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BIT356 Knowledge Management Systems - Melbourne Polytechnic
Part A: KM System Evaluation for an Organisation
Part B: KM System Recommendations for an Organisation
a) What are the goals of this organisation - what problem(s) are they trying to address? Which, if any, are KM-related problems? What are the others?
KM System Recommendations for an Organisation
University of Maryland's Robert H Smith School of business is currently developing an integrated knowledge management system that will address a range of problems reported by the students such as 16 user names per course, partial support between students at main campus and satellite campus, lack of integrity between the systems, inability to gather information about academic events and lack of centralized calendar. Being one of the best business schools in the state, it is mandatory to implement state of the art technologies in its daily operations too. When students report overheads with the existing technology, it creates a poor brand identity. Further, the teaching and non-teaching staffs have also not been happier with the existing setup which is the reason for the development of a new one.While eSmith web portal is already under development and the beta phase has been tested by half of the students in the college and tasted success, there is still scope for further development. Security concerns and inactivity algorithms are noted during the trial. However, the users have reported satisfaction of the developed portal but it is unknown if the system is all set to bear the workload of the entire school in the future.As the institution stands under the top 10 technology-equipped business schools, it is extremely important to build a knowledge management system that can be of use to all the stakeholders (internal and external).
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KM initiative planned
At the moment, the knowledge management initiative that is underway is collaborative facility where all the features are available under one place.
All these days, students, alumni, teaching staffs and administrative staffs will have to use different logins to gain access to information. With an integrated approach, it is possible for all of them to be under one roof. Further, the present development has already realized the need for personalization based on the user type and this feature can certainly reduce the inactivity of a user.
The present initiative is not completely implemented as only half of the present user base has tested it. Security concerns popped up though users were happy with the functionality and features available. It is possible for this business school to scale to greater heights if there is also collaboration with the private partners. For instance, data mining, analytics and visualization are important aspects of effective collaboration (Vorakulpipat and Rezgui, 2008). Since it is all about data, the knowledge management (KM) initiative that is underway is going to be fruitful to all the stakeholders.
Features like all academic data in just one login, personalization, interaction with other stakeholders are totally exciting. The first phase of beta testing has showed that the direction of the project managers is perfect and can certainly be upgraded with latest technologies that display higher degree of business intelligence and yield effective results to the users.
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Nonaka & Takeuchi quadrant
Nonaka and Takeuchi (2004) have discovered a knowledge spiral that indicates that knowledge converts in 4 steps - socialization, externalization, combination and eventually, it is internalization.
The initiative discovered in the previous section will now be applied to this model to understand how the knowledge gets converted and to evaluate if it happens as planned.
Socialization (Originating ba) Externalization (Dialoguing ba)
Present technical skills will have to be applied to handle the complete load of users
Trust over the brand and purpose of the system
Passion to scale the business school to a higher level powered by technology Interactive web portal that allows personalization, secure and acts as a bridge between the stakeholders
Brand equity and reputation
Design concepts and system features
Internalization (Exercising ba) Combination (Systemizing ba)
Day to day finance reports
Daily interaction with the professor for doubts, assignments and any academic support
Internal reporting to understand the progress of the department/ school
General announcements Courses, lectures and manuals
Student and alumni forums where they can communicate, collaborate and plan productive events (Despres and Chauvel, 1999)
The basic knowledge source begins with one's experience. The KM project is said to gather all the technical experts under one roof and use their experiences to build the existing trust of the technological business school. One's passion is the input to boost the deliverables of the project. The next stage of knowledge is exposed in the form of interface. Since eSmith portal development is the whole idea of the school, it is time to externalize the available knowledge by implementing new features and improving the overall usability of the portal. The variables mentioned in this quadrant can help in enhancing the brand reputation in the external market.
Combining experiential knowledge and application, the project gets a shape according to the third quadrant. There is a systematic approach developed in the system so that the users are clear of the scope and objectives of the system. For instance, students of the main campus and satellite campus can be clear about what is available for them in the portal and how they can put it to better use. In this step, communication builds up and the project achieves its purpose. The final quadrant of this KM model is all about internalization and implementation. Primary stakeholders have already made use of the system in the previous quadrant and it is now used on a daily basis by the employees and other internal stakeholders. This primarily includes announcements, reporting and financial management.
Design and features are the major variables that can deliver values to Robert H Smith School. With a secured infrastructure and strong technical capabilities, the proposed initiative does seem to be feasible and effective for the school and present and future students.
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While there is a progress at the moment, it is essential to see if the hardware and software chosen for the development are really capable of handling double the present user rate.
The first recommendation to eliminate user management troubles and workload problems is to make use of cloud feature where the school pays an amount based on the usage. Instead of investing excessively on a physical server, using the cloud based infrastructure can enhance the technological image of the school to the outsiders. Most importantly, one does not have to bother about the user inactivity time as any number of users can login at the same time. Databases can also remain safe on the cloud.
For instance, the organization has currently used an external server and the management and spacing can be constraints in the near future. When the organization shifts to a cloud based web server like Amazon Web Server (AWS), there are a lot of inbuilt features that manage search, database, personalization and security. Instead of investing on too many things to build the system, it is a good idea to gain direction and invest on only one thing that can ensure good bandwidth without compromising on any of the essential features.
There is already a scope for individual customization feature. This can be enhanced further by allowing students to form groups or join classes together and attend online sessions. Adding to these points, individuals can also be given the opportunity to see what they wish to. Sometimes, alumni might want to see what is happening at the school right now and this can be disclosed. This way, public data are open to all those users having a username and password. This recommendation is all about assessing patterns and using semantic technology to deliver what the user wants.
The final recommendation for this organization is to integrate CRM (customer/client relationship management) to the web portal (Iftikhar et al, 2003). This integration can eliminate the need for multiple usernames for the same person. Further, it is possible to offer as many features as possible such as attendance tracking, sending messages to the parent, collecting report cards, taking feedbacks and all these can be based on the cloud technology.
These three recommendations can certainly improve the purpose of the present KM initiative. Additionally, there is no need to worry about data storage, spacing, maintenance time and security as all these are taken care by the chosen technologies (Intezari et al, 2017).
This excel sheet makes it clear that the organization spends around $70,000 monthly towards infrastructure maintenance and the given recommendations can cut down the expenses by at least half. For example, there might be just 4000 users for a week and 5000 for the next week and 2000 in the 3rd week. In such a case, the school saves money as it spends based on the usage level. Unlike the traditional server where one has to pay a flat, hefty amount to maintain the data and daily operations, the recommendation of going cloud based can save a lot of money on a long term.The end-user statistics is presently not a good number but the implementation of new KM features can boost the activity of users. Focusing on CRM can again guarantee flexibility and quick retrieval of necessary data and automatic backups that will eventually ease daily operations of internal stakeholders. The presented sheet gives a picture of expenses and status of the project.
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