Critical Success Factors for the Successful Introduction of an Intellectual Capital Management System

Critical Success Factors for the Successful Introduction of an Intellectual Capital Management System

Brenda Elshaw (IBM, UK)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-59140-556-6.ch024
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It has long been recognized that one of the most valuable assets an organization possesses is the knowledge and experience of its employees. Yet, month by month, many organizations allow a great part of this knowledge to walk out the door as their employees leave. In some cases, even while the employee is still there, their knowledge is not captured and reused, as its value to the organization is not recognized. Several years ago, a well known car manufacturer was designing its next generation vehicle. Wishing to repeat a previous success, both in design and marketing, the company tried to identify what factors had contributed to this success. However, as the lessons learned from the previous exercise had not been documented, not to mention, no record existed of the team members who had worked on the original project, this valuable experience was ultimately lost. How different this could have been had they captured the intellectual capital resulting from the design and been able to build upon the best practices to help repeat their earlier success. Organizations that put processes in place to capture their intellectual capital can substantially reduce costs due to time lost by employees reinventing the wheel and can often increase revenue by the reuse of selected assets. Stewart, in his book The Wealth of Knowledge: Intellectual Capital and the Twenty-First Century Organization (2002) states: It has become standard to say that a company’s intellectual capital is the some of its human capital (talent), structural capital (intellectual property, methodologies, software, documents, and other knowledge artifacts, and customer capital (client relationships).” It is the “knowledge that transforms raw materials and makes them more valuable. (pp. 12-13)In most organizations, the majority of knowledge is held via various data storage mechanisms, usually computer based. However, its true value is realized only when it has context added to it by the application of the knowledge and skill of the practitioners involved in its creation and application. For that reason, an intellectual capital management system (ICMS) has to be more than just an efficient data storage and retrieval system. An effective ICMS takes into account three components—technology, process, and community.

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