Knowledge Management, KM- A Case on Thomas Miller Ltd
Knowledge management has assisted numerous companies in capturing, distribution, and the effective utilization of knowledge assets controlled by a firm (Fuller, 2012, p. 100). In particular, Thomas Miller &Co. Ltd focuses on the effective management of mutual insurance companies using knowledge management tools, techniques, models, and processes. Thomas Miller & Co has been operating in the insurance industry since its foundation 116 years ago. The company’s headquarter based in London where it has 450 employees and 150 agents worldwide. The success of Thomas Miller and Co. Ltd is firmly attributable to the efficient use of KM as a product to success and thrive in this competitive sector.
Knowledge management has shaped the insurance operations of Thomas Miller & Co through vision development and the use of information technologies on the content of learning. This report discusses the aspects of Thomas Miller & Co Ltd in respect to KM tools and techniques, KM models and processes, learning organization and organizational learning, trust and knowledge sharing, communities of practice, application of knowledge in insurance practices, creation of new knowledge, KM and organizational culture, organizational memory, and, KM governance (Ghani, 2009, p. 33). The report will critically discuss the outcomes of the implementation and give a comparison of the implementation of KM against the KM aspects discussed in lectures. A Student Sample: Click here to ORDER YOUR PAPER NOW
Review of Literature
Knowledge management(KM) has shaped companies performance by building productivity, loyalty, and engagement. The fact that Thomas Miller & Co has 450 employees in London does not mean that all of them have diverse skills and expertise in every field that the insurance firm operates. KM helps the management in accessing the right knowledge of an employee and assigning the right task to the right person to avoid complexities. Knowledge management involves corporate strategies and knowledge creation; this means that the right technologies must be present for the firm to effectively use knowledge management in its global operations (Harvey, 2012, p. 400). Knowledge management aims at creating value, leveraging, and refining the firm’s knowledge assets in an attempt to realize the set goals of an organization. KM strategies depend on the firm’s corporate strategy. The culture of firm influences people’s interactions and the creation of new ideas. In Thomas and Miller & Co Ltd, knowledge management has promoted the integration of management principles, diverse workforce culture, corporate goals and strategy, and the identification of external knowledge and information contained in the assets of the company.
Review of KMS
Thomas Miller & Co. Ltd has been utilizing knowledge management techniques in running its insurance business to all worldwide clients. The company employs document management systems, expert system applications, emails, and groupware technologies in the development of a structured knowledge basis for core business operations. These knowledge management systems have been designed by the company by cultural change and grounded on the ideas of creating a learning organization in which knowledge and experiences are sharing is deemed critical (Hislop, 2013, p. 50). The implementation of expert system applications and document management systems have enabled Thoma Miller & Company to utilise information technologies optimally effectively and as an impetus to business intelligence success within the firm. Knowledge management systems have helped the company to quickly pool and structure information within the firm’s processes and hence shaping the image of Thomas Miller & Co in the market both domestically and internationally (Holsapple, 2013, p. 66). Further, the expert systems have enabled the company to manage the lotus notes database coherently thus ensuring accuracy and appropriateness in information supply.
Since its foundation, Thomas Miller has been operating in the insurance sector. Up to date, the company has diverted its insurance operations in more than 100 countries providing more than 600 job opportunities in more than 15 overseas locations. Recently in the early 1990’s, Thomas Miller & Co. Ltd launched a new product, knowledge management (KM) whose application in the business operations has contributed a lot towards its current state of success both locally and globally (Jones and Sallis, 2013, p. 77). This part discusses various aspects in Thomas Miller & Co. Ltd in respect to KM that the company uses in its insurance operations to achieve success. A Student Sample: Click here to ORDER YOUR PAPER NOW
KM Tools and Techniques
KM at Thomas Miller & Co has been shaped by the management’s development of insurance goals for adequate use of information technologies. The company has been focusing on content and learning as the KM activities. Content and knowledge management in the company resulted in the creation of two KM tools and techniques.
The first tool and technique focus on the creation of structured knowledge as a basis for core competence in the insurance operations. The other technique addresses cultural change and diversity within the workplace (Jones and Sallis, 2013, p. 77). Cultural change deals with the development of a learning firm in which experiences and knowledge get shared. These two tools and techniques, content and knowledge have been critical to creativity and innovation.
KM Models and Processes
At Thomas Miller, the existing KM business processes include underwriting and e-mail culture. The insurance transactions fairly get used in the determination of workflow systems processes. The company uses the Miller encyclopedia model in the promotion of direct internal communication together with knowledge and information exchange (Meier, 2011, p. 20). The Miller Encyclopedia module contains three internet access levels namely:
Highest level Registered internet user
Middle-level Potential and existing customers
Lowest Level Specific clients and claim records
The company recommends a sequential transition from task processing to parallel processing combined with efficient management documents designed to process insurance policies appropriately. The Miller forum is quickly run by incorporation of integration processes for the sequential transition. A Student Sample: Click here to ORDER YOUR PAPER NOW
Organizational Learning and Learning Organization
The management of Thomas Miller emphasizes that exchange of knowledge is very critical to organizational learning. Expert videos act as an essential tool to learning how the company progresses and operates within the industry. The management invites insurance experts who explain to the internal staff their experiences, tricks, and tips for success, the video is shared by all branches worldwide.
Thomas Miller & Co pays intense attention to the contents of organizational learning and knowledge exclusively covered by knowledge employees and the internally recruited experts. The use of “Safari” by the company offers the staff with opportunities to work at a reasonable time in a different department within the enterprise to gain knowledge on the stated field.
Knowledge Sharing and Trust
Insurance business heavily relies on trust and commitment, and knowledge is critical. The introduction of director of learning position in the company has helped employees to pass on knowledge and experiences through the initiated cultural change (Meihami and Meihami, 2014, p. 85). Thomas Miller & Co uses both weekly and monthly platforms for knowledge and experience sharing where the managers share their ideas to the front line staff.
Also, the company uses monthly priority programs to train new employees of the insurance processes and techniques utilized by the firm. Further, the company frequently organizes informal workshops that employ question and answer sessions on the emerging issues in the sector (Meihami and Meihami, 2014, p. 89). The mutual sharing of ideas and integration of KM tools and techniques with knowledge sharing establishes a trust to the company on the services it offers. A Student Sample: Click here to ORDER YOUR PAPER NOW
Communities of Practice
The cultural briefings and habits of different clients of the company assist the staff in understanding the particular cultural beliefs, practices, and standards of the community it is dealing with (Meier, 2011, p. 23). For example, the Greek customer especially the shipowners staying at London require a distinguishable treatment than those Greeks operating far from New York City or at the Greek Islands.
The intense reliance of trust on the insurance services by customers have made Thomas Miller & Co value knowledge exchange between the surrounding communities and its staff. The company has branded its operations to the market through the commitment of the staff people which is supported by the senior management (Peter, 2001, p. 3). The IT innovations are customer oriented.
Application of Knowledge in Innovation
Thomas Miller Co. Ltd employs IT experts whose innovations are business focused and process driven. The experience tips and tricks shared by external insurance experts help the internal IT experts innovate new underwriting processes and advance further to the use of expert system applications in managing the innovations.
The company has innovated video tapes that store knowledge from external experts and this experience is modeled further to creating customer friendly online services. Knowledge exchange has led to the innovation of new communication approaches explicitly in the service industry (Peter, 2001, p. 4). The ability to sell insurance by brokers has been steered by innovativeness by IT experts of the company who optimally use the tape information recorded from external experts.
New Knowledge Creation
There have been intense building on the existing underwriting processes and the present e-mail culture in the company. The experts at Thomas Miller have developed a regular and continuous supply of information with press clippings to all personnel worldwide. The company has created central knowledge resource that supply secondary information to external clients such as restaurants(Peter, 2001, p. 6).
The experts have created new knowledge by designing soapbox that identifies, sort, store, and disseminates knowledge to all employees worldwide at the same time. There has been an innovation of expert system applications that enable the company passes knowledge experience in the most minimum time possible (Rao, 2012, p. 46). The advancement and modeling of underwriting system have been enabled by introduction of document and groupware management systems.
KM and Organizational Culture
In its organizational culture, three factors are considered, and these include suppliers, customers, and insurance market. The management of insurance database ensures a coherent structure under which director of learning position has been introduced to oversee cultural changes of the market constituents and pass this knowledge and experience to the employees (Rao, 2012, p. 44).
Knowledge management is significantly integrated into the organizational culture at Thomas Miller and Co Ltd. The aspect of recognizing the external impact on the success of the insurance business has helped the company coordinate its internal operations to deliver quality services (Wiig, 2012, p. 10). The company pays close attention to the practices and habits of different customers in different locations. A Student Sample: Click here to ORDER YOUR PAPER NOW
Thomas Miller & Co. Ltd insurance businesses are governed by contractual regulations laid between the company and its clients. In the events when customers make claims for damages, the contractual regulations withstand all legal facts and review in the agreement(Peter, 2001, p. 2). The businesses processes of the company are dominated and overseen by lawyers and the established trade tools.
The viable trade tools recognized by Thomas Miller and Co include laws and their interpretations, legal regulations, and contractual deeds. Written communications form an integral part of the insurance business operations by creating value to lawyers opinions and memo (Geisler and Wickramasinghe, 2015, p. 66). However, the significance of words to contractual regulations results in cautious wordings and limited spoken communication.
Since its inception 116 years ago, Thomas Miller & Co Ltd has transitioned in aspects of knowledge, experience, skills, and insights which keep on being passed to the new recruits from one period to another. For expertise retention, the company sponsors its employees to attend professional conferences, meetings, and discussions with its competitors, their suppliers, and key customers (Durst and Runar Edvardsson, 2012, p. 900).
There are monthly priority programs organized to train both existing and new employees of new insurance work techniques and technologies. The organization of informal workshops and sessions to discuss the selected topics by the management have led to strengthening of Thomas Miller & Co Ltd organizational memory (Botha, Kourie, and Snyman, 2014, p. 6). Training sessions, video shows, and attendance of workshops have also been critical to organizational memory.
Outcomes of KM implementation at Thomas Miller & Co. Ltd Against KM aspects
Thomas Miller & Co has significantly benefited from knowledge management in its attempt to deliver viable insurance services to the clients. The company’s significant focus on the use of structured management systems have fastened workflow operations and promoted information know-how from one stakeholder to another (Borghoff and Pareschi, 2013, p. 1). The company’s ability to combine the most essential tools, techniques, processes, governance and culture have explicitly assisted it to manage knowledge and experiences appropriately. At the same time, the most important external expert techniques have been stored for future reference and dissemination to all global branches be they medium sized or large companies in a particular country.
The success of knowledge management application in an organization leads to the overall success of the business in the market environment. The use of expert knowledge and experience contributes to the success of KM in business operations. The success of KM depends on the support of organizational activities by the top management, the level of both internal and external branding of a company in the industry it operates, and the ability of the management to build on the current processes and organizational culture. All businesses should seek external expertise to enjoy the benefits of effective implementation and updating of knowledge management. Given the numerous benefits of knowledge management in business operations, companies should invest the right resources on its utilization so as to succeed in the competitive industry.
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