In a highly competitive business world, the success of an organisation depends on many factors, particularly the management's collective knowledge and competence.
According to W B Lee, head of the Industrial and Systems Engineering Department at The Hong Kong Polytechnic University (PolyU), knowledge management (KM) is a valuable business tool combining processes and techniques for the creation, collection, classification, distribution, evaluation and retrieval of knowledge related to a particular company's business.
PolyU offers a master of science degree and a postgraduate diploma in KM via online learning platforms, workshops and seminars where students will meet KM experts. Professor Lee believes the programmes suit graduates wishing to learn the methodologies for running KM systems plus handling strategic issues, organisational learning as well as other areas of KM.
KM programmes are typically tied to organisational objectives and are intended to lead to the achievement of specific improvements such as shared intelligence, improved performance, competitive advantage and higher levels of innovation.
"Hong Kong businesses have quickly grasped the value of KM, and demand for KM specialists is mounting," says Professor Lee. "KM is not limited for a specific industry or type of business. Every company aiming for significant improvements in human performance and competitive advantage should introduce a KM system."
Recent graduate from the programme Richard Lin, who is general manager, region south, China Guangzhou Branch, Power Transmission and Distribution, Siemens Ltd, says, "As an international company we have tons of information and knowledge located in the minds of our people, our documentation archive, intranet, plus our guidelines and manual. So it is very important for us to learn how to properly manage and derive value from this information."
Today, KM specialists take up diverse responsibilities across a company's various departments by helping steer and shape its knowledge policies, structures and processes. They also develop technological systems or workgroup application suites that nurture and facilitate organisational learning and a shared knowledge culture.
"KM is everywhere. Businesses must develop strategies to acquire, organise, store and share knowledge in order to increase productivity and the quality of work. This applies to all industries," Zinia Tang, human resources executive, Deacons, says. "The programme's structure and learning mode are flexible. It fits perfectly into my own learning style and needs."
Ricky Lo, sales director, content management & archiving business, EMC Computer Systems (FE) Ltd, agrees. "This programme broadened my perspectives and proved how the overall economy can benefit from KM. In today's marketplace, enterprises can differentiate themselves by the use of knowledge — the most important asset. Companies that collect, classify, distribute and put to proper use such knowledge among their staff will become the leaders in the marketplace. The programme taught me how to leverage on knowledge in this new digital era. It also enhanced my confidence in dealing with clients, giving me a value-added and positive sales approach."