Introduction to Assignment
Knowledge is the modern’s company’s most important asset after land, capital, and labor. There are two types of knowledge when it comes to knowledge management is tacit and explicit knowledge. Tacit knowledge is more intuitive, easier to package and share with others. For instance, it is used in innovative thinking and understanding body language (Roy, 2018). At the same time, explicit knowledge is easily codified and taught, such as how to change the toner in a printer. Therefore, firms and organizations need to manage their knowledge efficiently to enhance their productivity.
Organizations must manage their knowledge efficiently owing to its significance to the efficiency and productivity of the organization. Employees must have access to the existing knowledge about the company processes and how they are conducted (Hislop, 2013). It also allows them to learn from former employees’ mistakes and make informed decisions, therefore saving time besides improving the quality of the work done (Dayan, 2017). Knowledge management has thus become an essential factor for the sustainable development of organizations.
Knowledge management can be defined as systematic management of an organization’s knowledge asset to create value and meet the tactical and strategic requirements. It consists of initiatives, processes, strategies, and systems that enhance and sustain storage assessment, sharing, and knowledge creation (Roy, 2018). It, therefore, suggests a strong tie to organizational goals and strategy for value creation. Thus, the primary purpose of knowledge management is to enhance productivity and efficiency and save knowledge.
Knowledge management involves three processes: knowledge creation, knowledge retention, and knowledge sharing. Organizations occasionally begin knowledge management processes for several reasons (Intezari, 2017). The grounds include merger or acquisition of an organization can spark the need for codifying knowledge and encouraging teams to share knowledge. The retirement of key employees can also flash the need to capture and retain their knowledge.
The need to train new employees after a recruitment drive can also inform the establishment of knowledge management in an organization. Many benefits come with Knowledge Management in an organization. Firstly, when the employees have access to the organization’s overall expertise, a smarter and efficient workforce is built who can make quick, informed decisions that improve the organization’s productivity (Hislop, 2013).
Besides, the employees will be satisfied as they will be doing quality work, and in turn, the customers will also be happy due to the precision with which their orders are processed (Abualoush et al., 2018). Moreover, Knowledge Management fosters innovation in the organization; this is because, by accessing other employees’ knowledge, the current employees can develop more innovative ways of improving service delivery in the firm.
Therefore, a Knowledge management strategy is a plan that describes how an organization will manage its information and knowledge better for the success of the organization and all its stakeholders. Organizations are unique when setting up a comprehensive and practical knowledge management strategy (Bilan, 2018). However, there are basic categories for Knowledge Management strategy, and they are: invent, supply, codify, analyze, motivate, network, among many others. This paper discusses the knowledge management strategy of Microsoft Company. The paper will examine the current state of Microsoft’s Knowledge Management strategy and develop a knowledge management strategic action plan for the organization that is being studied. This study’s key terms are Knowledge, Knowledge management, organization, and Knowledge management strategy.
This part is going to tackle the knowledge management strategy of Microsoft Company. Knowledge management strategy, as already highlighted above, is a plan that outlines the organization’s proposed way of managing its knowledge, information, and expertise for enhanced productivity and efficiency. Consequently, knowledge management enables the entire communication and collaboration for better results and reduces employee turnover. Microsoft Corporation is one of the largest technology companies in the United States and the world. Therefore, it must manage its information and knowledge effectively.
Summary Overview of Microsoft Company
Microsoft is an American international tech firm located on One Microsoft way in Redmond, Washington. Its existence dates back to April 4, 1975, when Bill Gates and his friend, Paul G. Allen, converted BASIC for an early Personal computer (Bragagnolo et al., 2020). Shortly afterward, they developed Microsoft Company (the name derived from Microcomputer and Software) which was initially located in Bellevue, Washington (Abualoush, 2018).
Microsoft operates research labs in Cambridge in England, Bengaluru in India, Beijing in China, Montreal in Canada, and New York City. Being a multinational corporation, Microsoft has subsidiaries in various nations spread across the world, including Norway, Germany, England, Canada, among many other countries. These subsidiaries of Microsoft Corporation have helped it in marketing and distribution of Microsoft products across the world.
It develops, manufactures, supports, licenses, and sells computer software, consumer-related electronics, and personal computers. Microsoft is famous for software products such as Microsoft Windows, Microsoft Office suite, internet explorer, and edge web browser. It is also known for hardware products such as Xbox video consoles and Microsoft surface for touchscreen Personal Computers (Ilag, 2020). Moreover, the firm provides a wide range of other consumer and enterprise software for desktops, laptops, tablets, other gadgets, and servers, including Internet search (through Bing), Digital service market (through MSN), Cloud computing (Azure), and software development (through Visual studio). This software has made enhanced the use of computers and the development of smartphones.
Since its inception, Microsoft Corporation has grown into a large and profitable technology company in the world with time. As of 2020, Microsoft corporation had 166 475 employees derived from diverse backgrounds under its diversity report of 2020 (Ilag, 2020). It was ranked number twenty-one in the 2020 fortune 500 rankings of the largest United States Companies by total revenues (Ilag, 2020). It was the most significant software producer by revenue as of 2016. Microsoft Corporation makes annual revenues of more than US $ 32 billion, according to the statistics gathered by National Geographic in 2019 (Roy, 2018).
In 2018, the company reclaimed its position as the most valuable publicly-traded company from Apple, which had dethroned it in 2010 (Ilag, 2020). Microsoft is considered one of the biggest companies in the US Information technology industry, Amazon, Apple, Facebook, and Google. Microsoft Corporation won a $480 million military contract with the US government in November 2018 to bring augmented reality (AR) Headset technology into American soldiers’ weapon repertoires (Ilag, 2020). Microsoft Corporation is one of the most significant technology companies globally; there is a need for it to manage its information efficiently and effectively.
The Current State of Knowledge Management Strategy of Microsoft Company
Microsoft believes that knowledge is a new management discipline that can be enabled by technology. As one of the world’s leading technology companies, it needs to manage its knowledge and information efficiently to maintain its rank in the technology industry. Currently, Microsoft uses an elaborate and robust knowledge management system developed by its employees to share information and knowledge across the offices and its branches in other parts of the world (Manesh et al., 2020). The Knowledge Management Strategy platform communicates valuable information to the employees and the various departments of Microsoft Corporation.
Knowledge Management at Microsoft Corporation was first started in 1995 when the Microsoft Information Technology team developed a project, Skills Planning under Development (SPUD). This project involved creating an online system that contained job rating systems and competency levels for Microsoft corporation employees (Moşteanu, 2020). The goal was to develop a competency profile for employees of Microsoft. After Microsoft discovered it, an individual’s knowledge was not sufficient for the organization’s sustainable development (Yamamoto, 2017). Therefore, there was a need for the organization to be more intelligent. Thus, a platform was created where the employee could access the organization’s information and knowledge at any given time.
Currently, Microsoft’s knowledge management team manages its Knowledge Management System platform to upload relevant documents and information to the Knowledge Management platform. Once the documents are uploaded to the system, it is shared among various employees and departments in the corporation (Dingsoyr, T, 2019). The center of knowledge is not divided according to the corporation’s multiple departments; instead, it is centralized where any employee can access it whenever they need the information.
The corporation has various strategies that help in knowledge management. Firstly, the organization has breakfast meetings. These are meetings that are organized at the breakfast table for the sole purpose of sharing information among the employees on the corporation’s progress and plans (Chatterjee et al., 2020). These breakfast meetings are generally held on Friday of each week in various Microsoft Corporation offices (Intezari, 2017). It is crucial for not only knowledge sharing but also knowledge creation among the corporate workers.
Secondly, there is a knowledge hub known as Biz-talk, which happens to be one of Microsoft Corporation’s Knowledge Management strategies. The Biz-talk are mainly discussions that are carried out concerning the organization’s products and services. It is available to each corporate worker, and therefore, any of them can ask a question or raise a concern about the company’s operation, its products, and services (Dayan, 2017). It is essential for the improvement of the organization’s processes and products.
Furthermore, Microsoft’s knowledge management team has created a dashboard through a website to train the Managers and employees on knowledge management. Training tools and courses are made available to the employees and managers who access the dashboard. Several articles are periodically added to the website to help them learn how to realize Knowledge management objectives (Roy, 2018). It will enhance the corporation’s productivity and efficiency as the employees are fully aware of the importance of knowledge management in the corporation.
Moreover, the Microsoft Information Technology team and its Knowledge management team have developed an online library in its Knowledge management system. It helps maintain a strong network with its operational bodies worldwide, as they can obtain information about the corporation’s products and services (Bilan, 2018). It also offers e-learning courses for new employees on different aspects like the organization’s operations and products (Ode, 2020). Furthermore, there is a section for blogs and wikis such as SharePoint, where the employees can freely express their opinions and concerns regarding the company’s operation (Koohog et Al., 2017). The existence of blogs where employees can express themselves freely has enhanced communication between the managers and employees, thus enhancing productivity in the company.
In the previous part, the paper was tackling knowledge management strategies and practices of Microsoft Corporation. In this part, the paper will discuss the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats of the knowledge management strategies of Microsoft Corporation. Consequently, the report will come up with an elaborate knowledge management action plan that will be used to address the weaknesses identified in the knowledge management strategies.
SWOT Analysis of Microsoft’s Knowledge Management Strategy
The biggest strength of the knowledge management strategy of Microsoft is the ease of accessing the knowledge. The knowledge management system of Microsoft is accessible to all employees in various departments. The accessibility to knowledge helps enhance the efficiency and productivity of the employees and that of the corporation (Vlados and Chatzinikolaou, 2019). Accessibility to knowledge also helps the employees avoid making mistakes that the previous workers made (Yamamoto, 2017). It boosts employees’ morale to work smart for better results as they are not stressed with seeking information or expertise about some aspects of the organization.
Furthermore, another strength of Knowledge management strategy is a highly informed workforce. Microsoft employees are thoroughly informed on knowledge management and practices related to it, and they know its significance to the organization’s growth. Therefore, the workforce will be committed to ensuring the achievement of the objectives of the organization’s knowledge management (Interazi, 2017). Besides, the strategy enhances innovation among the employees leading to improved productivity of the organization. All these strengths come a long way in not only enhancing productivity but also in boosting of the employees’ self-esteem.
However, with these strengths to be proud of, Microsoft Corporation also has weaknesses in the Knowledge management strategy. The biggest drawback is that even though Microsoft’s knowledge center has a rich knowledge base, it is challenging to find the correct information. Suppose an employee needs a piece of information about a particular aspect of the organization. In that case, they will find it challenging to navigate the system despite the full knowledge of the existence of the experience they are looking for (Yamamoto, 2017). It is because the employees will use more time to search for information and leading to delayed decision-making.
Microsoft Corporation has several opportunities to better its operations and scale up its value creation. Firstly, with the growing rise in Artificial intelligence (AI), Microsoft can incorporate AI in its Knowledge management systems (Benzaghta et al., 2021). The AI is full of opportunities, and its incorporation into Microsoft’s Knowledge management strategy will see it achieving unprecedented growth and a competitive advantage over other technology companies (Dayan, 2017). Moreover, they can reward their employees who are working towards achieving the corporation’s knowledge management objectives.
Microsoft faces specific threats that are detrimental to its sustainable development as in any other technology corporation. One of the dangers that Microsoft faces is the leaking of information. Information leaks jeopardize the quality of products and services produced by the corporation since fraudsters may use the information to create counterfeit products (Roy, 2018). Consequently, the technology industry is undergoing a paradigm shift, and these changes are taking place so fast and are so demanding to companies, Microsoft included. The implication of this paradigm shift is the increase in operational costs.
Knowledge Management Action Plan
- Introduction of rewards for employees working for the realization of the organization’s Knowledge management success.
- Improvement of Knowledge accessibility in the organization.
- Reduction in the risk of information leaks within the organization.
Roles and Responsibilities
- Create an enabling environment for effective Knowledge management.
- Define the needs and priorities for the Knowledge management Action Plan
- Designate Knowledge Managers in area of responsibility.
- Provide Guidance and oversight to validate knowledge
- Lead the implementation of the Knowledge Management action plan.
- Report regularly on the progress of the KM Action plan to the whole organization.
- Resolve problems arising from the assigned area of responsibility.
- Serve as Liaison from KM team to Human resource department to ensure effective knowledge management in the department.
- Actively engage in capture and sharing of information in the organization.
- Offer assistance to the Knowledge Managers.
- Solicit user feedback to help gauge the progress of the Knowledge management strategy.
- Direct users to the rights information sources in the organization to enhance easy accessibility
|Introduction of rewards for outstanding employees in the firm|| || ||From 2021|
|Improvement of Knowledge accessibility in the firm|| || ||From 2021 –|
|Reduction of information leaks in the organization.|| || ||From 2021 – 2025|
Knowledge management is a crucial determinant for the sustainable development of a company or an organization. Microsoft Company, the most prominent world software manufacturer, has not been left behind in knowledge management. The various Knowledge management practices of Microsoft corporation like Breakfast meetings on each Friday ensures sharing of information among the employees; the Biz-talk has allowed all the employees to raise concerns about the firm’s operation as well as its products and services, the e-learning courses have ensured effective training of the new employees and the online library has provided the managers and employees with tremendous knowledge on KM systems of the company.
Microsoft Company can incorporate innovations like Artificial intelligence into its KM systems to ensure efficiency and enhanced productivity. Integrating Artificial Intelligence into its Knowledge Management systems will come a long way in providing it with a competitive advantage. Consequently, Microsoft should come up with ways to reward its employees who are working diligently towards achieving the company’s knowledge management strategy’s objectives. Lastly, the company can innovate ways to prevent the leaking of information about the company’s operations.
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