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Knowledge Management – A Driver of Competitive Advantage and Business Growth!

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Event: CII – Knowledge Summit 2013

Panellists:

  • Mr. Jayesh Chakravarthi (Senior Vice President and Country Head-IT Fidelity Business Services India Pvt. Ltd.),
  • Mr. Karuna Ramanathan (Deputy Head, SAF centre for Leadership development, Singapore Armed Forces),
  • Mr. Arun Gupta (Chief Information Officer, Cipla Ltd.),
  • Mr. Vadim Shiryaev (President, SOMAR; CKO, Livejournal, Russia),
  • Mr. Alok Kumar (Vice President and Global Head- Internal IT and Shared Services, Tata Consultancy Services Ltd.).

Session moderator: Mr. Ganesh Natarajan (Chairman, CII Knowledge Committee 2012-13; Vice Chairman and CEO, Zensar Technologies Ltd.)

As people progress and move up the ladder, their buying habits change significantly. This is a pretty ‘common-sense’ piece of information. And this piece of information remains just that until it is transformed into Knowledge – which is the real task. And that is where Knowledge Management comes into the picture.

Well, Shoppers’ Stop – the Indian department store chain promoted by the K Raheja Corp1 Group, used this piece of information and designed a new strategy to create a slight shift in positioning and successfully rake in a whole lot of revenues.

The strategy included positively changing the attitude of the floor personnel, rebranding of the floor – in terms of merchandise, vacating value clothing and focusing only on premium brands. This added an aspirational value to the brand, although a certain set of customers who came for the value clothing are possibly being lost.

As visual merchandising plays an important role in retail and is known to affect purchase decisions, the store look was changed to add a more contemporary feel. And as hoped for, revenues from the targeted customers gradually began to rise. For Shoppers’ Stop, merely knowing the number of customers possessing a first citizen’s card was not enough. They went one step ahead by converting mere information into knowledge that could be put to use!

An organisation that looks bottom up is usually knowledge driven. Knowledge Management doesn’t happen in a committee. It happens when large sales teams interact with one another, share instances, and help each other overcome challenges.

This can happen only when there exists a sense of purpose and intent among the various internal stakeholders involved. Intent is something that a CEO sets for a company;

SIESCOMS representation at the summit

SIESCOMS representation at the summit

however without articulation of purpose it is incomplete. A common purpose is imperative to make sure knowledge is shared and made use of effectively for the benefit of customers and eventually for the benefit of the company.

Talking about information, how can we not speak about social media which is bursting at its seams with terabytes of information on a daily basis? Social media is important for collaboration in today’s world. Today, companies use social media to gain consumer insights, and many companies are also contemplating on incentivising knowledge sharing. But who knows, that might actually cause more harm than good with users cooking up stories just for the sake of the lucrative incentive. In the end, how to filter all those Facebook and Twitter feeds to gain what is of value to the company and its product is a test of Knowledge Management right there.

All said and done, everything in Management boils down to quantification of results and return on investment. The knowledge shared, the insight gained might be priceless, but can we quantify it, can we measure the return on the investment made in Knowledge Management – that’s a thought for all to ponder upon!

 – An excerpt from the KMO SUMMIT 2013 Report made by Dipendra Saxena, Lata Punetha, Madhura Navare, Navya Chandrasekar, Nupoor Mehta, Prajakta Sarmalkar, Pranita Shewale, Pratik Shetty, Renita Miranda, Ruchika Shrivastava, Sandhya Bhatre & Utsav Joshi (students of SIESCOMS 2012-14 Batch)

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