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ISO 30401:2018

Knowledge management standard

This KM standard focuses on the capture, management and delivery of knowledge through a software application. Each organization will craft a knowledge management approach, with respect to its own business and operational environment, reflecting their specific needs and desired outcomes.

The scope of the  ISO Knowledge Management Standard, according to the documentation is to “set requirements and provide guidelines for establishing, implementing, maintaining, reviewing and improving an effective management system for knowledge management in organizations. All the requirements of this document are applicable to any organization, regardless of its type or size, or the products and services it provides”.

As with any standard, I believe that practitioners and organizations implementing KM should use this as a framework. Alignment to a recognized standard will contribute to improving the organization’s implementation and use of Knowledge Management.

The KM Standard has procedures in place in which to continuously evolve the standard. The procedures intended for the evolution of the standard is described in the ISO/IEC Directives. The following are my brief comments concerning the purpose, importance of KM and KM Guiding Principles sections of the standard.

he following are a synopsis of the guiding principles set forth by the KM Standard:

  • The determinable value of knowledge is in its impact on organizational purpose, vision, objectives, policies, processes and performance. Knowledge management is a means of unlocking the potential value of knowledge.
  • Focus: knowledge management serves the organizational objectives, strategies and needs.
  • Adaptive: there is no one knowledge management solution that fits all organizations within all contexts. Organizations may develop their own approach to the scope of knowledge and knowledge management and how to implement these efforts, based on the needs and context. 
  • For shared understanding, knowledge management should include interactions between people, using content, processes and technologies where appropriate.
  • Environment: knowledge is not managed directly; knowledge management focuses on managing the working environment, thus nurturing the knowledge lifecycle.
  • Culture: culture is critical to the effectiveness of knowledge management.
  • Iterative: knowledge management should be phased, incorporating learning and feedback cycles.

Knowledge management is a holistic approach to improving learning and effectiveness through optimization of the use of knowledge, in order to create value for the organization.

Knowledge management supports existing process and development strategies. As such, it needs to be integrated with other organizational functions.

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