Knowledge Management - What You Don’t Know Can Hurt You

10 Steps To Assessing Your Risk Factor 

An organization’s ability to learn and to
transform that learning into action rapidly,
is the ultimate competitive advantage.
- Jack Welch

 By Yvonne Brown

March 2002


This newsletter discusses e-commerce lessons learned that can help minority- and women-owned businesses better manage the information they create as they move their businesses online. Poor knowledge management can hurt your business. This edition includes a knowledge management survey to help you assess your risk in this area.

-- Richard J. Hernández, Editor - ~ March Newsletter


Do you know what you know?  As rhetorical as that sounds, the answer to this question is at the heart of knowledge management.  Knowledge Management [KM] has been around for more than 20 years.  But it was not always described using this term.  It has been called sense making, and is a sister of that other movement, Business Process Re-engineering [BPR].  In this article we will examine the value that knowledge management offers to small businesses and provide you with a 10-point checklist of questions to help you assess your company’s risk rating as regards knowledge management.


Knowledge management can be seen as an effort to build a repository of data and information that workers need and provide them with efficient access to it. 


Knowledge management is a systematic process that is used to identify important information, lessons learned, and tacit knowledge that enables people to share what they know and create new knowledge, capture best practices and useful facts in a form that others can use when they need it.  KM enables you to get at the information you need quickly and helps to integrate, facilitate and automate the sales and bidding functions.

Use this 10-point checklist of questions to check your knowledge management quotient and get a KM risk rating. 

;       Do you know who your customers are and which products and services each buys?

;       Do you collect information from all of your customer contacts, analyze it then share the findings with all of the employees who deal with the customer?

;       Do you have the best information and expertise available when you need to make a decision?

;       Do you efficiently re-use know-how across your organization and the enterprise?

;       Can you locate your company’s best practices and access it from anywhere within your organization?

;       Has your company transitioned from one that is based on information to one based on knowledge creation?

;       Do you know what your knowledge assets are?

;       Do you share and reuse knowledge about the customer, products and suppliers?

;       Do you know the difference between information and knowledge?

;       Do you manage your intellectual Capital such as proposals and project information?

____ TOTAL 

            Score Key

8 –10          => Excellent

7 – 8           => Good to Excellent

5 - 6             => Marginal

4 and Less   => Needs Improvement

If you answered yes to four or less of these questions, then its time to consider getting a knowledge management initiative started to minimize your risk during the decision making process. 



Unshared knowledge is lost knowledge and wasted capital.  Change and the knowledge needed to manage it is all around us.  Therefore virtually everyone in the organization needs the tools, techniques and knowledge available regarding customers, products, and intellectual capital in order to successfully manage change and compete in the marketplace. 

Companies who manage their knowledge assets well, will be the successful leaders in their industry.  In an economy running at Internet speed new revenue sources must be identified fast and the best decision support systems are those that offer valid up-to-date information using all of the available corporate knowledge.



Yvonne F. Brown is the President of Ball of Gold Corporation a knowledge management, and digital strategies company.  She was recently inducted to the IT Professionals UNLeashed! Hall of Fame.  Ball of Gold provides affordable, reliable knowledge management, Internet and digital services to Small Home Office, Minority and Women Owned businesses. 

If you’re tired of feeling overwhelmed by all the data you have and emails you receive, Yvonne can help you manage all that knowledge and save you hours of searching for the information you need.  For knowledge management training or more help, please contact the author at or call 312-953-2126.


There are still sponsorship opportunities available to help us continue our work to build an online Knowledge Management Community for MBE/WBE  suppliers in the e-commerce area.  Please call 312-953-2126. 

Special thanks to Richard J. Hernández Website for publishing this article in their March Newsletter.

Special Thanks to DiversityQuest for sharing this newsletter with their e-mail subscribers.  DiversityQuest can be contacted via their Web site.


IEntire contents © 2000 - 2002 Ball of Gold Corporation, All rights reserved.  Ball of Gold is a trademark of Ball of Gold Corporation.  For reproduction rights and usage information, contact .  Information is based on best available resources.  Opinions reflect judgment at the time article was written and are subject to change.