THE CONTEXT FOR VALUING KNOWLEDGE
By the year 2000, U.S. multinational, Dow Chemical Company, was making over US$125 million a year from licensing fees for its intellectual property rights. By cutting the number of active patents to 16,000, around $40 million in tax obligations will be saved over a ten-year period. American insurance giant USAA has an IT-driven customer feedback and knowledge system that boosts sales, cuts costs, and contributes to the bottom line. Ford's digitalized technical and customer information system, called Fordstar, is a virtual learning network linking six thousand global dealerships which extends training but helps to cut costs. For several years, Swedish financial services group, Skandia, has published an Intellectual Capital supplement to its annual report, primarily for investor and client readership. These corporate snapshots indicate four dimensions of knowledge management, which is exploding throughout the business world as a multifaceted armory for enhancing competitiveness, direct bottom-line results, more customer knowledge to increase loyalty, virtual learning, and public reporting.
Leading consultancies are also active. Consider that the Price Waterhouse Cooper's internal knowledge network has over two thousand databases, which its employees worldwide can access for best practices, studies, and expert opinions. Similarly, Arthur Andersen's Global Best