KNOWLEDGE MANAGEMENT OF GOOGLE INC 8
KnowledgeManagement of Google Inc
KnowledgeManagement of Google Inc
Theimportance of Knowledge management cannot be underestimated. It is aprocess that transforms individual knowledge into organizationalknowledge. While there are many varying definitions of knowledgemanagement the core purpose involves planning, organizing, motivatingand controlling peoples’ processes and systems in the organizationto ensure that knowledge- related assets are improved and efficientlyemployed. Knowledge related assets include but not limited to datainform of printed documents and manuals, electronic data stored indatabases, individual employees’ knowledge, team combined knowledgeand knowledge inform of company products and processes, (Awad,2007).This paper will highlight the role of knowledge management andhow the same has been incorporated in Google Inc. which is theorganization under study.
GoogleInc. is a global technology leader which focuses on unifyinginformation all over the world and making it accessible andbeneficial to people all over the world. Google started as aresearch project by two PHD graduates from Stanford University namelyLarry Page and Sergey Brin and was registered as a privatecorporation in 1998. The duo instituted a widespread research onautomated search algorithms and using the latest technologicalinnovations, google became the leading search engine on the internetand its brand dominated all over the world (Wallace,2007).Google maintained its competitive edge from other competitorsincluding Yahoo and Microsoft by solely concentrating on customersatisfaction and reassuring users’ that they can always findwhatever they are looking for on Google. Unlike the competitors, whoused to add pop up advertisements on their homepage and flood thesearch engines with the elements which cause frequent distractions tothe user google maintained a simple user interface and allow the userto search exactly what they want.
First,knowledge management is a valuable tool for sustaining competitiveadvantage. This is because in evaluating their competitiveadvantage, the organizations carries out a SWOT analysis of theirknowledge-related assets. This process involves identifyingorganizations’ strengths, weaknesses, opportunities available andthe threats arising in the industry before launching a particularproject. According to the CEO and Co- founder of Google Inc. whenanswering the press on how they managed to maintain brand dominancefor a period of four years, he answered that they relied on researchto identify their strengths, and improve their weaknesses. They alsocome up with products to address users changing needs and innovationsto counter their threats arising in the markets. By doing so theywere able to maintain a competitive edge (Bergeron,2003).Larry adds that they had to make their competitors weaknesses theirstrength by ensuring that they hinder distractions of any kind. Thiswas achieved by ensuring that they do not do pop up advertisements ontheir home page so as not to distract the users but instead sendfrequent emails to the users emphasizing on how they can benefit fromusing Google search engine (Bergeron,2003).They abide to their core principles the main one being ‘focus onthe user, the rest will follow’. In order to achieve theirprinciples, they only require to diligently dedicate their effortstowards the company and effectively use knowledge management to findout the current consume trends and position their employees to beable to address the trendy needs and keep their customers satisfied.
Similarly,knowledge management plays a vital role in enhancing organizationalperformance. This is by enhancing knowledge acquisition, itsconversion into useful and applicable form to benefit theorganization, its application to organizational processes its storageand protection. According to the study done in 2012 by InformationEngineering and Electronic Business, Knowledge management wasdepicted as a factor contributing to organization performanceimprovement.An organization which has incorporated knowledgemanagement facilitates wide varieties of decision making in turnimproving performance significantly. Google Inc is one of the bigcompanies that has incorporated Knowledge Management into theirprocesses thereby coming up with a product design and philosophiesthat define their operations. This serves as a key culture to befollowed by their employees. This designs and Philosophies haveenabled them to manage their employee and teams’ thus improvingperformance at large. They emphasize on User Centric designs whichinvolves, knowing what the customer wants, and the best way todeliver it. The Google user Experience team has one clear objectivewhich is to generate designs that are beneficial, reliable andpersonalized to the User. The designers and Google engineerschallenge themselves to strike a balance by coming up with a productthat applauds their core ideologies and on the other hand satisfiesthe end user requirements.
Inaddition, knowledge management facilitates enterprises innovationcapabilities. Innovations are the key drivers of organizationaldevelopment. They help the organization to manage the changes andrequirements of the changing societies thus remaining relevant in theindustry (Warier,2003).Innovation therefore, involves the use of new technologies to improveproduct performance by coming up with more efficient processes andcreating growth opportunities. It is clear that the Google Incinnovations in the search engine technology has made it the mostdominating search engine today. Google used their Knowledgemanagement skills to understand the consumers’ mind-set thus comingup with the most appropriate branding strategy. They resolved to keepthe term Google as their brand since it was more popular in thesearch engines and will appeal to a large audience and introduce avariety of products under the term Google. This gave them acompetitive edge against their competitors who branched out toWindows, Office and MSN sub-branches. By focusing on one global brandname they were able to increase brand awareness. Under the Googlebrand, they continuously introduce new products such as Documents,books and maps (Pauleen,2007).Google calculator and converter allows a user to just enter a formulain the search bar and he gets the answer instantly. Recently theyhave added Google Adwords that allows people to auction foradvertising space. This appears alongside search results. Accordingto Larry, one key strategy behind Google’s success is keeping upwith the modern trends, constantly upgrading their technologies toaddress the ever- increasing demand from the customers. Theycontinuously come up with new innovations, learn from the failed neand modify their methodologies to deliver best customer satisfaction(Rao,2005).
Lastly,knowledge management has a great impact on organizational learningstrategy. Just like human brain, organization cannot use all itsinformation at a given time. In order to derive full utilization ofinformation or knowledge, an organization will be required to havegood storage measures. Proper knowledge management encompass properstorage and protection of data from unauthorized access. Google Incembraces the importance of learning in two folds (Debowski,2010).First, their core business involves acquiring information and makingit available those who can use it at the most convenient place andtime. Secondly, their employees, staff and engineers need to beequipped with most of the information available in order todisseminate the same to the users (Awad&Ghaziri, 2007).They therefore embrace a culture of continuous learning to ensurethat they are able to satisfy their customers’ needs. Goodknowledge management will also ensure that information is kept forfuture reference. Such information can be useful in many waysincluding providing history of the company’s path, where thecompany has come from, product dealt with and how the company hasevolved over time. It can also be used as the training tool for newemployees who are trying to fit into the organizations culture(Maier,2007).Availability of manuals and information detailing the code ofconduct, vision of the organization and its mission will act asguidance to new employees as they will be able to determine what isexpected from them by the organization.
Knowledgemanagement as a managerial tool
KMdoes not only imply management of knowledge as a resource but alsomanagement of business processes that make use of that resource(Dalkir, 2005). The integration of Knowledge management into businessprocesses increases the effectiveness of decision making processesconsequently leading to operation efficiencies and employeeinvolvement (Barnes,2001).Knowledge management is an important managerial tool used to analysethe available knowledge, identify where new knowledge is required,which may involve hiring of experts or purchase of new technology andalso managing the employees who will be able to disseminate theknowledge or convert the knowledge into a useful product (Holsapple,2003). Knowledge management will facilitate decision making in terms thenumber of employees needed to efficiently accomplish the task at handand the level of skills required which will act as the basis ofremuneration package.
DespiteGoogle being a dominant brand for over four years, it has beenovertaken by Apple Inc. Research shows that the drop was associatedto decrease in market capitalization. On further investigation theresearchers found two main flaws in Google’s knowledge managementskills and company design. During its success years, Google kept thework force group small enough and let it grow with time (Barnes,2001).Currently, google is operating on large groups thereby affecting teamefficiency. Their most recent project Google wave which failed topenetrate the market had 30 people working on it instead of 9 peopleas it was the case during its success years. This also poses achallenge as Google has engaged more engineers than designers. Therole of designers is hard to define when there are too many engineersworking on the same project. The company’s success in futurelargely depends on how they will implement measures to control theknowledge while at the same time focusing on their goals (Awad&Ghaziri, 2007).This may be possible if they keep their teams small and efficient,adopt human factor in their management approach, incorporateeffective interactions and collaboration with their consumers andkeep watch of their competitors not just their customer needs.
Inconclusion, as depicted in this paper, knowledge management plays animportant role in all organizations ranging from boostingorganizations competitive edge, promoting enterprise innovations andfacilitating organizations learning culture. Organizations shouldtherefore, develop tools for assessing their knowledge managementcapabilities, identifying possible gaps in knowledge managementsystems and devise ways of filling in those gaps. This will improvetheir competitive advantage, organisational performance and keepfocus on their innovations.
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