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Webinar Notes: Procurement Knowledge Management

I've always thought of Knowledge Management systems as databases full of documents. Unwieldy, outdated, only updated when your boss reminds you that participating will be part of your annual review cycle. As it turns out, most of what we already do can be worked into a knowledge management program - we just have to be deliberate about where information goes. The other take-away isn't a new one, but it seems to be one of the hardest ones to maintain.  At the end of a project, it is important to download and record your experiences and lessons learned - for yourself next time or someone else down the road.

This week we attended the SIG webinar entitled "Why Knowledge Management is Critical to Procurement Organizations" and our notes are available below. You can also listen to an archived recording of the event on Denali group's website.

The webinar was sponsored by Denali Group , a procurement services advisory firm.

To begin, let's establish Denali Group's definition for knowledge management: a talent management strategy aligned with organizational goals, the performance management process, development & training, compensation programs, succession planning, recruiting and retention.  The four categories they are concerned with managing are process knowledge, technology knowledge, training & skills development, and category knowledge.

When developing a plan for the collection of any of the categories of knowledge mentioned above, it is important not to over-capture. All information collected should be both timely and relevant. Technology should be used to standardize process and centralize, as well as to manage drafts for any process documents or templates.

Whenever possible, process knowledge should reside within the toolkits associated with the key processes (such as strategic sourcing, spend analysis, and opportunity assessment).

Any skills assessments done should differentiate between organizational gaps, individual gaps, departmental development goals, and departmental process gaps. Development plans based on assessment results may help minimize turnover.

Social media has become a tool for category management - capturing organizational trends and innovation. Procurement organizations are increasingly virtual (combining traditional offices, outsourcers, and telecommuters). Social medial tools are also being used to create a virtual culture, which helps retain both staff and their collective knowledge.

Ironically, category knowledge for the most complex categories is at the highest risk for not being captured. Usually tenure matches the complexity of a category, and the knowledge accumulated over that person's career still resides just with them.

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