Published on November 2018 in a 20-page summary document, ISO 30401 sets out requirements and provides guidelines for establishing, maintaining, revising and improving an effective knowledge management system in organizations.
However, since 2015, different standards have begun to incorporate paragraphs on knowledge management (e. g. ISO 9001 7.1.6). ISO 30401 is the first standard to deal only with this topic.
The challenges of the ISO 30401 standard
The main objective of ISO 30401 is to help organizations design a management system that values and facilitates value creation through knowledge. Knowledge is seen as a key success factor in achieving a company’s strategic objectives. The challenge is, therefore, to preserve, disseminate, share and develop the organization’s knowledge assets.
The standard sets out the principles and requirements for the implementation of a knowledge management system (KMS). This requires collaboration between the company’s management bodies and operational departments: everyone is involved.
The standard proposes a standardized KMS so that all structures can identify with this model (regardless of their size or sector of activity), which is flexible and easy to understand.
What is knowledge management?
Knowledge, as defined in the texts of ISO 30401, is the personal or organizational capital that enables effective decisions and action in context. They can be individual, collective or organizational. They are acquired through learning or experience. They are of great value to the company because they are sources of performance, efficiency, and differentiation.
Knowledge management includes all the methods and techniques used to manage knowledge and know-how within a company. The challenge is to adopt a systemic approach to this management in order to make it a global and coherent process at the company level.
A knowledge management system is gradually being implemented, taking into account the context and culture of the company, adapting to the way people work and interact with each other. A successful MSC requires alignment between the organization’s overall strategy and the means/expectations of operational departments.
What are the fields of application of a Knowledge Management System?
The ISO 30401 standard establishes a scope and rules to be followed in order to set up an efficient KMS. This helps to frame the reflection, to better understand the organization and its needs. The fields of application of KMS can be diverse and varied, the challenge is to properly target each application case and to think about its interests and characteristics. A knowledge management culture must be instilled so that stakeholders come together around the project and feel concerned.
What are the requirements for a well integrated KMS?
In order for an KMS to be well integrated within an organization, it is necessary to make it a virtuous system that tends to improve continuously. To do this, requirements are listed to guide the life cycle of an KMS:
- Leadership: necessary framework and precise policy at the company level
- Planning: calculation of risks and opportunities to create time benchmarks
- Support: definition of the human, technological and documentary resources needed to implement change management
- Operations: determination of the actions to be carried out (procedures, controls)
- Performance evaluation: implementation of KPIs
- Improvement: definition of new measures and actions to overcome the difficulties targeted by the evaluation
These requirements for the integration of an KMS meet a sustainability challenge. Indeed, the adoption of an KMS requires a lot of organizational change within an organization; it must therefore be done in a progressive and consistent manner. A quality process that oversees the implementation phase and even the entire life of the KMS is necessary in order to meet the requirements and capitalize on improvement practices and reasoning (virtuous system). However, it is essential to integrate it into existing processes in order to facilitate its ownership and operational implementation.
The ISO 30401 standard as a framework for the implementation of an effective KMS
The objective of ISO 30401 is to provide a framework for organizations to establish and maintain an effective KMS. The precepts of this standard are adaptable to all sectors and all organizational sizes. They are to be applied according to the pace defined by each entity according to their ambitions and constraints. This approach should be approached calmly, as ISO 30401 is not subject to certification (no obligation for an external audit). It provides a general framework for the integration of a knowledge management system and explains its advantages.
In order to help you set up your KMS and meet the requirements of the ISO 30401 standard, BASSETTI offers you all its expertise in consulting and operational support for the deployment of knowledge management systems.
In order to support you throughout your approach, we combine our systemic approach to knowledge management with our specific skills in information systems. Indeed, BASSETTI is also the publisher and integrator of the TEEXMA® Design Handbook software package. It is a modular knowledge management solution that will allow you to organize, structure and systematize your knowledge management ambitions.