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Knowledge Management. Essay

1056 words - 4 pages

Introduction.When people with a common goal can efficiently and effectively share information, the ability to achieve that goal has been almost guaranteed. Xerox Corporation has become one of the leaders in knowledge sharing and they continue to successfully exploit this capability. They have managed to create a trend that other companies are beginning to follow. Using the article by Michael Hickins entitled "XEROX SHARES ITS KNOWLEDGE" as a reference, I will list the key barriers that Xerox has been able to overcome while perfecting the practice of Knowledge Management(KM). I will also show how the rapid advancement in their knowledge sharing capability has become an extremely profitable venture.BarriersAccording to Michael Hickins, Xerox was the leader in copier technology prior to the 1970s. The first major barrier surfaced when their patents began to expire and they were almost put out of business by the emerging competition. The Apple Corporation had quickly taken advantage of their failure to actualize on several inventions such as the "mouse" and "pull-down browser". These huge setbacks forced Xerox to re-think their business strategies. What they came up with was dubbed The Year 2005 plan. They decided to provide customers with a variety of innovative products that would enhance their ability to manage information. Mr. Hickins quotes Dan Holtshouse, one of the Year 2005 plan architects. ".... Xerox's clients will gain a strategic advantage by managing knowledge better than the competition. Xerox applies this thinking internally as well. Thus, its goal is to develop products...and make them accessible to a large number of people" he says. Xerox realized the advantages in creating a population of text through mutual knowledge and they began to develop ways to internally implement new technologies that would serve to augment their own successes as well. To do this however, they would face barriers that others had failed to overcome.The main problem that most companies face when it comes to knowledge management is getting people to be willing to share information. The article refers to a statement by William Latshaw, knowledge manager for Arthur D. Little. He said, " In the past, power was derived from having the knowledge. Unless you address this, the knowledge management system will founder". Xerox had decided to implement a knowledge-sharing database called Eureka that would allow all of their repair technicians to communicate their vast experience with one another. This would enable the less experienced technicians to resolve complicated issues they may have not seen before. But Xerox needed a way to motivate the employees to actually use it. To overcome this, they decided to add a Eureka link to employee laptops, which were standard issue. Also they would provide credit to the employees for their contributions, which put them in good standing with fellow technicians. These programs seemed to be working but there were more barriers to...

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