Knowledge Management Proves to Be Hot Topic for SOTA '97
The Special Libraries Association delivered its annual State-of-the-Art Institute, "Knowledge Management: A New Competitive Asset" to a sold-out audience November 6-7, 1997, in Washington, DC. The Institute, sponsored by Disclosure, Inc., focused on the emerging phenomenon of knowledge management and its application in today's changing business world. Presentations from leading experts in the field educated information professionals about the concepts, tools, and techniques of knowledge management; the skills and competencies required for practitioners; and real-life lessons from the field.
The Institute began with an insider's philosophy behind the knowledge management movement. Alison Tucker, marketing analyst for Buckman Laboratories, Memphis, TN, pointed out that in the information age, the key factor of competitive success for organizations of every size will be the ability to acquire and manage knowledge assets. As an associate of the knowledge transfer department at Buckman Labs since its inception, Tucker explained that at Buckman, knowledge management is all about "involvement, commitment, creativity, passion, and ultimately freedom to do everything we can, and use all of the knowledge we have to make sure that we have done our utmost to satisfy our customers." For this reason, corporate executives around the world are embracing "knowledge management" as a way of leveraging the organization's intellectual capital.
Nigel Oxbrow and Angela Abell of TFPL Ltd., London, U.K., explored the skills and competencies that are required in order to put a knowledge management plan in place. As managing director and principal consultant of a company that provides professional services to the information market in both Europe and North America, Oxbrow and Abell have discovered that it takes leadership, political and business understanding, team building, communication, change management, flexibility and focus, and most importantly, a vision, in order for knowledge management to successfully impact an organization's bottom line.
The Institute then turned its focus to the application of knowledge management by exploring the experiences of two well-known companies that have instituted a company-wide knowledge management plan. Patricia Foy, director of knowledge strategies for Coopers & Lybrand, Stamford, CT, discussed the lessons she learned when she moved her company to the forefront of the knowledge management arena. Foy explained the important role technology played at Coopers & Lybrand and discussed the need to get buy in from all the people in the company that are involved in knowledge sharing - information users, technology experts, the knowledge management team, and vendors. …