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Rejuvenate your knowledge management practices with ISO 30401: Knowledge Management Systems – Requirements standard.

By Nithyanandam Mathiyazhagan posted 06-25-2019 07:09


Knowledge has been treated as an intellectual asset, which can be created, nurtured and harvested at appropriate times within organizations for achieving competitive advantage. Organizations recruit new talent, onboard them, and provide ongoing training & development opportunities to continuously develop and retain these assets. Employees acquire the necessary domain knowledge and technical skills and collaborate with stakeholders to perform their specialized activities for meeting organizational goals and objectives.


The organizational routines embed knowledge management tasks right from conceptualizing product/service opportunities, designing and developing products, transitioning to operations, and enabling service delivery. The knowledge management approaches utilize information artifacts, such as lessons-learned, checklists, how-to, frequently asked questions (FAQ), etc. to cross-pollinate knowledge to achieve productivity and performance standards. The interplay between employee’s individual insights with the information is the source of generating new intellectual assets and information for future consumption.


Organizations strive very hard to improve their knowledge management practices by leveraging various body of knowledge and international standards. For example, the project management body of knowledge (PMBoK) provides a set of knowledge management activities to capture and reuse the lessons-learned across other projects. Similar set of knowledge management activities are outlined as a part of software engineering body of knowledge (SWEBoK). In addition, knowledge managements processes have made inroads into ISO standards for Quality management (ISO – 90010) Systems and Software Engineering — Software Life Cycle Processes (ISO – 12207) to name a few.


The newly released Knowledge Management Systems - Requirements standard ISO 30401:2018 creates opportunities for elevating the knowledge management practice for practitioner communities. The standard is a Requirement standard, which provides basic foundation on ‘what’ should be performed as management activities for effectively manage knowledge. This standard incorporates diverse views about the scope of knowledge based on context and purpose. The examples of knowledge referenced in this standard; insights, know-hows, etc. blends the notion of both intellectual capital and information assets, which is much broader as compared to how knowledge was defined by other sources in the past.


The content of the standard has been laid out nicely by various aspects of knowledge management, such as, planning, leadership, support, and performance evaluation. Irrespective of the level of knowledge management maturity, this standard can be applied in various organizational contexts. This standard is a valuable reference document for practitioners to assess the gaps within their current practices and identify opportunities for making improvements to organizational processes. In addition, organizations can leverage the informative content (in the Appendix) on associated disciplines, such as information management, innovative management and organizational learning to build a stronger ecosystem to create synergy and produce greater outcomes.


In addition to practitioners, this standard can rejuvenate the scholar community as well. For example, the scholars can explore the foundational elements provided in this standard using a spectrum of qualitative research methods. In addition, the scholars can apply various theoretical frameworks as applicable and define hypothesis to validate them through quantitative approaches.


I am confident that this standard will energize the both the scholar and practitioner community to have a positive social change. What do you think?




ISO 30401:2018 PreviewKnowledge management systems – Requirements, retrieved from


ISO/IEC/IEEE 12207:2017 PreviewSystems and software engineering -- Software life cycle processes, retrieved from


Software Engineering Body of Knowledge (SWEBOK), retrieved from


PMBOK® Guide – Sixth Edition, retrieved from