Monday, November 28, 2005

Knowledge management reality award

AwwaRF’s Knowledge Management Program was a finalist for the 2005 KM Reality Award, sponsored by KM World Magazine. There were 120 applicants for two awards (the other was for vendors). The reality award is given to an organization “that demonstrates leadership in the implementation of knowledge management practices and processes …” IBM was the eventually winner of the award (and well deserving). The fact that AwwaRF’s program was recognized by this leader in the KM profession speaks highly of our program.

On a fun note another finalist was Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman, a law firm, that my brother is a partner with. I'm just glad that his organization didn't beat mine.

At the risk of making this post too long - I'm attached the text from our award application:

Date of initiation of KM program?

January 2003 official launch date (however, the knowledge management emphasis began in 2000)

Why were knowledge practices & processes initiated

To continue to improve customer satisfaction with AwwaRF’s research program. While having received high marks from customers on value and overall performance, there was still room for improvement on key knowledge-related performance indicators. Management and the Board of Trustees recognized this and formally approved the KM initiative in January 2003.

What were the key business results &/or organizational improvements targeted by the KM initiative?

Three customer directed indicators of satisfaction were targeted:
- Provide research results that are practical and useful
- Provide information in formats that are easy to use
- Provide cost-effective solutions to problems facing water utilities

Organizational improvements targeted included:
- Establishing an organizational culture to support knowledge management and improve sharing of information among staff and customers.
- Implementation of an enterprise content management system including document management, workflow, collaboration and web content management
- Implementing user-friendly communication tools (Web, targeted e-newsletters, etc.)
- Putting information into context by summarizing knowledge in key areas
- Improving customer feedback mechanisms
- Providing results from ongoing research to customers
- Increasing the availability of content electronically by digitizing legacy reports

Who were the champions or supporters of the initiative?

The initiative received top-down and bottom-up support. Champions at the top of the organization include members of the Board of Trustees and an ad-hoc committee of the board, senior management (with the Deputy Director leading the initiative), and the 2004-created KM Coordinator position. Bottom-up support included staff members from all levels of the organization. Key customers are also championing this effort.

What metrics or measures were in place to evaluate the program and its impact on organizational goals?

Biannual customer satisfaction survey includes questions directly indicative of the performance of the KM initiative. Key indicators have been tracked since 2000.

Web and e-newsletter usage are analyzed quarterly. Periodic satisfaction surveys on specific communications products

Targets for organizational goals are reviewed quarterly. .

Direct feedback is received from the Board of Trustees, ad-hoc board committee, customers, and staff. Surveys and focus groups are conducted as needed.

What KM competencies were developed within the organization?

o Vision – KM incorporated in the organization’s vision. Board approved KM strategy, with roll-out to staff
o Culture - Top-down and bottom up culture that supports KM. Key stakeholders were identified and champions have emerged
o Processes
- Established internal process to share knowledge
- Developed processes for multi-unit communications items
- Information modeling – Developed an information model
- Taxonomy/ classification – Developed a metadata model that included a scientific keyword system
o Technology
- Content management system including document management, collaboration and workflow
- Targeted e-newsletters
- Redesigned Web site (including a new search engine)
- Featured topic section of the web site that puts information into context
- Digitization of legacy reports and other documents

What outcomes, benefits, & impacts have been realized today?

1) Customer survey results indicated
- 27% improvement in providing information products in formats that are easy to use
- 13% improvement in performance on practical, useful results
- 7% improvement in performance in providing cost-effective solutions to challenges faced by water utilities (our customers).

2) A culture that supports KM from the top-down and bottom up
- “Our number one goal in upcoming years is providing you with practical knowledge ...” Board chair at 2004 annual subscribers breakfast
- Organizational Critical Success Factor #1 - “Creating, managing and transferring knowledge” in AwwaRF’s 2005 Strategic Plan
- Over 50% of staff participated in teams to develop the organization information model
- 100% staff participation in transferring electronic files into a newly created file structure to support the CMS

3) Increased knowledge offerings and usage by customers
- Web traffic increased by 60% in 2005
- 4 fold increase in report ordering on-line
- 15% increase in subscribers to Target Topics e newsletter

4) AwwaRF recognized as a leader in KM by the Global Water Research Coalition (peer organizations worldwide).


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