Technology

All posts tagged Technology

Collaborative Technology Tools Organizations Utilize

Published May 8, 2013 by Mayrbear's Lair

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Galsworth’s (2005) research postulates that more organizations are committed to excellence. They strive to make the workplace safe, simple, more logical, standardized, fluid, linked and more cost effective from continual systematic upgrades.  He identifies this strategy as the “journey to lean.”  It constitutes a voyage of discovery that examines and then eliminates obstacles and barriers that lie in its critical path. In other words it is an excursion where material follows as it travels through the company and advances their value. When an organization takes on the work of a lean conversion, it establishes an environment that needs to change, improve or eliminate just about everything under the roof.  Organizations that choose to go lean do so to dramatically lower costs, simplify the production process, and produce a fundamentally safer environment (Galsworth, 2005).

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Bresciani and Eppler’s (2013) research purports that visualization is a relevant phenomenon that effects knowledge sharing. Their studies conclude that visualization techniques can increase productivity, recall, learning and other important measures (Bresciani & Eppler, 2009). Individuals that grew up as part of the Star Trek generation, for instance, evidence the impact of this visualization phenomenon by the advances in modern technology that were inspired by sci-fi shows like this. Cell phone designs, for example, that flip up were clearly inspired by the communication devices the officers operated on the show. In addition, computer terminals and intelligent systems that use female voice technology to communicate instructions are reminiscent of the of the computer systems from that series. Technological advances like these display the power of visualization that affected young impressionable minds that watched shows like Star Trek and were inspired to pursue a career in science and technology that led to some of these modern advances that most everyone of us now utilize in one form or another in our lives and organizations.

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The effective collaborative technologies some organizations rely on, like ours, support a virtual work space. In this virtual environment they create a comprehensive system that transforms traditional business organizations into cost effective enterprises where outcomes are not just repeatable but are also sustainable. For example, at one previous place of employment, we organized and maintained important client documentation in large filing cabinet systems. These large pieces of furniture occupied extensive office space. In addition, when cabinets became full, old files were removed and shipped to warehouses for storage. Today, the organization has incorporated flash storage devices and thumb drives to replace these archaic filing systems. This collaborative effort eliminated the need for bulking filing cabinets and allows access to documentation and information from remote locations. Significant data that was once stored in warehouses are now easily accessed, managed, shared, and stored quickly on small devices or from online storage facilities for a fee. In addition, email has replaced the traditional method of communication, letter writing, and other forms of correspondence in organizations. Advances in communication systems now allow individuals to work by communication through various portals, from remote regions to transmit larger volumes of information with services like Dropbox, social media networks like Twitter, Facebook and Instagram, as well as other systems designed to enhance the communication experience (Drucker & Bruckentstein, 2013). Production and systems can still be managed and operated so long as there is internet access that allows a company to maintain open frequencies. When it comes to what makes a virtual office profitable we have discovered it consists of the same components that makes a large corporation profitable, establishing and applying efficient systems that technology tools offer.

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References:

Bresciani, S., Eppler, M. (Writers), & Frei, G. (Director). (2009). Visualization for knowledge sharing: Experimental evidence [Motion Picture]. Galen University. Retrieved April 23, 2013, from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wsHlO8UXaLw

Drucker, D., & Bruckentstein, J. (2013). Technology tools for today’s high-margin practice. Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons, Inc.

Galsworth, G. (2005). Visual workplace visual thinking. Portland, OR: Visual-Lean Enterprise Press

Knowledge Management

Published May 3, 2013 by Mayrbear's Lair

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Most experts agree that knowledge management is not utilized to its fullest potential in many organizations.  The ability to respond quickly to changes in the marketplace and recognizing opportunities has become an important competitive advantage.  Hanley’s (2003) research asserts that knowledge management must be considered as a prerequisite, for it has become a significant component and more visible in the balance sheets that reveal the financial worth of organizations.  The asset of knowledge management has the power to deliver organizational success in a variety of ways including: (a) the reduction of cycle time, (b) the improvement of quality, (c) lowered costs, (d) increased organizational learning, and (e) improved core competencies (Haney, 2003).  In other words, knowledge management is important to the success of organizations because acquiring and processing information increases situational understanding, helps to identify and analyze relationships, and enables higher quality decision making.

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Knowledge Management Components

Some organizational leaders believe that a huge investment in information technology will bring about higher quality decisions, only to discover that the delivery and presentation of said technology shows very little improvement in knowledge generation for decision making.  Leaders in this case fail to recognize that factors identified in the decision making process encompass more than the process of base technological usage.  It also includes the following influential components: (a) the organizational culture, (b) the organizational processes, and (c) the compensation and reward systems that have been established in the firm.  Organizations with knowledge exploiting capabilities are known as knowledge intensive firms because they have implemented an organizational system that efficiently manages and uses information effectively to stimulate organizational learning.  For example, one aspect of knowledge management amalgamates organizational information in a manner that produces value by generating new intellectual property (Ward, 2006).  Organizations that do not apply knowledge management strategies can hinder organizational development and productivity.

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Knowledge Management Programs

Effective leaders and management teams comprehend that information increases situational understanding.  Hsieh (2007) postulates that knowledge management in organizations must consider three viewpoints: (a) a business view that focuses on the why, where, and to what extent the company must invest in or exploit information – including which strategies, products and services, alliances, or acquisitions or divestments should be considered from a knowledge based perspective; (b) a managerial view that is centered on determining, organizing, directing, and monitoring knowledge related activities that will help achieve business goals; and (c) a hands-on operational viewpoint that focuses on applying professional skills to manage explicit knowledge-based operation.  Knowledge management programs should include strategies and vehicles to help enable and identify the organizational direction and facilitate effective activities to help achieve those desired outcomes (Hsieh, 2007). The use of technology, organizational systems, and socialization are three examples of how knowledge management programs can be implemented in organizations to foster higher quality decision making that can affect their development and productivity.

Technology – One knowledge management program that leaders employ is the use of technology.  Researchers observe that the three common technologies utilized the most for knowledge management are e-mail, virtual face-to-face conversations, and the use of databases.  These systems can help manage knowledge as both formal and informal processes and exists at all levels: divisional, departmental, team, and individual.  For example, with communication and computer technology, personnel expertise is documented and shared within a company at unprecedented speed and efficiency.

Organizational Systems – Another example of how organizations apply knowledge management consists of the different processes and coordinated systems they execute. For instance various forms, reports, spreadsheets, and other procedures can be used to track activity and progress. This information collection process identifies strengths and weaknesses as well as progress towards outcomes.

Socialization – Finally, one of the most successful knowledge management strategies that organizations employ is social interaction. These face-to-face interactions occur at all levels and in a variety of ways, often intertwined in the production and administrative processes and include: (a) debriefing new members, (b) debriefing returning members, (c) classroom training, (d) luncheons, (e) project team meetings, (f) working with external experts on a project, (g) team conversation, and (h) informal conversations (Haney, 2003). An organization’s climate must include a system that encourages socialization as a means to stimulate staff interaction and knowledge sharing.

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Conclusion

Knowledge management is the key to the survival for any organization.  A collaborative culture that values trust and offers incentives opens opportunities for knowledgeable individuals to share information freely.  Executive leadership that does not implement and support knowledge management systems will most likely experience difficulty governing a productive and efficient organization. Most experts agree that the main constraints to knowledge management are incompetent employers, ineffective strategies, and poorly designed structures.  Organizations that foster a culture which provides support for an effective knowledge management program will experience higher levels of success, growth, and profitability in the marketplace.

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References

Haney, D. (2003). Knowledge management in a professional service firm. ProQuest Dissertations and Theses. Ann Arbor, IN, USA: ProQuest, UMI Dissertations Publishing. Retrieved April 18, 2013, from http://search.proquest.com/docview/305334057?accountid=32521

Hsieh, H.-J. (2007). Organizational characteristics, knowledge management strategy, enablers, and process capability: Knowledge management performance in US software companies. ProQuest Dissertations and Theses. Ann Arbor, MI, USA. Retrieved April 18, 2012, from http://search.proquest.com/docview/304700978?accountid=3252

Ward, T. (2006). Implementing knowledge management to support effective decision making in a joint military environment: Key enablers and obstacles. Minneapolis, MN, USA: ProQuest, UMI Dissertations Publishing. Retrieved April 18, 2013, from http://search.proquest.com/docview/304910517?accountid=32521

Technological Innovations

Published March 27, 2013 by Mayrbear's Lair

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Burgelman, et. al, define technology as the theoretical and practical knowledge, skills, and artifacts that can be used to develop products and services as well as their production and delivery systems. It can be embodied in people, materials, cognitive and physical processes, plant, equipment and tools (Burgelman, Christensen, & Sheelwright, 2004). Advances in technology have presented opportunities for organizations to evolve in productive and innovative ways.  For example, when the mortgage crisis hit the nation in 2008, the mortgage and loan company I was employed at for nearly a decade, suffered bankruptcy and shut down. However, because of high speed internet and the ability to share documents, my former colleagues, with whom I have established trustful working relationships, have found a way to continue to work together in a virtual environment.

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According to Tidd and Bessant, innovation is driven by the ability to see connections, to spot opportunities and to take advantage of them offering new ways of serving established and mature markets (Tidd & Bessant, 2009).  In addition, because of advances in technology, more entrepreneurs are hosting webinars as a means to connect with potential clients. Advances in electronics and internet access have opened opportunities for people with electronic devices to attend informative and training classes online (some free of charge) for various reasons that include: career advancement, self-help and healing purposes; and educational training. The advantage to webinar hosts is an opportunity to reach out to consumers, build their clientele list, and open an opportunity to sell their products or encourage people to sign up for future classes and training courses.

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Other innovations and advances in technology now allow entrepreneurs to produce their own products at a fraction of the price. For instance, with the rise in popularity of tablets and notebooks, EBooks have become a more popular format in book sales because it offers consumers their favorite literature at more affordable prices. Individuals who own desktop publishing software for example, can now write and produce their own EBook merely by opening a file, laying out the design, pouring in the text and formatting, then doing a “save as” in an electronic device format. It has never been easier to produce a book! Innovations in technology have given entrepreneurs more tools to help grow their businesses.

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References:

Burgelman , R., Christensen, C., & Sheelwright, S. (2004). Strategic management of technology and innovation. New York, NY: McGraw-Hill Irwin Publishing.

Tidd, J., & Bessant, J. (2009). Managing innovation: Integrating technological, market and organizational change. West Sussex, UK: John Wiley and Sons, Ltd.

Innovative Challenges

Published March 4, 2013 by Mayrbear's Lair

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New innovations continue to help industries evolve. As a result many organizations now operate in an entirely new fashion.  For instance, innovations in technology have changed the face of the education industry dramatically. Fifteen years ago the traditional brick and mortar school setting was the standard format for public education and universities nationwide. Now because of technological advances in electronic communication, an increasingly popular method of education and training is delivered in real time, from accredited learning institutions, in a virtual classroom environment.  Students are now able to pursue their education through a scholastic virtual medium beginning in elementary school and extending through college. This is ideal for students with special skills and needs, or those who excel in an environment that supports working at an individual’s natural pace. More families are turning to online education. Virtual organizations support these families with activities, clubs and other social events for families in the academic community. In addition, Clark & Kwinn (2007) purport organizations that participate in workforce learning, save on travel costs and keep employees from having to take time away from work (Clark & Kwinn, 2007).

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Caulfield (2011) identifies three types of learning in the higher education environment. They include: (a) technology enhanced courses – where students meet face to face with instructors in a traditional classroom setting, adding technological components as part of the learning experience; (b) hybrid courses that consist of reduced face-time courses outside the brick and mortar setting; and (c) blended programs that integrate both models with focus on outcome-based practice.  Virtual classrooms that incorporate tools like Blackboard offer real time instructor-student interface for instant feedback in both audio and video format from remote locations (Caulfield, 2011).

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Innovations in education present families with more options for academic pursuits. For example, the public school setting is restrictive for some children that display high levels of intellect at an early age. A first grader who reads at fifth grade level is not challenged by traditional public school curriculum. Parents are forced to think outside the box for solutions so children can excel academically, especially those without the support to enroll them into private schools. Innovations in technology allow families to enroll in accredited charter online schools like K12 that offer superior levels of education where children can work at their own pace. Additionally, advances in education also allow individuals to seek higher levels of education with reputable institutions like Ashford University in a virtual environment. In conclusion, many families have become liberated in the field of education because of the innovations in new technologies.

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References:

Caulfield, J. (2011). How to design and teach a hybrid course. Sterling, VA: Stylus Publishing, LLC.

Clark, R., & Kwinn, A. (2007). The new virtual classroom: Evidence-based guidelines for synchronous e-learning. San Francisco, CA: John Wiley & Sons, Inc.