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

Underpinning knowledge

(At this level the learner must demonstrate understanding of specialised knowledge with depth in some areas)

What kinds of skill will you need?

Key Competency Levels