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Knowledge Audits and Mapping. K nowing the what, where, who , how and why…. 25 May 2007. What Is Knowledge?. Knowledge is defined (Oxford English Dictionary) variously as

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Knowledge Audits and Mapping

Knowing the what, where, who, how and why…

25 May 2007

what is knowledge
What Is Knowledge?

Knowledge is defined (Oxford English Dictionary) variously as

1. Facts, information, and skills acquired by a person through experience or education; the theoretical or practical understanding of a subject;

2. What is known in a particular field or in total; facts and information; or

3. Awareness or familiarity gained by experience of a fact or situation.


is knowledge manageable





Is Knowledge Manageable?

Knowledge itself is not manageable. What is manageable are the processes necessary to encourage the sharing of knowledge and the development of intellectual capital assets.

The implementation & management of processes requires a route map that may be used by all members of the organisation to understand their roles and responsibilities, their relevance within the organisation, and to access theknowledge available to carry out those roles.

Where Does Corporate Knowledge Reside?

Paper Employee’s Electronic Electronic

Documents BrainsDocumentsKnowledge Base

Salamander Organization Workforce Survey*


Knowledge By Contemplation…

Don’t forget, knowledge can also be gained or enhanced by contemplation or introspection and by sharing content with others


What Is Knowledge Management?

Knowledge management (KM) is defined as:

“A multi-disciplined approach to achievingorganisational objectives by making thebest use of knowledge“

Standards Australia HB275-2001.

KM is “the systematic processes by which knowledge needed for an organisation to succeed is created, captured, shared, and leveraged.”

Melissie Clemmons Rumizen



Presenter - Colette Raison


What Is A Knowledge Audit?

“Systematic investigation, examination, verification, measurement and evaluation of explicit and tacit knowledge resources and assets, in order to determine how efficiently and effectively they are used and leveraged by the organisation”

Ann Hylton

“The systematic analysis of an organization's information and knowledge entities and their key attributes, such as ownership, usage and flows, mapped against user and organizational knowledge needs”

David Skyrme


Why Would You Conduct A Knowledge Audit?

  • Helps identify knowledge needs to support organisational goals:
    • Provides tangible evidence of the extent knowledge is effectively managed (shared, leveraged etc)
    • Helps show what knowledge exists, where it is, and whether there are any duplication or gaps
    • Reveals pockets of knowledge – e.g. untapped potential
    • Shows knowledge sources and any sinks or blocks
    • Provides information in order to tailor knowledge management initiatives

What we wanted… what we made…


How Do You Undertake A Knowledge Audit?

1. Identify what knowledge exists

  • Identify explicit knowledge (e.g. snapshots corporate information)
  • Identify tacit knowledge pools (e.g. knowledge networks)

2. Identify where that knowledge resides

  • Shared drives, paper records, local gurus
  • Determine sinks, sources, flows, blockages
  • Map knowledge processes (way it is captured, shared, used & saved)

3. Identify what knowledge is missing

  • Assess corporate objectives, skills, competencies against best practices
  • Perform a gap analysis - who needs the knowledge & why

4. Report and recommend suggestions for improvement


How Long Does It Take To Conduct An Audit?

  • Unsurprisingly the time it takes for a Knowledge Audit depends on:
    • The size of the target population, their geographical location, and participation
    • The resources available (and their capability) to undertake the Audit
    • The budget allocated and the time allotted by Senior Management
    • The level of detail required
    • The focus required (e.g. current knowledge stocks and/or knowledge flows)
  • Answers to questions such as these also dictate the method/s to be used
  • As a guide – experienced and qualified knowledge auditors with an approved budget, a participatory target audience, and using a variety of methods, maytake approximately 3 months to audit a branch <50 people.

Case Study A – Large Organisation

  • Large Government Department Branch About 100 people (mainly QLD and ACT)who fulfil various administrative design roles (internal consultancy).
  • The challenge was to:
    • Complete a KM audit to identify the essential knowledge elements to support a knowledge strategy; and
    • Highlight existing knowledge assets and thereby make them accountable and relevant to organisational performance
  • The methods used were:
    • Initial research – Intranet & shared drive
    • Leveraged work by RMIT on a Government Senior Executive Survey and
    • used results from Senior Executives
    • ‘Tick& flick’ electronic survey
    • Semi-structured individual interviews and observations

Case Study A – Large Organisation (FINDINGS)

  • The findings were:

Support for existing knowledge sharing & support initiatives

Need for additional ‘cross-team’ sharing

Need for improved tacit knowledge capture from leavers

Need for improved targeted training

Need for improved access to ‘experts’ and artefacts

Need for clarity of roles & responsibilitiesNeed for improved systems for collaboration, version control, archival procedures.


Case Study B – Small Department

  • Small specialised team in a Government Department seen as a pilot site for Knowledge Management

The challenge was to:

    • Complete a Knowledge Audit to identify gaps that could be addressed by a knowledge strategy and some politically driven initiatives (e.g. CoPs)
    • Undertake the audit without using ‘Knowledge Management jargon’

The methods used:

Established Project Management procedures - scope, reporting, concepts

Undertook preliminary research & later Industry research

Developed and tested survey instruments

Conducted ‘As is - To Be’ workshops

Administered electronic questionnaire

Conducted individual semi-structured interviews

Analysed results (including performing a gap analysis)

Mapped processes & knowledge sources, sinks, flows


Case Study B – Small Department (FINDINGS)

  • The findings were:

Demonstrated support for a culture of knowledge sharing

Good personal knowledge networks – but not team ones

Some documentation of knowledge processes

Some problems associated with explicit knowledge (information) management - version control, access, archival, search, publication, catalogues



Presenter – Grant Brodie


What Are Knowledge Maps (K-Maps)?

Sometimes undertaking a Knowledge Audit is simply not enough. You also need to VISUALISE the content in a meaningful (useful and useable) way for both senior management and staff who are tasked with undertaking the work.

People often need to delve deeper and understand the importance and impact of knowledge flows on business outputs and outcomes, they need to look at the organisation’s processes and visualise the relationship with the final business goals.

K-Maps help people understand and analyse the current state and ask the important questions before moving forward. Questions like:

Does the current structure support active knowledge sharing?

- Are there information silos within the business?

- Is there evidence of duplication of effort within the business?

- Who are the subject matter experts and how can I find them?

- What should we be doing that we currently are not doing?


Why Would You Build A Knowledge Map?

The goals of knowledge maps are to:

Set out how outcomes are achieved(how things get done!)

Provide a simple common user experience of how business is organised - how things operate at the all important task, activity, function levels - how they provide the building blocks for delivering outputs and outcomes

Help people understand their roles and responsibilities - help to make business lines ‘join up”

Make workflows visible to both managers and staff;

Deliver self service functionality to clients over the Intranet; and where appropriate

Deploy a quality system for quality standards accreditation to satisfy - audit requirements as established by Government and / or legislation.




How Do I…?

Understand How The Branch Outputs

Feed Into The Corporate Picture

Understand What Is Best Practice

For Achieving The Branch Outputs

Access Right Application When I Need To

Access To Associated Resources


Understand How & Where

This Application Helps Me ToAchieve The Outcomes

Understand How & Where

The Correct Resource

Helps Me To Achieve The

Branch Outputs

Corp. Systems

Sources Of Knowledge








In its simplest form K-Mapping is the process of analysing tasks, activities, functions, outputs and outcomes of an organisation or of a particular area of an organisation and understanding the dependencies that exist.




What are the benefits?



  • Enables a common language across agencies
  • Assists you to decompose outcomes
  • Draws an explicit link between activities you undertake with the outcome being delivered
  • Identifies efficiencies, deficiencies and implications












Tasks are the lowest level of effort they breakdown the activities.

A cluster of tasks may often seem unrelated.

Tasks can exist in several clusters at the same time.

Activities are the major tasks which support and assist in achieving the work function.

Functions are the largest unit of business activity.

They represent major responsibilities that are managed by an organisation/area.

An output is the deliverable from the function/s.

An outcome is the end result derived from the output.



The following example highlights how K-Mapping (analysing tasks, activities, functions and outputs) helps us to understand the dependencies that exist at each level which support the achievement of a particular outcome (eg: maximising the re-sale value of a car).





Change spark plugs


Service the car

Change oil and water


Check air in tyres



Replace worn tyres

A car that is:

  • Well maintained;
  • well presented; and
  • mechanically sound



Car re-sale value is maximised

Replace faulty or worn parts

Replace headlight bulb


Speedometer Cable



Polish paintwork

Clean windows


Clean the car

Vacuum interior

Wash wheels