The best thing that I heard him talk about was the clear connection between their KM effort and the overall business goals of the organization. EDS are continually looking for ways to improve how they sell and deliver consulting services. They tie this directly to their KM efforts with business process, measurements and tools that fit with what they need. While this blindingly obvious, it is great to hear that this is working for a global company, like EDS.
Hoglund and EDS have identified five main areas of knowledge that are associated with successful business for EDS. More accurately, EDS have identified five focus areas that help them be successful and Hoglund has attached a type of knowledge to each.
- Consistent processes (process knowledge)
- Standard packaging (portfolio knowledge - product knowledge)
- Information on how they've delivered (experience knowledge)
- Access to external information (external knowledge)
- Efficient ways for teams to create & monitor their work (team knowledge)
For EDS and Hoglund this becomes three main delivery vehicles to support different aspects of their value chain. They have a Portfolio Playbook where they publish product information, specifically focused on the types of business they seek and how that business is sold and managed. They have a Sales Network that focuses more strongly on how to sell the specific products and what to look for in potential customers. Finally, they have a Knowledge Center where they collect examples, stories, lessons learned and other information around how engagements have succeeded. While each system is geared to specific types of information and processes within the business, they also share information between systems.
We had an interesting conversation around how EDS created the desire to use this set of systems. A big aspect was that the new management team saw how this type of work would help them meet their business goals, so the drive from the top was very strong. In addition, Hoglund and his team have developed checkpoints that tie with the normal business processes and ensure that people are using the system. For example, when new account codes are created (indicating business has been won), they check with the business developer to see what documentation should or could be added to the system associated with this particular sale or with this customer. Similarly, when any large contract is bid upon (win or lose), there is an after action review process that may produce information to be of value for both the sales prospecting part of the world and as input to the ongoing development of the EDS portfolio.
Hoglund noted that most of these "make sure it works" checkpoints are fairly human-centric in that they involve talking to people and surveys, rather than relying completely on the metrics and measures that they can collect as well. Along with this, they are also building feedback into their business processes, so that the KM work is simply part of how business is done.
When asked about trends in knowledge management, Hoglund highlighted the topic of his talk: the business and process focus. He also highlighted personal knowledge management and building collaboration into other products (such as connections between Office 2003 and SharePoint) as areas where KM has interesting directions for the future.
Hoglund gave a similar presentation to the Information and Knowledge Management Society (iKMS), based in Singapore. They've written up extensive notes too.
Hoglund, Doyle and Garman have a paper in the KM area of ITToolBox, Managing Portal Implementations: Achieve Timely Implementation and Business Goals, 11
August 2004. (This may be a republished EDS white paper,)