Identifying the current knowledge assets within an organisation is very important prior to one embarks onto Knowledge Management. This process of Knowledge Audit make those knowledge assets accessible and useable as well as help to identify potential or actual knowledge gaps. The aim of KM process should be to leverage maximum added value from the knowledge resource. A Knowledge Audit answers the follwoing questions:
1. What does the organisation know?
2. What could it know?
3. What should it know?
Here I would like to present a model for audit process - it should focus on identifying and mapping the structure of an organisation's knowledge rather than the content. This provides a common frame of reference and helps to scope the task.
The knowledge of the organisation is likely to contained within
1. Skills, experience, qualifications of employees
2. Document held centrally, in departments and by individuals
4. Electronic systems - databases, emails, intranets, etc.
5. Contacts and networks of which the organisation is part
6. Contacts and networks of which the individual within the organisation is part (both internal and external)
7. Libraries (either central or distributed within the organisation)
8. Relationships with other firms
9. Training materials
10. Patents, publications and research reports
11. Finance and personnel department records
12. Knowledge accessible to the organisation - although not held by it.
Having mapped the knowledge assets, the next step is to produce an outline of content and to address the questions:
1. Is the knoweldge we have accessible? How can it be made more accessible?
2. Is the knowledge we have continuously updated? What are the processes for capturing new knowledge and updating existing knowledge? Are they effective?
3. Is the knowledge we have sufficient to meet the present and future needs of the organisation? Where are the 'knowledge gaps' and how can we fill them?
4. Are we using knowledge we have effectively? How can we leverage more value from it?
Producing an outline of content may also involve exploring the ‘tacit’ knowledge of employees. This is the knowledge that individuals have based on experiences, beliefs and values that may not be codified or in the public domain. This can involve using focus groups and job analysis techniques.