The world of business is changing, and there are substantial shifts taking place in the way that companies are organising themselves with regards to providing value for employees, suppliers, owners and customers. A revolution is taking place, as we see a significant shift to the Knowledge era from the Industrial Age.

What is the knowledge era?

Products and services in the knowledge era will be made up of less material, labour and capital and more intellect. The main thing that will be a source of the creation of wealth in this era will, in fact, be the imagination of the human – a factor that cannot be managed using just traditional methods. This will have major implications for organisations which will require a completely different set of operating expectations for both the monitoring and management of their operations.

It is vital for companies to be proactive; they will need to create the infrastructures that will allow them to promote innovation and enable continual learning for all employees to flourish. Those companies who do not respond, and promptly, to implement the necessary changes could find themselves struggling to survive in a marketplace that is already highly competitive.

Knowledge management processes

In order to ensure that they move forward effectively, any organisation will need to design processes that are specifically knowledge-management orientated. There are four distinct and defined areas of activity that can assist them with this process.

· It is essential to clearly define the reason behind the creation of organisational knowledge and how this knowledge forms a part of the overall business strategy of the company.

· Consider the development of explicit learning and knowledge strategies that will allow the company to achieve its goals and targets.

· Build the appropriate organisational learning structures together with the necessary knowledge-levering arrangements that will allow for the implementation of any new strategies.

· Implement a feedback system that will allow for the measuring of both shortcomings and successes of any new systems that are implemented. This system will provide them with the necessary data to continually monitor and modify the strategies.

These four areas of activity provide the structure for the overall learning process and will help with change management strategy as companies move forward into the knowledge era.

As companies move forward into the knowledge era, they need to be aware of the need to be more creative and consider more new and meaningful ways in which they can adapt to the new challenges ahead.