negatively, when they lead to the development and enforcement
A particularly important property of every KM reward and recognition
system is specific support for the relevant KM program by making adjustments
to the program as problems occur. In the long term, however, the design
of the KM program should persuade employees of its benefits. In other words,
they should be encouraged to exchange knowledge not only for financial
rewards but simply because they are convinced it is a good thing in itself.
In addition to the incentive systems, the team also had to consider
the organizational implementation of KM at this level. This involved, first
and foremost, the networking of employees within the organization, as well
as support for employees in projects, for example, by setting up a central
The networking of employees has given rise to Communities of Practice
of various degrees of maturity. Simple networks, for example, between programmers
within the organization, are quite unsophisticated. These are fairly loose
networks that are not very institutionalized or structured. Here, the members
have regular face-to-face meetings and have set up forums on the intranet
where they exchange knowledge. However, even at this level, the network
is not dependent on the
organization and is therefore very flexible when it comes to making
In addition to the network Communities of Practice (CoP), in which participation
is voluntary, SBS has introduced Communities of Practice (CoP) in the Management
Consulting unit as well, which represent the four large consulting areas
within the unit. Here, each consultant is a member of a practice. A variety
of windows are available and these can be used to develop the topic, to
gain entry to events and even to develop portfolio elements.
There are distinct roles in each practice - from the practice leader
to the knowledge broker - which will be described in more detail later.
In addition to virtual cooperation between the members of a CoP, regular
meetings are also held. During these meetings employees focus on the exchange
of knowledge based, for example, on project experiences, or on working
out new facets of the topic. Central objectives of the practices also include
the incorporation and subject-specific induction of new employees.
Practices at SBS that attain the highest maturity level are those in
which the corporate knowledge and competencies are bundled into six basic
topics. This is worth noting because this model was introduced using the
matrix organization of SBS. This means employees from all corporate units
and countries work together in Communities of Practice to offer the market
these six basic topics.
Work in these practices is very highly institutionalized. There is a
core team who devote more than half of their working time to practice work.
There is also an operational team whose members invest up to 25% of their
time in practice work. Then there is a full team, who do not have to satisfy
any specific requirements regarding time. The members of the communities
are each elected by their units. Forums are available on the intranet for
successful - and virtual - cooperation. The forums will be discussed in
more detail under knowledge technology.
The need for knowledge centers that are fundamentally orientated towards
the needs of the relevant business areas was identified. Project management's
knowledge center, for example, has a team of employees who work to support
the active project manager, by identifying best practices and adapting
them as reusable knowledge modules. Here, too, there are networks for specific
topics at expert level in the individual phases of a project.
Against the backdrop of these strategic, cultural and organizational
conditions, the core of the SBS KM model, namely the market principle,
will be examined in the next step of our tour.
3.3. The market principle
In an organization like SBS, there are both knowledge providers and,
at other locations, knowledge buyers. The initial situation at SBS was
characterized by knowledge buyers who had little or no knowledge about
the providers of the relevant knowledge. For example, they did not know
who had performed a business process optimization in a certain area within
a car manufacturing company, or who had had other experiences to offer.
The reverse was also true. There was very little transparency about those
who had canvassed the same customer for business, or in the
same industry and what the status of this activity was with this customer
and what kind of business was entailed. And, of course, there was no chance
of developing or transferring a specific methodology between the various
The provider and buyer model does not mean their positions are fixed.
On the contrary, providers and buyers can switch positions so that a provider
of specific knowledge, for example a lesson learned in industry, can be
a buyer of knowledge on another topic the next day. Within the framework,
they are therefore referred to as professionals in the role of the
knowledge provider, for example.
3.4. The knowledge broker
One of the first solution modules involved establishing knowledge brokers.
A knowledge broker, for example in SBS Management Consulting, is a consultant
who spends a specific weekly knowledge window in this role.
To some extent, a knowledge broker is the spider in the
web in the organization. He or she can also be regarded as a human search
engine that can be accessed whenever anyone in the organization has
a question about a specialist area, or is looking for an expert. The knowledge
broker is also responsible for certain KM processes about which we will
learn more later. He or she is responsible for
- the classification, categorization, storage and management of the relevant
information and knowledge (librarian)
- coordinating or doing research
- monitoring the results of expert forums
- acting as a change agent for further cultural development
- introducing new platforms or functions.
During the implementation phase the team was faced with the decision
of whether to introduce full-time brokers into the organization,
to use the knowledge brokers as a function, or define being a broker as
a role (i.e. a consultant spends part of his/her weekly working
time as a broker). After weighing up the options, they opted for the role
model, since the interaction between consulting practice - the direct source
of empirical knowledge - and the management of knowledge promises to add
In this model, the time investment amounts to about 0.5 days per week.
To ensure that a consultant working in this role is not at any disadvantage,
the team has adapted the individual sales targets to correlate with the
time he or she spends on KM activities. An independent evaluation model
was developed to assess this. Nevertheless, a few questions still needed
to be answered, for example:
What qualities should a good knowledge broker have?
- Should he or she, ideally, be a junior consultant or one with a lot
The solution to the latter question was found midway between these two
alternatives: he or she should thoroughly understand the subject area in
which he or she practices the role and must be able to provide support
through his or her own consulting experiences in the area.
The answer to the former question - What capabilities should a
knowledge broker have in addition to satisfying the technical
requirements? - was not easy to find since there were no empirical
values to refer to. The following answers come closest.
- He or she must be sociable and approachable and have an open personality.
- He or she must be self-assured and convincing in the relevant subject
- To impart knowledge in the expert networks, he or she needs a very
good understanding of how to present information and good analytical capabilities,
as well as an enthusiastic approach to his or her pivotal role in the technical
Special training, strategic participation in projects and networking
in a separate Community of Practice provide the designated brokers with
the experience they need to fulfill this role.
In addition to these nominated knowledge brokers, all the other people
in the organization must also assume the role of brokers. Anyone who is
confronted with a query to which he or she does not have a simple answer
but knows someone who can help, acts as a broker - in the sense of competency
- by establishing the connection between the problem and the solution.
To put this approach into practice effectively, participants should be
motivated to share and use knowledge supplied by others. Once again the
underlying importance of a knowledge culture is clearly obvious.
An important principle that the team developed during the construction
of the SBS's marketplace was the concrete integration of knowledge management
instruments into the business model, or into the business processes. In
this way, the marketplace combines products, solutions, se rvices and projects
not only with customers and partners but even competitors.
The framework needs further explanation and an examination of the marketplace.
3.5 Goods available at the knowledge marketplace
What goods and knowledge are available on the market? How mature are
the goods that are traded and what are they actually worth?
From the interviews at SBS in the early stages of the KM implementation,
it soon became evident that both implicit (tacit) knowledge and explicit
knowledge would be traded. The question was: How can implicit knowledge
be traded unless it becomes explicit? In this context, implicit knowledge
is made up of competencies. The implicit knowledge that is eventually traded
is the link to a specific competence, i.e. by linking a colleague in another
group with specific experience, expertise and skills. In addition to the
knowledge held by an individual, other important components include the
knowledge contained in a project team or in another group working in close
Explicit knowledge comprises documents, processes, methods, business
patterns, and so on, and must therefore be dealt with in a much more concrete
way. Nevertheless, we are, for example, still faced with the question as
to the maturity level of a document. This is basically determined by the
degree to which the knowledge can be re-used - the higher the degree of
reusability, the higher the value of the document. This posed a further
challenge - how to extract the lessons learned from a document
as just a few projects could lead to thousands of documents. A search
on the document merely as text would not lead to a useful result - it would
be like an unspecified search on the Internet. One would not be able to
judge document quality in detail, or assess the quality and maturity of
a specific checklist to find out if the policies used proved to be good
or bad practice. And more importantly, there would be no way of refining
this knowledge through practical use or theoretical engineering.
In order to trade the documents on the knowledge market, to learn from
experience, and to identify and use knowledge assets in a methodical manner,
explicit knowledge had to be divided into non-validated and validated knowledge
SBS defines knowledge assets as the elements that represent its knowledge
and experience in value-added processes. These elements can be samples,
examples, checklists, case studies, templates, architectures, business
frameworks, practice guides or even a methodology component developed from
practical experience gained in projects.
When evaluating knowledge asset candidates, SBS has learned to keep
the assessment as simple as possible, and to avoid a complex and complicated
system of criteria. Trusting its experts' judgment, the SBS team chose
a pragmatic approach that simply differentiates between validated and non-validated
knowledge. The knowledge assets - along with a short synopsis of their
contents and context - are stored and submitted to a knowledge asset creation
process. This procedure also ensures that knowledge assets are up-to-date.
(The knowledge creation process will be dealt with in more detail in the
section dealing with processes.)
However, even with validated knowledge assets, which are stored separately
from non-validated project documents, a full text search, for example,
is still only partly successful. It is much more meaningful to provide
SBS has thus dealt with and developed a number of structures, some of
which are specific to certain units. One example is the structure of the
SBS Proposal and Knowledge Base. Here, the topic-specific contents are
incorporated into the standard processes of the project work by the knowledge
center and specific knowledge modules (knowledge assets) are displayed
for each individual project step. Project managers, as well as those responsible,
for example, for creating proposals, quality management, and so on, can
find important method modules for completing their tasks, as well as networks
of experts working on the same topic.
3.6. Knowledge maps
Another content-related element was, for example, the development of
the methodology for creating knowledge maps - not in the sense of Yellow
Pages, as they are often understood, but the graphic display of knowledge
flows and competency networks.
Different colors describe various competency implementations, while
connectors show the intensity of the knowledge flows. The size of these
networks is shown, the interfaces to partners and, for example, schools
and special, possibly critical, node points in the organization. Knowledge
maps have made the implementation of expert networks (Communities of Practice)
in organizations possible.
3.7. Knowledge measurement and KM metrics
The purpose of the models developed in this complex topic is to determine
the maturity level of an organization for KM and the Return On Investment
(ROI) of KM programs, and to measure the success of KM projects and approaches
to intellectual capital management, using balanced scorecards. (The view
of the individual models is beyond the scope of this case study and others
will be dedicated exclusively to this topic.)
3.8 Knowledge processes
The integration of KM into the corporate processes is a critical success
factor for every successful KM implementation. Based on the differentiation
of the flow of tacit and explicit knowledge, the project team looked at
and extended numerous processes within the context of KM at SBS. A few
very knowledge-intensive processes will now be examined.
In order to make implicit knowledge (for example, lessons learned) acquired
in particular projects available to other colleagues and to identify the
knowledge assets described earlier, the team defined a KM project debriefing
process for the systematic evaluation of individual and group lessons.
This was integrated into SBS's project-delivery process, and is now
automatically part of the project process. A project debriefing is held
when a specific project milestone is reached, or at the end of a project.
It examines both relations with the customer and the development of the
individual project employees, as well as the collective learning results.
This debriefing makes a huge demand on the corporate culture so that everyone
involved may learn from problems encountered in the course of the project.
The questions asked at a debriefing relate particularly to the progress
of the project and possible deviations from the project plan.
This kind of workshop offers an opportunity for systematic reflection
on the newly completed project, benefiting SBS consultants. They also learn
ways in which they can improve their performance in future projects, by
being made aware of certain patterns. It is essential that these workshops
take place shortly after the conclusion of a project so that experiences
specific to the project do not become confused or overlap with new ones.
The knowledge broker of the practice concerned is responsible for initiating
this project-debriefing workshop. The project leader, the project members
and the practice leader (or another member of the best practice team) participate.
The knowledge broker facilitates this workshop with a predefined structure,
which can be tailored to the specific circumstances of the project. The
objectives of this workshop are to:
- review the approach chosen for the project (what was conducive and
what was obstructive to the project delivery process)
- review the project results in terms of the business value achieved
- identify the lessons learned and best practice in the project
- draw conclusions and develop measures to help repeat past successes
and make improvements for future projects
- document the experience, and convert implicit knowledge to explicit
- identify knowledge asset candidates.
The results of the project debriefing are then communicated to every
member of that practice. The workshop itself is not open to everyone, as
it was found that conflicts or bad experiences within the project team
(if there have been any) are better resolved in a confidential setting.
To capture and further develop knowledge, the project team defined a
knowledge asset creation process that is linked to project debriefing,
or the processes within its Communities of Practice that are, in turn,
linked to one another.
Process owners are necessary to advance the process, and roles must
be defined with specific responsibility for output. The knowledge broker,
as discussed earlier, acts as the process owner. Once the knowledge asset
candidates have been validated through this process, their quality and
maturity are considered proven. Knowledge assets can then be reused in
other projects, thereby integrating them into a cycle of constant reuse
and further development. Knowledge assets are also important for SBS's
own business development. Through expert counseling or by providing clients
with a case study, knowledge assets are used to present expertise in a
3.9. Knowledge workers
To promote the KM process, the project team defined other roles for
KM workers besides that of knowledge broker. These further roles were mostly
defined within its Communities of Practice (or "Practices").
All SBS Practices have a practice leader and several KM review
members per practice. Each consulting employee is a member of one Practice.
The Practices define a best practice team consisting of subject
matter experts (SMEs), the practice leader and the technical editor.
The team is responsible for measuring the business value and defining the
life cycle and maturity level of knowledge assets. They also check the
knowledge assets for methodology components, which can be gleaned from
them. The technical editor is responsible for the quality, consistency
and design of the documentation, and for improving the quality of the material
affected. The projects are discussed more openly in small groups, like
the practice team, where people already know one another very well.
3.10. The role of technology
The description of the other parts of the framework may underscore the
importance of the right cultural environment for KM, but the special role
that technology plays should not be overlooked.
When studying the time frame needed for the transformation of a corporate
culture into a knowledge-oriented corporate culture - where knowledge sharing
and the collective creation of new knowledge is part of everyday work -
it is clear that
this takes a long time. On the other hand, the successful provision
and introduction of an intranet-based tool takes only a few weeks or less.
Similarly, if you look at the possibilities for the exchange of knowledge
between global organizations through the Internet/intranet technologies,
two important roles of technology can be deduced: to be drivers and enablers
A successful KM program must therefore plan the individual program components
in such a way that each employee recognizes the personal benefit he or
she could get from KM in the overall architecture (e.g. through the provision
or optimization of a tool).. Technological solutions support the success
of the entire program and can thus be used as "quick hits" in
KM projects. (Only a brief overview of this topic is given, since the description
of the technologies used in KM falls outside the scope of this case study.)
The most important differentiation required relates to the stored knowledge.
While document management systems can be used to store explicit knowledge
from conventional documents, Yellow Pages or skill databases achieve transparency
about the competencies within the organization.
The technologies used at SBS can be described in four clusters:
- Knowledge libraries: project and knowledge repositories based
- Knowledge mapping: portals, search engines, knowledge maps,
Yellow Pages, skill databases, etc.
- Communities of Practice: collaboration applications, virtual
teaming applications, etc.
- All linked together by knowledge flow applications: newsboards,
workflows, and e-mail.
It should always be borne in mind, however, that knowledge management
programs should not be driven by technology, but are enabled by it.
This ends our tour of the ten aspects that comprise the holistic approach
to KM at SBS.
4 Critical success factors
As part of project planning at SBS, it was possible to deduce a number
of critical success factors for a successful KM implementation, which could
then be confirmed in the external consulting projects.
- KM requires problem-based trading. KM should not start
with a solution-based model, but with an in-depth examination of the initial
situation in the unit, or the entire company, in order to develop solutions
for specific problems (e.g. cultural barriers).
- KM requires support and clear communication of the objectives
by management, as well as active staff approval. This critical
success factor describes the importance of management's role in a successful
KM implementation. This cannot be limited to a role as sponsor, but requires
an active presence and participation.
- To achieve successful KM implementation the kind of knowledge
that is critical and its origin must be identified and KM defined as an
integral part of the business process. The SBS unit identified
project delivery as its core business process, and project experience as
its most valuable knowledge.
- Process owners must be defined and given clearly defined roles
and specific responsibilities for output.
- Processes for the way in which knowledge is captured
must be defined in the sense of best practices,
as well as for the achievement and retention of the required maturity (filter
- The economic value of knowledge does not lie in possessing it,
but in using it. When the KM implementation reaches a certain stage
of maturity, actually having information is no longer the decisive factor
for success. It comes down to the manner in which the interpretation and
application of this information is utilized. The following comparison illustrates
this clearly: the books in a library obtain their value through the readers
who read them and use them to increase their knowledge base.
- The completeness of the KM program. To achieve success,
it is necessary to look at and implement KM in its entirety, as in the
sections described earlier.
- The integration and further development of topic-related projects.
In many groups within a company there are highly knowledge-intensive projects,
such as e-business topics, the success of which can be increased by looking
at them from a KM point of view. In this context, KM topics should not
be run in parallel with such projects, but should be integrated into the
- Knowledge management programs must be aligned to corporate goals.
KM cannot be run as an end in itself, but must be clearly aligned to the
strategic objectives of the company in question. At Siemens, for example,
these objectives involve supporting the paradigm shift from a product company
to a solution and service-driven company.
- The provision of a technical platform based on existing architectures.
KM must not appear simply as a "new" tool to the employees involved;
existing Information and Communication architectures must also be looked
at as part of KM project planning.
- The pilot projects must have clearly-defined, measurable objectives
that can be achieved in less than six months. However, the changeover to
a knowledge-based company involves a change process that can span several
Planning the pilot projects, in particular, is an important task for
the successful implementation of KM. The pilot projects set in motion a
process of change, spanning a number of years, which is required to bring
about a lasting cultural change. This implies that the relevant employees
must understand the benefits of the KM program over and above their intrinsic
motivation, even at the pilot-project stage. Furthermore, the pilot groups
must be selected in such a way that the results can be multiplied in other
groups or at other locations.
As a result of the further development of the organization, the huge
growth and the marked international orientation of SBS, KM as topic will
also be faced with further challenges in future. Achieving a certain status
is only the basis for motivating employees to attain other goals and to
continue developing SBS into a knowledge-based company.
In addition to this internal view, it is important to position KM as
part of the SBS portfolio along with topics like e-business, Supply chain
Management or customer relationship management, etc. Another important
factor is the successful incorporation of KM into projects, as is already
happening, for example, with customers from the insurance or automobile
There are three steps to achieving KM goals. The first step is to determine
what kind of knowledge is critical and useful to your business, and how
it will best support your strategy. The second is to identify where this
knowledge is created, when it is most useful to share it and how this can
be done within the context of your organization. Finally, KM processes
must be defined as an integral part of business processes. By institutionalizing
these KM processes, learning, knowledge creation and knowledge sharing
become part of normal, everyday business activity. This means that you
no longer have to constantly wonder how you and your company should manage
Although SBS is mainly an IT-focused company, it considers KM as a holistic
management approach. Institutionalizing the IT aspects must coincide with
change management activities. To a large extent, your organizational context
will determine whether a specific element, for example, an incentive scheme,
is necessary in your company to encourage the implementation of KM. Bear
in mind that incentives can only encourage implementation, but will not
have an enduring effect on how KM is actually "lived out" by
employees. Knowledge can only be managed as a natural part of everyday
cooperation. This everyday cooperation is typically represented in business
processes where individual knowledge-sharing and knowledge-creating processes
take place. Rather than creating a KM solution that is implemented on the
periphery of the company, SBS's approach has been to integrate this demanding
task into its daily business activity.