A Knowledge Audit identifies, defines, and values an organization’s most important knowledge assets. Knowledge takes many forms, such as brands, product formulas and formulations, unique business processes and methods, client relationships, patent portfolios, copyrights, trade and service marks, and the core competencies, expertise, and skills of its employees. Iknow’s Knowledge Audit also identifies the knowledge that an organization’s employees need to have to perform their jobs, whether or not it exists today, along with how it is accessed and how it is used for decision making. Lastly, a Knowledge Audit typically also highlights an organization’s knowledge gaps. Organizing this knowledge is vital to the success of knowledge management initiatives.
Knowledge assets are usually grouped into unstructured assets, such as implicit know-how and structured asses, and explicit text-based documents or data. The analysis often includes a Content Audit to understand what content is available in existing document repositories, but extends beyond this to evaluate availability and ease-of-access of other knowledge assets, such as expertise profiles, personal experience, project or event records, and external news and information sources. The end result is a clearer understanding of the knowledge resources that are needed within the organization and how stakeholders may access these resources, by both topic area and business process.
A knowledge map, which often accompanies a Knowledge Audit, shows how knowledge assets flow across the organization—from originators, through the different formal and informal sharing channels, to the ultimate users of each type of knowledge. The map often surfaces key issues such as access restrictions, lack of information on what’s available, unstructured repositories that are difficult to search, and other barriers to knowledge sharing.
Iknow’s deliverables typically include a comprehensive inventory of each organization’s existing knowledge assets by type, information channel, topic area, originator or source, and end user. Knowledge maps augment this information by depicting the major flows of knowledge from originators to users and the gaps or restrictions on this flow.
Iknow’s Knowledge Audit provides a strong foundation for developing a knowledge management strategy. The Knowledge Audit identifies the organization’s critical knowledge assets, how the knowledge assets are being used today, the importance of each asset in making key decisions, and how the flow of knowledge could be improved.