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This report critically evaluates the impact of knowledge management systems on organisational goal, and the challenges, benefits and future trends of social network adoption on organisational competitiveness. This was done by reviewing literature related to knowledge management, knowledge management system, social network, and social media. A case study was reviewed on an organisations adoption of social media to ascertain the extent of challenges faced by the organisation in adopting the strategy and this was cross referenced with a literature review on challenges for social network adoption to give a more robust view of the challenges and benefits of social network adoption. Literature review on knowledge management system highlighted the potential of inimitable resource in effecting a competitive edge for organisations thus improving company performance, literature also revealed the best practice of coding , sharing, transfer, storing and retrieving knowledge as essential to boost knowledge management, in addition literature underpinned the importance of information technology in carrying out an effective knowledge management system. Literature and case study review also revealed that challenges that prevented full adoption of social networking could be considered to be either internal or external. The internal challenges included economic, resource-related and attitudinal challenges, while external challenges were associated with company reputation, legal issues and technical or system challenges. In addition literature showed that the benefits of adopting social network would boost overall marketing strategy, and increase competitiveness. It is recommended that for organisations to gain competitive advantage in this state of business globalisation, it would need to create and affect knowledge management system that is based on information systems powered by information technology. the organisation would also need to create an effective social network strategy to optimise the gains from social network while minimising the challenges to its adoption, this way the organisation would have access to millions of individuals that it can influence to win their confidence and thus strive and lay major market claims in its industry.
1.0 Critical Evaluation of Knowledge Management System in Achieving Organisational Goals
Knowledge is recognized as the only asset attributable to consistently providing competitive advantages for any organisation. One way to optimise the benefits of knowledge is to effectively manage it. As such knowledge has become a major component of business strategies (Assegaff and Hussin 2012). Furthermore it has been suggested that organisational resources are either property-based or knowledge-based. While property-based assets are imitable and can sustain competitive advantages for as long as the assets is valuable in the market, knowledge based assets are not imitable, and are often difficult to understand and substitute by competitors (Wu and Cavusgil, 2006). The knowledge-based theory of a firm postulates that the services rendered by tangible resources are dependent on their application which also depends on the firm's knowledge. Information technologies are important in effecting the knowledge-based view of an organisation. Modern information technologies comprises of the Internet, intranets, extranets, browsers, data warehouses, data mining techniques, and software agents can be properly harnessed to systematize, enhance, and expedite large-scale intra- and inter-firm knowledge management.
Knowledge management is defined as a process of identifying, capturing, and leveraging the collective knowledge in an organization to help the organization compete (von Krough, 1999). Assegaff and Hussin (2012) posit that knowledge management is essential in increasing innovativeness and responsiveness. They further conceptualised knowledge management into three perspectives. The first perspective posits that knowledge is developed and and managed according universal and standardised rules. This perspective views knowledge management in relation to information systems, databases and knowledge structures. In this perspective organizational culture and other social factors are disregarded . The Second perspective suggests that teams in an organisation are the primary holder of information. This perspective focuses on the flow of information within the organisation . The third perspective ascribes knowledge management to the interaction between physical resources, conceptual
resources, and social and organizational processes. Knowledge management process consist of four processes;
Knowledge Creation- This refers to creating or replacing existing knowledge in terms of tacit and explicit knowledge.
Knowledge Storage/ Retrieval- these describe activities such as knowledge residing in various component forms, knowledge structure, codifying and storage of knowledge to organizational memory.
Knowledge Transfer - this describe activities that encompass sharing knowledge between individual, individual to groups, groups to groups, groups in organizations and across.
Knowledge Application- this describes the integration of Knowledge application to organization processes.
1.2 Knowledge Management System
Knowledge Management Systems is defined as a class of information systems applied for managing organizational knowledge. There are three applications of information technology to organisational management and they include coding and sharing of best practices, creation of corporate knowledge directories, and the creation of knowledge networks
2.0 Review on the Adoption of Enterprise Social Networking by an Organisation: Reasons, Challenges, and Adoption of Social Media tools.
Enterprise social network comprises of the use of technology and communities such as facebook, Twitter, blogs, Wikipedia, LinkedIn and so forth. These concept is pervasive and is rapidly taking over the marketing strategies affecting the traditional marketing communication and roles (Barnes 2010).
The world today has become a global village, and social media has more than ever interconnected individuals. This social media use has not gone unnoticed in the business world as many organisations are increasing acknowledging and adopting social media and Web 2.0. With over half a billion people registered on the Facebook network many organisations have realised the need to use such platform to meet with their customers, future employees and other stakeholders (Meri and Miia, 2011).
Organisations view social media as a veritable platform to connect with customers and to market products (Valos and Frederick, 2011). Fuchs-Kittowski et al. 2009 describes the benefits organisations gain from the use of social media as consisting of the following: improved customer contact, facilitating knowledge work within the organisation, effective and faster information transfer in the organisation, and improved co-existence and interdepartmental co-operation.
Kaplan and Haenlein, (2010) define social media as a group of Internet-based applications that allow for the creation and exchange of user generated content, these applications being practically based on the ideological and technological foundations of Web 2.0. Web 2.0 is the platform while social media refer to user content.
Li's (2012) views on the value of social networking seem extremely relevant, as connectivity and interaction amongst people is a prerequisite for organizational learning
The potentials accruable to the use of enterprise social network in an organisation can be categorised into four main focus areas:
Content: Articles/wikis, documents, videos/podcasts/slides, rating/voting polls, comments, news feeds, tags.
Communication: Instant messaging, statuses, push notices/alerts, third-party integrations.
Community: Profiles, activity streams, forums, blog/microblogging, events, following capability, groups, sharing)
Collaboration: Whiteboards, conferencing, task lists, project management, social search, courses/training (CGI, 2012).
Despite the numerous potential benefits social networking tools can confer on business as described by Fuchs-Kittowski et al. 2009, many companies also associate challenges and problems with its adoption and use (Bughin et al. 2008). Valos and Frederick, (2011) has highlighted the following as some challenges faced by organisations in implementing social networking, they include: the risk of losing market control, integrating digital media to create value, organisation's internal structure and culture, understanding the role of social media in business, managing risk, and winning stake holder support for social networking adoption.
For the purpose of this review an exploratory case study design would be adopted to evaluate the drivers, challenges and potential benefits of adopting a social network. This case reviews the work done by Meri and Miia, (2011). Here the organisation selected for the case study is a multinational company with business interests in metal manufacturing and related services. The organisation's customer base includes a wide range of individuals and businesses that make use metal as part of their products or services. The case study organisation as of 2009 had an operating income of â‚¬438 million, and staff strength of 7,610 employees. Globalisation in the metal industry has ensured that competition in the industry has become stiffer and survival in the industry and quest for a major market share depends on the ability to gain the necessary competitive advantage.
The case study organisation had become aware of its competitors presence in social media, and the organisation also wanted to explore the impact and use of social media as part of its strategy, particularly in relation to human resources, marketing and communications.
An exploratory survey was used to evaluate the challenges that has affected the adoption of social network tools.
Valos and Frederick,(2011) posit that many organisations are driven to adopt social media with a view to gain and enhance competitive advantage, obtain better engagement with consumers, collaborate with stake holders, and to obtain co-production with consumers. The challenges faced in organisational adoption of social networking is presented here from empirical analysis of the case study organisation and cross referenced with review from literature. The challenges reviewed would be divided into two aspects; internal and external challenges.
Management Apprehension to work time: the perception of management was that the use of social media which was new to the organisation by employees could not be described as "proper work". This similar to the observations made by Fuchs-Kittowski et al. (2009) who reported that Web 2.0 projects were rarely given high priority by top management, ho assumed that the use of Web 2.0 technologies could be a potential source of distraction for employees.
Lack of Enterprise Social Networking Unit: The review of the case study organisation revealed that no department or person was directly responsible for developing social media. Management had not created a unit responsible for catering to any need that might arise from using social media. This resulted in a reduce rate of implementation.
Organisational Culture: Another perceived internal challenge to the adoption and use of social media is corporate culture. Fuchs-Kittowski et al. (2009) posits that often times Web 2.0 is rarely seen as conforming to the organizational culture this has often resulted into scepticism in the adoption of social networking for use by management and . In the case study organisation several interviewees expressed concerns regarding the perception of social media being seen as fun rather than work, and corporate culture was described to be one if the major factors behind this perception. Meri and Miia, (2011) suggest that corporate culture has a strong impact on the behaviour of employees in an organisation regardless of their individual perception of social media in their private lives.
Resources to Invest in Enterprise Social Networking: Meri and Miia, (2011) believes that investment in social enterprise is a challenge to social network because it could be easy to ascribe resources towards new technologies, but ascertaining future financial benefits are often uncertain. Li (2010) also identifies the lack of adequate infrastructure as a potential challenge to the adoption of social networking in organisations. In the case study justifying the cost of social media implementation and use is a major economic challenge. Although the cost incurred is relatively small when compared to the traditional methods, the cost incurred is still substantial in terms of resource usage and time, and measuring benefits from social media can be harder.
Legal Challenges: This covers challenges attributable to the social media policies. While the reviewed case study attributed legal challenges to the adoption of social media on the basis employee level, with the survey pointing out apprehension of employees breaking insider regulation, the literature suggest that other forms of legal challenges could arise from the governmental perspective (Meri and Miia, 2011).
Network Identity Challenges: Network identities of employees in the traditional organisational information system in structured in context of the organisation; however in social media employees often have established private profiles, which they consider use or not in the business context. In the reviewed case study employees often decided to create a distinction between private and company life, and are reluctant to use their private profiles in an organisational context.
2.2 Balancing Benefits with Challenges of Adopting Social Network
Balancing the challenges and benefit of the adoption of social enterprise tool would depend on how the management define the goals of the adoption of the tools. The right balance is set when employees and employers know the strategy for adoption; therefore they are ruled by the right guidelines and aware of the ultimate goal of the exercise. The case study organisation did not have a strategy for the adoption of social network tools, the organisation however was interested in investigating its presence in the social media and wanted to benchmark its presence. The number of members in a social media group may be the right measure if the goal is to increase the company's visibility in social media ser-vices, and that was accomplished by the number of staff present on facebook.
3.0 Future Impact and Trends of Enterprise Social Networking and Business Competition
Worldwide social media use is growing rapidly with social networks and blogs reaching more than three quarters of Internet users across 10 major global markets. This growing interest in social media would lead many businesses to switch much of their budgets from paid print adverting, direct mail and pay-per-click online advertising to investing in social media. In the most recent past the goal of an online business marketing campaign would have been to entice a consumer to click through to a company's website, but now the objective is to create ''sustained engagement'' with the consumer (Harvard business Review, 2011).
The following prospects in the used of Social Networking could significantly impact organisation competitiveness especially in a global environment.
Increased Awareness of the Organisation, products and services: A case study carried out by Meri and Miia, (2011) was aimed at investigating the visibility of the Organisation in the social media and benchmark its presence with other organisations in the industry. This investigation came after directors in the organisation discovered that its major competitors were in the social media. Another survey carried out by Harvard Business review on 2100 companies reports that of the companies surveyed 79% were currently using social media platforms or in the process of using them, and 21% were had not incorporated social networking (Harvard business Review, 2011).The growing pervasiveness of social media has underpinned the fact that absence in the social media could represent a lack of awareness in a population of over 700 million individuals connected to social media (CGI, 2012)
Reputation Management: Managing band or organisational reputation is very important in social media because the organisation or its brand is being constantly discussed about regardless of the company's involvement in the conversation. On the social media criticizing or recommending products are done without the knowledge or input from a company. While conventional marketing wisdom posit that dissatisfied customers express their dissatisfaction to about ten people. However, with the social media revolution, he or she has the tools to express his/her dissatisfaction to ten million people (Harvard business Review, 2011). Thus it is important for organisation to maintain the truth on its social media platforms and address customer issues.
Allows for improved Branding: Companies on social network have an increased opportunity to register their brand name on the network. For instance twitter and facebook have the retweet and like option respectively in which uses can use to amplify the existence of a company's brand. The facebook fanpage is another veritable means to increase the company's brand and perception. Improve branding perception amongst customers would grant a competitive advantage to organisation in terms of sales.
Customer Service and Feedback: Social media provides an excellent platform for organisations to effect customer service by providing support to customer, this is a veritable tool to gain customer confidence and loyalty. More so, feedback from social media can also inform organisations and assist in decision making and strategy formulation that could potentially impact favourably on the organisation competitiveness and performance.
Social media as an effective Marketing strategy: It has been suggested that people are constantly hooked into the social media channels seeking information and researching. Thus it has become important for organisations to buy into this medium and influence people's buying behaviour Harvard Business Review, (2011). Valos and Frederick,(2011) concludes that organisations would employ social media as a avenue for entrepreneur marketing. Thus having access to the social media can grant organisations the competitive advantage (Li and Bernoff,2008)
For any organisation to strive in a competitive environment it needs to effectively manage its knowledge based resources that are inimitable and that is directly linked to creating competitive advantages. Thus a best practice knowledge management system would ensure that with the application of information technology organisational best practices are coded, shared amongst staff, and that a knowledge network is establish. More so social networking is connecting individuals across the globe and providing greater opportunities for collaboration and information sharing, thus creating an effective social network strategy would ensure that organisations benefit from adopting tools of social network while minimising the challenges posed by adoption. This is important because social networking provides a platform for organisations to meet millions of customers and gain a substantial share of the online market which could just be the competitive advantage required to excel.