Knowledge Management Systems

These days, organizations are often faced with challenges of circulating and retaining knowledge. Staff training has become costly than ever before and existing information sharing techniques are not as effective as expected. Organizations have encountered the need to harness knowledge not only to stay competitive but also to become innovative (Babita et al. 2000).

In my other post, Smarter Businesses, I discussed how businesses and organizations use business intelligence and analytics to retain and mostly gain organizational knowledge from big data collection and manipulation processes. Business intelligence is often confused with knowledge management systems as they both focus on acquiring data for business decision making. However, they do have several differences.

Instead of further investigating such differences, this post will focus on identifying the key aspects of knowledge management systems within organizations and how it relates to information and communications technology (ICT).

Knowledge Management Systems (KMS)

A knowledge management system is defined as an information system used to capture, organize, and create knowledge to improve organizational processes. Ruggles (2009), described that knowledge management systems are technologies that support knowledge management (KM) in organizations, specifically knowledge generation, codification, and transfer. Think of KMS as an information system that is dedicated to improving organizational knowledge. Its purpose is to facilitate knowledge flow within an organization, enabling employees to have access to the right information for the right need. With employees learning and sharing their knowledge, it leads to more effective problem-solving techniques and development opportunities.

But do not take this the wrong way. A knowledge management system is different from an information management system (Figure 1).

Figure 1: Knowledge Management System and Technology (Ezendu, 2014, p. 8)

Importance of KMS

So, should someone ask why knowledge management system is an important asset to an organization, here are several reasons why:

Organizations can (Jain, 2014)

  • sustain knowledge regarding their products and services
  • provide accessible knowledge to employees
  • encourage innovation
  • perform better decision making

Relation to ICT

According to Maier and Hadrich (2011), a knowledge management system is an information and communication technology (ICT) system which combines and integrates functions for handling both explicit and tacit knowledge throughout an organization that is targeted by a knowledge management initiative. An ICT system refers to any device or system which allows storage, retrieval, manipulation, transmission, and receipt of digital information. It is where the outputs from a system go directly to a human being or into another ICT system. ICT systems are usually composed of 6 components which include hardware, software, people, data, procedures, and information. Organizations use ICT systems to assist with collating and analyzing data from other systems.

Tacit ActiveNet

Tacit AvticeNet is an example of how organizations seek out effective solutions for knowledge management systems.

Tacit ActiveNet, an enterprise software solution that proactively drives interactions among employees across other divisions, was developed to solve the problem organizations were facing due to a lack of knowledge sharing and collaboration. Employees were duplicating tasks, making mistakes, or simply missing opportunities to develop due to a huge collaboration gap within organizations. Even with other collaboration tools in place, employees are simply not drawn to use them. Tacit ActiveNet took a different approach by automatically selecting who should be working with who to ensure that quality training and knowledge exchange is achieved through interactions. It is the new technology for any organization that depends on collaboration for success.

So, through effective KMS, an organization can bring its entire organizational learning and knowledge to bear on any problem.

 

References:

Babita Gupta, Lakshmi S. Iyer, Jay E. Aronson, (2000) “Knowledge management: practices and challenges”, Industrial Management & Data Systems, Vol. 100 Issue: 1, pp.17-21, doi: 10.1108/02635570010273018

Ezendu, E. (2014). Knowledge Management System and Technology. [Powerpoint slides]. Retrieved from https://www.slideshare.net/ezendu/knowledge-management-system-technology

Jain, P. (2014). Knowledge Management Systems. [Powerpoint slides]. Retrieved from https://www.slideshare.net/PRIYANKJAIN23/knowledge-management-system

Maier, R., & Hädrich, T. (2011). Knowledge Management Systems.

Ruggles, R. (2009). Knowledge management tools. Routledge.

 

Smarter Businesses

Data Collection

Have you ever wondered how businesses get so good at pushing our buttons? Every now and then, I keep receiving product promotions or limited-time sales on things that interest me as a buyer/ consumer. Most of the time these emails would urge me to buy, even though I’m aware that it’s a want, not a need. But how? I don’t recall answering a survey about my shopping list. How was this possible? These days, businesses have become very competitive that they’ve adopted intelligence systems that help them collect data, analyze it, predict market trends. According to Chen et al. (2012), business intelligence and business analytics, along with the related field of big data analytics have become increasingly important in both academic and business communities over the past two decades.

Business Intelligence, Business Analytics, & Big Data

Business Intelligence (BI) is defined as a set of tools or systems that help in organizational strategic planning processes. It is about delivering relevant and reliable information to the right people at the right time, with the goal of achieving better decisions faster (Hitachi Solutions Canada, 2014). Business intelligence deals with situations where questions such as what occurred, how many, how often, where, the root of the problem, and what actions are required occurs.

Business Analytics (BA) on the other hand, refers to the skills, technologies, applications, and practices for iterative exploration and investigation of past business data to gain insight and drive business planning (Weinschenk, 2013). It involves using tools and techniques to turn data into meaningful business insights. Such data could be from several sources including spreadsheets, databases, social media platforms, and others. Business analytics commonly investigates what is currently happening, what is expected to happen if a certain trend continues, and what will be the possible outcome.

In relation to both business intelligence and business analytics, big data is the term used to represent the vast amounts of data sets that are collected and analyzed computationally to determine patterns, trends, and associations. The more data collected, the more difficult it becomes to analyze and predict outcomes. However, with the use of BI and BA, it becomes extremely quick and efficient.

Scenario

Imagine you are the manager of an electronics brand that has both multiple stores and online shops. To keep track of your sales and customers, you set up customer loyalty cards, which customers swipe in the store every time they make a purchase or login into their online accounts when purchasing online. By using loyalty cards, information about a customer’s purchase, whether in store or online, are collected and stored in the company’s databases. Think of this as data being collected, which results in big data. Then using BI and BA, you as the manager can now generate reports, analyze sales, and determine which customers are loyal to your brand, what they usually buy, and which store do they prefer to buy from. You could also predict whether customers prefer to shop online or in store. This enables you as the manager of your business to predict needs, preferences, and habits of your customers so you can forecast and predict new sales opportunities, better customer services, or target market campaigns. On the business’s perspective, this educates the business as a team, providing the necessary skills and experiences based on techniques to delivering quality customer services. Here is a classic example showing the future of shopping involving the uses of big data, business intelligence, and analytics.

 

References:

Chen, H., Chiang, R. H. L., & Storey, V. C. (2012). Business intelligence and analytics: From big data to big impact. MIS Quarterly, 36(4), 1165–1188

Hitachi Solutions Canada. (2014, January 26). What is business intelligence [Video File]. YouTube. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hDJdkcdG1iA

Weinschenk, V. (2013, September 8). Business Intelligence and Business Analytics Defined [Video file]. YouTube. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u1dnZCHjOMQ

 

The Future Employee

The Future

It is a time of joy and celebration when someone finally graduates from an institution. The next step is to find and enroll into the workplace. Filled with knowledge and inspiration, the life of an employee is incomparable. Then after 5 years or so, comes a dull day, where your job is now being replicated by a system. The job does not feel as exciting as before. Daily tasks become more complex, and it felt like the skills are not enough anymore. Welcome to the new era, where managing knowledge is the ultimate survival tool for the future.

 

Personal Knowledge Management (PKM) 

Personal Knowledge Management defines a way in which individuals, can seek out information and knowledge, make sense of it, and share it to increase learning, innovation, and productivity. PKM is personal, and it is not directed by external forces.  It involves connecting information to experience and completing tasks. Gorman and Pauleen (2011) described that PKM assists individuals to be more effective in certain aspects of their lives. The idea is that once an individual is used to working effectively in their everyday lives, they will easily do so within an organization. PKM is focused on personal inquiry (Clemente and Pollara, 2005), which means that individuals need to have the motivation for self-improvement.

 

Knowledge Management (KM)

Knowledge Management(KM), compared to PKM, is simply the process of creating, sharing, managing, and utilizing knowledge within an organization. It explores ways to encourage people to share knowledge, making it explicit, and supplying it to information systems.  Unlike PKM, knowledge management focuses very little on an individual’s perspectives.

 

Enhancing Personal Effectiveness 

As it was mentioned above, PKM is personal, and it is not directed by external forces. It is an individual’s own responsibility to maintain their knowledge currency. This requires motivation to improve and adapt changes. For PKM to enhance personal and organizational effectiveness, one needs to be effective in managing themselves first. Employers value personal effectiveness as they want employees to be reliable, willing to learn, make proper use of their time. White (2012) listed 8 elements which he believed can develop and maintain personal effectiveness in both the organization and their daily lives.

8 Elements of personal effectiveness:

  1. specifically decide what you want
  2. be honest  with yourself and others
  3. take personal responsibility 
  4. clearly express yourself
  5. take risks and exit your comfort zone
  6. participate 100% in your own life
  7. create partnerships to generate win-win relationships
  8. commit yourself

To utilize PKM and enhance personal and organizational effectiveness, an individual must first determine their status within each of the 8 elements listed above. From there, will one be able to choose the right path to take? Some might consider prolonged education or self-directed study. Others might try to utilize organizational training programs or networks of information sharing. It is obvious from how the world is rapidly changing that no career is guaranteed for life anymore. Therefore, individuals must forecast where their careers are headed and start making plans for the next step. With PKM, people can be assured that not only will they be prepared for the unexpected, but they will also be well equipped to keep up with the trends.

 

 

References:

Gorman, G. and Pauleen, D. (2011), “The Nature and Value of Personal Knowledge Management”.

Clemente, B. E., & Pollara, V. J. (2005). Mapping the course, marking the trail [personal knowledge management]. IT professional, 7(6), 10-15.

White, R. (2012). 8 elements of personal effectiveness [Video file]. Youtube. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3Fj4e1rE1NI

Knowledge Transfer

Ever wish you could skip all those exhausting school years and still be smart or successful? Imagine what it would be like if you could download or upload knowledge, literally! How amazing would it be if I could share all my knowledge with my son, and have him share his with his own? Would everyone end up being overloaded with knowledge? Depends…

Knowledge is often expressed in two ways which are tacit and explicit.

Source: Villa Sophia

Tacit Knowledge is the type of knowledge that exists in people’s heads, and are not articulated or documented. In contrast, explicit knowledge is the type of knowledge that can be processed by information systems, codified and recorded, and archived and protected. So, if you are thinking  which one is difficult to pass on, tacit knowledge would be the answer. For example, I cannot just explain to someone how to swim or ride a bike and expect them to do it correctly. It will only be through physical coaching that I can teach him/her how. Tacit knowledge is not something that is easily explained or transferred to another person. It requires interpretation and experience. Explicit knowledge, on the other hand, can be as simple as the instructions on how to assemble a bike.  So, what the roots that define knowledge?

Knowledge, as defined in Oxford dictionaries, is the awareness or familiarity gained by experience of a fact or situation. It is simply the sum of what is known. According to the Data, Information, Knowledge, Wisdom (DIKW) hierarchy, knowledge is the result of experiences or interpretations of information from collected data.  In addition, the creation of knowledge depends on information. However, the development of information requires the application of knowledge (Roberts, 2015).

Source: Mushon

Referring to the hierarchy above, it is clear from the example on the side as to how each layer connects to the other, thus presenting a dependency among them.  Without raw data, information will not exist. Without information, there’s nothing to experience or gain knowledge from. Without knowledge, there is a clear absence of wisdom. But what does it mean to have knowledge about something?

What does it mean to “know”? 

The word “know” or “knowledge”, is something that contrasts with an opinion or beliefs. According to the great philosopher Plato, he described that knowledge is when you have a belief that is true, in which you are justified in holding. For example, I “know” that if I an apple falls from the tree, it’ll land on the ground.  In this case, I don’t just believe it, I also know it. I’m justified in believing that what I know, is true. But it I was to tell you that I “know” I will be busy next week; I am therefore claiming my own belief or opinion to be true without any justification to prove it. Most people often say that they know, but what they truly mean, is that they strongly believe.

So, if one decides to transfer knowledge, how would he/she then determine what or which is the “right” knowledge? Will it be only explicit knowledge or tacit knowledge? Will it depend on what you know? How does one become conscious about their own capacity to retain all that knowledge?  Something to think about…

 

 

 

References:

Roberts, J. (2015), ‘A Very Short, Fairly Interesting and Reasonably Cheap Book About Knowledge Management’.

Social Media Strategy & Social Business Strategy

 

strategy1

You might ask yourself how is social media strategy in any way related to social business strategy? Is it because they both deal with social strategies? Maybe. But the key words here are media and business, which are two different things.

A social media strategy defines the relationships, their value, and sets out a plan to harness them to achieve a particular goal or set of goals. According to a report by Li and Solis, social media strategy lays out the channels, platforms and tactics to support publishing, listening, and engagement.

However, a social business strategy is social technologies, business values, processes, and practices unified to build relationships both within and outside the organization. Such a strategy is effective when there is an equal share of business goals and organizational support to deliver such goals.

Social Business Strategy Elements:  

In an altimeter report by Li and Solis, there are six basic elements or phases of development which result in a successful social business. These elements are planning, presence, engagement, formalized, strategic, and converged.

Altimeter_socialBusiness_04

Source: http://www.slideshare.net/Altimeter/the-evolution-of-social-business-six-stages-of-social-media-transformation

 

Planning: This stage is all about listening and learning. Understand how customers use social channels and determine customers’ behaviors. What do they want? What are they most likely after?

Presence: Here, we stake our claim. Use common social channels like Facebook and YouTube to develop a projection of traffic in regards to specific interests.

Engagement: In this stage, relationships are deepened through dialogs. Providing support, advice, or recommendations in a way of connecting and relating to customers. An example could be a heating and refrigeration company providing customers with simple tips to prolonging appliances and getting the most of out it.

Formalized: Basically, setting governance for social, while also maintaining professional organization work. Maintain a parallel level of coordination between employees and executives to ensure that whatever is going on online, customer relations, is given the same treatment as to within the organization itself.

Strategic: This element involves scaling or connecting across all business units such as human resources, sales, finance, and supply chain.

Converged: Integrate social into the business strategy, leaving the business fully socialized.

Through these levels is what produces a social business. But how can the maturity of a social business strategy be assessed? Assessing the maturity of a social business is done by using the elements mention above as guidelines. With these elements, a business can be able to identify its current status in regards to social implementation.

 

Success Factors:     

Along with all this, is list of success factors of a social business strategy which include:

  1. Goals – a business strategy is defined by the business’s main goals
  2. Vision – with a business goal, there are also visions of what the business will be in the coming years. Thus, providing a focus on strategy.
  3. Support – support within the organization, especially from managers to employees,  is essential
  4. Strategy – planning ahead and having strategic roadmap will assist an organization to achieve its goals.
  5. Guidelines – clear and direct rules and guidelines are key to ensuring everyone knows what to do and how to do it under any circumstances.
  6. Staff – look ahead and plan what is best for the staff and encourage skill improvements so the business is prepared for social implementation.
  7. Invest – careful selection of technology is to be done after considering strategies.

6-executing-a-social-crm-strategy-7-638

Source: http://pt.slideshare.net/TouchstoneCRM/6-executing-a-social-crm-strategy 

 

 

Thank You for reading…Remember to like, share, or comment…

 

References:

[Report] The Evolution of Social Business: Six Stages of Social Media… (n.d.). Retrieved May 26, 2016, from http://www.slideshare.net/Altimeter/the-evolution-of-social-business-six-stages-of-social-media-transformation
The 7 Success Factors of Social Business Strategy [INFOGRAPHIC] – Brian Solis. (n.d.). Retrieved May 26, 2016, from http://www.briansolis.com/2015/04/7-success-factors-social-business-strategy-infographic/
6 executing a social crm strategy. (n.d.). Retrieved May 2,6 2016, from http://www.slideshare.net/TouchstoneCRM/6-executing-a-social-crm-strategy

Online Communities and Communities of Practice

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A community, as we know it, is  a social unit of any size that shares a common value, situated in a given geological area, or connected by durable relations. This builds the relationship which gives each individual a sense of social identity and practice.

But this is just a community in general. What about an online community or a community of practice?

Online Community:   Community

An online community is made up of a network of people who communicate with one another online using interactive tools such as emails, forums, chat rooms, and discussion boards. It provides a place where real-world communities have the ability to interact easier and more accessible. In a business, online communities have the power to create and retain productive relationships. These days, online communities are a major asset in business industries.

Community of Practice:     mainpage-image

A community of practice, on the other hand, is a group  of people who share a common passion for something they do. They interact with one another to learn how to do such things better. In other words, as explained by Wenger- Traynor, a community of practice are groups of people who share a concern or a passion for something they do and learn how to do it better as they interact regularly. A very good example is Mighty Car Mods (my previous post). In a community of practice, there are three defining characteristics or elements.

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The first one is the domain. A community of practice has an identity defined by a domain of interest. In this domain, commitments are done in forms of membership and therefore distinguishes its members from other people. However, a domain of interests is not recognized as an expertise outside the community.

The second characteristic is the community. Members of the community engage in joint activities, discussions, and exchange information to help one another. But this doesn’t necessarily have to be on a daily basis. Some members may choose to meet in cafes or studios. Some may decide to have discussions on a specific day of the week.

The last characteristic is practice. A community of practice is not merely a community where people have simple conversations about favorite foods or hobbies. The members are practitioners, and they share solutions to  problems, strategies, tools, and personal experiences to assist one another in addressing a specific issue.

According to Wenger-Traynor, it is the combination of these characteristics which constitutes a community of practice. Having these 3 characteristics balanced results in such a community.

Difference: 

So how is an online community different from a community of practice?

Unlike a community of practice which requires membership, an online community is accessible, both sites and  information, and open to anyone online, thus creating a limitless number of participants. Online communities are more internet based, resulting in a wide geographical diversity of members. However, in a community of practice, it is mostly physical interactions and meetings.

Benefits and Limitations: Below is an outline of how online communities and communities of practice have benefits as well as limitations in regards to businesses.

Community of Practice:

Benefits

  • Communication and knowledge sharing
  • Wide range of expertise
  • Easy to gain information from different perspectives

Limitations

  • Conflict with hierarchy orders
  • Time consuming
  • Tendency to keep or share information

Online Community:

Benefits:

  • Cheap marketing
  • Easy to gain and retain customers
  • Form relationships/ partnerships

Limitations:

  • Information Vulnerability
  • Business credibility
  •  Security

 

References

Introduction to communities of practice. (n.d.). Retrieved May 25, 2016, from http://wenger-trayner.com/introduction-to-communities-of-practice/

Mighty Car Mods – A social media perspective

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Love cars? Are you a car enthusiast or simply enjoy modifying mad cars? Then you, my friend, will love Mighty Car Mods! You don’t need to have expensive, fancy, or powerful cars to have fun. Mighty Car Mods gives you an opportunity to embrace both you and your car in ways unimaginable through the MCM car community. Interested? Let me first tell you about Mighty Car Mods.

download (1)      download (2)        images

Retrieved from https://mightycarmods.com/

Now, you may have heard about it, seen stickers on panels, windows, or bumpers, because MCM is more popular than you can imagine. Mighty Car Mods, proudly supported by Just Car Insurance, is an independent automotive film series created by two friends, Marty and Moog. It started back in 2007 in Australia when these two friends started filming cars in Marty’s mom’s driveway. At first, the idea was to make a car show called “Clean & Green Car”, which was meant to be a blog focusing on economical and sustainable Japanese cars. But when their first video hit 307 views on the first week on YouTube, it served as a sign that they have given the world a whole new level of car modifications. These days, millions of people watch MCM each week. According to their official website, MCM series now sees up to 3 million views per week, making it the #1 automotive channel in Australia and #1 DIY automotive channel in the world. One of their video series, “Lend us a ride” has since been licensed by Quantas Airlines and appears on their flights domestically and internationally.

Unbelievable right? This is why I have chosen to dedicate this blog post to MCM and describe the ways that they use social media to share their voice, videos, and creativity with the world.

Social Medias Used:      download (3)

MCM is involved in just about any social media platform. They have a Facebook page, Instagram, Twitter, Tumblr, Reddit, Google +, Flickr, YouTube, and Wiki. They even have discussion forums, email sharing, and magazines. The social media platforms they use are active and updated regularly. Facebook and YouTube are the most active ones. Replies to comments are done straight away and more information is provided once asked for.

MCM-page0001

Source: Retrieved from https://www.facebook.com/mightycarmods/

 

Here are some MCM statistics from some platforms:

fb-art   : 1, 040, 423 plus Likes

instagram_logo_0  : 192K followers

YouTube  : A range of 1 million plus views per video and more than 1 million subscribers

download : 27.9K followers

The Four C’s: 

Along with the types of social medias Mighty Car Mods uses, I will also share how Niall Cook’s 4 c’s – Communication, Collaboration, Cooperation, and Connection – are also key concepts in MCM.

Mighty Car Mods mainly focuses on sharing automotive creativity with the world. In regards to Cook’s concepts, this is  a form of connection. However, in a way, it can also be looked at as a form of cooperation, which according to Cook, is more aimed at sharing information and content. I have elaborated above on how they utilize social media platforms and how effective MCM reaches out. Connection is the key concept in MCM which ensures everyone in the community remains connected and updated. And with connection, information sharing is made possible, hence cooperation.

With the ability to connect,  MCM uses social media such as Facebook to communicate with and update followers. They post information about new DIY projects coming up and updates on videos being edited or uploaded to YouTube. Once you subscribe to YoutTube or follow on Facebook, you get notifications whenever something comes up. Here is a video as an example. Marty and Moog posted on Facebook that they were sitting in a carpark and they want to lend a car. At exactly 57 seconds later, honestly 57 seconds, cars started rumbling into the area.

MCM also does a lot of collaborative techniques. Recently, followers on Facebook were asking who is responsible for editing the videos before they were uploaded to Facebook. Moog answered, basically saying that the decisions relate to the cars, and sometimes it is voluntary. If it was his car or his idea of a mod, he’ll be doing most of the editing. Sometimes, they help each other doing bits of everything. They take turns filming, editing, or carrying out the mods. One might do this bit, and the other comes in and does the rest.  They have been doing so for 10 years that it is almost impossible to differentiate their editing styles.

Thinking about the purpose MCM has on the world and its followers, it can also be related to a concept of collaboration. From MCM, Marty and Moog does the filming, demonstrates the mods, and uploads it. Then the viewers will see the techniques demonstrated in the videos, learn how to do it, and apply it to their own.

S.O.C.I.A.L  Approach:      images (1)

With the effective use of social media in MCM, they are scalable, open, consistent, intuitive, active, and limitless.

MCM is scalable: They have regular updates on their social media sites. Viewers/ followers can receive offers such as MCM products or behind the scenes specials to the mods. Through this, MCM easily retains its followers and attracts thousands more at the same time.

MCM is open: MCM is not just about Marty and Moog sharing knowledge about mad mods. MCM includes both its creators and audiences in every way. For example, not only does the audience watch what MCM decides to share, but MCM also listens to what the audience wants and considers it. Recently on their latest episode that came out, “The $3000 turbo car challenge“, they prepared the cars for the battle and asked the audience what sorts of events or obstacles they want to see the cars go through. They don’t always make the decisions. Because of how open MCM is,  the followers also have a say.

MCM is consistent: You get what you expect  and when you expect from MCM. Followers are chained to the fact that they get what they want. MCM is all about modifying cars and that’s exactly what each video delivers. Whenever a project was being carried out, updates on the release date is posted on Facebook, informing the followers when to expect the next video release. And when the day comes, MCM lives up to the expectations.

MCM is intuitive: Type in “Mighty car mods” in any web browser and you will easily get to their official website. Filled with all their videos, products, and an easy navigation throughout the whole site.

MCM is active: As soon as a post hits their page, especially Facebook, it triggers and maintains a set of conversations between both MCM and followers.

MCM is limitless: There are things MCM does that you wouldn’t even think about doing. Their mods can start from just being cheap to absolutely creative and adaptive. When it is time for a change, they never neglect their willingness to expand their limits.

To conclude, Mighty Car Mods uses and implements social media effectively. Even though MCM is mostly Marty and Moog, there is a whole community of car enthusiasts that are supporting the team. They’ve started out as just something fun to do on the weekends to being #1 in the automotive channels and worldwide DIY modifications.

 

References:

Niall Cook – Entrepreneur, author, and consultant. (n.d.). Retrieved May 20, 2016, from http://www.niallcook.com/

Mighty Car Mods | Official Website Blog Stickers DVD’s Shirts and more. (n.d.). Retrieved May 20, 2016, from https://mightycarmods.com/

Cam Findlay. (n.d.). Retrieved May 20, 2016, from http://www.camfindlay.com/blog/the-4c-s-in-the-wild-silverstripe-open-source-community/

 

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