Understanding how knowledge management works is the first step in knowing how to apply it to your organization for strategic advantage and increased value. This pdf by Verna Allee provides 12 principles of knowledge management that can act as the building blocks for your organization's optimization of its own knowledge management processes. The benefits of knowledge management can be different for each organization. Some see value due to the ability of employees to rapidly find and utilize best practice information to do their jobs more effectively. Others find knowledge management to be useful for customers:
The driving values for creating and sharing knowledge may differ. At Buckman Laboratories, for example, the driving value is knowledge of customers. With the implementation of the K'Netix knowledge sharing network, Buckman began treating knowledge as its most strategic asset. CEO Robert Buckman takes knowledge leadership seriously. He says, “For knowledge sharing to become a reality, you have to create a climate of trust in your organization.” At Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce, the emphasis is on building knowledge capital. At Chevron, CEO Ken Derr emphasizes commitment to learning through sharing best practices for continuous improvement. But the common element at the core of those different approaches is knowledge.
The list of principles includes having a highly adaptable system, realizing nobody is “in charge”, and recognizing there isn't a silver bullet for knowledge management implementation or leveraging of that knowledge. The pdf goes on to use an extended metaphor of a sailing to illustrate how important having a guiding vision, a defined direction, and the right people on board is for an active and living knowledge management program.