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Please answer and provide any reference citations. This is due Saturday Midnight Eastern Standard Time. Reference Modules/Commentary provided at the end after test.
Use the Case Study presented here to answer the questions below. Your responses should demonstrate your understanding of the course content and your analysis and critical thinking; you are not expected to just re-iterate what is in the textbook and the course modules, but to integrate the information and relate it to the Case Study. Answers will be in the form of a list or short answers, as indicated in the questions. Proper APA style must be used for any citations and references that you use. Your Exam will be graded on the accuracy of your responses and whether you have appropriately tied your response to the Case Study. Responses that do not mention the Case Study will receive very few points, if any. Each question is worth 10 points.
Ellington Galleries, Inc. is a custom framing business with outlets in Maryland, Georgia and New York. Tammy Ellington, the owner, started the business in Maryland with a small shop in a strip mall. With her creative design solutions, her customer base grew quickly and she opened a larger store nearby. Her frame supplier, Macklin Frames, is in Georgia, and during a visit there she became aware of the opportunity to acquire a medium-sized framing store that also does business with her supplier. Using proceeds from her lucrative business, she acquired her second outlet, retaining the employees who had worked there for several years. Tammy orders the special glass for her framed products from Virginia Glass Co., which specializes in light-reflecting museum glass. Recently Tammy opened a framing shop in New York, which is managed by her sister, giving Ellington Galleries a third outlet. Tammy’s business has grown so quickly that she can no longer keep track of things. She now has several employees at the three locations, hundreds of customers, and bills and invoices that she can no longer manage manually.
Rather than stock huge amounts of framing materials and glass, Ellington Galleries orders the frame and glass at the time it receives the customer’s order. So, all of the Galleries need to know what framing styles Macklin Frames has available and at what prices. Since the glass is cut at the manufacturing facility (Virginia Glass), it must be custom ordered and shipped to the appropriate Gallery to be combined with the item to be framed and the frame. Ellington Galleries could reduce its shipping costs on both frames and glass if it combined orders to be shipped to a specific store.
Tammy is sure that she could use information technology solutions to improve management of her business in several ways. She has hired you to lay out some options for her. She has asked for three different areas where IT could be applied and the value that each IT solution would provide her. She has also asked you to suggest which one would be best to start with and why. She has asked for a list of hardware and software that she will need for her office, where she will keep the electronic files for her business. Finally, she wants to know what would need to be done to implement your suggested solution.
MODULES PROVIDED FOR REFERENCE
Module 1: Information Management
As we explore information systems in organizations, we look for ways and opportunities for technology to support or make possible those efficiencies. This module, Information Management, addresses aspects of finding and evaluating those opportunities through the effective use of information derived from the use of information systems, as well as how the strategic use of information systems supports those opportunities.
II. Knowledge Management
A. What Is Knowledge Management?
Knowledge management (KM) is defined as "a process that helps organizations identify, select, organize, disseminate, and transfer important information and expertise that are part of the organization's memory and typically reside within the organization in an unstructured manner" (Turban, Leidner, McLean, & Wetherbe, 2008, p. 390).
Before we proceed, let's distinguish among data, information, knowledge, and wisdom.
Over the last several decades, organizations have become more and more adept at capturing data and translating it into operational information; however, capturing the knowledge within an organization and making it easily available to others has been a much more difficult challenge. Keep in mind that not all information is knowledge, and not all knowledge is valuable. Although information contained in corporate databases and paper documents is useful for monitoring operations, its value increases tremendously when combined with human brainpower for strategic advantage. Organizations must identify where the value is in sharing certain knowledge and how best to make it available.
B. Business Drivers for Knowledge Management
Today's competitive environment presents businesses with several challenges (US Department of Defense, 2002, p. 2):
C. Benefits of Knowledge Management
The benefits to be gained from effective KM vary from organization to organization. Booz Allen Hamilton can use the best thinking of its employees and bring that expertise to new client engagements, making their services more valuable and unique, and therefore more profitable. Walmart can use the information from its vast experience with superior supply chain management to continue to increase efficiencies, both within Walmart and with its suppliers. Some of the benefits KM can achieve include (US Department of Defense, 2002, p. 3):
D. Types of Knowledge
Knowledge can reside in many forms within an organization and can be either tacit or explicit. A common metaphor is to show explicit knowledge as the tip of the iceberg. This knowledge typically resides in various documents and is easily accessed throughout an organization. Explicit knowledge has been called leaky knowledge in reference to how easily it can leave a document or an organization once it has been documented.Tacit knowledge lies below the surface and may not be easily tapped and shared across the organization. The term sticky knowledge can be associated with tacit knowledge because it is difficult to pull it away from its source (Turban et al., 2008, p. 392).
Explicit and Tacit Knowledge
You can see from figure 1.1 that there is a huge resource lying below the surface of organizations. Because explicit knowledge has been documented, it can be made accessible and distributed to others easily. The challenge is to make the tacit knowledge more easily transferable and relevant throughout the organization. Gartner estimates that 80 to 90 percent of what an employee knows is never captured (Logan, 2006, p. 5).
Earlier, we discussed the importance of analyzing business processes. To identify the best solutions, it is important to understand exactly how things are accomplished; however, a great deal of knowledge resides in workers' heads and in tacit sources throughout the organization. Being able to retrieve that information to understand accurately how a process works in detail can be challenging.
Let's use packing school lunches as an example. We can easily define the inputs, process, and output of packing a child's lunch. But in this scenario, we will explore the tacit knowledge. Mom and Dad plan a short vacation away from the kids, and Grandma comes to visit. When asked to define the process, Dad omits several pieces of information that are in his head. Assuming Dad is primarily responsible for making school lunches, he knows where all of the necessary supplies are kept, the fact that his son prefers chips and his daughter prefers pretzels, and that beverages are provided at school. Grandma has been left a list of instructions (the process), but important information is missing:
Now, how would this relate to a workplace situation? Every day, employees perform tasks and complete processes in their organizations that are not fully or correctly documented. This results in potential duplicate efforts, "reinventing the wheel," and overall reduced productivity. It may also result in employees not being able to effectively solve a problem because they lack access to expertise that resides somewhere else in the organization. Knowledge management is about how to capture that information and make it easily available to whomever needs it in the organization. Knowledge management, then, is a set of processes by which an organization can capture, store, exchange, and apply knowledge.