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I-64 The U.S. Army Armament Research, Development, and levels of the organization, when information is shared and is Engineering Center (ARDEC) has a Knowledge Management easily accessible to everyone. office which is responsible for maintaining historical and cur- It also is important to standardize data formats and defini- rent information about armament manufacturing, arma- tions and to facilitate the integration of data from many sep- ment failure reports, and lessons learned. The lessons learned arate data sources. Having a single source of data to provide information is very valuable in reducing the learning curve information on a weekly, quarterly, or annual basis greatly for new engineers. improves decision-making at all levels. In the case of a DOT, A similar use of a KM system at the Virginia Department of this standard source of information also sustains credibility Transportation (VDOT) has proved to be a valuable source of with external customers, who include the legislature, other information on lessons learned, thereby reducing the learning state agencies, the Federal government, and organizations in curve for employees who may be new to supporting a specific the private sector as well as the general public. data program. As part of their Data Business Plan implemen- The purpose of having effective data sharing practices is tation, the ADOT&PF Program Development Division also is to provide the highest quality data, which eventually becomes investigating the ways in which a KM system can benefit the information and then knowledge. It is easier for managers division and regional offices that support statewide planning to make decisions in a timely manner when they have the best programs. available information accessible to them. It also is easier for staff Data sharing, internally and externally, is often done through to provide the stewardship responsibilities for maintaining crit- the use of published monthly or annual reports. For example, ical data systems which support business operations when they the MTC publishes all available data on the Internet and pro- have access to knowledge about how the data systems work and duces an annual State of the System report that includes infor- how they support the business needs of the organization. mation on congestion, transit ridership, and regional statistics. A combination of dashboards and scorecards also are used to 4.5 Documentation and Reporting share data with internal and external departments and agencies as well as the public. The KSDE provides public access to the There are several ways an organization documents their data KSDE Report Card which shows how well the school districts systems to provide information and report to managers and are performing according to national and state standards. policy-makers on-demand. The approaches used for docu- Similarly, DOTs use such systems as COGNOS to display dash- menting and reporting information vary from group to group. board information about the performance of the department A state DOT routinely provides reports to the public and the in such areas, including safety, traffic operations, engineering, legislature as well as to other Federal, state, or local agencies. The maintenance, and financial information on project costs. The DOTs, therefore, must invest a certain amount of their budget VDOT has such a dashboard available for review by the public. in maintaining needed documentation and generating standard COGNOS is described in more detail in Section 4.5. reports on an annual, quarterly, or monthly basis. Standard Hennepin County also uses COGNOS to display perfor- documentation is traditionally kept in the form of data diction- mance measure scorecards for departments throughout the aries, metadata descriptions attached to data files, and the use county. This allows managers and staff to monitor perfor- of data catalogs. While this responsibility traditionally resides mance of vital service programs routinely for the citizens of with the IT experts, it is becoming more common for the the county and to address issues as needed when performance responsibility to be shared with business units in the organiza- is less than the targeted levels. The use of scorecards also is a tion in order to ensure consistent use of data and business terms means to quickly identify where performance targets may throughout the organization. need to be adjusted, either up or down, for a given program. Both the ADOT&PF Program Development Division and Each of the previous examples illustrate how various agen- Mn/DOT are investigating ways to store and disseminate meta- cies use data sharing methods and tools to reduce costs of data data information to the decision-makers in their agencies. This collection efforts and improve the decision-making process includes the establishment of metadata standards and the abil- by providing data in an easily understandable format such as ity to deliver this information so that policy-makers use the executive-level dashboards or scorecards, or through the use of right data systems for making business decisions. published reports for internal and external customers. Sharing Another component of internal documentation and report- of information, such as lessons learned and work processes ing involves establishing mechanisms for tracking changes to used to maintain data systems, reduces the learning curve for data systems. Change tracking mechanisms help to ensure that new staff. This results in increased productivity and shorter the prioritization of requested system changes is in accordance project development timelines. Ultimately, this can result in with the primary goals and objectives of the agency. It also is cost-savings to the organization. One of the most important advisable to involve all necessary business units in the discus- benefits, however, is in improving decision-making at all sions regarding system changes which impact multiple business