Knowledge Management is at the heart of the CSM solution, but Knowledge Management can mean different things in different contexts. To gain a better idea of how we define and implement it, please click through the sections below.
You probably interact with various data systems -- databases, document managers, etc. -- every day as part of your job. These systems contain critical procedures, protocols and program guidelines, along with operational and resource data.
Efficient access to these systems is vital. However, every business also depends on an additional, deep reservoir of organizational knowledge. As individual employees gain experience over years of service, they naturally acquire specific expertise, as well as the history and rationale for various processes. How do you capture this knowledge so that an entire organization can apply it consistently and effectively?
Knowledge Management focuses on delivering the full range of company information, data and knowledge resources to your work force. This involves leveraging existing information technology resources in tandem with next-generation Knowledge Management methodologies, to ensure that business processes remain nimble, consistent and effective.
Personnel turnover is an inherent reality of any business that survives for the long term. Without an effective Knowledge Management strategy, valuable knowledge and experience can be lost – to retirement, job change, or organizational restructuring. In addition to delivering knowledge when and where it is needed, Knowledge Management systems help you capture and preserve this knowledge for the future.
Quality assurance programs, such as Six Sigma and others, focus on minimizing variation and ensuring consistent, reliable and error-free processes. However, these initiatives can degenerate into hollow shells without real organizational commitment.
Knowledge Management technologies help to cement this commitment, unlocking the real value in these programs. By ensuring precise implementation of business processes as designed, Knowledge Management enables the higher level of performance that is the ultimate objective of these programs.
Our 4command™ system offers a unique approach to Knowledge Management. We developed this application around the specific challenges of emergency management and organizational response to critical situations.
Our experience shows that the optimal solution involves a unique marriage of decision-tree technology, procedure/checklist management, real time processing, embedded communication capabilities and detailed history tracking. We call it our “Goldilocks Solution” because we believe it has just the right combination of technologies and application components for the challenges at hand.
The 4command™ system enhances organizational performance by delivering organizational knowledge intelligently across the enterprise. It does this by directing response processes in real time using your own business rules, based on conditions. This enables personnel with even minimal program knowledge to implement consistent and reliable “best practice” performance across the enterprise.
4command™ allows you to define process-specific business rules in the form of decision trees. These decision trees form the core outline of the organizational processes that govern your event response. Perhaps most importantly, 4command™ navigates these decision trees in real time, in both forward and reverse order, accommodating changing conditions and requirements. In this way, 4command™ performs much like an expert system, but with greater flexibility and more intuitive configuration.
In the process of implementing process-specific decision trees, 4command™ maintains a live Status Board that automatically updates with changing conditions. The Status Board not only informs the organization of critical event conditions, it also governs the distribution of critical electronic resources, based on conditions.
As 4command™ implements decision trees, conditions trigger pre-configured knowledge bases, which in turn distribute content in the form of electronic checklists, linked documents and other information resources to the organization. The system routes content to specific participants, by role, who can subsequently document and track individual tasks during the event.
4command™ also supports on-the-fly tasking to address event-specific contingencies and requirements that are not implemented within the pre-configured knowledge bases. These “event tasks” may be evaluated after an event to determine if event-specific considerations should become a part of the established knowledge base.
A key weakness of traditional expert systems is that they tend to focus on process-centric information for a single analyst. In contrast, we designed 4command™ around the notion of division of labor. Your knowledge spans many distinct processes and roles, and these requirements don’t disappear when the shift changes or new personnel become available. 4command™ acknowledges that your response effort consists of dozens or perhaps hundreds of individuals with unique roles, possibly distributed across a wide area.
In addition to identifying situation-specific requirements by role, 4command™ also documents all organizational activity during an event, for later analysis. This activity history can be accessed within comprehensive logs, and you can re-activate past events at any time for in-depth analysis. These historical records form an important part of an overall Knowledge Management strategy, and provide metrics for continuous improvement.
The dry erase marker remains a core enabler for many response organizations that use large, wall-mounted whiteboards to track activity and analyze events as they unfold. Traditional whiteboards have obvious limitations related to available space, access and history tracking. But the functions that white boards perform remain essential and must remain a part of any response process.
4command™ provides a configurable, electronic whiteboard for each event, alongside other knowledge-oriented displays. This whiteboard not only tracks ad-hoc pieces of information, it also maintains a complete history of these items as they evolve, organizes them by role, and allows you to apply timers and reminders to them. These and other capabilities breathe life into the electronic whiteboard and elevate it to the status of an integral part of the Knowledge Management System.
The role of the Knowledge Management System is to deliver the right information, to the right people, at the right time – in the real world. Much of the “right information” is contained in databases, document management systems, and other business-specific electronic processing systems. The CSM strategy is to integrate with all such systems in a single application, to ensure timely, comprehensive access as part of a common virtual command center environment.
In real-world events, response levels, resource mobilization and a maze of other requirements vary with conditions. You have procedures, protocols and plans for most situations, but how do you identify the right ones? What if conditions change? Documents... Procedures... Deadlines... Phone numbers... Checklists... Which ones do you use now? Where do you find them? How do you capture what you did? How do you impose deadlines?
Your organization has hundreds of talented individuals. But how do they work together to produce consistent results in a complex business landscape? Team members are distributed across a region, a state, or the world. Shift changes, labor practices, mutual assistance and other factors magnify the challenge.
You have a blazing network, a first rate document management system, and the three ring binders disappeared at the turn of the century. So why is the right information still so elusive when you need it? It all comes down to the here and now. The clock is ticking. What matters is the next step. Done correctly. Every time.
Options can look good on paper. But reality is where you turn when the chips are down. Where do you turn? 4command is our flagship application, which makes knowledge management real -- real enough for major power and water utilities to depend on it. 4command truly delivers the right information, to the right people, at the right time -- in the real world, not as an intellectual exercise.