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04 March 2010

TCS KM maturity model and implementation methodology

Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) have defined a simple KM maturity model and a KM implementation methodology (SIGMARG)
Their maturity model for an Organization is as follows:

1. Initial - Organization has no formal processes for using organizational knowledge effectively for business delivery.
2. Intent - Organization realizes the potential in harnessing its organizational knowledge for business benefits.
3. Initiative - Organization have knowledge-enabled their business processes and are oberving its benefits and business impacts.
4 - Intelligent - Organization has matured collaboration and sharing throughout the business processes that results into collective and collaborative organisational intelligence.
5. Innovative - Organizational knowledge leads to consistent and continuous process optimisation giving it a business edge.

If the speed at which an Organization go through the stages will vary greatly, the authors do stress that an Organization must go through these stages in this order and they are "no shortcut" to the innovative level, and they are absolutely right.  A young company with the right leaders might start at level 3 but would need to go through level 4 before reaching 5. 

Having said that, what is important to understand here is less the number of levels and their definitions, but more the fact that a KM strategy cannot be underestimated and will involve a difficult journey requiring strong leadership, committed resources and patience.

The authors are also correct in identifying the 3 main building blocks (or "pillars") of Knowledge Management:
  • People and Culture (the "soft" pillar)
  • Technology (the "hard" pillar)
  • Process (the "glue" pillar) 
A KM strategy must be concerned in taking these 3 pillars through the 5 stages of maturity. 

Minimal information is given about the SIGMARG implemenation strategy (for obvious reasons) but you would expect it to rely on a set of benchmarking tools to assess the current state of the 3 pillars, followed by a roadmap of how to take them through the maturity levels.  For the most important (in my view) pillar "People & Cutlure", my list of cultural traits not conducive to knowledge-sharing could be such a tool to assess the corporate culture for instance: the more of the 20 traits relate to your Organization, the deeper it is stuck at level 1.  I would expect a level-5 Organization not to have a single of these traits.
The next pillar in importance is the Process pillar.  This is primarily to ensure that KM is embedded in all business processes and not considered as an additional activity on top of the regular daily activities.  This is not a simple endeavour and will require process re-ingeneering.  Ideally, the Organization needs to become process-based instead of function-based.
Then only comes the technology pillar to facilitate the cultural and process changes by making them pervasive and time-resistant.

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