What is Knowledge Management and why is it important

Taking advantage of all the expertise present within a company is a great way to maximize its potential.  Business organizations often have a well of untapped knowledge within their workforce that is siloed to individual departments or staff, or simply lies dormant. By having proper management structures in place, this knowledge can be effectively stored, found and made accessible to the workforce, thereby providing a host of tangible business benefits.

Companies using a powerful knowledge management system for sharing business knowledge can elevate their customer satisfaction level, improve efficiency, boost internal knowledge and lower the worker turnover rate. Developing databases along with informative training materials or offering self-service online learning options to customers can level up the overall culture of a company and improve its bottom line.

What exactly is knowledge management?

Knowledge management is known to be the process of capturing, storing, sharing and competently managing the experience and knowledge of employees for the purpose of increasing the overall knowledge of a workforce. As a company evolves, expands into brand new domains and defines their business approach, they end up gathering a good amount of institutional knowledge. This information tends to be invaluable for the firm.

The key goal of knowledge management is to facilitate the connection of company staff looking for information or knowledge, with the ones that have it. Your company can spread information and improve the expertise level held by particular staff members to boost the efficiency of their practices, subsequent to having robust knowledge management in place. Knowledge management can play a major role in retaining vital information within a company, alongside improving its efficiency and productivity. Employee knowledge and expertise can be the most valuable asset for a business. Simplify troubleshooting and empower your team with our user-friendly IT knowledge base software. It plays a major role in empowering the company staff to improve their decision making capability.

Types of knowledge management

It is important to explore diverse types of knowledge in order to understand effective knowledge management. Knowledge can essentially be divided into two key types, explicit and tacit. Properly understanding how to manage, access and strategically distribute such types of knowledge within an organization can be a key driver to business success.

The various types of information in knowledge management include-

  • Tactical knowledge: Such knowledge management is characterized for being easily shareable, user-friendly and intuitive. Emotional intelligence, sales skills, leadership ability and innovative skills are some of its examples.
  • Explicit Knowledge: Such knowledge is easily and systematically taught to others.  Knowledge transfer may take place through training videos, manuals, case studies, documents or even the policy and procedures of a company.

Components of a knowledge management

  • Organization Knowledge Management: Enabling the organization data or explicit knowledge to be available through the use of document management systems, dashboards, content management systems and other management software.
  • Expertise Location: The process of making use of tacit knowledge to share knowledge from leadership team, management or experts.
  • Lessons Learned: Lessons learned database is meant to manage and deliver knowledge that shows workers how to perform a certain task. Usually, experts use their tactical knowledge and make it explicit knowledge by opting to deliver it through lessons learned databases.
  • Communities of Practice: People who have a shared set of interests or principles, and subsequently use that experience for the purpose of discussing best practices or advising a group of other employees.

Why is knowledge management important?

Knowledge management is extremely important as it helps in boosting the decision making ability of a company. Ensuring that all have access to the experience held within a company facilitates the development of a smart workforce that can make swift, informed decisions that benefit the whole business. Knowledge management allows innovation to grow within a company, while employee turnover gets reduced and customers are benefited by augmented access to best practices.

The need for knowledge management at a business organization keeps growing each year. With the marketplace becoming all the more competitive, developing your business in a flexible and intelligent manner would be the key to staying ahead of the curve. You need to have the competency to spot issues from a distance, and subsequently respond swiftly to any new innovation and information.

There are varying reasons why a company can start their knowledge management process, such as:

  • A merger or acquisition can spur the need for encouraging teams and codifying knowledge to share their expertise.
  • The imminent retirement of important employees can help in demonstrating the need for capturing their knowledge
  • An upcoming recruitment drive shows the wisdom in using knowledge management to assist in training new employees.

Implementation of knowledge management processes provides a range of tangible advantages that helps in driving value. Sharing knowledge management has a positive influence on organizational performance and dynamic capabilities.

  • Speed up access to knowledge and information:  Knowledge management makes it simpler to find information or at least the people who have the desired information, in times of need.  It can increase business productivity and efficiency considerably, allowing you to work better, while reducing the need to “reinvent the wheel.”
  • Improve decision-making processes: By having access to the knowledge of the whole organization whenever they require it, employees can effectively improve the speed and quality of their decision making.  Enterprise collaboration tools are typically used to facilitate access to diverse experiences and opinions, which may eventually contribute to additional perspectives to the choices made.
  • Promote cultural change and innovation: Knowledge management allows for and encourages the sharing of ideas, along with access and collaboration to latest information. Knowledge management helps individuals to stimulate culture changes and innovations required to evolve the company and meet the ever evolving business needs.
  • Increase customer satisfaction:  Cross-collaboration and sharing of knowledge aid in increasing the value offered to the customers. It puts your company in the position to provide faster answers to the customers or shorten the time needed to improve a product or service.

Technology plays an important role in knowledge management. Rather than just being considered as an enabling tool, technology acts as a driver for knowledge sharing and new collaborative practices.  A robust knowledge management strategy allows opportunities for everyone to learn best practices and gain a competitive advantage at a company. 

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