KM and ISO Update

If you are an ISO certified company and have an audit in 2016, your auditor will most likely ask you about some of the ten new topics. Among the new topics, two in the support section are relevant for the Swiss Knowledge Management Forum: Caring for company’s competencies (7.2) and assuring process results by identifying and managing necessary knowledge (7.1.6).

In this way Knowledge Management becomes compulsory starting in September 2015. The organizations will be asked to identify, manage and make available all necessary knowledge to ensure process results, which are in line with quality and conformity requirements. This will be audited in the context of the whole organization.

To be compliant and retain the ISO certification, companies will have to prove that they take action towards this goal. The process owners will be asked by the auditor to demonstrate how they address the risks of losing critical knowledge when e.g. experienced collaborators leave the company or scaling-up a delicate process to another site.

In addition, the knowledge development should react in an agile fashion if changes or trends occur such as e.g. adjustments in customer’s requirements. These are moments when new or additional knowledge should be acquired. Education and hiring new collaborators according to a specified set of competencies should become the norm and not be left to the arbitrary.

What definition does ISO uses for «knowledge»?
This is a key question, because many KM projects have failed in the past that treated information as knowledge and did not make a clear distinction. The ISO norm makes it clear, that knowledge is linked to people. In this way they are conform to the definitions used by the key opinion leaders.

This means that the new ISO norms lay a new foundation for knowledge management initiatives. We at SKMF expect a fresh new breeze for this topic coming up in the next few years.

Dr. Pavel Kraus
Swiss Knowledge Management Forum
President