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Do you still need Knowledge Management Standard ISO 30401?

Knowledge Management Standard ISO 30401

Being an Information and Knowledge Management practitioner I received an email regarding ISO Standard for Knowledge Management and available for public feedback in the last month of 2017. 

I did desk research along with literature review and summarize my opinion as it is more management oriented ,whereas epistemology of KM is broad it cover all aspect of information optimisation –behaviour,archive,record,content,technology,practice,learned lesson etc. . Therefore it is childish step to restrict KM only management perspective

1. What is Current Scenario?

Prior to 2015 there was three predominately KM Standards; there was British Standard Institute Guide for KM since 2001, an Australian standard for KM published in 2005, and an Israeli standard published in 2013.
International Organization for Standardization (ISO) 9001: 2015 quality management systems places an obligation on organizations to consider the role of organizational knowledge as a resource by introducing the term “knowledge,” ISO 9001:2015 aims to raise organizations’ awareness of the management and linking of know-how in order to position them for the future.ISO 9001:2015 defines requirements for the handling of organizational knowledge in the following four phases, which are analogous to the PDCA cycle:

  • Determine the knowledge necessary for the operation of processes and for achieving conformity of products and services
  • Maintain knowledge and make it available to the extent necessary
  • Consider the current organizational knowledge and compare it to changing needs and trends
  • Acquire the necessary additional knowledge

The core elements of the knowledge management standard are incorporated with the organizational knowledge clause. Explicit and tacit knowledge are addressed by the ISO standard. Knowledge and its management will become increasingly important in organizations driven by ISO certification requirements

John P. WilsonLarry Campbell, (2016) identified the role of knowledge management principles as they apply to ISO 9001: 2015 and the seven quality management principles. More than 1.1 million organizations are certified to ISO 9001, plus many others who use the standard informally. Those involved with organizational quality will need to understand the role of knowledge in the organization.

The first ever draft international standard on knowledge management has been released for comments. ISO 30401 Knowledge management systems will be published in 2018. If ‘systems’ makes you think of technology, please think again. ISO 30401 is a management systems standard, like ISO 9001 Quality management systems.

2. Who is advocate for this Standard 

I have found five relevant standard along with ISO guidelines for Knowledge management
·         Australian Standard AS 5037
·         BSI PAS 2001 Knowledge Management a Guide to Good Practice
·         European Guide to Good Practice in Knowledge Management (in German)
·         AIIM is working on 3 KM standards:
o   KM for organisations
o   KM education and training
o   KM personal capabilities
Knoco started to offer ISO9001 audit based on Knowledge Management is now an explicit component of ISO 9001,Clause 7.1.5 implies that to meet the new version of the standard, an organisation should have:
·         A definition of the critical organisational knowledge (knowledge about operation, process, goods and services);
·         A system for maintaining, protecting and accessing that knowledge;
·         A system for acquiring or accessing (and potentially for creating) any new knowledge, as things change.

" advocated ISO 30401 KM Standard is for organisations, large and small, public and private, certified in ISO 9001 Quality Management Standard (2015) which now requires organisations to better manage their organisational knowledge.This Standard is also very applicable to those organisations interested in ISO 55000 Asset Management Standard (2014) which requires the development of a Strategic Asset Management Plan (SAMP) and the management of a portfolio of assets. This Standard has requirements for both tangible Asset Management and intangible Knowledge Asset appreciated that this was the first time and game –changer and provides a long-awaited level of legitimacy for KM in the global business standards to explicitly mention knowledge as a resource, and specifies expectations for the management of that resource.
 APM reviews with this notation “present opportunities to improve understanding, practices and performance”.   

3. What is future of this Standard

Wolfgang Scholl, Christine König, Bertolt Meyer, Peter Heisig, (2004) carried out international delphi study to give more structure to the field of KM and to get an outlook on worthwhile developments for the next ten years and found that the field of knowledge management (KM) is highly estimated in research and practice but at the same time relatively diffuse and scattered into diverging concepts, perspectives and disciplines. According to the experts, the future of knowledge management lies in a better integration into the common business processes, a concentration on the human‐organization‐interface and a better match of IT‐aspects to human factors whereas IT‐aspects rank low on this agenda.

There are no broadly agreed theoretical approaches though something can be gained from the related organizational learning field.

There are also almost no broadly agreed practical approaches besides communities of practice.

David J. Skyrme  advocated the emphasis on developing understanding, sharing good practice and striving for a degree of harmonization where it would help global cooperation and recommended to develop generic standard or guidance:-
a)Terminology - some standard terminology that would be universally recognized.
b) Guidelines on SOME methods or techniques
c) SOME competency standards for KM professionals.

He also cited KMCI reservation on his website “"Knowledge Management and KM organizations must recognize that it is fundamentally wrong-headed to pursue KM standards through ANSI, ISO, or any organization external to the KM field itself. To be true to KM, we must police ourselves and our standards must emerge from our own disciplinary processes of knowledge production and integration and in particular from our own process of knowledge claim evaluation rather than ANSI's or ISO's.”

He offered his observations of the effects of business standards does not give any guarantee of good customer service and client judge a consultant by his or her reputation and experience, and as often as not through person referral.

He has left the choice of use of these standards to the practitioner or implementer whether to learn from treasure of knowledge management or align to these Standards   


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