Maturity of Knowledge Processes and the Relationship to Technology Platforms
Technology solutions have been widely used in organizations to act as data and knowledge repositories. In product development companies, tools like Product Lifecycle Management (PLM) solutions are often seen as platforms that store information across the development cycle, feeding each role with the information necessary and tracking metrics that indicate the organization’s health and progress. In reality, the role of technology as a platform to share knowledge varies depending on the maturity of knowledge processes in organizations, each stage imposing fundamentally different demands from technology. We present a three stage development process maturity model for product development; at stage 1, there are limited knowledge processes, and no technology platform across the development process. Each group has its own, non-standard solutions. Stage 2 is characterized by rigid processes to capture knowledge, tightly coupled to technology where all data is formally captured and development is driven by analytics. Finally in stage 3, companies recognize that rigidity of processes cause them to lose implicit knowledge that cannot be captured easily into systems; the primary demand from technology is now to provide a platform for effective communication across the development teams. This realization is driving the adoption of unified and presence based communications in companies. This paper (based on consulting experiences with product development companies worldwide) posits that the role of technology as a platform should change as companies move through the stages, and we present examples from Japanese companies who often adopt knowledge practices that seem wasteful to an outsider bred on the GE model of execution, but are in fact the key to differentiation for these Japanese companies.
Keywords: Technology Solutions, Platforms, Knowledge, Product Development
Senior Business Consultant, Product Strategy and Architecture, Wipro Technologies