Knowledge is one of the most valuable assets of an organization but along with knowledge accumulation, its management is crucial to leverage all its benefits. Big companies lose billions of dollars every year searching for the information they need. Irrespective of which industry you are in, who your audience and products are, knowledge management must be the primary focus of your business. All organizational elements are based on data, information, and knowledge. Be it your products or services created, the internal processes or your ability to engage with and provide value to your customers, they all are driven by knowledge management. In this blog, we dive deep into the concepts of knowledge management, its importance and benefits to enterprises.
What is Knowledge Management?
Knowledge management is the process of creating, sharing, managing and using the knowledge and information of an organization. A Knowledge management system is an essential component of any business strategy as it can enhance organizational practices, learning, save efforts, resources and lead to improved business outcomes. Knowledge management can make the best use of organizational knowledge to help departments and organizations achieve their objectives.
Types of Knowledge Management
There are different types of knowledge in an organization that needs to be managed. The importance of each type depends upon the business size, industry, geographical location, competition and regulations. Typically, big organizations have formalized knowledge about internal processes and policies such as HR, consumer market research insights, product specifications, workflow charts and so on.
These different types of knowledge can be managed in different ways. For instance, digital assets management systems are useful for marketing and creative teams, while company policy information is managed by intranet systems.
When it comes to consumer or market insights, it is managed by a dedicated system with specific focus for big enterprises.
There are 3 main types of knowledge that any organization deals with:
Knowledge Management Best Practices
There are several knowledge management best practices and strategies that can make your job easier:
Create a centralized repository – Instead of handling scattered data in emails, folders, Google Docs and so on, it can be consolidated and managed in one place such as the internet portal or the company wiki for easy access.
Execute good leadership- Good leaders can set a positive example by constantly expanding and updating the company knowledge base. They can show the employees where to quickly obtain the information they are looking for.
Adopt asynchronous communication- Asynchronous communication methods can automatically create documents and add to your knowledge base. This can prevent knowledge silos and undocumented data.
Encourage collaboration- Knowledge management cannot be effective if done only from top down. It must be a team effort where employees can contribute, share content and exchange feedback that is vital for smooth organizational functioning.
Steps in Knowledge Management
You can adopt the following steps if you are looking to build a new knowledge management system:
This step involves understanding what kind of information needs to be captured, whether it is structured or unstructured, is it for a team or several teams, who is responsible for capturing it and what is the ideal way to store this information.
In this step, you can answer questions such as number of employees/teams who have access to the knowledge, whether the knowledge is being distributed directly or digitally, is any technology being used for this, and what is the time spent on distributing this information.
In this step, you understand if the knowledge is easy to decipher, how many teams are able to access this information, has this knowledge been used in the past and is there a vision for how you want to work with the insights.
Benefits of Knowledge Management
Knowledge management has a variety of benefits. Some of the primary benefits of adopting a knowledge management system for organizations are:
A big risk of not effectively managing knowledge in an organization is failed innovations. New products and services do not meet customer expectations. When you prioritize knowledge management, you can use the results of a well-conducted research to drive innovations and better business performance.
Knowledge management is not only about your company’s knowledge or insights but involves techniques of applying them that can help your organization perform better than your competitors.
To run a budget efficient business, it is necessary to monitor employee productivity and knowledge management can reduce the costs of managing new knowledge and duplicate research. The cost of duplicate research is double, namely the investment on original research plus the cost of duplicate research.
With a robust knowledge management system in place, you can ensure that new hires have access to all the information and knowledge that is needed to be productive. Be it organizational processes or market research or policy documents and reports, new hires can gain a solid understanding of the company’s key aspects.
In the present day digital era, there is a never-ending exchange of knowledge and information. Handling huge volumes of information may create unnecessary stress and workload on the employees. Handling correspondence via email, and message notifications makes workers lose focus on their main job. By curating and managing knowledge effectively, you can reduce the excessive load on the employees, improve their health and well-being.
While finding the right knowledge sharing tools is a vital part of a knowledge management system in an organization, the more challenging task is to adopt the right approach to managing knowledge to yield long-term results and help teams collaborate and make better, more productive decisions.