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Investing in Technology to Build Knowledge-Based Companies

information technology

Investing in Technology to Build Knowledge-Based Companies

Executives understand how knowledge management as facilitating organizational processes and activities uses information technology to organize existing information. Information technology plays a crucial role in creating, retrieving, storing and applying organizational knowledge stated by Maryam Alavi and Dorothy Leidner’s MIS Quarterly review.

Executives focus on individuals as the major source of knowledge and show how followers tie together so that they can affect the sharing, storage, transfer, and apply knowledge within organizations. Executives, therefore, see these connections, and the related shared knowledge and memory, as central to the effectiveness of knowledge management.

How Technology Matters?

Executives are well versed today on information technology and usually have a fleet of followers in this department that they can depend on. Sandy Weil, a financial executive, wanted one number when he left the office that determined his value at risk. His technology team delivered and came up with one number called VAR (Value At Risk). Wiel slept much better knowing what risk he faced while running one of the largest financial organizations in the world. He was controlling operational risk and inspiring employees to follow where he leads.

Technology, as one would imagine, is often associated with information and communication dispersed within companies. Considerable alignment between information technology and the knowledge-based view connects the two to develop and disseminate knowledge throughout the organization which, in turn, is an important factor of sustainable competitive advantage.

Executives agree with Robert Grant, who states that knowledge integration is one of the main reasons for the existence of companies. Furthermore, Andrew Gold, Arvind Malhotra, and Albert Segars suggest information technology as an important resource for strategic planning for knowledge integration. Olivier Caya posits that information technology enables knowledge integration by using three possible mechanisms:

1. Impersonal

2. Personal

3. Collective

Executives can use the impersonal mechanism to enact regulations, procedures, and rules aimed at coordinating intellectual capital within organizations. Information technology disseminates protocols among members and allows them to be knowledgeable of their progress toward meeting determined milestones stated in the strategic plans.

The personal mechanism is used by executives to vertically and horizontally exchange knowledge between employees and collective mechanism is used when information technology manifests itself as a synthesizer of ideas and knowledge acquired from multiple organizational members. Thus, information technology encourages people to embark on technological facilities, such as shared electronic workspaces, to provide new ideas and possible solutions for solving organizational problems. As a result, it is viewed that information technology plays a critical role in integrating knowledge and is therefore aligned with the knowledge-based view.

Executives can use information technology as a communication mechanism manifestation and deployment and decision-aid technology. For example, Hsin-Jung Hsieh argues that communication technology provides ways to enhance interactions among members and departments within organizations. This type of technology eliminates the barriers of organizational communications while improving the extent of knowledge sharing and access for all followers at various levels of the organization.

Thus, there is a strong correlation between communication technology and social capital view that sheds light on the development of relationships within organizations to aggregate human capital into social capital so as to provide further information and opportunities for all members. This subsequently creates valuable resources for an organization as a whole.

Furthermore, decision-aid technology develops cohesive infrastructures to store and retrieve the knowledge to enable followers in creating more innovative solutions to problems and managing operational risks. Ergo, information technology supports knowledge by enabling interactions and providing more comprehensive and effective solutions to solve organizational problems.

Unleashing the Power of Knowledge in Companies

Today, technology has changed the business world ten-fold. Every day there is an easier way to process, access, and disseminate information. Technology – now referred to as Information technology – is an internal resource that increasingly facilitates organizational communication and improves the search for knowledge. When executives have people in place to manage information technology, the organization can see increased revenues, better satisfaction by employees and customers, and most importantly enhance their own effectiveness as leaders.

The social capital view supports the idea that knowledge creation is highly dependent on developing organizational communications and interactions. Information technology enables organizations to overcome space constraints in communication, and promotes the depth and range of knowledge access and sharing within companies.  More specifically, communication technologies can be employed to enhance the conversations and knowledge exchanges between organizational members. Scholars such as Andrew Gold, Arvind Malhotra and Albert Segars argue that this knowledge shared through information technology could positively contribute to knowledge integration.

I also introduced executives to what the scholar Robert Grant describes using the knowledge-based view. Highlighting knowledge integration as a major reason for the existence of a company. Knowledge sharing itself can develop more innovative climates and facilitate knowledge creation in organizations. Thus, communication technologies can play a crucial role in improving knowledge creation.

Communication technology is an internal resource that develops and integrates organizational knowledge as the most strategic factor of competitiveness. As executives use expert systems for decision-making, technology becomes a decision-aid. As mentioned earlier, decision-aid technology can be also considered as a facilitator of the knowledge creation process by providing the essential infrastructures to store and retrieve organizational knowledge.

Executives agree with Shahnawaz Muhammed who highlights major functions for information technology and explains that information technology enhances learning and sharing knowledge by providing access to knowledge, and stimulates new ideas and knowledge generation, transfers an individual’s knowledge to other members and departments, and improves knowledge capturing, storing, and accumulating, aiming at achieving organizational goals. Bringing us to the conclusion that information tech has a positive association with knowledge management performance in companies.

In Conclusion

Standing on the shoulders of scholars before us, I indicate that information technology is a major factor for knowledge management success and supports the positive impact of information technology on knowledge management performance.

For executives, this article can portray a more detailed picture of the effects of information technology on knowledge management. Many organizations still implement knowledge management initiatives without sufficient consideration of their technological infrastructures.

When executives ensure the effectiveness of knowledge management projects they increase control and lesson operational risk. I also suggest that a firm’s ability to enhance knowledge management can be highly affected when executives implement information technology. Furthermore, I suggest that scholars take these ideas and continue to conduct research using executives as the focal point so that academic scholarship can meet the needs of managerial implications at the higher echelons of organizations worldwide.

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Mostafa Sayyadi works with senior business leaders to effectively develop innovation in companies and helps companies—from start-ups to the Fortune 100—succeed by improving the effectiveness of their leaders. He is a business book author and a long-time contributor to business publications and his work has been featured in top-flight business publications.

supply chain

Leveraging Digital Technology to Create a More Resilient Supply Chain

The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted the flow of goods across the globe, from raw materials to finished products. The pandemic has raised awareness of the importance of truck drivers, delivery drivers and warehouse workers who have kept products moving in this challenging environment. The economic ramifications have forced companies and industries to reevaluate their supply chains.

Additionally, the pandemic has vividly illustrated that today’s highly interlinked, international supply chains have more potential points of failure and less flexibility for absorbing delays and disruptions than business leaders may have realized.

To build more resilient and flexible supply chains, companies may consider several options, including bringing some critical activities closer to home, setting up backup suppliers to reduce exposure to any single supplier/country, or refining their inventory strategies. Of course, any such alteration will affect logistics and transportation.

Having the right combination of technology, expertise, people, and solutions in place is critical as companies revisit their supply chain strategies. Fortunately, leveraging supply chain technology can improve end-to-end visibility, resiliency, and efficiency within your supplier networks.

Advances in digital technology and automation are driving the continued evolution of supply chains. Some of the most impactful technologies can be grouped into three buckets:

Automation

-Robotic Process Automation (RPA)
-Configurable workflows

 

Digitization

-Artificial intelligence
-Machine learning
-Cloud computing

 

Big data

-Internet of Things

 

Companies in many industries currently employ these technologies. GlobalTranz uses these technology advances to enable and support our people.  We have used RPA to streamline many rote, operational tasks and allow our workforce to tackle more strategic, higher-value activities, particularly those which build relationships with our customers, suppliers, and partners. RPA creates a software robot leveraging a specific set of rules to automate tasks, such as document retrieval, inter-system data entry, approval processes, and gathering track and trace data. Unlike traditional custom-developed solutions, RPA can be continuously modified in a more real-time approach – especially important as the number of data sources and the sheer amount of data continues to increase.

By contextualizing data and reviewing daily processes, businesses can make complex and time-consuming processes more efficient. For example, when using RPA to gather track and trace data, you can be assured that the information is the most recent and accurate.

Before building bots to automate the collection of track-and-trace information, GlobalTranz devoted nearly 139 days’ worth of time annually, per person, to this task. Automation has enabled people to spend more time with customers and partners helping them devise strategies to address challenges brought on by COVID-19 and create a more resilient supply chain.

As companies look ahead to the economic recovery, it is imperative that they obtain greater visibility into their own facilities, their direct suppliers, and logistics partners. The crisis demonstrates the need for resiliency and accurate, real-time information that can help businesses make better-informed decisions and mitigate the costs of supply chain disruptions.

Obtaining accurate, real-time information to mitigate complexity and create resiliency requires a more digitized approach. Disruptive risks require investment in additional supply chain resilience even though the gains and the return on investment may not be immediate.

Successful organizational change, much like social change, can be influenced by the people and capabilities around us – including both stakeholders within your business and your supply chain partners – as well as how internal data and external intelligence are leveraged to make better business decisions.

Maven Wave Earns Spot on 2019 Best Workplaces in Consulting & Professional Services List

Google Cloud Premier Partner, Maven Wave confirmed this week its place on the 2019 Best Workplaces in Consulting and Professional Services list compiled by Great Place to Work and FORTUNE. The rankings on the list come from over 39,000 employees evaluated and providing feedback on elements such as leadership relationships, respect, fairness in workplace decisions, and team camaraderie.

Placing 30th on the list for small and medium-sized companies, the Chicago-based company prides itself in its positive culture and identifying the ‘X Factor’ among its employees. Maven also fosters an environment supportive of charity involvement and employs a Community Outreach Program matching employee donations to non-profits and sponsors employee-nominated charitable events.

“At Maven Wave, we always look for the ‘X-factor’ when hiring and then work hard to develop these employees,” said Jeff Lee, Partner & Founder at Maven Wave. “Having ‘X-factor’ means that in addition to technical expertise, an individual brings an element of likeability and charisma to the table. As a natural influencer, everyone wants to be on his or her team. Consulting is a human-to-human business, and X-factor is a cornerstone of our success.”

The digital solutions provider is no stranger to such recognition, however. Back in 2018, the company was named “Chicago’s Best and Brightest Companies to Work For®” and placed on Crain’s Fast 50 for five consecutive years. Additionally, the Maven Wave has been awarded the Google Cloud North America Services Partner of the Year twice.

“Consulting and Professional Services companies operate in some of the most competitive spaces and endure the challenges of unpredictable and rapidly changing markets,” said Michael Bush, CEO of Great Place to Work. “The Best Workplaces on this list have invested in the professional development and personal care of their employees; which have become crucial parts of their value proposition that separate them from the competition in recruiting and retaining talent.”


Digital Solutions take the Spotlight during Supply Chain Forum 2019

It’s no surprise that digital transformation served as the primary driver behind the message presented by leaders from Siemens Digital Logistics during the 2019 Supply Chain Forum in Frankenthal. The company’s first-ever joint conference forum delivered key insights on the importance of thorough implementation and understanding technology’s role in mitigating risk and generating success. More than 100 attendees from the commercial, manufacturing, and logistics industries participated in the conference.

“We need to increase the investments in implementing digital solutions. Digital transformation is not cheap, it doesn’t happen on its own, and it can’t be done half-heartedly,” warned Frauke Heistermann, a digital expert on the Board of the German Logistics Association (BVL). “Companies also need to develop and cultivate curiosity and enthusiasm for technology and all things digital among their top executives.”

Supply chain risks are inevitable and the key to success is through identifying and implementing a solution that makes them manageable, according to key takeaways highlighted during the forum. As the digitization of processes continues, industry leaders are encouraging companies to do away with paper and rely on software for seamless management. With these changes, scheduling and resource planning become streamlined and ultimately reduce economic damages.

Uwe Schumacher, Vice President of Business Development at Siemens Digital Logistics, reiterates this message by adding that the key to integrating planning, collaboration, and transparency in global supply chains is a reliable software solution.

“Visibility is the single most important aspect in the supply chain,” he adds.

Global Ports and Proactivity

Beyond proactivity and preparation, global ports focus on redefining infrastructure while evaluating opportunities for significant increases in cargo intake. But what about the ports that aren’t seeing the results they want? Let’s take a look at the European Ports and the challenges and proposed solutions featured in an article from Port Strategy. Of all the solutions presented and discussed, the first was the need of infrastructure evaluation.

“The challenge ports everywhere face now, is to implement projects which often are financially unattractive to the port authority and even less attractive to external investors, but which are essential for wider societal and economic reasons. Some ports are financially strong enough to finance such projects and accept the low financial returns. Other ports are challenged to implement projects which are essential but are entirely beyond their means,” details a report shared by the ESPO.

Another challenge is the demand for increased cargo but a limit in capacity, as many ports claim they are close to reaching max capacity, but want to avoid providing an opportunity for competitors to swoop up what they can’t make room for. Gauging these issues requires a carefully thought out and strategic approach to ensure shippers evaluate next steps for 2019. In the theme of modernization, Port of Oakland shared insight into their 2018-2022 strategic plan, which is inclusive of growing net revenue, modernizing and maintaining infrastructure, care for the environment and improving customer service.

The use of technology to streamline operations was one of the highlighted objectives and strategies (impacting almost every area of the business) the report emphasized on. In the age of information technology, automation and technology solutions, this goal would provide more than just a seamless flow of information, but supply owners, customers and employees improved efficiencies and reduced room for error. There seems to be a trend among these ports.

“Each of our businesses has specific modernization and maintenance objectives to meet, notably development of long-term asset management plans. Moreover, those objectives require careful attention to environmental, social responsibility and human resources issues,” the report says.

The key to implementing strong logistics solution can be found in an all-in-one approach that is inclusive of your company goals and vision, the well being and safety of your employees, customer satisfaction, competitive advantage as well as cost-effectiveness and proactivity. The common denominator is found in digitization through advanced technology solutions, fully integrated within the service platforms, touching on all bases of the operations and supply chain.

Overcoming Operational Challenges

In the age of Amazon-inspired standards and expectations, everything moves faster while changing just as quickly. In an evergreen market, the main key to success stems from proactive, digital solutions that are equipped with the ability to keep up in an ever-changing industry.

So what is really needed to make it work and go above set expectations within your organization and standards of operations? Below are three high-level tips to consider as we approach cyber-Monday and one of the busiest times of the year for e-commerce.

1. Be selective and remain modular.

It can be tempting to research and invest thousands into a solution that crosses multiple platforms while offering various strategy solutions. Although this is great, it produces higher risks and takes away from the actual needs of the company. Focus on what can be improved based on the company’s needs first, then look into broader solution options. Be cautious of investing in a solution that is new but irrelevant to operational needs. Prioritize your business goals to align with efficiencies on a multi-platform solution and approach. Remember what the customer needs and what is realistic in terms of delivering within operations.

2. Address internal and operational issues.

Everyone talks about transparency with customers for success, but you must first take an honest assessment at what is and isn’t working, internal/external challenges, pain points and inefficiencies before you can deliver the best to customers. You can’t produce quality results externally without fixing an area that needs improvement first. After a thorough evaluation is done, you can wisely select solutions and changes needed for success. Remember the example of the domino-effect business model, each part of the business is impacted by the other.

3. Choose fully-integrated solutions.

The implementation of digital solutions is at its peak. But what if a solution leaves out one area or another? For example, a digitized delivery system tracking ETA but can’t provide temperature control or visibility. Project44 said it best, “The holy grail is a truly integrated supply chain which connects all your modes and nodes including ocean carriage, drayage, deconsolidation, inland transportation, and final mile.”  When vetting solutions, remember each operational sector and choose the one that fits all.

 

Source: Project44

Digital Solutions: Breaking New Ground for Global Supply Chain Management

A live-tracking shipment device called Smart Visibility is creating boundless tracking capabilities for international logistic providers. The most recent of them being Hellmann Worldwide Logistics based in London.

The features offered go beyond real-time tracking and management of shipments, providing information pertaining to the temperature,  humidity, vibration, incident of light, door openings and deviations of schedule through dashboard managed viewing and email updates, according to a release from Hellman this week.

Jochen Freese, Chief Commercial Officer of Hellmann expressed his confidence in the product in the release: “Thanks to the innovative and uncomplicated return logistics of the device, it is possible to guarantee companies the greatest possible flexibility so that an on-demand tracking service can be implemented.”

Customers can operate even the most complex of supply chains with ease from start to finish regardless of the transport unit. Trucks, pallets and parcels, transport carriers and beyond have the opportunity to leverage the pay-as-you-go option, creating financial flexibility for all types of customers while delivering the most accurate and detailed information through a convenient, on-demand platform.

“Especially in times when decisions in supply chain and inventory management are computer-controlled, it is extremely important to have reliable real-time data on the flow of goods. With Smart Visibility, we deliver just that. The tool enables an extremely broad target group to use real-time transparency to their competitive advantage,” Freese said.

Technology and digital solutions are changing the platform and standards for supply chain and logistics management companies worldwide and Smart Visibility is another example of this. Through the utilization of digital solutions and time efficiencies business incentives are supported and improved  while company goals are maximized.

For more information about this newly integrated solution, visit: Hellmann.com