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Knowledge Management has a long tradition at SAP. In fact, SAP has always been a knowledge intensive enterprise, and is a true knowledge company by definition.  Of course we have always been eager in trying to take the lead in that respect, also as an industry standard. Our goal is sapience*: the ability to apply knowledge, or experience, or understanding, or common sense and insight, also known as wisdom.  The sapience* blog is about knowledge management at SAP and the start of a series that will provide information and insights about our ambition and achievements as a knowledge company. But it is also about ideas, trends, plans and dreams regarding the future of knowledge work in the knowledge age.

/wp-content/uploads/2013/07/inform_learn_collaborate_246038.jpg As you can see, with SAP’s tradition as a software and software-related services company it can be very tempting to only look at the technology side of things, but today SAP is a solutions company solving business problems to make the world run better and improve people’s lives. This move towards integrated solutions for our customers, which makes our offerings much easier and less expensive to consume, requires a continued best practice approach to knowledge management where everyone is enabled and empowered to perform, and networked to succeed – internally and within our ecosystem.  Although we were often admired for our achievements in knowledge management, the SAP Community Network being a great example, we understood some time ago that employees, partners, and customers continue to look for improvements to their information, learning and collaboration experiences:

  • In a connected enterprise the needs of our customers, partners, and employees must be well researched, and experiences need to be designed to enable individuals to acquire and contribute high-quality knowledge at the right time in the right place. People require being able to network and collaborate seamlessly with others inside and outside the company at any time.
  • At SAP, our internal knowledge repositories grow by 500,000 items each month, and so what has become clear to us is that managing content continues to be important but “the most limited resource is no longer information. It has become human attention –  the ability to deal effectively with the growing volume and speed of information.” [1]
  • As a growth company bringing on new people and knowledge requires seamless and fast onboarding of individuals, integration of additional knowledge from our stakeholders or acquired companies needs to happen quickly, and immediate collaboration and networking between all employees worldwide, across departmental borders and hierarchical levels is critical in order to provide superior customer value.
  • In today’s business world we all must continuously develop our skills; we must constantly develop our knowledge. But learning needs to happen seamlessly, it needs to be demand-driven, learner type specific and available when and where we need it, including finding others that can help us when we need them most.
  • And of course we take leadership in technology-driven change: big data, mobile and analytics are core disciplines of SAP and they represent significant opportunities for the knowledge organization. With mobile, our stakeholders expect to get access to all the information or applications regardless which device they would use, and with HANA and analytics, we are now able to provide targeted access to information in ways we’ve never seen before.
Focusing on key disciplines of knowledge management: information provisioning & content management, learning & enablement, collaboration & peoplenetworking, including leveraging technology-driven innovation, all continue to be relevant ingredients of company success for SAP as a knowledge company.
But it also means that we need to have a holistic and truly integrated approach to knowledge management in connecting people, processes, content and technology. I am very much looking forward to a great dialogue with great minds that have a passion for the topic, no matter if you are a long-time veteran, or an interested newcomer on the subject.

[1]  Cliff Figallo, Nancy Rhine „Building the Knowledge Management Network” http://issuu.com/crl826/docs/building_the_knowledge_management_network._best_pr

p. 63 cite Yogesh Malhotra: „Yogesh (Malhotra) is a recognized expert in the field of knowledge management and business innovation. In an article published in the online periodical, Brint Institute’s Online Book on Knowledge Management ³, he describes organizations as moving their knowledge management focus “from information processing to knowledge creation.” He also maintains that today’s organization must recognize that its most limited resource is no longer information; it has become human attention – the ability to deal effectively with the growing volume and speed of information.” ³ Yogesh Malhotra „Knowledge Management for E-Business Performance. Advancing Information Strategy to “Internet time”. Brint Institute’s Online Book on Knowledge Management at www.kmbook.com / http://www.brint.org/KMEbusiness.pdf

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5 Comments

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  1. Thomas Jenewein

    Great that you share SAPs experiences in Knowledge Managagement – looking forward fo rthe next posts. I esp. like the quote:  “the most limited resource is no longer information. It has become human attention” … very true.

    best regards, Thomas

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    1. Marilyn Pratt

      Yes there are a number of excellent and quotable points here.  In addition to the one you highlighted Thomas I also find this resonates strongly: “it (knowledge) needs to be demand-driven, learner type specific and available when and where we need it, including finding others that can help us when we need them most.”

      Thank you for launching this topic, Dirk Dobiey !

      Great post.

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    2. Marc Kriss

      I agree too with this idea…while essentially no longer limited, information is still very much a valuable resource, particularly relevant, current and useful information.  The idea of dealing with the “speed” of information is also mentioned here, which is an important factor in the lifecycle of content / information, particularly with the challenge of the refresh cycle.

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  2. Nandeesha M

    Thanks for starting sapience blog to share about knowledge management at SAP. It’s an interesting read.

    Looking forward to hear more about KM@SAP and also to contribute in whatever way possible……

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  3. Dirk Dobiey Post author

    Dear all, I completed/edited the footnote so that you can easier track down the source – if interested. Best, Dirk

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