Having worked together on an exclusive new Field Service News White Paper, Kris Oldland joined Martin Knook, CEO of Gomocha, to discuss the various layers of knowledge transfer and the art of information.
In this engaging long-form discussion, the two cover a vast range of topics relating to the importance of knowledge transfer, including why developing a culture of continuous learning is critical and what technologies need to be in place to make putting the correct information where and when it is needed the most.
In this part of that full-length discussion, the two focus on the importance of culture within a business and explore how effective knowledge sharing and a robust collegiate culture are symbiotic processes, each strengthening the other.
This interview is part of the FSN PRO library of premium content. It is available in FSN’s free subscription tier FSN FREE. Make sure you log in to view the complete whitepaper and videos.
Kris Oldland: We’ve both landed on something here. And it’s about the culture. For me, it’s built on two things, the people and the processes that we engage with the people. I often talk about how we combine these few pieces: technology is the enabler. You can’t do this without a knowledge repository. There are ways of gamifying it. So it is fun for the techs. It is also incredibly valuable for you and the product design teams. It makes it more efficient, but it does gamify it and bring it in. But going back to this map, we need to build out for the audience. I’m sure we’ll have that slide by the end of this call, Martin.
But coming back to that map, the answer is not technology or process. The first thing we need to consider is what is our culture. How do we foster that culture? And then we need to build on that. Let’s say we’re in the field, and this company has no knowledge repository. How do we build the process? How do we create a process base for them to add to that knowledge repository? And how do we build a culture where it’s something that isn’t just an expectation; it’s a fundamental part of working. That’s what we need to look at. I’d love to get your thoughts on that. Then, I will pick your brain on technology because you’re a tech guy.
Martin Knook: I’m going to bring in technology because there is a threshold and trade-off. Technology is not the Holy Grail that will solve it all. At the same time, you need a fair amount of it to enable it. When we’re transitioning companies that need more digital data from their field operation, it’s time to upgrade and make sure that you capture more of the knowledge, process, and execution. Because you can think you’re running well without sufficient data gathering from the field, but that is primarily driven by the belief that you have strong individuals who have a clear opinion about how you have been doing it over the last six years. That’s a self-fulfilling prophecy. It’s going well, so you must be careful that it’s not blended into your operation that you need to be aware of. We call that the hidden efficiencies must be detected and figured out. And the only way you can do that is to digitize your processes. But if that was the only thing you do, adding that to the list you just gave, Kris, the digitization of your field processes is very important. Companies reaching that next level will find those hidden efficiency gains, which is knowledge itself. For example, your orders are shared with your field crew, but they’re still making notes on paper or filling out a form that supports them. You are better off embracing a platform that lives up to the demands in your field. It’s less foundational than the knowledge and asset repositories. But it’s the enablement of knowledge. It’s note mining; you have to know what knowledge you’re looking for.
Kris Oldland: That’s a good phrase to continue that analogy. The first thing you’re doing is building the repository; that’s building the mind. We’re mining information to make sure that it is valuable. This is where there’s a big distinction between data and knowledge. Data is unrefined. It can be useless. We often say data is a new goal; oil is a better analogy. When you need to refine oil, when it comes out of the ground, you need to understand that. When doing that process, we’re digging into insight or turning into knowledge.
Martin Knook: You’re touching on regulatory requirements that will nicely accelerate that. I think we have insufficient regulations globally. We need more to maintain a stable world; with so much equipment, that is a risk. It needs to be well-maintained, and regulatory requirements will help to stimulate that. It’s a force from outside. Those companies are ahead of the game and comply with a not-yet-established regulatory requirement. Those are the winners, and they are setting the bar instead of following it from an external source. There’s a nice balance there to maintain. I started this conversation by figuring out which aspects of knowledge transfer there are; we make our quality standard and drive that up to a higher bar. So that these are the elements that come to play there. Who do you want to be in the market? So that’s a challenge that comes with knowledge sharing. Reputation. If you want to have that high-quality brand reputation that you want to maintain, then you give a different priority than when you’re fighting on volume and low transaction prices. So it varies for every business surface.
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You can view the full white paper, Knowledge Transfer: The Art of Information.
This blog was originally posted on the Field Service News blog.