The Knowledge Management (KM) Business Problem Facing TPMT
One of the key knowledge management (KM) business problem facing TPMT is the lack of an effective mechanism to manage excellent relationships with its customers, hence the inability to derive the most accurate information relating to their product demands. It is noted that most of the agents working for TPMT give contradicting information, which does not represent the actual customers’ views. Again, TPMT is a small organization that cannot support a customer relationship department in other countries other than the U.K. This is an indication of the view that it faces the knowledge management problem relating to the management of customer relationships that lead to the acquisition of the correct customer feedback. Solving the problem, related to ineffective customer relationship management would improve the performance of the business because of the reliance on accurate feedback that would facilitate the supply of the actual products required by customers. Additionally, the solution of this problem would lead to repeated purchases, as customers come back for more products offered by the company. Effective management of customer relationship would put the company in a better position to understand the actual nature of goods required in each country, hence supplying appropriately for customer satisfaction.
Advantages and Challenges of Applying Web 2.0 Technologies to Address the KM Problem
Applying web 2.0 to the solution of the problem of ineffective customer relationships and inaccurate customer feedback, would entail numerous advantages and disadvantages. The three most significant advantages and challenges that would arise from the application of web 2.0 are discussed below.
The first significant advantage of applying web 2.0 in addressing the current problem is that it would enhance effective product feedback that would assist TPMT in proper planning related to the quality and quantity of products that should be supplied. According to Cruz, Gest?o, and Martins (2008), web 2.0 technologies would give customers the opportunity to post their feedback in special portals, hence enabling the company to deliver the best to customers. This feedback received by the company using sites such as Yahoo would give the company a better chance to plan and achieve the best level of company performance. For example, most businesses around the world have turned to the use of technology to understand their customers better, hence increasing their market bases. Most of them have relied on social sites such as facebook to enable customers to post their feedback (Adli, Ahmad, & Abdullah 2005). This will also enhance the company’s ability to target valuable marketing opportunities using the feedback derived from its customers from all parts of the world. Therefore, it would be in a better position to get quality feedback that is consistent and accurate for the development of the business.
The second advantage of applying web 2.0 is that it would increase interactions between the company and its customers through community and social networks. The directors of TPMT would have the best chance of sharing what the company stands for and its vision. Lee and Lan (2007) opine that directors would talk directly to their customers without having to visit the countries where most of their clients live. For example, the use of social sites such as Google, Forums, and Mailing sites would enable the company to interact with its clients easily. Additionally, international businesses such as Walmart, have been able to link with their clients using social media by giving customers the opportunity to know more about them. They would ensure that relevant information required to boost the company’s performance is posted on the site for everyone to read. Customers would also have the opportunity to know the kinds of products offered, as the company posts some of the photos to the social media.
Another crucial advantage of applying web 2.0 in addressing this problem is that it would lead to reduced costs on the part of the company. TPMT would not be required to spend excessive amounts on hiring more agents to represent it to its customers in the other countries it operates. Levy (2007) asserts that this would ensure that the company incurs less costs in boosting its customer relationship and the derivation of quality feedback from all customers. A practical example could be seen from the new approach international businesses have embraced in their businesses. They prefer using technology to cut down their costs of operation. The reduced costs would transform into more sales and increased profits in other country it operates because of the cheap sources of sharing information presented by web 2.0. For example, most international businesses have been able to penetrate international markets using social media, hence recording reduced costs in their activities. This leads to increased levels of profitability in such companies because of reduced costs emanating from the use of the internet (Hosono, 2006).
The first challenge of applying web 2.0 in addressing this knowledge management problem is that it could cause information and social media overload. This emanates from the fact that it would be available to many clients around the world (Paroutis & Saleh, 2009). The large number of customers from 15 countries of operation would engage in regular postings of the information hence leading to information overload. Again, their large subscription of social media would lead to the overflow of information, hence making it difficult for the directors to handle. For example, major businesses around the world have recorded excessive breakdowns in their communication with customers online because of high levels of information accumulation. Hugos and Hulitzky (2010) reiterate that this would still pose problems in handling the relationship with customers as most of their feedback would be lost. Therefore, directors would face the challenge of information and social media overload as they deal with a large number of customers directly.
More so, the application of web 2.0 in addressing this problem would be challenging to the company, as it might lose a lot of vital content relating to the desires of customers. The company would be forced to deal with the challenge of avoiding the loss of crucial content that would be helpful in the decision making. For instance, most of the web 2.0 sites such as Yahoo and Google do not have filters to capture and hold important information of the contemporary business environment. Scherp, Schagereit, and Ireson (2010) reiterate that the company would lose most of this information, hence failing to understand what customers would have liked in relation to the available products. The loss of vital information would mean that the company relies on information that may not be helpful in improving its business. Therefore, web 2.0 technologies lack filters to facilitate the recognition of vital content and customer responses. This leads to the use of ineffective information when addressing customer needs.
Lastly, the company would face the challenge of hackers, as it applies web 2.0 technologies to address its problem of ineffective customer relationships and feedback. Unauthorized individuals or competitors will have the opportunity to hack the company’s information, which makes it less profitable. Again, the windows of communication using web 2.0 technologies are vulnerable to virus and spam attacks. Wang and Noe (2010) affirm that people spoofing and sniffing the company’s posts would negate the overall process of solving this problem. This means the company would have the challenge of dealing with the threats emanating from hackers and other unauthorized individuals, monitoring the company information. The presence of hackers limits the quality of data that could be distributed to customers and the quality of feedback received from customers (Lee, Lu, & Yang 2010). This would lead to ineffective decision-making on the side of the company.
Proposal of Knowledge Management System (KMS)
In line with the size of TPMT stakeholders and the nature of its operations, the best knowledge management system for the company would be the Transaction Processing System. It is crucial to note that the Transaction Processing System (TPS) is a software that plays the instrumental role of supporting transactions within the organization. Customers from different parts of the world are the largest stakeholders of the company and are interested in purchasing the available goods. Another group of stakeholders involves directors of the company who look forward to effective business performance. Employees also form part of the stakeholders of this company. Rodiek (2007) is of the view that the Transaction Processing System would be the best knowledge management system for the company to increase its reach to customers, hence improving business transactions. The Transaction Processing System (TPS) would give the directors a true reflection of what customers across the different countries need. This means that employees would not have the chance of presenting inconsistent information related to the customers. More so, the operations of the company rotate around receiving orders from customers, delivery inquiries from suppliers, and requests for products from agents. This implies that most of the company operations are transaction-oriented and would be effectively supported by the Transaction Processing System (TPS). Directors would have the opportunity of meeting the exact customer requirements and delivery times, as they utilize this system in the rest of their activities. Customer needs would be addressed adequately using the Transaction Processing System.
Several significant parts of the knowledge management system (KMS) would be supported by Information Technology (IT) to ensure they deliver the required company objectives. One of the most significant parts of the system that would be supported by IT is the transaction part. This is the part that records the entire request placed by customers within the organization (Rainer & Cegielski, 2010). They would incorporate IT to ensure that all the activities are completed in the most efficient manner possible and result in the best outcomes. The second part of the system that would be supported by IT is the finance part. The financial part would be instrumental in ensuring that all the payments made by customers are recorded at a specified place. This will also avoid mix up of this information with that dedicated to the payment of suppliers in the company. The human resource part of the system would also be supported by IT to ensure employees act according to customers’ needs. The non-IT parts, such as the communities of practise would be integrated through user involvement in the system development. Shelly and Rosenblatt (2009) opine that the non-IT parts are only able to become part of the overall system in instances where they are involved in system implementation. Proper budgeting and recognition of the significance of such parts to the success of the overall system would also be a vital way of integrating the non-IT part into the system. This sense of recognition makes them work better to interpret the contents of the parts supported by IT.
Several reasonable assumptions have been made as part of this proposal. These assumptions indicate factors that were put into consideration during the proposal of this new system. The first assumption made as part of making this proposal is that this new system would be easily integrated with the existing system (Shajahan, 2004). It would come into the organization to add onto the existing systems and ensure that their operations are efficient, hence leading to the realization of improved performance within the organization. For instance, it would come to support other systems such as the Decision Support System (DSS) that supports management decision making at the organization. The second assumption is that there is proper budgeting. The entire process of developing the knowledge management system (KMS) is cost effective, which enables the company save a large part of its costs (Totterman & Widen-Wuff, 2009). This is vital in increasing the profitability of the company and ensuring it remains strong in the 15 countries of operation. This assumption supports the view that the new system does not come in place to drain the company’s resources but to support its entire operations relating to customers. The third reasonable assumption in the proposal of the system is that there is management involvement at each stage of system development. The involvement of directors is vital because it ensures the development of the system is successful through the provision of adequate resources to support its realization in the organization. The last significant assumption made in the proposal is that the system is focused on collaboration within the organization and the assurance of better outcomes for the company. The collaboration is achieved by its inexpensive nature and its efficient working in the handling of customers from the 15 countries where the company operates.