Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Knowledge Management in PETRONAS

Knowledge Management In Petronas

Murni Shariff is a KM Manager attached to Group Technology Solution of PETRONAS, the National Oil Company of Malaysia. She has been working with PETRONAS for more than 18 years in the area of Information Technology, Business Process management and Knowledge Management. KMTALK recently discussed with Murni on the Knowledge Management programs in PETRONAS.

Tell us the nature of your company’s business

We are in the Oil and Gas business. PETRONAS is fully owned by the Malaysian Government and have presence in more than 30 countries across the globe. PETRONAS is ranked as the top 100 FORTUNE global company in 2008.

When did you begin doing KM?

Started to do KM strategically for the entire organization for the past 2 years (2006). Before that PETRONAS have had pockets of KM initiatives at departments/OPUs – however the focus on the past was on content/information management. Now we have moved to more than managing content – more emphasis has put on managing connections, relationship and extracting/transferring the tacit knowledge of our staff

What was the main objective, issue or problem you were using KM to address?

1) Ageing workforce – A good percentage of PETRONAS workforce is retiring in the next 5 to 10 years. We need to increase productivity and accelerate growth of our young engineers to bring the organization to greater heights

2) Attrition – our skilled staff are increasingly being ‘poached’ by competitors. We need to retain and grow skill to remain competitive. We need to ensure that relevant knowledge remains in the organization by having the right KM programs in place

3) Our operations are becoming increasingly international. KM will help assimilate plants to operate using the ‘PETRONAS way’ and transmit relevant knowledge assets across borders

What is the main focus of KM in your organization? ( i.e. technology, process, people management/culture)

When we first started 2 years back, we put quite an emphasis on technology as we did not have a single unified KM platform for the group (we have disparate databases which makes sharing cumbersome ) . However, like other organizations, we have learned our lessons that technology is easy while changing people’s behavior is hard. Now a big chunk of our efforts are focused on strengthening Communities of Practice (connecting people to people) and changing the behaviors of the staff (culture) via intensive change management programs. We also put substantial efforts into enabling KM habits into work processes and daily activities

In brief, what do you do in KM?

In brief, the activities can be classified into the followings :-

1. Technology - KM system development/support/maintenance, system training & communications, content management and delivery

2. KM Change Management - Communities of Practice, KM Awareness/education, KM Roadshows, Change Agent Programs, Rewards & Recognition, Top Mgmt Engagement, KM Collaterals, Newsletters, Technical Sharing Sessions, Expert Interview

3. Enablement activity - KM Strategy development, KM measurement, KM processes

What technologies (if any) do you use for KM?

We developed our own KM platform using MS sharepoint. It has quite modest features including discussion forums, document library, yellow pages, CoP Portal, Search Engine that helps facilitate groupwide knowledge sharing and collaboration

What KM concepts and techniques did you initiate to assist staff in managing knowledge wisely?

I suppose the Ask, Learn and Share (technique used by Shell) is pretty generic and applicable to everyone including PETRONAS. We encourage our people to practice the very same in all their doings – especially in project. Lessons Learned / Retrospect are pretty common too in PETRONAS culture.

How do you monitor progress?

At the moment, we have established some metrics to measure our KM system utilization and knowledge content. We also monitor our CoP activities/effectiveness via some metric that was internally developed.

What challenges or barriers have you faced in implementing KM? How have you overcome them?

Generation factor – varying degree of acceptance from staff from different generations. We tried to use different approach for different age group – elder generation (baby boomers) are more comfortable with personalization approach while the younger generation ‘Y’ are at ease with technology. For Gen ‘X’ staff we use mix approaches.

We also found that average life span for KM staff is quite short i.e about 2 years (teleportation syndrome –term used by Patrick Lambe). We haven’t found a solution for this as yet, but we are trying our best to soften the impact of people leaving KM jobs by having regular sharing session amongst KM practitioners and transferring the KM skill to as many people as we can in the organization.

Any lessons learnt for other companies who are willing to implement KM?

1. Consider having a central budget for KM initiatives – easier to implement programs. But to get a central budget, you need to get higher management buy-in.

2. Correct the perception that KM is about managing information/content – it’s much much more than that…

3. One size doesn’t fit all – different approach work for different people/organization. Just don’t copy a KM model from another organization and try to fit in your culture.


- Normative Structural: pensiun dalam waktu 5 hingga 10 tahun.Agar meningkatkan produktivitas dan mempercepat pertumbuhan organisasi dengan lebih tinggi dengan menggunakan lulusan “Fresh Graduate”

- Normative Activity:Menjaga keterampilan para karyawan dengan cara mengelola pengetahuan kompetitor sehingga dapat bekerja dengan kemampuan yang kompetitif.

- Normative Operational: operasional yang semakin internasional sehingga dibutuhkan KM yang dapat membantu operasioanal perusahaan dengan cara menyebarkan pengetahuan yang relevan di seluruh aset perbatasan.

- Strategic Structural: Mengelola konten menempatkan penekanan lebih pada pengaturan komunikasi pengetahuan antara staff.

- Strategic Activity: Mengembangkan/menyupport dan memelihara sistem, melakukan pelatihan dan komunikasi, mengelola konten dan penyampaian informasi.

- Strategic Behavioral: Mengubah perilaku ( budaya) staff secara intensif melalui perubahan manajemen dan mengusahakan KM menjadi kebiasaan dalam proses bekerja sehari-hari.

- Operational Structural: Mengukur pemanfaatan informasi secara efektif melaluli metrik yang dibuat secara rutin berdasarkan hasil kinerja.

- Operational Activity: Membuat beberapa ukuran untuk mengukur pemanfaatan pada sebuah sistem dan pengetahuan dari Km. Memantau efektifitas kegiatan.

-Operational Behavioral: Mengelompokan staff dari berbagai generasi. Dengan menggunakan pendekatan yang lebih nyaman dengan pendekatan personalisasi. Dan pada generasi muda dengan cara pendekatan dan pengenalan terhadap teknologi.


  1. it is a good info as i'm taking masters in KM. btw, thnx for sharing good info and knowledge.

  2. Thanks for sharing this useful info. Keep updating same way.
    Regards, AshishChange Management