The Knowledge Management (KM) Depot

The Knowledge Management (KM) Depot: May 2010

Monday, May 24, 2010

Leveraging KM for M&A Transactions - Part One: Knowledge Map

During this challenging economic time many corporations are facing the prospect of merging with other firms to not only survive but to have a sustainable and viable business in the future. With the consolidation of the telecommunications industry underway (see CenturyLink/Qwest Merger) as well as the airline industry (see United Continental merger) there is a need to identify the key knowledge holders in order to ensure the success of mergers and acquisitions.

The effect of these mergers will and often lead to a loss of valuable knowledge from both sides of the merger/acquisition equation. This loss of knowledge is due to positions being consolidated and/or eliminated, other personnel taking early retirement package or other financial incentives. The question is how do we identify who the key knowledge holders are and what knowledge do they hold? Also, has it been determined that this is viable knowledge to the "new" organization going forward and what is our plan to retain, capture, or acquire this knowledge?

All of these questions can be answered with a comprehensive Knowledge Management Strategy geared to identify viable initiatives that will address these questions. One such initiative will be to develop a knowledge map of the organization to be acquired. A knowledge map is a mechanism used to identify key knowledge and the knowledge holders of the organization. Once these maps are completed further analysis is needed to determine the process, procedures and initiatives necessary to prioritize, retain, and/or acquire knowledge that may leave. Often organizational knowledge is the reason certain mergers happen. Knowledge Management is the mechanism to transition individual knowledge to corporate knowledge and make it available for all employees to access.

There will be additional parts of this blog entry to follow over the next week. I welcome your comments on this timely issue!

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Sunday, May 23, 2010

Knowledge Management for Law Firms

Over the last several weeks I've been discussing knowledge management specifically in the areas of healthcare, telecommunications, government (military) and mergers/acquisition. During these conversations a colleague of mine mentioned law firms and if KM can provide viable assistance for lawyers and other legal personnel. The conversation went quickly to KM tools such as those provided by Lexis Nexis ( I cautioned however that KM is not about IT. Technology is an enabler for KM initiatives. You must first understand the business of the law firm and the lawyers who operate in it (every firm and lawyer has different knowledge needs). So, I suggested you start with crafting a KM Strategy to understand how KM will be leveraged by the firm.
Law firms focus centers around client relationships and understanding the clients' legal needs. These needs can range from but not limited to  litigation, intellectual property, criminal, divorce, and bankruptcy. In understanding what a client needs the law firm partner has to determine who would be the best (lawyer/lawyers) to address specific needs of the client and how can they effectively and efficiently handle these needs. Therefore knowledge around servicing the client would be a good start for the KM Strategy to focus. The KM Strategy should address the knowledge needs, processes, initiatives and tools that will increase the performance of the staff, provide outstanding services and increase revenue of the firm.
Some resources to review are: Effective Knowledge Management for Law Firms, Knowledge management and the smarter lawyer, and Lawyer KM. I look forward to your comments.

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