Knowledge management as a competitive advantage for market leadership

Posted by Mereo
at Wednesday November 28th, 2012.

Gestão do Conhecimento Mereo ConsultingWith the boom of information technology over the past few years, the volume of data generated increased exponentially. According to IDC (International Data Corporation) report, the volume of data will be multiplied by nine in the next five years. The origin of billions of such data is both in the company’s internal operations such as equipment utilization, banking transactions, information about customers and suppliers, and in the generation of external information, such as mapping of competitors and the market potential. This huge amount of data, which is called Big Data, has been studied by several research centers, consultancies and organizations. The main topic of study is the impact that this data volume has on the economy, companies and people.

Based on the influence of Big Data, we can say that the efficient management of knowledge in the midst of rapid technological change is a competitive advantage that drives organizations to success. We know that technologies which generate, store, create and transmit data are increasingly powerful and inexpensive. However, a lot of the data is not converted into information. Consequently, they are not used to guide decisions and actions that add value to organizations. Companies that know how to run its data efficiently, converting it into information, can make decisions and take actions more precisely and be a step ahead of the competition.

In my experience as a consultant, I realized that lack of the process to convert data into information happens in many different areas, units and subsidiaries of companies. In each of these places, it takes people time, investments and several other features, but in the end, the conclusions are identical. Causes, limitations and actions that solve the problems are, in the end, the same. Through it all, knowledge management becomes an important tool for various intelligence departments within organizations: market intelligence, management systems, strategic management, sales, operations, financial, mergers and acquisitions.

Imagine the power that a company would have knowing the habits and preferences of your main customers? Having customer knowledge facilitates the optimization of marketing actions and, consequently, increases sales and profitability. Finding the proper billboard location, understanding what type of publication the customers read and finding the proper timing for TV commercials are actions that exemplify the knowledge management based on analysis of the information available. You just need to know how to analyze them.

In operations, we can understand, through much data, that the problem of the plant A is equal to the plant B and then propose a solution. The unit will solve their problems more quickly, with greater degree of assertiveness and with much less human capital. With knowledge, we recognize the problems and also improve performance by understanding why one area is more productive than another. Through access to the mistakes and improvements in recent projects, we have learned to not make the same mistake again. This critical evaluation is possible with knowledge management, which leads to better, cheaper and faster projects.

The power of comparing indicators, called Benchmarking, is also a fantastic technique which enables the identification of best practices and triggers a goal setting process. Currently, the company that has a structured knowledge management can understand what their competitive advantages are, in relation to processes, people and technology. This type of information is very valuable to guide decision making because the organization avoids shooting in the dark, wasting resources on projects that do not guarantee return on investment, among other losses.

The big difference and competitive advantage of a company is the discovery of how to use this ocean of data currently available in making decisions that ensure timeliness, resources and assertiveness. Managing this stored knowledge and maximizing the results is the critical factor of success for organizations that want to be market leaders.

by Ivan Cruz Junior,

Partner and Director at Mereo Consuling

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