Business organizations in the 21st century struggle with the seemingly impossible task of growing their businesses with fewer resources, human and otherwise. Driving business growth has become more daunting and complex, especially when you consider the changing business landscape—the new business environment has gone global, gained new customers and competitors alike and, thanks to social media and smart mobile devices, product information and other data are now available to anyone at anytime, anywhere.
It's no wonder that information technology (IT) departments have faced increasing pressure to enhance the functionality and scalability of infrastructure to provide essential information to management at all levels to help facilitate strategic business decisions. This is the back-end of IT and it's critical to meeting the demands of business today. Equally important, however, are the people who use and share this information throughout the organization. Now, the imperative is not to have mere employees, but to develop “knowledge workers.”
Knowledge workers are those who add value to an organization by using their intellect and through the sharing of information. They are in fact “human capital,” as authors Robert Kreitner and Angelo Kinicki describe—the representation of the productive potential of an individual's knowledge and actions. And as employees evolve into knowledge workers, the topology of communication and the sharing of information must also change and adapt. A smarter and more efficient method of attaining, disseminating and sharing information requires a “knowledge management system” (KMS), with the capability of accepting and analyzing information to produce knowledge that is shared throughout the organization.
A collaborative effort of synthesizing knowledge and distributing it to system-wide knowledge workers and managers alike facilitates the decision-making process. In time, these knowledge-based processes develop into “expert systems” (ES) that also have the ability to apply reasoning processes to solve complex problems.
A robust IT department meeting the needs of the organization, knowledge workers who can disseminate the information and provide necessary human capital, and a KMS system that can accept and share the information, ultimately transforming the organization's topology into an ES—these will soon become essentials for 21st-century businesses in an ultra-competitive global marketplace.
CalSouthern's business programs have an extensive range of courses that can provide some of the knowledge and know-how that organizations will require to remain competitive in the coming years. Courses such as Technology Concepts for Managers and Information and Organization and Strategy are quite robust and explore many of the dynamic principles I've noted above. And they are taught by highly credentialed and experienced faculty mentors that can help you pragmatically apply this knowledge. I encourage you to talk to your academic advisor to determine whether courses such as these might be a valuable part of your CalSouthern academic program.