Some of the newest and most interesting
types of systems introduced to the telco organization are the knowledge management
systems. They are usually based on Internet technology (html, xml, and others),
and are developed to help the telco find newer and more efficient ways of dealing
with its incredible volume of information and knowledge.
The Knowledge Gap
The amount of information of a technical, operational, and procedural
nature that a typical telco employee must deal with is staggering! Telco technology
today encompasses vast bodies of expertise that only a few years ago were considered
academic and experimental. Even more importantly, the technical or operational "specialist"
of the past is more and more being replaced by the generalist as telcos struggle
to keep up with the incredible shortage of experienced, well trained, and technically
qualified people they so desperately need.
Employee Turnover Challenges
Employee turnover is a big problem. It is simply getting more and more
difficult to keep well trained resources. Sometimes, employees leave for better
job opportunities elsewhere. Other times, they leave because they cannot tolerate
the intense pace that modern telecommunications demands. Often, employees
are promoted and move on to other jobs. In all cases, a person doing a particular
job is unlikely to be doing that same job a year from now. What the telco needs
is a way to capture what that valuable person knows and make it available for the
next generation of employees to learn from and leverage.
Inexperienced Employee Challenges
Coupled with high turnover problems is the fact that telcos are growing
so quickly and in so many different directions that it is almost impossible to find
candidates with the required skills and experience. Most telcos have no choice but
to take on people who are under-qualified and try to give them tools that will make
up for the knowledge and experience they lack. This is one of the more important
reasons for creation and maintenance of knowledge management systems.
Managing the Operational Information Overload
Another serious problem for the telco
is information overload. Telcos simply create too much new information too quickly
to expect that information to be communicated through printed and verbal channels.
Telcos create hundreds and thousands of new pricing plans, customer service policies,
product offerings, promotional campaigns, and dozens of other categories of detailed
information that hundreds or thousands of employees, channel partners, and customers
may need to know about on very short notice. There is simply no way that all of
this information can be efficiently cataloged and distributed without the help of
knowledge management systems.