Managing knowledge and information
How do you develop and maintain information-processing systems to help you make better decisions? And how do you get the best use of knowledge and learning throughout the organization?
These questions related to almost every other topic in strategic management.
In this sense, a system is a detailed description of how organizations relate to their environments and how they process information through strategic and tactical management to develop actual operating procedures.
A communication plan is a structured program for the dissemination of information, and the receipt of feedback information from individuals, relevant to the process or activity
Stage 1. Get information relevant to business issues
Review staff and customer feedback and your business performance data
Identify business problems and issues, then define and analyze them
Gather the information you need form reliable sources, suing efficient ways to gather it
Test it for reliability and validity, and reject anything contradictory or ambiguous.
Use your formal and informal networks to access corporate knowledge and memory that is not held in formal systems, and review it appropriately.
Stage 2. Analyze your information
You need to set objectives for analyses that are clear, relevant and consistent with the decisions required
Identify the patterns and emerging trends and interpret them for cause and effect relationships. Use statistical analyses and interpretation where appropriate, for example, short to medium term trend, long term trend, regulation, correlation calculations, probability assessment.
You can also do sensitivity analysis on any proposed options. This means applying "what if" scenarios to the various options available.
Your documentation needs to reflect a logical approach to the evaluation of your evidence and conclusions your draw.
Adjust your management information and decision support systems to meet your information processing objectives. Management information systems are the formal systems for collecting, storing and synthesizing information to be used in management decision making, and decision support systems are management information systems that include some form of computer-based assistance to decision making (expert systems)
Stage 3. Make decisions
Check that you have enough valid and reliable information to support a decision on business issues identified
Use your risk management plans to determine acceptable courses of action. That is, assess the risks of each option.
If appropriate, use suitable quantitative methods to help you make a decision. (e.g. Linear programming, transportation methodology, queuing theory, dynamic programming, simulation.)
Consult with specialists and other relevant groups and individuals are consulted
Make decisions in a timely way. They must be within your authority to do so, and according to your organization's guidelines, objectives, values and standards
Stage 4. Disseminate information to the organization
The information you provide needs to be up-to-date, accurate, relevant and sufficient for the recipients needs. Find out what information the groups and individuals in your organization need. (You many need to do surveys, focus groups, individual interviews, or group interviews.)
Write down what advice and information they need specifically in respect to location format and timelines, that is, when and where they need it.
Put your information in writing and regularly update databases.
Design and test systems to meet information requirements of decision-makers.
Make plans for communication that include regular recipient evaluation.
Follow confidentiality and privacy policies when you transmit and release information and advice.
Regularly review plans and update your communication.
Use technology that gives you optimum efficiency and quality.
Maintain corporate knowledge and ensure security.
Things you must get right
- Track a particular problem or issue through the information gathering and analysis phase and make a decision (or decisions) that you disseminate it to the people and groups inside and outside your organization who need to be informed.
- Develop and use information processing systems,
- Accessing informal information/knowledge from informal networks within your organization
(At this level the learner must demonstrate understanding of specialised knowledge with depth in some areas)
- As a matter of course, you will need to know the Key Result Areas of your organization and their supporting strategies/plans/objectives
- You will also need to know the relevant legislation from all levels of government that affects your business operations, especially in regard to OHS, environmental issues, equal opportunity, industrial relations and anti-discrimination.
What kinds of skill will you need?
- Networking skills to ensure support from key groups and individuals for concepts, ideas, products, and services
- Analytical skills to identify improvement opportunities in relation to the services/products you deliver internally or concepts/ideas in your area of expertise
- Evaluative skills to maintain performance and assess the use of alternative suppliers/contractors
- Operations management skills to utilise quantitative techniques as an aid to decision making
- Communication/consultation skills to ensure all relevant groups and individuals are advised of what is occurring and are provided with an opportunity for input
- Ability to relate to people from a range of social, cultural and ethnic backgrounds and physical and mental abilities
Key Competency Levels
- Collecting, analysing and organising information – to identify problems/issues requiring intervention
- Communicating ideas and information – to develop communication plans for decisions to be taken
- Planning and organising activities – to develop and maintain informal networks
- Working with teams and others – to ensure the quality and adequacy of the information available for the decision
- Using mathematical ideas and techniques – to apply in quantitative decision making techniques
- Solving problems – to identify and rectify problems/issues
- Using technology – to collect and analyse information and disseminate decisions