“Knowledge Management (KM) comprises a range of practices used in an organization to identify, create, represent, distribute and enable adoption of insights and experiences. Such insights and experiences comprise knowledge, either embodied in individuals or embedded in organizational processes or practice.”
This quote from Wikipedia is given context by a diagram from Gene Bellinger (Knowledge Management — Emerging Perspectives), showing knowledge as part of a continuum from unmanaged data to the creation of wisdom (see Figure 1 on page 2).
My contention is that while those in the field of contract and relationship management may be individually knowledgeable, as a community we lack understanding. Indeed, in far too many cases, we do not even understand why we need deeper understanding!
The value of high-performance contracting is fast becoming more evident. It has been recognized by governments worldwide as key to greater efficiency and effectiveness in the delivery of major projects and acquisitions. IACCM research and re-engineering initiatives are pointing to the fact that “contracting excellence” can drive potential improvements in bottom-line performance of 5–7%. Armed with facts such as these, it will not be long before executive management is demanding action. Already we see many that are.
But to whom will they turn and what response will they receive? The challenge we see for many in legal, procurement and contract/commercial management is that they remain far too focused on transactional activities, where the ability to demonstrate value is both limited and open to question. Wisdom in such groups depends far too much on age and experience, and far too little on shared knowledge. Collectively, few groups can claim to “understand relations, understand patterns and understand principles” in ways that make them highly influential, or perceived as key strategic contributors. This is because they regularly fail to even share information and knowledge internally, let alone having meaningful collective data or benchmarks to guide their actions.
Taking the initiative
In general, we remain content to carry on doing the same things in similar ways because we do not have the insights to see the value of new approaches, or how they might then be achieved. This leaves us dangerously exposed.
The story could be very different, and in this issue of Contracting Excellence we explore ways that our community can build its knowledge assets and occupy a position of leadership. IACCM exists for this purpose. Our unique approaches to managed learning and skills assessment offer a constantly updated body of knowledge. Our compelling, on-demand research and benchmarking ensure members in all countries and all industries can obtain up-to-the-minute data, information, knowledge and wisdom.
Knowledge is exciting. Leadership is exciting. IACCM can equip you not only to respond to executive management questions, but to take the initiative, using our collective knowledge to drive change and improvement in your organization.
Tim Cummins CEO, IACCM
The following two IACCM figures illustrate The Challenge (how can practitioners identify and apply the correct resources to best mitigate risk, achieve compliance, and deliver value?) and The Solution.