Features - Knowledge Management: A Bibliographic Resource

John Hokkanen consults as a Business and Technology Strategist. He has worked as a Senior VP of Business Development and Technology, Chief Knowledge Officer, Lawyer, and Software Engineer. He resides in Austin, Texas, but accepts engagements all over the United States and abroad.

Tricia Bond is a research librarian at Alston & Bird, Atlanta, GA.


What is Knowledge Management ("KM")?

Infomation....PLEASE by Joseph Maglitta, Computerworld, January 10, 1994, p. 69
A 1994 interview with Tom Davenport offers an unbelievably powerful understanding of the KM challenges as well as a prescient view of the future. This interview contains one of the earliest references to the Chief Knowledge Officer title. It is an incredible piece for its cogent discussion of important issues in a mere five pages. HIGHLY recommended for its content as well as its historical significance in the field.
Knowledge Management: Can it Exist in A Law Office? Part I by Nina Platt, LLRX.com.
This article defines what knowledge management is and provides examples of best practices collections, including brief banks, attorney work product systems, and marketing information management systems. The article also reviews Tom Davenport’s “Ten Principles of Knowledge” – a list of what KM is and what KM requires to be successful in a work environment.
Knowledge Management: Part II by Nina Platt, LLRX.com.
This article reviews what some major law firms are doing to implement KM in their offices and the successes they are realizing. The article also addresses the “processes that need to be in place in order to make a learning environment [for successful KM] a reality.”
Knowledge Management, Knowledge Organizations & Knowledge Workers: A View from the Front Lines
Provides excerpts from Dr. Yogesh Malhorta’s interview with the Korean business newspaper Maeil Business Newspaper. Dr. Malhorta is the founder of Brint.com – a concise resource for knowledge management materials. Dr. Malhorta identifies the differences between knowledge management and reengineering, and what is necessary for workers in the knowledge society.
Knowledge Management: Great Concept…But What is it - Information Week Labs and Doculabs examine five products that try to help companies turn an abstraction into a reality by Jeff Angus of InformationWeek Labs, and Jeetu Patel and Jennifer Harty of Doculabs, InformationWeek, March 16, 1998, Issue: 673.
This article addresses several KM concepts such as - What is KM? What are some of the new KM technologies? And what are some of the difficulties encountered with trying to implement a KM environment? The article explains that knowledge management is “more a business practice than a product. The products are what facilitate the practice of knowledge management…with the appropriate use of technology.”
Furthermore, competitive environments, where employees believe sharing knowledge will reduce their chances of individual success, can be damaging to KM, allowing the concept to never reach full potential. The article also reviews five knowledge management technology products – Wincite, Intraspect, ChannelManager, BackWeb and KnowledgeX.

What Does KM Mean?

The Future of Knowledge Management by Tom Davenport, CIO Magazine, December 15, 1995/Jan. 1, 1996.
A must read for anyone interested in knowledge management. Tom Davenport states that when we think of knowledge in the future, we should think of “human” advancements, not super-futuristic products. Successful managers understand the aspects of KM that go beyond technology. These are people, content and economics.
Knowledge Management for the New World of Business by Yogesh Malhorta, Ph.D., 1998.
Dr. Malhorta defines KM, stating that, “Knowledge management caters to the critical issues of organizational adaption, survival, and competence in face of increasingly discontinuous environmental change. Essentially, it embodies organizational processes that seek synergistic combination of data and information processing capacity of information technologies, and the creative and innovative capacity of human beings.”
Growing Your Marketing Department into a Knowledge Management Team: Aim to Hire Assets Not Overhead by Linda Sedloff Orton, LLRX.com, October 15, 1998.
Linda Sedloff Orton analyzes the steps required by a law firm to have a outstanding marketing department. She states that management should view marketing departments as “centers of knowledge.” Marketing departments should be regarded as more than the department that makes the glossy brochure. They should be regarded as professionals who “convey useful information to the attorney so that they can better service their existing clients and also have increased opportunities to develop new business.” Ms. Orton explains that, “until…marketers are viewed as assets and not as cost centers, their contributions will never be fully felt by…law firms.”
Firm Should Jump to Join This "Revolution" by John Hokkanen, Law Technology News, May 1999.
This article suggests that if your firm is not engaged in some sort of knowledge management practice, you should start now. Knowledge management practices and concepts can be somewhat confusing, but approaching them should not be intimidating. This article suggests that firms can learn more about knowledge management by attending sessions such as those held by the Delphi Group. A firm should start assessing their KM needs now, and start with small projects. Furthermore, expecting perfection from the start can be futile to a KM project’s success. A firm should not expect miracles, but rather, small accomplishments that grow into greater successes.
Care in Knowledge Creation: Special Issue of Knowledge and the Firm by Georg von Krogh, California Management Review, Vol. 40, No. 3, p. 133, March 22, 1998, ISSN: 0008-1256.
The author explains two views on the nature of knowledge – the “cognitivist perspective” and the “constructionist perspective.” The cognitivist perspective suggests that knowledge consists of “representations of the world that consist of a number of objects or events.” The constructionist perspective suggests that knowledge is “an act of construction or creation.” Von Krogh also explains why care is so necessary for knowledge management implementation, and what companies can do to facilitate care in their work environments.

Return on Investment, Cost Justification, Economics

Return on Knowledge by Dawne Shand, Knowledge Management Magazine, April 1999.
This article examines the use of “knowledge metrics” where managers can measure the value of investing in KM. These types of measurements help a company define the most effective knowledge management strategies. The author also reviews a “balanced scorecard” where companies can estimate four areas: financial goals, customer strategies, internal process initiatives and learning and growth activities.
KM from the Ground Up: Debunking the Myths that Knowledge Management Initiatives Have to Be Huge, Expensive and All-Encompassing, Knowledge Management Magazine, May 1999.
According to this article, starting KM from the top (e.g. CEO, COB) is not always the best way to implement effective knowledge strategies. Starting small works better for some firms. “Sometimes the most effective approach to implementing a knowledge management initiative is to look for low-cost small wins in a single department or community of practice.” The article also addresses the high cost of KM technologies, but how they are often worth the investment.

Why are Successful KM Projects Rare?

5 Uneasy Pieces, Part 2, CIO Magazine, June 1, 1996.
Knowledge management can be one of the best investments your company could ever make. However, it is easy for companies to encounter in some very obvious problems – stockpiling data without any analysis, employee rivalries, selfishness, and lack of sharing resources, inaccessibility to resources, believing the myth that KM works on IT alone, and being unable to quantify the financial results of KM.
Growing Your Marketing Department into a Knowledge Management Team: Aim to Hire Assets Not Overhead by Linda Sedloff Orton, LLRX.com, October 15, 1998.
Linda Sedloff Orton analyzes the steps required by a law firm to have a outstanding marketing department. She states that management should view marketing departments as “centers of knowledge.” Marketing departments should be regarded as more than the department that makes the glossy brochure. They should be regarded as professionals who “convey useful information to the attorney so that they can better service their existing clients and also have increased opportunities to develop new business.” Ms. Orton explains that, “until…marketers are viewed as assets and not as cost centers, their contributions will never be fully felt by…law firms.”
Knowledge Management: Great Concept...But What Is It - Information Week Labs and Doculabs examine five products that try to help companies turn an abstraction into a reality by Jeff Angus of InformationWeek Labs, and Jeetu Patel and Jennifer Harty of Doculabs, InformationWeek, March 16, 1998, Issue: 673
This article addresses several KM concepts such as - What is KM? What are some of the new KM technologies? And what are some of the difficulties encountered with trying to implement a KM environment? The article explains that knowledge management is “more a business practice than a product. The products are what facilitate the practice of knowledge management…with the appropriate use of technology.”
Furthermore, competitive environments, where employees believe sharing knowledge will reduce their chances of individual success, can be damaging to KM, allowing the concept to never reach full potential. The article also reviews five knowledge management technology products – Wincite, Intraspect, ChannelManager, BackWeb and KnowledgeX.
Known Evils: Common Pitfalls of Knowledge Management by Tom Davenport, CIO Magazine, June 15, 1997.
Tom Davenport identifies seven deadly sins of knowledge management. These sins are:
  • Spending too much time on technology and not enough on content,
  • Neglecting to put useful information into a repository,
  • Being afraid to confidently use the word “knowledge”,
  • Assuming that every worker makes a fine knowledge manager,
  • Failing to quantify KM’s return on investment,
  • Giving people access to information but failing to get them excited about it,
  • And finally, believing that knowledge is not hierarchical.
Knowledge Management in Inquiring Organizations by Yogesh Malhorta, 1997.
This article draws many parallels between knowledge management and the concepts of philosophical thinkers. Dr. Malhorta stresses that KM is not solely a technological issue. Far too often, information technology and information systems professionals do not understand the “human factor” of knowledge management.
From Data to Knowledge by Tom Davenport, CIO Magazine, April 1, 1999.
“[W]e have focused too much on mastering transaction data and not enough on turning it into information and knowledge,” according to Tom Davenport. Unfortunately, companies frequently gather tons of data but never analyze it. Davenport claims the missing key in technology is people. People are necessary for the data-to-knowledge transformation.

Knowledge Management Technologies

Knowledge Management: Great Concept…But What is it - Information Week Labs and Doculabs examine five products that try to help companies turn an abstraction into a reality by Jeff Angus of InformationWeek Labs, and Jeetu Patel and Jennifer Harty of Doculabs, InformationWeek, March 16, 1998, Issue: 673.
This article addresses several KM concepts such as - What is KM? What are some of the new KM technologies? And what are some of the difficulties encountered with trying to implement a KM environment? The article explains that knowledge management is “more a business practice than a product. The products are what facilitate the practice of knowledge management…with the appropriate use of technology.”
Furthermore, competitive environments, where employees believe sharing knowledge will reduce their chances of individual success, can be damaging to KM, allowing the concept to never reach full potential. The article also reviews five knowledge management technology products – Wincite, Intraspect, ChannelManager, BackWeb and KnowledgeX.
We Have the TechKnowledgy by Tom Davenport, CIO Magazine, Sept. 15, 1996.
This article reviews some technology tools for use in knowledge management - web based systems, expert systems, constraint-based systems, case-based reasoning applications and neural networks.
Visualizing the Workplace: Graphical Workflow Systems Both Represent and Reengineer Business Processes by Lee Sherman, Knowledge Management Magazine, May 1999.
Visual workflow systems can be helpful in managing your knowledge, as they “can show you exactly what impact any reallocation of resources, time or money might have on your bottom line.” This technology is beneficial because information does not have to be created from the ground up each time. Process 98, WorkDraw, Ptech’s FrameWork and Micrografx iGrafx Process are some of the technologies reviewed.
Legal Ease: Law Firm's Web Technology Uses Agents Instead of Paralegals for More Efficient Information Retrieval and Sharing by Lee Sherman, Knowledge Management Magazine, May 1999.
This article analyzes how one law firm, Davis, Polk & Wardell, is using technologies such as NMatrix to retrieve and manage information. With NMatrix, the law firm is able to combine information from resources such as the World Wide Web and Lexis-Nexis , and arrange the data so that their attorneys may utilize it more efficiently.
Knowledge Tools: Using Technology to Manage Knowledge Better by Rudy Ruggles, April 1997.
Knowledge management tools can enhance knowledge by a variety of ways including generation, codification and transfer. Rudy Ruggles examines these tools and notes that, “without a culture that supports the rewards of knowledge sharing, the tools can be useless.”

KM Methodologies

KM from the Ground Up: Debunking the Myths that Knowledge Management Initiatives Have to Be Huge, Expensive and All-Encompassing, Knowledge Management Magazine, May 1999.
According to this article, starting KM from the top (e.g. CEO, COB) is not always the best way to implement effective knowledge strategies. Starting small works better for some firms. “Sometimes the most effective approach to implementing a knowledge management initiative is to look for low-cost small wins in a single department or community of practice.” The article also addresses the high cost of KM technologies, but how they are often worth the investment.
On the KM Midway by Gary Abramson, CIO Magazine, May 15, 1999.
Gary Abramson provides an overview of the Big 5 and their knowledge management consulting philosophies and methods. Abramson states, “Consulting firms have an incentive to stay ahead of the curve, and several are devoting significant time and money to the future of KM.”
Knowledge Tools: Using Technology to Manage Knowledge Better by Rudy Ruggles, April 1997.
Knowledge management tools can enhance knowledge by a variety of ways including generation, codification and transfer. Rudy Ruggles examines these tools and notes that, “without a culture that supports the rewards of knowledge sharing, the tools can be useless.”
Current Business Concerns and Knowledge Management by Dr. Yogesh Malhorta, 1997.
An interview with Dr. Malhorta by the Times of India. Dr. Malhorta states the KM is “essential for organizational survival in the long run, given that knowledge creation is the core competence of any organization.” In this brief review, Dr. Malhorta provides his definition of knowledge management and the methods companies can apply to successfully implement it.
The Knowledge Factor by Perry Glasser, CIO Magazine, December 15, 1998/January 1, 1999.
Provides guidelines for companies to systemically manage what they know. Companies should understand the concepts of understanding culture, evaluating knowledge, processing knowledge and acting on knowledge.
Care in Knowledge Creation: Special Issue of Knowledge and the Firm by Georg von Krogh, California Management Review, Vol. 40, No. 3, p. 133, March 22, 1998, ISSN: 0008-1256.
The author explains two views on the nature of knowledge – the “cognitivist perspective” and the “constructionist perspective.” The cognitivist perspective suggests that knowledge consists of “representations of the world that consist of a number of objects or events.” The constructionist perspective suggests that knowledge is “an act of construction or creation.” Von Krogh also explains why care is so necessary for knowledge management implementation, and what companies can do to facilitate care in their work environments.
The State of the Notion: Knowledge Management in Practice; Special Issue on Knowledge by Rudy Ruggles, California Management Review, Vol. 40, No. 3, p. 80, March 22, 1998, ISSN: 0008-1256.
This article is based on information from an Ernst & Young survey of 431 U.S. and European companies and the methods these companies are using to implement KM strategy. Some of the methods include intranets, data warehousing, implementation of decision-support tools, groupware to support collaboration, creation of knowledge workers, and the establishment of knowledge managers (such as CKOs).

The Chief Knowledge Officer

Knowledge Roles: The CKO and Beyond by Tom Davenport, CIO Magazine, April 1, 1996.
As companies continue to embrace knowledge management, the titles and roles of knowledge managers are becoming more developed and refined. According to Tom Davenport, a Chief Knowledge Officer manages “three critical responsibilities: creating a knowledge management infrastructure, building a knowledge culture and making it all pay off economically.” Knowledge management roles are not limited to the CKO, however. Davenport suggests the need for roles such as the knowledge initiative manager and the knowledge editor/reporter.
Chief of Corporate Smarts by Jan Stuller, Training, April 1998.
The positions of Chief Knowledge Officer and Chief Learning Officer are rapidly emerging as companies understand that their intellectual capital must be managed and organized. It is important to not get bogged down in titles; instead it is far more important to grasp the significance of what these officers do for companies. “A ‘knowledge’ officer suggests a position that coordinates and provides access to a repository of facts, reports, cases studies and established practices to others in the organization. A ‘learning’ officer suggests a role that assists employees, no matter where they may be, to continue to develop their own expertise, either with help or on their own.” Stuller concludes that, even if a librarian or a communicator is to assume the title of a CKO or CLO, if the knowledge management effort is well done, then it probably will be beneficial to the firm as a whole.

Law Firm KM Articles

Firm Should Jump to Join This "Revolution" by John Hokkanen, Law Technology News, May 1999.
This article suggests that if your firm is not engaged in some sort of knowledge management practice, you should start now. Knowledge management practices and concepts can be somewhat confusing, but approaching them should not be intimidating. This article suggests that firms can learn more about knowledge management by attending sessions such as those held by the Delphi Group. A firm should start assessing their KM needs now, and start with small projects. Furthermore, expecting perfection from the start can be futile to a KM project’s success. A firm should not expect miracles, but rather, small accomplishments that grow into greater successes.
Knowledge Management: Can it Exist in A Law Office? Part I by Nina Platt, LLRX.com.
This article defines what knowledge management is and provides examples of best practices collections, including brief banks, attorney work product systems, and marketing information management systems. The article also reviews Tom Davenport’s “Ten Principles of Knowledge” – a list of what KM is and what KM requires to be successful in a work environment.
Knowledge Management: Part II by Nina Platt, LLRX.com.
This article reviews what some major law firms are doing to implement KM in their offices and the successes they are realizing. The article also addresses the “processes that need to be in place in order to make a learning environment [for successful KM] a reality.”
Growing Your Marketing Department into a Knowledge Management Team: Aim to Hire Assets Not Overhead by Linda Sedloff Orton, LLRX.com, October 15, 1998.
Linda Sedloff Orton analyzes the steps required by a law firm to have a outstanding marketing department. She states that management should view marketing departments as “centers of knowledge.” Marketing departments should be regarded as more than the department that makes the glossy brochure. They should be regarded as professionals who “convey useful information to the attorney so that they can better service their existing clients and also have increased opportunities to develop new business.” Ms. Orton explains that, “until…marketers are viewed as assets and not as cost centers, their contributions will never be fully felt by…law firms.”
Legal Ease: Law Firm's Web Technology Uses Agents Instead of Paralegals for More Efficient Information Retrieval and Sharing by Lee Sherman, Knowledge Management Magazine, May 1999.
This article analyzes how one law firm, Davis, Polk & Wardell, is using technologies such as NMatrix to retrieve and manage information. With NMatrix, the law firm is able to combine information from resources such as the World Wide Web and Lexis-Nexis, and arrange the data so that their attorneys may utilize it more efficiently.

Other Reading

  • Harvard Business Review on Knowledge Management. By Harvard Business School, September 1998. ISBN: 0875848818.
  • If Only We Knew What We Know: The Transfer of Internal Knowledge and Best Practice. By Carla S. O’Dell, Nilly Essaides, C. Jackson, Jr., November 1998. ISBN: 0684844745
  • Knowledge Management. By Karl M. Wiig, December 1995. ISBN: 096389253.
  • Knowledge Management Foundations: Thinking about Thinking – how People and Organizations Represent, Create and Use Knowledge, Vol. 1. By Karl M. Wiig, February 1994. ISBN: 0963892509.
  • Knowledge Management: The Central Focus for Intelligent-Acting Organizations, Vol.2 By Karl M. Wiig, September 1994. ISBN: 0963892517.
  • Knowledge Management Methods: Practical Approaches to Managing Knowledge, Vol.2 By Karl M. Wiig, July 1994. ISBN: 0963892525.
  • Knowledge Management Handbook. By Jay Liebowitz, January 1999. ISBN: 0849302382.
  • Knowledge Management Tools. By Rudy L. Ruggles, December 1996. ISBN: 0750698497.
  • Working Knowledge: How Organizations Manage What They Know. By Thomas Davenport and Laurence Prusak, December 1997. ISBN: 08758465556.


First published in the ABA Law Practice Management Journal, July 2000.
© John Hokkanen, 2000.