Where should the KM Organization belong? #governance


Bill Dixon
 

Few of us get to choose where our bosses sit in the organizational hierarchy. But if the CEO were to ask you where the KM organization should be in relationship to the other functions in the organizational chart - how would you answer him?

There are advantages to being aligned with IT - while we know KM is not about IT, KM in the enterprise is enabled by IT. But there are challenges in staying connected to the business and no slipping into techno-speak which has no relevance to the business.

Members of this community are in Learning organizations, Communications, Marketing, Quality Improvement, IT, and at least one member reports directly to the CEO. Based on role relationships and lines of legitimate authority, what organizational configuratons work to enable and/or impede KM?

If there are enough responses I will compile responses and repost.

Bill Dixon


 

This is an excerpt from an article I published in KM Review a few years back when I was  the CKO at Acquisition Solutions..at that time, the CKO reported to the CEO.  I believe it is still  relevant and it worked for us as we earned finalist recognition in the North American MAKE awards for 2007 (#18), 2008 )#16), and 2009 (#13) while more importantly, delivering great value to our clients and our workforce. That later changed and the CKO began to become buried in the organization..this changed the dynamic…KM is neither a primary focus any longer nor is it a major practice area for client facing efforts.

 

Best

 

Bill

 

 

“For organizations that recognize this value, creating an enabling a Chief Knowledge Officer (CKO) position, and assigning a senior executive who is responsible for ensuring that the organization maximizes the value it achieves through one of its most important assets, its knowledge, is critical.  The CKO is not a relabeling of existing positions like a Chief Information Officer or a variation of another position.  The CKO is a unique an integrated or hybrid manager possessing skills and attributes that include an ability to think conceptually, manage people and projects, communicate effectively both internally and externally, and very importantly, an ability to persuade and advocate.  The CKO is very often a principal “an agent of change.”

What is the organizational context for the CKO?

 

It is helpful to think of the CKO in the context of other organizational leadership and the functions and responsibilities they have with respect to developing and managing the organization’s assets.  The Chief Financial Officer (CFO), for example, manages the financial assets of the organization; the Human Capital Officer (HCO) manages the workforce, and the Chief Technology Officer (CTO) managers the technology assets of the organization.  It makes sense to have an organizational leader that is responsible for and focused upon developing and leveraging the intellectual assets of the organization.  This individual is the CKO.


Where should the CKO fit in the organization?

The CKO should be considered an integral part of the senior leadership team and have an equal “seat at the table.”  The CKO is accountable for the “knowledge capture and reuse framework” of the organization.  While accountable for the framework, including developing and maintaining the framework, execution resides at the operational level.

 

Successful advocacy of the tools and techniques that leadership and the workforce must use to successfully capture, adapt transfer, and reuse knowledge is better enabled by the right positioning for the communication of the message.  This includes a reporting structure where the CKO reports to the senior leader in the organization.  This sends a clear message that the organization views leveraging the intellectual assets from the same value perspective, for example, as leveraging the financial assets of the organization. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bill Kaplan CPCM | Great Falls, Virginia 22066 | 571.934.7408 | 703.401.4198 (direct) | Linked In: www.linkedin.com/in/ckobillkaplan

_____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

 

 

Learn more about that value we provide at www.workingknowledge-csp.com

 

 

The information contained in this e-mail and any attachments is intended solely for the use of the individual or individuals to whom it is addressed and others who are authorized to receive it. If you are not the intended recipient, you are hereby notified that unauthorized use, copying or disclosure is strictly prohibited and may be unlawful. If you have received this communication in error, please contact the sender immediately.  Since this communication may contain confidential or legally privileged information, please do not forward to any third party without written authorization from the sender or Working KnowledgeCSP.

 


Barbara G. Saidel <barbara@...>
 

Bill, I have been a CKO, a CIO, and simultaneously both in my career at Russell Reynolds.  I have several responses to your question:

1.       KM is enabled by IT, but so is corporate communications, operations, finance, compliance, and most other functions….KM does not have a lock on that dependence.  Embedding it within the CIO’s organization can be dangerous.  Some people will associate the KM function with “those geeks who don’t get anything done for me,” or “a necessary evil, like IT.”  Because of my commitment to KM,  I always wanted to keep both functions after I was named the CIO.   I realize now that it was better for the organization when they were separated.  In the case of professional services firms, I think it is more effective for KM to be perceived as part of the front office, rather than part of the back office.

2.       Ideally, in my opinion, especially in professional services, KM should report to the CEO or to a divisional leader (e.g. International head of the practice).  It should be as important as managing the financial or human assets of the organization.  One could make an argument that it should report to the CAO (along with finance, IT, HR, Legal), but if the organization does that, the KM function should be small, advisory, and extremely active in reaching out to divisional KM leaders who in turn report to the head of each operating division.  In other words, a small corporate organization that provides functional leadership and resources for divisional KM leads with divisional straight line reporting relationships to chief exec of each operating division.)  If local/divisional KM leads report to the core group, they become back office.

 

Just a few thoughts.  Hope they help.


Barbara Saidel

Saidel Consulting, LLC

 

From: sikmleaders@... [mailto:sikmleaders@...] On Behalf Of bill_dixon_houston
Sent: Friday, March 19, 2010 6:10 AM
To: sikmleaders@...
Subject: [sikmleaders] Where should the KM Organization belong?

 

 

Few of us get to choose where our bosses sit in the organizational hierarchy. But if the CEO were to ask you where the KM organization should be in relationship to the other functions in the organizational chart - how would you answer him?

There are advantages to being aligned with IT - while we know KM is not about IT, KM in the enterprise is enabled by IT. But there are challenges in staying connected to the business and no slipping into techno-speak which has no relevance to the business.

Members of this community are in Learning organizations, Communications, Marketing, Quality Improvement, IT, and at least one member reports directly to the CEO. Based on role relationships and lines of legitimate authority, what organizational configuratons work to enable and/or impede KM?

If there are enough responses I will compile responses and repost.

Bill Dixon


Peter-Anthony <peteraglick@...>
 

Hi Bill

I like how you first ask a question and immediately after give your answer.
I do agree with you: the KM Leader should report to the CEO and sit at the board ideally for the reasons you give.
However, in the majority of organizations especially here in Europe, this is still an academic question!
It's a bit like asking what would we do if we won the lottery - well let's win it first and worry about this after!
Too many leaders need to realise and act on the fact that a KM function is needed in the first place. When they will have (en masse) reached the stage of worrying about where KM fits, we (KMers) will have virtually won the battle.

Best,
Peter-Anthony Glick

--- In sikmleaders@yahoogroups.com, "bill_dixon_houston" <wm_dixon@...> wrote:

Few of us get to choose where our bosses sit in the organizational hierarchy. But if the CEO were to ask you where the KM organization should be in relationship to the other functions in the organizational chart - how would you answer him?

There are advantages to being aligned with IT - while we know KM is not about IT, KM in the enterprise is enabled by IT. But there are challenges in staying connected to the business and no slipping into techno-speak which has no relevance to the business.

Members of this community are in Learning organizations, Communications, Marketing, Quality Improvement, IT, and at least one member reports directly to the CEO. Based on role relationships and lines of legitimate authority, what organizational configuratons work to enable and/or impede KM?

If there are enough responses I will compile responses and repost.

Bill Dixon


Fred Nickols
 

If it were up to me I'd have the CKO report to the COO, not the CEO. That way the CKO has enough cover but will also have his/her feet held to the fire to impact the business.

Fred Nickols
fred@nickols.us

--- In sikmleaders@yahoogroups.com, "bill_dixon_houston" <wm_dixon@...> wrote:

Few of us get to choose where our bosses sit in the organizational hierarchy. But if the CEO were to ask you where the KM organization should be in relationship to the other functions in the organizational chart - how would you answer him?

There are advantages to being aligned with IT - while we know KM is not about IT, KM in the enterprise is enabled by IT. But there are challenges in staying connected to the business and no slipping into techno-speak which has no relevance to the business.

Members of this community are in Learning organizations, Communications, Marketing, Quality Improvement, IT, and at least one member reports directly to the CEO. Based on role relationships and lines of legitimate authority, what organizational configuratons work to enable and/or impede KM?

If there are enough responses I will compile responses and repost.

Bill Dixon


Raj Datta <raj_datta@...>
 

Very interesting and excellent point Fred.  For the first 5 years, I, as CKO, reported to the COO of the firm, and then for the last 2 years I’ve reported to the CEO and MD.  When I was asked to setup the KM Function, I insisted on this reporting structure, partly for the reasons outlined by Fred and in Bill’s original post, and partly due to the person that was in the COO’s shoes at that time.

 

 In the initial period, there is need to build legitimacy and also to build an internal social movement, and the boss needs to know (or learn) how such change initiatives around intangibles can unfold, and have some emotional stamina him/herself.  So this becomes quite individual-specific.  My first boss had run a change initiative before, though it was in Quality, and was open to learning about KM, and the interplay of intangibles.   So other than specific position on the org structure, the actual person who is in those shoes needs to be considered too.

 

Regards,

Raj

 

From: sikmleaders@... [mailto:sikmleaders@...] On Behalf Of Fred
Sent: Saturday, March 20, 2010 4:35 AM
To: sikmleaders@...
Subject: [sikmleaders] Re: Where should the KM Organization belong?

 

 

If it were up to me I'd have the CKO report to the COO, not the CEO. That way the CKO has enough cover but will also have his/her feet held to the fire to impact the business.

Fred Nickols
fred@...

--- In sikmleaders@..., "bill_dixon_houston" >
> Few of us get to choose where our bosses sit in the organizational hierarchy. But if the CEO were to ask you where the KM organization should be in relationship to the other functions in the organizational chart - how would you answer him?
>
> There are advantages to being aligned with IT - while we know KM is not about IT, KM in the enterprise is enabled by IT. But there are challenges in staying connected to the business and no slipping into techno-speak which has no relevance to the business.
>
> Members of this community are in Learning organizations, Communications, Marketing, Quality Improvement, IT, and at least one member reports directly to the CEO. Based on role relationships and lines of legitimate authority, what organizational configuratons work to enable and/or impede KM?
>
> If there are enough responses I will compile responses and repost.
>
> Bill Dixon
>



http://www.mindtree.com/email/disclaimer.html


tombarfield75 <thomas.m.barfield@...>
 

At Accenture the central KM team (driving overall knowledge sharing strategy and infrastructure) has a direct report into a function called Global Markets. This is a function that also contains our industry facing business leaders.

The KM team has a dotted line relationship to the Chief Learning Officer (HR) who is responsible for meeting the companies knowledge and skills needs. This capability development organization is really where the rubber meets the road for knowledge sharing. While it is a dotted line relationship the central KM team works very closely with this group.

Bottomine - dual reporting to actual business leads (which helps to keep it relevant) and to Chief Learning Officer in HR who is responsible for executing on knowledeg processes (content and community.

Probably clear as mud,
Tom


Keith De La Rue
 

Bill & all -

I worked in a KM role at Telstra in Australia for around 8 years (which you can hear about on the April community call). The work there was about transferring knowledge from Product Managers and Marketing to the Sales Force.  For most of the time, these groups were in different silos in the organisation. As the organisation changed from time to time and managers changed, our group would be relocated.  At one stage or another, we had direct endorsement of our work from senior management; but sometimes lost this during changes.

Our approach was always to emphasise the importance of the target audience in our work, thus I believe that we were best located in the sales organisation. We started in an ideal location in a specialist sales and technical consultancy area, which included some product development.  However, some senior sales managers were of the opinion that only direct revenue-earning staff should be in sales. 

In case it may be of interest, a quick summary of our history after the original location is:

 - Marketing
 - Sales
 - Marketing
 - Business Operations
 - "Sales Excellence" - a sales development and support area - a reasonably effective location
 - Learning

And, just after I left, the group was moved in with competitive intelligence and business analytics.

And, no, we were never moved to IT, even though there was an IT element to some of our work.

Regards,
 
 - Keith.
--------------------------------------------------------
Keith De La Rue
AcKnowledge Consulting
...acting on knowledge, communication and learning
email:
keith@...
phone: +61 418 51 7676

blog: http://acknowledgeconsulting.com/
--------------------------------------------------------



Simard, Albert <albert.simard@...>
 

Here’s a paper I did on that question a few years ago.  I adapted some of the state-of-the-art from a book I read, but I cannot remember the name.

 

Albert J. Simard, Ph.D.

Knowledge Manager / Gestionnaire du savoir

 

DRDC - Centre for Security Science / RDDC Centre des sciences pour la sécurité

222 Nepean St., 11th floor / 222 rue Nepean, 11 ieme etage

Ottawa, Ontatio K1A 0K2

Canada

Tel: 613-995-8008   Fax: 613-992-0002

e-mail: albert.simard@...

 


From: sikmleaders@... [mailto:sikmleaders@...] On Behalf Of bill_dixon_houston
Sent: Friday, March 19, 2010 6:10 AM
To: sikmleaders@...
Subject: [sikmleaders] Where should the KM Organization belong?

 

 

Few of us get to choose where our bosses sit in the organizational hierarchy. But if the CEO were to ask you where the KM organization should be in relationship to the other functions in the organizational chart - how would you answer him?

There are advantages to being aligned with IT - while we know KM is not about IT, KM in the enterprise is enabled by IT. But there are challenges in staying connected to the business and no slipping into techno-speak which has no relevance to the business.

Members of this community are in Learning organizations, Communications, Marketing, Quality Improvement, IT, and at least one member reports directly to the CEO. Based on role relationships and lines of legitimate authority, what organizational configuratons work to enable and/or impede KM?

If there are enough responses I will compile responses and repost.

Bill Dixon