Knowledge Audit Approach
An important dimension of knowledge management is the creation, use, storage, reuse, and repurposing of an organization's important knowledge assets. Often, we find that even the most knowledge-intensive industries and companies don't have a clear understanding of the various types of intellectual assets they have within their organizations, the number or extent of their assets, and the importance and value of the assets.
What are Knowledge Assets?
Only recently, with the advent of more sophisticated market valuations of knowledge-intensive organizations, like biotechnology companies, have intangible knowledge assets been recognized as another key factor of production and a source of competitive advantage.
Four Types of Organization Assets
The first step in almost all knowledge management projects is to identify and inventory the company's intellectual assets. The Exhibit below lists a few of the important knowledge asset types for four representative business processes. Knowledge assets are grouped into unstructured assets, such as implicit know-how and explicit text-based documents, and structured assets, such as data in various databases.
Across an organization, knowledge assets take many forms. Beyond those listed in the table, knowledge assets also include patent portfolios, copyrights, trade and service marks, brands, trade secrets, formulas, unique business processes and methods, client relationships, and the core competencies, expertise, and skills of employees.
On many of our client assignments, we start by identifying, defining, and valuing an organization's most important knowledge assets.
Inventory of Intellectual Assets