IT/ITeS: Knowledge is the Differentiator
Growth rates of IT companies have seen a decline in the past few years. To stay competitive and see new growth avenues, companies have realized that they need to deliver more value than just routine application development or support. Many companies have the best of certifications and processes that ensure optimal productivity and efficiencies. So much so that it has now become difficult to tell one IT company from another.
The companies now need to differentiate and create far more significant value for their customers than ever before. How will these differentiators be created?
From the knowledge the company has, and doesn’t even know it does.
In a regular IT company, 26 percent of the knowledge is stored on paper; 20 percent is stored digitally, and a whopping 42 percent lies inside the heads of employees! So if a company sees high attrition, it risks losing this knowledge, forever. But people will leave anyway. How does a company ensure that this knowledge is captured and is made available to enable business goals whenever it’s needed.
As IT companies face more competition from across the world, they cannot afford to come up with a product or offering that is unsuitable, ill-timed, or meant for the wrong market. How can that happen when teams are dealing with rapidly changing technologies, and working with fewer resources to keep costs under check? How can intellectual capital be built if ideas and solutions stay in silos, or someone’s head? Even the focus on intellectual property makes sense only if knowledge is captured and then developed upon.
Knowledge is the key driver for IT companies today. An intuitive way to capture and disseminate knowledge across the organization seamlessly becomes the need of the hour.
The challenges faced by IT industry
Sustaining competency levels is essential to win contracts and fulfill new projects. With high attrition levels, it is not easy for IT companies to maintain a definite level of competency consistently. Many factors contribute to this.
Ineffective transfer of knowledge: Companies often rely upon communication as the primary source of knowledge transfer from one person to another. This doesn’t remain effective as companies grow and in projects where the knowledge content of tasks is higher. This calls for formal mechanisms of knowledge sharing. These mechanisms can involve people-to-people knowledge sharing like training. There can also be other processes that would capture the knowledge in the form of expertise, learning and mistakes through a system or tool.
Working in silos: Development phases of IT projects involve specialized teams. But they often work in silos. The assumptions made by one team and the decisions taken often don’t get communicated to others. This leads to effort repetition and even building the wrong product frequently.
In larger organizations that work on multiple projects at the same time, different teams across verticals face the same challenge. As different verticals and teams often function in silos they don’t get to learn from each other.
Process optimization: A majority of IT organizations have adopted CMMI (Capability Maturity Model Integration) to streamline and improve their development and delivery processes. Data plays an important role in this process. Companies get access to data, but processing of that data to reach a conclusive decision is a major challenge they face.
Lack of interface with the sales team: The estimates generated by the sales team and commitments given have its direct impact on the development and delivery processes. Companies often lack a feedback mechanism on the sales process. So the sales team continues to make the same mistakes thus piling on unnecessary pressure on the development and delivery teams.
Nephila™: True Knowledge Management
Krios Technologies offers Nephila™, a knowledge management solution. This connects to the entire operational framework of your organization that might include different verticals, business processes, and operational systems like ERP, spreadsheets, BI systems, CRM, workflows etc. Nephila™ works like an intelligent web that draws the required information from every single node of your organization’s operational framework. This helps companies arrive the at the right and relevant insights that are linked to the business goals.
The data gathered from different points of the organization helps the management team in tracking the key performance metrics. In case the performance doesn’t match the defined norm business leaders can reach out the teams concerned and explore the issues they face in order to arrive at the appropriate actions to get back on the right business track.
Using the drill-down features of Nephila™, senior managers can define and view the performance by teams at different levels. This helps the managers zero in on the exact reason affecting the performance and then take appropriate action at the appropriate time.
Nephila™ enables conversational decision making. Senior managers can get access to the opinion and feedback from all the team members and interdependent subsystem owners within and outside the organization. All the discussion points lead to actionable knowledge and get collated and saved in the system under relevant heads. This information is made available for other projects and accounts as lessons are learnt. Nephila’s™ search facility helps in locating any information in all notifications, decisions, actions, AAR, LLR and people.
The Trend graphs of Nephila™ provide insights about the organization’s performance mapped to the key decisions taken.
Nephila™ helps the IT organizations to tap into the knowledge that exists across the enterprise.
Capture the lessons learnt, actions, decisions and notifications with ease: Nephila™ ensures that no thread is lost after a discussion. The employees can access the relevant bits later whenever needed. Mistakes are not repeated, and over time learning becomes entrenched in the enterprise.
Performance alerts and continuous improvement: Nephila’s™ alerts help the teams keep a check on non-performance. Problem areas can be immediately identified and the root cause for the problems can then be explored. This helps the enterprise identify problems at early stages.
More predictable adherence to cost and schedule: It’s important to complete projects within the cost and schedule defined. Nephila’s™ tracking of metrics and dependencies ensure that managers learn about cost and time over-runs well in time.
Reduce re-work and risk: Nephila™ enables a company to learn from the various situations it faces and hence not repeat mistakes or reinvent the wheel each time a similar situation crops up anywhere across the enterprise. This cuts down re-work and the risks associated with it and saves time and effort.