Valeri Grouchev: Benefits of the Company’s Knowledge Management Process
An essential part of every modern company’s activity is knowledge management. The knowledge management formalizes and leverages a company's intellectual assets and enhances the collaboration process with a customer thus leading to a greater satisfaction of the later… Basically, it involves capturing, organizing, and storing knowledge and experiences of software engineers and project groups, and making this information available to others enterprise-wide.
The biggest problem with establishing a corporate-wide knowledge management process is not that of technology, but of motivating the right people. It's not a problem of developing and deploying, say, a corporate knowledge management platform to codify and share project experiences and best practices. It's a problem of creating and fostering a corporate culture that actually inspires people to contribute and share their knowledge without forcing them to do so. Thus, the technology part of knowledge management should not be overemphasized. What's really important is taking a proactive stance towards developing a corporate culture that actually fosters knowledge sharing.
When we at SaM Solutions started, we did with practical, real things that bring people together as a community — such as corporate workshops and round tables on topics our software engineers could relate to and implement in their projects. Examples include application security and role-based permission management, new Web development technology frameworks, Change Request and Bug Tracking Systems, and more. Also, one of our important best practices is a system of "borrowing" experts. If a project team needs to solve a problem, and we have a subject matter expert who already did it in the past, we bring them together to a round table where an expert can quickly share the expertise. Things like these are hugely important since they really bring people closer, and make them feel a part of the company. People from different development teams realize they are not on their own with their local project issues. While formal procedures and processes are a good thing, you can't expect people to really cooperate and share knowledge proactively unless they have an incentive to do so and realize it's important. So a corporate culture is really the key to the problem here.
To support our knowledge management process from the technology perspective we started with automating things we already had, such as workshops and seminars. We already had a SharePoint-based Corporate Portal, so we built a Corporate Experience Center as a part of it to allow for seamless management of workshops, seminars, and electronic knowledge sources. People use the system to ask for new workshops, share their opinions, and access the seminars' collateral materials and IT books on relevant topics. Another technology solution we make extensive use of is our Web-enabled Human Resources and competence management application. This solution supports competence mapping including a person's previous employment history, technological and language skills, project history in the company with detailed technology profile, education and training history, and more.
In today's highly competitive, ever-changing IT landscape, knowledge management becomes a crucial success factor for a software services company such as SaM Solutions. By capturing the previous project experiences and lessons learned, and sharing the expertise of our leading engineers, we can offer our customers extra benefits in terms of greater development efficiency and better quality of the resulting software product. In other words as sixteen-year experience shows, an established knowledge management process at SaM eventually translates into a greater customer satisfaction.
Director of Delivery
SaM Solutions Belarus