Consolidating best practices in a changing environment

Many organisations now understand that to remain competitive they need to establish best practices in the activities and processes throughout their businesses. Those organisations that have made significant progress on this task have also discovered that they have made a considerable investment to achieve this. So, how future proof are these best practices? What happens when the business changes? How can organisations ensure that investments made will not go to waste?

There are many drivers which result in a fundamental change in a business, thus requiring processes and practices to be re-visited. These include -

  • Businesses that must be integrated following acquisitions
  • Divisions that are split or sold
  • Departments which are merged
  • Changes in key personnel

Such problems are often addressed by expensive redefinition of the processes that entails teams of people once again establishing what the new best practice should be: and then the business changes once more!

In today's business environment, the result is a never ending expenditure on the same activity, with little or no reuse of previous lessons learnt, and a continued dilution and loss of an organisations key business asset - its knowledge.

So, what if the current best practices within a business could be captured in such a way that they not only provided effective access to the processes themselves, but also to the decisions associated with them? Epistemics have developed such a solution using advanced knowledge acquisition and modelling capabilities to address the following: -

  • capture knowledge from documents
  • capture knowledge from experts using interviews and special techniques
  • structure knowledge using knowledge modelling tools
  • validate knowledge with experts
  • obtain agreement from experts
  • create a structured repository
  • ensure fast and effective access to the information

Once information is captured and structured in this manner, it provides longevity to all of the knowledge in the organisation as well as a valuable platform for inevitable change.

Take the example of an acquisition or merger. Each business or department would have their own preferred working practices, however following the acquisition or merger, a common practice would need to be established within the new organisation. Having the knowledge from one (or both) practices readily available in such a structured and accessible manner would enable the new organisation to quickly determine the applicability of one process on the other business. This would involve: -

  • presenting the current best practice from one business to the other
  • capturing the differences
  • exploring why or if the differences are required
  • creating a unified business process applicable to the newly merged organisation
  • publishing the unified best practices
  • creating a website for training and improved communication

In today's ever changing business environment, whilst this problem is very common, the cost to address it is frequently underestimated. With little or no perceived long-term business benefit to the organisation, it is viewed as yet another cost due to reorganisation. It is then inevitable that as further reorganisations occur, the previous knowledge is diluted further until it is eventually lost, which means losing the most valuable asset of the business.

This is one more example of how Epistemics are addressing real-life problems and in doing so helping your business meet its key objectives.

For more information on these matters, please use the details shown on the contacts page.

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Last modified: 12 March 2008