Monday, March 14, 2005

Ernst & Young's Knowledge Management Efforts

On Tuesday last week we visited Ernst & Young in Cleveland. APQC had originally studied Cap Gemini Ernst & Young in our previous study on Building and Sustaining Communities of Practice and we were very impressed by their efforts to institutionalize, to embed knowledge sharing in their culture. I wondered if Ernst & Young by itself would have continued the efforts.
I am glad to report that they have. The Center for Business Knowledge is still alive and well and in part revitalized because of recent regulations concerning audit and compliance.
Knowledge Sharing at E&Y is a mega process. This means that it gets "strategic" attention and therefore resources, and it is expected behavior of every employee. The CBK offerings are divided into "standard" and "custom." Standard offerings such as communities of practice deployment and support and technology are funded at the corporate level. If a practice area wants a custom application or solution then the CBK charges back the cost to that area.
As I mentioned earlier, communities of practice fall within CBK's standard delivery model and include chartering, planning, identifying stakeholders and deploying communities. After that the CBK takes on a monitoring role to help keep the communities focused and active.
If I had one salient point to pick out about their initiative, it would be focus. The CBK's is strongly focused on ensuring that knowledge sharing is embedded into the company culture and they do everything in their power to nudge people into that.