Vladimír Bureš
Faculty of Informatics and Management, University of Hradec Kralove, Rokitanskeho 62, Hradec Kralove, Czech Republic
Keywords: Knowledge management, Implementation, Methodology, Czech Republic, KM-Beat-It.
Abstract: Recently, knowledge management (KM) has become a very popular business concept. Unfortunately, there
are still problems connected with the incorporation of KM into an organisation in the Czech Republic.
Examples of these problems are a lack of utilisable methodologies of KM implementation in the Czech
Republic that are described in sufficient details, strong technological orientation of KM implementation,
different perception of KM by different people, where KM is mostly substituted by information
technologies, absence of methodologies that would take into consideration of a specific business and culture
environment in the Czech Republic, etc. That is why, a new methodology was developed at the Faculty of
Informatics and Management at the University of Hradec Kralove. This paper briefly describes the situation
of KM in the Czech Republic and basic features of the methodology KM-Beat-It.
Nowadays, many organisations focus their attention
on KM with the hope of better competitiveness or
performance. Unfortunately, most companies with
successful KM are huge organisations like BP
Amoco, British Airways or Chevron as it is
described for example in (Ahmed, 2002). In the
Czech Republic there is also an endeavour to
implement KM in several organisations. The
government of the Czech Republic has integrated
knowledge aspects in to basic strategic documents as
a reaction to the so called “Lisbon Strategy”
(Council, 2000). In spite of this effort, successful
implementation of KM is still very sporadic. That is
why, a new methodology, with the purpose to
improve this situation, was created.
On a national level, the Czech business environment
has very appropriate conditions and opportunities to
work with knowledge assets and knowledge as an
important organisations’ resource. The current
situation, in the best way, is visible in the
Programme Declaration of the Government of the
Czech Republic, the Strategy of the economic
growth of the Czech Republic, the Strategy of the
development of human resources for the Czech
Republic or the Strategy of the Government of the
Czech Republic in the EU framework.
The Programme Declaration of the Government
of the Czech Republic mentions the importance of
knowledge in the second part that is related to basic
aims and priorities. It is written here that “…the
Government will help within the framework of the
European model to develop the Czech Republic as a
democratic and modern social State with advanced
market economy based on knowledge and able to
guarantee stable economic growth…” (Paroubek,
2005). This strategic document also pays attention in
one chapter to information and knowledge society.
When the Strategy of the economic growth of the
Czech Republic was published, it evoked
discussions that were conducted by many people
from many fields. The evidence can be the huge
number of articles published in journals and
newspapers or reports in different mediums.
Interesting is the knowledge orientation of this
document that is supported for example by the first
chapter with the title “Czech Republic – knowledge-
technological centre of Europe with growing living
standard and high employment” (Jahn, 2005). This
document also suggests to “…support the creation of
centres for KM and its education at universities and
public research institutions” (Jahn, 2005).
Bureš V. (2006).
In Proceedings of WEBIST 2006 - Second International Conference on Web Information Systems and Technologies - Society, e-Business and
e-Government / e-Learning, pages 115-118
DOI: 10.5220/0001241401150118
Although the national level seems to create
suitable conditions for Czech companies, the
organisational level of KM is still very weak in
achieved results. Only three problems as examples
will be introduced. Firstly, case studies in literature
highlight successful KM implementation in different
organisations. As already mentioned, many of them
are great companies with turnovers in millions of US
dollars. Such companies have usually only their
subsidiaries in the Czech Republic. The vast
majority of Czech companies are small or medium
size enterprises. Therefore, experiences and the best
practices available in these case studies are usually
very difficult to utilise. Secondly, KM is generally
perceived in different ways. The Czech business
environment is not an exception. Different
perceptions cause problems in communication and
cooperation. Regrettably, these perceptions are
usually based on substitution of a complex KM by
partial technological solutions. Of course,
technological support is necessary, however, KM is
not only about implementing advanced technologies.
The last problem is connected with implementation
of KM in single organisations. There is a lack of the
methodologies of KM implementation available in
the Czech Republic. Organisations have to either
utilise expensive services provided by consultant
companies, or if they want to implement KM
without any external help, use foreign
methodologies created in different environments
with different conditions. These methodologies
either do not reflect the needs and specificity of
Czech companies or are mostly not described in full
details with sufficient guidelines.
To overcome these and other obstacles, a new
methodology called KM-Beat-It was created. The
design of the methodology was based on the detailed
analysis of existing methodologies (e.g. A. Tiwana’s
KM Toolkit, K. Wiig’s building blocks, Y.G. Kim’s
P2-KSP, Standardized KM Implementation,
APQC’s Road Map, M. McElroy’s K-Stream,
Ibermatica’s methodology, On-To-Knowledge,
PRORAD, CORMA, Nabla Per Partes, etc). The
process of creation was composed from several
stages. Activities that were performed in these stages
were, for example, the analysis of existing
definitions of KM, the identification of particular
strengths and weaknesses of existing methodologies
or the definition of basic attributes, which should be
possessed by the new methodology.
3.1 Particular Phases and Activities
The KM-Beat-It consists of several phases. The
description of every phase comprises of the main
goal, purpose and content, basic prerequisites of
initiation, a criteria of completion, key documents,
critical success factors, and activities and
relationship of these activities. It is obvious from
this description that every phase consists of several
activities. Since KM-Beat-It works with this level of
resolution, there is also the brief specification of a
single activity including the main goal and
description, inputs, outputs and examples of
utilisable methods, techniques and tools. In the
following paragraphs, there is a brief outline of
single phases. Detailed desctiption with resasoning
or concrete examples can be found in (Bureš, 2005).
Assembly of a realisation team is the initial
phase of the KM-Beat-It methodology. The main
objective of this phase is to acquire the support of
the top management and/or owners of the
organisation and assembly of a realisation team, that
will deal with, and will be responsible for the whole
process of KM implementation. In this phase, it is
necessary to conduct the following activities: 1)
creation of an interest about KM by top management
and/or owners of the organisation, 2) weighing up of
the real possibilities and capabilities to start up the
process of KM implementation, 3) decision about
implementation of KM, 4) nomination of team
members from the top management, employees and
external environment, 5) explanation of the presence
of single team members and definition of their team
role, and 6) definition of time of employment for
each member.
Analysis of the initial state is the second phase.
The main objective of this phase is to create an
integrated view on the current state in the
organisation from KM perspective and specification
of its strengths and weaknesses. The phase of
analysis of initial state comprises of the following
basic activities: 1) creation of a survey of knowledge
resources, 2) description of knowledge comprised in
identified knowledge resources, 3) definition of
knowledge processes, 4) analysis of current state of
knowledge processes in an organisation, 5)
description of organisational processes, 6) finding
out the current state of organisational culture, 7)
linkage of acquired results, and 8) analysis of
strengths and weaknesses of the current state in an
The third phase is a creation of a knowledge
strategy. The main objective of this phase is to
create a knowledge strategy that will support the
business strategy and identify particular knowledge
activities, which will support the achievement of
business and KM goals. It is necessary to conduct
these activities: 1) definition of a required state (i.e.
KM goals), 2) comparison of the current and
required state and identification of main gaps, 3)
creation of the list of KM activities, 4) selection of
activities, 5) elaboration of plans and projects, 6)
creation of a knowledge strategy, and 7)
identification of KM metrics and their relations to
the system of organisation’s metrics.
The last phase is a realisation of KM activities.
The main objective of this phase is to conduct
different activities, projects or plans leading to KM.
It is obvious that these activities will differ in their
amount, forms, time and resource requirements,
orientation, or particular objectives that should be
achieved in every organisation. The order of their
realisation will depend on the priorities assigned in
the previous phase. As examples of activities, they
can be named as creation of a motivational program,
establishing of a CKO (knowledge manager),
implementation of intranet knowledge portal,
changes in position and content of human resources
management, the start of communities of practices,
the implementation of an expert or knowledge
system, adjustment in working places descriptions,
identification of social and individual barriers of
knowledge sharing, training of employees, etc. The
main mutual goal should be quantitative and
qualitative changes in a current state of knowledge
resources and implementation or support of
knowledge processes.
All activities in single phases are depicted in
figure 1. It is possible to see all the iterations and
loops among activities. The relative width of the
rectangle refers to the time needed to perform the
acitivity. These time estimations are only
approximations due to different needs and
conditions in every organisation. This principle can
not be followed only in the last phase because of
diversity of possible activities.
Utilisation of KM-Beat-It methodology is the
first step on the long journey to KM. Obviously, it is
necessary to go back to the beginning of the
methodology after realisation of all phases and
perform more cycles, i.e. conduct all the phases
again. Otherwise, all the used resources were
consumed for no purpose. The aim of the first cycle
is to “allow things to move”. Only other performed
cycles lead to desirable changes. In this way,
continuous KM is secured in organisation.
Therefore, continuous KM is presented by its
neverending introduction. Naturally, with relation to
the extent of implementation of KM, the existence of
particular phases, along with their content will
change in subsequent cycles.
3.2 Benefits of KM-Beat-It
Although existing methodologies have strong points
and are utilised in practice, they contain several
weaknesses that were identified during the process
of their analysis. Examples can be orientation on
particular areas of organisational activities (e.g. new
product development), strong focus on technological
solutions, dependence on pilot project and
consequent interest of other departments based on
acquired results, creation of a realisation team when
the process of implementation is already in progress
or absence of an attention paid to organisational
culture. In comparison to these weaknesses the KM-
Beat-It methodology brings new benefits and
advantages. Among these it is possible to find for
Figure 1: Phases and activities of KM-Beat-It.
KM-Beat-It fulfils general requirements on
methodologies or requirements posed on
methodologies of KM implementation (e.g.
McElroy, 2004);
complexity – KM-Beat-It pays attention to all
KM perspectives as descibed by (Beckman,
1999) and is not based only on a technological
perspective; KM-Beat-It assumes the utilisation
of information, communication or knowledge
technologies, but does not rely on them;
attention focused on an organisational culture
and its influence on success of KM realisation;
linkage with economical aspects and business
possibility to use existing conventional methods,
techniques and tools; KM-Beat-It is not based on
specialised tools that are not common nowadays;
applicability by medium and small enterprises
that usually do not take the effort to implement
KM nowadays;
generality, i.e. KM-Beat-It did not originate in
the context of any organisation or branch of
deployment of both approaches to KM
realisation, i.e. “top-down” that is used at the
beginning of KM implementation, and “bottom-
up” that can be used in further cycles of this
openness – every methodology should be able to
absorb new findings and knowledge in its own
domain; KM-Beat-It fulfils this requirement;
discretion in the realisation phase, where the
users are not pushed to any activities that could
be useless (e.g. unnecessary investments to
information and communication technologies).
According to (Řepa, 1999), every methodology has
its own life cycle consisting of development,
implementation, utilisation and further expansion,
and replacement (either by new methodology or by a
newer version). The first important step has been
done. Now, it is necessary to continue and
implement this methodology in selected Czech
organisations. Therefore, other improvements and
adjustments of the KM-Beat-It are not planned on a
theoretical level. They will be performed in the third
stage of the life cycle, i.e. during an accommodation
of a little bit more general methodology to specific
needs of concrete organisations. Also, there is no
reason for an increasing of a level of resolution that
is compassed in the methodology, i.e. dividing every
activity into detail steps. The purpose of a new
methodology is not to describe the implementation
process in all details and in all possible variants. The
main purpose is to stress all the significant aspects
and principles and focus on the process of
implementation from the beginning to the end.
Methodology does not have to be detailed but
There are several problems with implementation of
KM in the Czech Republic. One problem is also a
lack of published details that would describe
available methodologies of KM implementation in a
sufficient way. Therefore, the new methodology was
created. Now, the effectiveness of this methodology
has to be proved by its usage in and accommodation
to a concrete organisation.
This paper was supported by AMIMEDES the
GAČR project No. 402/06/1325.
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