CHA PTER 8 System Testing and Deployment ■ a a a 263
Another resistance category comes from the system itself rather than people. If a
KM system offers poor user interface and requires extensive training to master, it could
spell disaster for effective deployment. There is no doubt that user friendly, knowledge-
based systems are a sure way to overcome resistance to KM system deployment. Ideally,
what is needed is a user who has an open mind about change and is “friendly” to tech-
nology and the concept of knowledge sharing via technology. Overconcentration on
technology and overlooking behavioral issues have resulted in many KM system failures.
Because a major user concern in system deployment is how to work the system,
users frequently ask, “What functions are available?” “How do I access each func-
tion?” “How do I know if the system has answered my questions correctly?” Another
user concern is how the KM system selects the right knowledge—how it reaches con-
clusions or lines up with the problem at hand. The knowledge developer must demon-
strate the system and provide detailed training in a timely manner.
With these ideas in mind, there are various methods to prom ote KM system
1. User-attitude survey
2. Communication training
3. Training sessions
4. Role negotiation
In a user-attitude survey, opinions are collected from actual users to learn how well
they liked the system and how closely it met their requirements. Poor communication
skills could be a problem, but the survey is still worth the effort.
ing can prove to be invaluable for enhancing user-knowledge developer relationships
and successful system deployment.
For small to medium-sized KM systems, training sessions are normally run by the
knowledge developer. For larger systems, they are conducted by a knowledge specialist
who is expected to be a skilled communicator. In either case, the trainer should address
the user’s training needs and gear the pace of training accordingly. Some users may
learn the system in one day; others take much longer.
Resistance to change becomes obvious when users perceive adverse changes in
their jobs. An interesting technique, called role negotiation, attempts to clarify what
the user expects the altered job to offer. Once understood, users have been known to
accept their roles in the change more readily.
In summary, for a new KM system to ensure user support, knowledge developers
and users must improve communication channels and jointly discuss the new system’s
features and how the change can improve their jobs. Users should also participate in all
phases of deployment. Sensitivity to user expectations is a step toward “deployment
After the KM system has been deployed and the operation is up and running, the
effect of the new system on the organization should be carefully evaluated. System
impact must be assessed in terms of its effect on people, procedures, and performance
of the business. More specifically, the main areas of concern are quality of decision
making, attitude offend users, and cost of knowledge processing. For example, a post-
implementation study of the Travel Profiler showed an increase in the number of over-
all travelers accommodated by a factor of 2.5. It also showed that travel agent time had
improved by 20 percent.