Applications of Knowledge Management Systems in Project and Portfolio Management
Globalization has transformed the world into a large pool of data which if analyzed and processed effectively result into precious information and knowledge. If such knowledge is effectively managed, it can give organizations precious competitive advantage as well as the numerous operational and financial gains. The knowledge can drive the organization and help it meet one of the most important objectives why businesses are formed: profit maximization. This paper analyzed the United Arab Emirates (UAE) as a market. It analyzed the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and the various threats that exist in the UAE market. That is, it highlighted the pros and cons of operating in the UAE as a market. This is done while drawing comparisons with the international market with regards to trends and perspectives in business operation. This was done with the aim of making recommendations on the suitability of the United Arab Emirates as market destination where knowledge management can be applied.
Introduction and history
Knowledge management system in project and portfolio management are concepts that are currently used by the cooperate world in championing development. Knowledge management stipulates for key development in different sectors of the economy, and this concept is largely attributed to the success of such institutions. Therefore, economic powers and freedom underlies in the concept of knowledge management through project and portfolio development. This concept leads to the direct empirical evidence between knowledge management and project and portfolio development undertaken within the structure of UAE (Behdja, & Naceur, 2008). The success of UAE is significantly influenced by the concept of knowledge management that the cooperation undergoes. Various developmental frameworks are inscribed under this term, and generally include, economic, infrastructural development, physical development, ICT, among other platforms. All these aspects come as a response to knowledge development that a given organization undertakes. The emergence of information age during the 20th century ushered in anew era in all aspect of human life. It heralded a move towards to a truly globalized society where the world has become one global village where interconnectivity and interdependence are keys to success in all spheres of life. As the world moved towards globalization, data and metadata not only became an invaluable necessity but they also kept on piling. This is because data acquisition, processing and analysis are imperative when it comes to understanding and managing these relationships and interdependencies. That is, if they are to be productive and effective. The data and metadata range from culture to religious practices and political ideologies and they are as varied as the thousands groups and societies that make up the world. These data not only help in creating understanding but also ensures that the mostly special and distinct needs of each society and group are met. This is part of knowledge management; a concept that is widely alluded by cooperate institutions in supplementing their prospective project and Portfolio development. In this regard, UEA relies in these data in making its objectives achievable. On the other hand, International standard of trade requires that cooperate institutions to comply with full provision of data in order to manifest a unified front in trade all over the world. This is an ideal mandate that UAE strives to achieve, even as it makes its services global. Global networking of trade is a fundamental aspect of Knowledge management that UAE has lately identified, and implementing within its operational framework.
Ideally, globalization endeavors to promote a culture of mutualism that was mostly confined to the microcosm of our small societies and groups. As late as the 19th century, such mutualism at a global level was considered to be only possible in the academic books; it was a theory whose time was considered not yet come. However, the time for this idea, which was once considered lofty and far fetched a few decades ago, has come despite it being in its infancy stage today. Despite being a relatively new idea, the world and especially the corporate world has embraced globalization with tremendous optimism and vigor. In addition, they have embraced its benefits and weaknesses.
However, unprocessed raw data is of little importance not only to the society but also specifically to the corporate sector. The data must be processed to generate information, which in turn processed to knowledge. Knowledge implicitly and explicitly empowers; it is both literally and symbolically the magic wand that drives today’s corporate sector. Everything given a knowledge touch rarely fails. This is the corporate sector has become a very dynamic and flexible entity that changes with changing times. It has transformed itself from the conventional and traditional entity where formality and hierarchy took center sage and business entities had very imposing, almost, intimidating presence. The business organization was the center of operations in the corporate sector while their primary focus was their physical assets. However, such a stance would have gone against the grain in a 21st century where informality and individual rights are held dear not only by the employees but also by the customers, shareholders and the general public. Knowledge has therefore become an invaluable asset for companies. Therefore, it must not only be created; it must be shared all across the management levels and with all the stakeholders including customers, investors, government and the general public (Mason & Pauleen, 2003).
It is therefore imperative that organizations manage their information. It is a best practice that increases efficiency, creates cohesion and improves on service delivery and quality of goods. It enables the organizations to meet the ever changing and complex demands of their customers sustainably. Moreover, most importantly, it is an important tool for gaining the much needed competitive advantage in a corporate sector where competition is becoming stiffer with each passing day and the operation pressures continue to exert themselves on the organizations. However, knowledge management requires tremendous resources and technical knowhow that may not be as widespread in the business environment as required to effectively move towards such a new approach to business management. Knowledge management is essentially what Marquardt (2011) termed as organizational learning. That is, using information communication technology and human intelligence to create, share and disseminate information across all levels of management position and authority not withstanding. However, knowledge management faces great challenges especially in conservative societies such as the United Arab Emirates, which is the focus of this paper and where business management culture is rather traditional, as well as the society. Moreover, it requires significant amount of physical resources and technical knowhow. Technical skills require time to acquire and develop. It requires good foundation in information technology; a foundation that is not well rooted in the country. Conformity to the international market standards in information management has been a chief agenda of UAE, and it tasks itself with this objective with the view of remaining viable in the market. However, it is worth noting that information system is part of knowledge management, which is incidentally an element of knowledge management. Therefore, UAE’s project and portfolio development is to design viable communication systems that serves its clients globally and conforms to the international standards of system development. In addition, this cooperation fosters every framework with the view of establishing stronger strands of knowledge management. Knowledge management overlaps into many sectors, and the UEA is charged with the task of ensuring absolute conformity with such demands.
Strengths and Opportunities in UAE Market
United Arabs Emirates (UAE) is one of the liberalized economies not only in Asia but also around the world. The leadership of the country has actively developed and implemented economic policies aimed at making the country a truly globalized economy. This is one of the reasons why most of the world’s largest multinationals are either operating or angling for an opportunity to operate in the country. UAE’s first strength attributes to the magnificent infrastructures to favorable and relatively non-protectionist economic policies, UAE has most, if not all, what it takes to become one of the world’s leading business destinations. The pinnacles of the UAE’s economy, which also embody globalization in its truest sense, are Dubai and Abu Dhabi. Abu Dhabi, UAE’s capital and the largest city in the country, and Dubai have some of the most magnificent and breathtaking skyscrapers. These infrastructural developments constitute as the greatest achievement that UAE relies upon it future development. Having ample physical development, firm financial base, and stable leadership; UEA is ultimately operating at its strongest economic and political points. They have some of the best road and railway networks in the world. The country’s gross domestic product (GDP) is ranked seventh in the world by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) while Dubai is an international business gateway for Asia and beyond. However, its suitability as a market extends beyond roads and buildings.
The second strength in UAE is attributed to its most liberalized countries economic policies, ever witnessed in the continent. Its economic policies are aimed at promoting trade at both local and international levels while multinational corporations prefer the country for its globalized economic policies. This is one of the reasons why the country has numerous commercial relations with countries in various continents from Africa to the Americas, Asia and Europe. Businesses operating in globalized economies must gather as much raw data as necessary. However, without trade ties and globalization, data from various economies and geographical regions where these businesses have interests, collecting such data is virtually impossible. Therefore, knowledge management is the country by the businesses operating in the country is facilitated by these commercial ties, which enable the organizations to harvest data from as many different backgrounds as the ties allow. However, commercial ties can only be effective and useful if the country has diplomatic ties with other nations. The liberalized environment in the United Arab Emirates has enabled to have very strong diplomatic with numerous countries from India to the United States, Pakistan and other Asian countries and African countries. UAE is an important member of the Arab League. It is also a member of the United Nations.
The country has also implemented information communication infrastructures, which is imperative when it comes to knowledge management. This can enable businesses to not only collect data but also process it. This is especially important when it comes to real time data collection, processing, presentation and dissemination within and without the organization. Real time data collection, processing and presentation is very important in today’s corporate world; it helps in decision making, prediction of future trends on real time basis and adjusting organization’s policies. To process data into information and knowledge and then disseminate it, computer intelligence alone is not sufficient. The accuracy and speed of the computers must combine with the intelligence of humans. UAE has moved into the Information Age with relative success with information communication technology being an important course at various levels of education. This provides companies with a large pool from which to draw talents they need to apply knowledge management strategies.
Threats and Weaknesses in the UAE Market
However, the organization still faces certain operational intrigues associated with knowledge management. This form of management requires firm structures of project and portfolio; an element that is lacking within UAE due to its incomprehensive communication system. Non-deal knowledge system is generated through admonishing of poor culture, which fails to correspond to the international standards of production and marketing. To fully implement a knowledge management system, it is imperative that the organization adopts the right culture; a culture that promotes information creation and sharing. Despite the liberal culture in the corporate and political spheres of the country, the general society in the UAE is mostly conservative. Therefore, belief in the traditional approach to business management is rife. Hierarchy at the workplace is highly revered. Such traditions make it difficult to effectively create and share information across all management levels. A traditional approach to business management is based on formal structures of management while organizational learning requires an informal structure. Such conservatism may eventually lead to rebellion at the workplace when attempts to implement knowledge management strategies are made.
Poor use of ICT is yet another weakness that UAE faces. The use of ICT, especially in the public sector has been hampered by this conservatism. To effectively function in a globalized economy, the interdependencies in the economy must be effectively managed. The interdependency between the private and public sectors is one of the most important ones in the corporate world. However, for the relationship to be effective there is need for technological parity. This goes a long way in ensuring effective data mining and information sharing even in real time. The international market has adopted technology in both the public and private sectors with relative success. Cases of conservatism and therefore rebellion are relatively low. One of the greatest challenges facing the UAE’s economy is getting the right skills especially in the private sector. Most people, especially the young, prefer the public sector while a significant number of the youths do not prefer employment. The government pays monthly stipends to the youths. This relatively poor working culture has impeded the government’s efforts to develop a large talent pool. This has led to the growing population of non-Emiratis in the country (CIA, n.dp.). The international market is relatively different; it has a huge pool of highly motivated and skill manpower who can hungry for employment. This makes the international market a suitable platform for implementing a knowledge management approach. It not only has the structures; it also has the personnel.
Trends of Knowledge Management System in UAE versus International Level
The concept of KMS is widely eluded by many organizational, and so is UAE, which strives to make its operational level viable. The need to go global and have wider market perspective prompts UAE into a new system where it digitizes its operations from local perspectives and strives into new compliance with the internationally set standards. This aspect requires a formidable framework of Knowledge Management System by the cooperation. For instance, UAE has devolved its operations to many regions of the word, which is an improvement to its initial plans of concentrating its services within the Asian Sub- continent. The progressive improvement in services through wider geographical scope of operation is a common trend that UAE has lately adopted within its framework. This function is made possible through knowledge-based ICT system that helps in the synchronization of the cooperation’s systems to the entire world. This remains a key goal and of UAE, whose products are felt by many regions of the world. Therefore, knowledge Management system has generated a trend where UAE engages in massive expansion to other continents in which its products are not yet felt. By 2020, UAE intends to command the world market, just like it does to its regional economy. In yet another perspective, UAE undertakes massive globalization agenda by instigating a culture of entrepreneurship from different world regions. This trend is aimed at taming unforeseen resistance, and to create a global image to the company. At the international level, measures such as globalization are achieved through enhanced service delivery and trade. International level recommends that KMS must be capable of transforming the world into an economic and information hub, where everyone has a chance to view the progress of trade as conducted by various companies. This remains a key manifesto that UAE aspires to attain in future. Therefore, the descriptions above give the current trends undergoing in UAE, and how it strives to comply with the internationally set standards.
To effectively implement a knowledge management system, there is need to have both the physical infrastructure and the right personnel. The business environment must be conducive to enable organizations to harvest and process data and then disseminate it throughout the organization. The United Arab Emirates has the information communication technology infrastructures. It also has the much-needed diplomatic and commercial connections, which provide them with a rich pool business and other related data to be harvested and processed for dissemination. However, the country lacks adequate labor force to fully implement such a system. I therefore recommend that programs aimed at encouraging the population as the youths to take up employment opportunities especially in the private sector. The private sector should also be made as attractive as possible in order to retain and attract the young talents who are more likely to seek public offices. This will enable organizations operate out of the country to tap into the rich local talent for the implementation of the system. Tapping into the local talent will go a long way in increasing the chances of success as they are better acquainted with the local market. I also recommend for the liberation of the corporate sector in the country; from a conservative traditional one to a more informal and modern one. This will go a long way in modernizing the corporate sector by allowing for unrestricted empowerment of the employees through information creation and sharing across all levels of management.
In conclusion, United Arab Emirates is one of the world’s most preferred business gateways. It has some of the best infrastructures in the world for business transport and office set up. The economic policies are very globalized and liberalized making it suitable for both multinationals and local companies. The government has cordial relationships with numerous countries, which offer a large market pool. The government has also put in place important ICT infrastructure, which can facilitate information creation and sharing within and without an organization. However, organizations face a great challenge in recruiting the local talents who are well conversant with the country’s market system. This is because most of them prefer to work in the public sector while some of them prefer the government’s monthly stipends. The corporate sector is also relatively conservative. This makes it difficult to implement a knowledge management system, which requires an informal organizational culture. These are challenges that are uncommon in the international markets. They have a large pool of talent and are much liberalized. However, these are challenges that can be overcome with a change of attitude amongst the Emiratis and training.
Mason D & Pauleen D.J. (2003). “Perceptions of knowledge management: A qualitative analysis.” Journal of Knowledge Management 7(4), 38–48.
Marquardt, M. J. (2011). Building the learning organization: Achieving strategic advantage through a commitment to learning (3rd ed.). Boston, MA: Nicholas Brealey.
CIA. (n.dp.). “The World Factbook: United Arab Emirate.” Central Intelligence Agency. https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/geos/ae.html
Behdja B, & Naceur J.(2008). Knowledge management and performance
In UAE business organizations: A research analysis. Operational Research Ltd.