How Do We Get There? Strategy Action Framework–"Action Engine"

How Do We Get There? Strategy Action Framework–"Action Engine"

Meir Russ (University of Wisconsin-Green Bay, USA), Robert Fineman (Independent Consultant, USA), Riccardo Paterni (Professione Lavoro®, Italy) and Jeannette K. Jones (American Intercontinental University, USA)
Copyright: © 2010 |Pages: 35
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-60566-348-7.ch009
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The chapter will describe a comprehensive planning framework for developing a company’s knowledge management strategy. The framework includes the goals and game plans of the strategy and the use of three enablers supporting such a strategy: levers, processes, and systems. This is complemented by the development of an action plan while considering the resources needed and the constraints present. The framework also includes the discussion of aligning the knowledge management strategy with the company’s business strategy as well as with the organization’s knowledge base and core competencies. The chapter uses two cases to illustrate some of the aspects discussed.
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We described in chapter 7 the six strategic dilemmas that frame the KM strategic conversation. It is now time to put theory into practice and get right to work. The following pages will describe the KM strategic framework and how to use the specific tools of the detailed KM strategy. This framework will include a number of tools that can be employed independently or as part of a complete package. Strategic thinking is not new to business. In fact, a significant number of frameworks, taxonomies, and typologies are described in the academic and popular literature, and there are plenty of established tools that are used by business practitioners. However, the framework that we are proposing has the added benefits of being user friendly and being supported by successful implementation results. The basic framework includes outcomes (or goals), levers, processes, systems, resources, constraints, game plans, and action plans (see Figure 1). In order to apply the framework, we always start with the goals of the KM strategy. The established goals must align the business strategy and the KM strategy. Once the alignment is identified, then the selected strategy is described using the appropriate levers, processes, and systems needed to support the devised game plan. We also identify the resources needed and constraints identified under which the goals and the game plan were devised and the action plan will be implemented. The implications of the strategies are translated into action plans that will allow you to combine your business strategy with your KM strategy, while putting to work not only your knowledge base, but also your core competencies. Even though the building blocks of the framework seem simple, and putting the framework to work seems straight forward, our experience suggests that implementation is not without some challenges since few companies apply the entire process successfully.

Figure 1.

KM strategic framework – The complete planning framework


As an example, Dell in 2002 had the largest market share in the PC business. The company had a unique business model that was well protected and was on its way to crushing its competition, especially Hewlett Packard (HP). At the same time, HP was on crutches and barely limping along. HP had lost a charismatic leader, failed in the acquisition of Compaq, and was falling into a decline. So Dell decided to go for the kill and to expand its product offerings to include printers1, realizing that printers were the cash cows allowing HP to survive. Guess what? Dell was not successful as it was unable to take its current competencies and transfer them to the printer market which was a new marketplace for Dell. This was particularly surprising to Dell as the new market seemed similar, if not the same as the PC market and even the skills and capabilities needed for success seemed the same. However, Dell, the leader in the PC market and a very successful company, was not able to transfer the skills and capabilities. As a result of this change in focus Dell lost a percentage of its market share advantage in the PC market to HP (as of the end of 20072).

Mastering a framework for knowledge management decisions would have given Dell an opportunity to review potential approaches in order to penetrate new markets by utilizing existing competencies or developing new ones when needed. Two frameworks that provide such a resource will be presented in this chapter (see Figure 1 and Figure 3). Both are developments and a recombination of our own and others3 academic work and one of the authors, Dr. Russ, used them extensively in his consulting practice in developing strategic plans for KM and other (IS, manufacturing) consulting projects and assignments. A partial illustration of this framework is provided later in the next chapter by two of his students that proposed the implementation of this framework at Aurora Health Care, in Green Bay, WI.

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