The right knowledge at the right time

Implementing a retention of critical knowledge programme will help SGN secure its knowledge assets

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Mark Fisher - Associate Director - DNV GL Mark Fisher
Associate Director


SGN is a gas distribution company managing a network that distributes natural and green gas to 5.9 million homes and businesses across Scotland and the south-east of England. 

Like so many other organizations, SGN is facing challenges associated with the potential loss of knowledge due to experts retiring or leaving. New recruits are young and inexperienced and lack SGN-specific experience and knowledge about operations and assets. Currently, a small number of subject-matter experts hold critical knowledge, and knowledge of localized, sporadic, obscure and non-routine issues is mainly held by a few people and not easily found by others. Ensuring that the right knowledge is available to staff at the right time is essential to ensure the successful fulfilment of SGN’s strategic goals.

DNV GL solution

DNV GL and SGN have a long history of collaboration and DNV GL was asked to make recommendations for a critical knowledge retention programme. The roll-out recommendations were based on two typical scenarios which may lead to the loss of knowledge. 

DNV GL managed two pilot projects to demonstrate how knowledge can be captured, retained and shared for re-use.  

One pilot deployed a range of tools that we have developed to help capture and share the knowledge held by an individual expert.

The other pilot focused on the asset knowledge at a specific SGN site and made several videos in which experts narrated their knowledge of individual mechanical and electrical assets and site-specific issues relating to access, safety and security.

Outcome and benefits

The expert's knowledge was captured by creating maps of his professional network, a list of frequently asked questions, some top tips for colleagues and a series of short videos made during presentations to colleagues. In the videos focused on the assets, local experts shared their knowledge about atypical issues, non-standard maintenance routines as well as access and safety matters.

DNV GL has created prototypes of a knowledge retention portal that will help SGN to disseminate and reuse the results.

The knowledge retention roadmap created by DNV GL sets out a vision of how SGN can embed the program into its management system.