Monday, September 10, 2007

Sharing of knowledge

Books 2 Byte
Unleashing the Knowledge Force
Ganesh Natarajan and Uma Ganesh


The logic for a KMMM (knowledge management maturity model) in the Indian IT industry is strong, say Ganesh Natarajan and Uma Ganesh in Unleashing the Knowledge Force ( “In the current scenario where attrition of skilled manpower remains one of the critical concerns of all industry CEOs, the need to have a predictable and step-by-step movement towards knowledge management maturity cannot be over-emphasised,” they reason.

There are four stages in the progress towards knowledge maturity, one learns. The first is the pre-knowledge initiation stage, in which the organisation’s success in getting business is ‘largely due to being first in the market with a great product or idea, with no attempt to establish any processes for knowledge capture or dissemination even among current practitioners’.


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Unleashing the Knowledge Force : Harnessing Knowledge for Building Global Companies - Book Review by Rajashekhar
Devarai R.S. A book review on "UNLEASHING THE KNOWLEDGE FORCE : HARNESSING KNOWLEDGE FOR BUILDING GLOBAL COMPANIES (By Ganesh Natarajan and Uma Ganesh .- New Delhi : McGraw-Hill .- 2007, 172p, Rs.395.00, hb.)", Akruti Journal of Infrastructure, 1(4), July 2008, pp 343-44.

“Knowledge has to be improved, challenged and increased constantly, or it vanishes” – Peter Drucker.

The authors of the book, “Unleashing the Knowledge Force”, Dr.Ganesh Natarajan (Chairman – NASSCOM) and Dr.Uma Natarajan (CEO – Kalzoom Technologies) are in lime light for quite some time for their significant educational, entrepreneurial, managerial and organizational contributions. Global economies are gradually but steadily getting transformed into Global Knowledge Societies. Knowledge and Scholarship have never been in such a meta focus in the recent history of mankind. Can we say good days are here again! The book, “Unleashing……”, a result of their rich academic research and corporate connections and global exposures, is unique and timely.

‘Knowledge Management’ (KM) as a discipline and as a Management Tool and Technique has hardly a history of a decade or so. Nevertheless the academic and corporate momentum created by KM is incomparable. The impact of KM is so forceful that it has left its indelible mark on all ranks and files of global economies, corporations and institutions. KM heralds the beginning of a new Knowledge Era. Knowledge and Knowledge Management techniques have come of age. Newer applications are explored, new techniques and tools are innovated, broad basing and pinpointing efforts are on. Most important, KM is taken as catalytic in bringing in knowledge, learning and culture in the organizations and corporations. The recent publications on Knowledge and KM are diversifying in to specializations like education, Pharmaceuticals, IT, Manufacturing and many more. The book under review is a class apart, as the authors have succeeded in formulating a workable model for Start –up IT firms known as Knowledge Management Maturity Model (KMMM).

The contents of the book are spread out in eight closely integrated chapters leading the reader gradually from concepts, issues and cases, sequentially and well knit. The authors make a strong case for all knowledge initiatives and KM in particular in India. The deliberations in the book to a great extent are witness of a personal accounts of authors’ corporate, academic and research commitments towards KM. What success means in the Knowledge Economy is effectively brought out by authors in the first chapter. Ganesh and Uma make a special mention of success stories of TCS, Satyam, HCL, Cognizant, WNS and Zensar. To quote authors, “The success of IT Industry in India has indeed been unprecedented. A growth of over 150 times in the 15 years is just one quantitative measure of success.” This chapter outlines in brief the importance of knowledge and its management, evolution of KM thinking, the concept of Knowledge Force (KF), Knowledge Management Maturity Model (KMMM) etc. The authors in a gripping style continue the KM story, dwelling on topics like Start-up IT firms, Knowledge Force and Business Success, Knowledge Force Frame Work (KFF) for IT firms and implications of KMMM for Software Industry, from chapters 2 to 7.

KF according to authors is the energy that drives a young organization to discover its true potential and overcome all challenges and KM appropriate to the maturity level of the business. They appropriately call KF and KM as the mantras for the success of Start-up IT firms. Authors in considerable detail highlight the four building blocks/dimensions of KF., i.e., Entrepreneurial Energy, Employee Capability, Industry Orientation and Customer Orientation. These four key dimensions authors opine, create a dynamic thrust that unleashes KF. The four dimensions of KF are reported to have a mix of measures which together define how KF will impact on strategy. Ganesh and Uma further propose a novel ‘Strategy Frame Work ’ which recognizes that the same variables can measure more than one dimension and that at different stages of the firm, the measures are likely to differ. Authors elaborate on KMMM by listing the four stages, five levels and four factors. How KMMM works is well brought out by authors in the case study done on Zensar. The findings of the study are reported to be very useful for corporates moving towards implementing KM.

The concluding chapter provides some practical tips in putting KFF (Knowledge Force Frame Work) and KMMM to work. They end the book with an inspiring and optimistic note, “We believe that the management of knowledge will be a key contributor to our future success. We hope that this book has opened your eyes just a little wider to the vast vistas of KM and that we will see better practitioners embracing some of the ideas we have provided and contributing to the success of many Indian sectors on the on the global stage in the years to come.” The authors repeatedly proclaim KM to be seen as an important tool for winning competitive battles in an increasingly difficult business environment. According to them knowledge is to be used and managed well to make it a differentiator in an organization’s quest for survival and growth. . A list of 201 references cited in the book is a value addition. The book is well brought out in an impressive cover design by McGraw-Hill.

To conclude, Knowledge Initiatives and KM in particular are here to stay for years. There are full time Graduate and PG programmes on KM abroad. Indian Universities and Institutions sooner not later should take initiative to start such cutting edge industry / economy specific programmes. Entrepreneurs turned scholars like and Ganesh and Uma should do their bit in this regard. This book, “Unleashing the Knowledge Force” has a rare distinction of including the results of academic research and rich corporate exposure and experience into its body. The book is not an easy read for an average reader. IT professionals, entrepreneurs / corporates would find it useful, thought provoking and worth reading.

Rajashekhar Devarai
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