Any organization’s primary focus is to get good growth and increase efficiency. Proper Knowledge management within the organization will automatically do that. In this article, we will discuss knowledge management for businesses and its importance
A wise man once said, “We are no longer in the dispensation of age and experience. We are in the era of knowledge and information. Information leads a true leader, and a true leader leads others.”
Great leaders drive great businesses. Knowledge is the combinations of information and the understanding of how this information fits and works in a particular context. Regardless of the nature of the business, Knowledge management is at the core of its existence.
What is knowledge management?
Knowledge management is the process of identifying, obtaining, storing, organizing, and sharing knowledge. Knowledge management aims to improve an organization’s efficiency and Save knowledge within the company.
The need of knowledge management within businesses is much more needed since knowledge access among employees became a vital role in improving productivity.
We can categorize knowledge into two types:
Explicit knowledge – As the word suggests, explicit knowledge is a type of knowledge that can easily be acquired and managed using databases. Sharing this type of knowledge is relatively more straightforward than implicit knowledge.
Implicit knowledge – is a type of knowledge that is not easily obtained or captured. It is the type of knowledge that one gains through time and experience. It is not easy to grab and transfer such kind of knowledge.
Why is knowledge management important for a business?
The focus and purpose of knowledge management are to acquire critical information and knowledge and disseminate it effectively to help the organization progress and grow.
A practical implementation of a knowledge management system will enable the organization to:
- Capture, store, and organize the explicit knowledge
- Obtain and transform valuable implicit knowledge into explicit knowledge.
- Make the stored knowledge database easily accessible to the relevant parties inside the organization and the customers.
An effective knowledge management system can help the organization with the onboarding of the employees and the customers. It can help the management with the workflows and the communication within and outside the organization. It can also help with human resources and deployment.
In essence, well-defined and executed knowledge management processes can help the organization in every aspect of its operations.
Organizations can use blog posts, white papers, knowledge base, wiki, and FAQ archives to effectively and efficiently broadcast the knowledge.
Key benefits of the knowledge management system
Knowledge plays a vital role in the growth of a business; that is why it is imperative to implement good knowledge management processes. Below are a few of the key benefits that can be achieved with proper knowledge management:
- Better and improved alignment of the teams and employees
Commonly shared knowledge allows and enables the team members to stay on the same page and align better. According to TINYpulse 2019 employee engagement report, employees become more engaged if they realize their value for the company.
- Increase in the productivity of the teams
An effective KM enables the employees to access documents about best practices and instructions seamlessly, and that in return improves the efficiency of the workers.
Training your employees and making them aware of your resources is an important step in aligning employees with your organizational goals. A survey done by TSIA in 2017 revealed that more than 70% of businesses believed that if they increased and improved their knowledge management processes, it would help increase their productivity.
- Knowledge retention within the organization
As we know by now, that implicit knowledge stays in the heads of the workers. Suppose this knowledge is not coded into a more tangible form, such as explicit knowledge and stored. If that employee leaves the company, there is a danger of losing such valuable knowledge. Such loss could leave a knowledge gap and impact the business.
A properly executed knowledge management system would ensure the prevention of such loss and ensure retention of valuable knowledge.
- Evolving knowledge and business growth
As the culture of knowledge management is encouraged and practiced in the organization, it keeps the focus on improving KM. Knowledge is not just shared and utilized, and it is also enhanced as time goes.
New experiences, experiments, and their outcomes are stored in the knowledge database. This practice encourages innovation within the organization.
Look at the below chart to see how KM with evolving knowledge can impact the business:
Source: TSIA2017 Knowledge management survey
1- Customer acquisition and retention through enhanced customer experience
A sound knowledge management system works internally in the organization and focuses on external elements such as customers and clients. Onboarding becomes easy and smooth for new clients and customers if they can get as much info about the product or service before deciding to engage.
Their feedback can be captured and addressed in more effective manners for existing customers, documentation of the issues and resolution can become part of the knowledge database for future reference. Organizations can deliver Know-how WIKIs, FAQs, instructional documents through automated digital platforms. That will reduce manual costs, help the customers find the resolution faster. It will also reduce the customer support tickets volume as the customers find solutions online through the database.
For any business, customer experience matters a lot. A solid KM can help to ensure a smooth, timely customer experience.
2- Guidelines to implement a knowledge management system for your business
Implementation of knowledge management does not happen overnight; it’s a slow, gradual process. Below are a few points to consider when considering knowledge management for your organization.
Knowledge management is not a one-off event or practice; it is a continually ongoing process. This is instead a culture than a ritual. It requires intentional efforts from all involved parties.
All involved parties should participate in adopting and implementing the KM. If there are gaps left inside the database of knowledge, that will interrupt the learning process of the beneficiaries and render the knowledge base useless and lacking.
Make sure all the relevant knowledge is available to all the parties and stakeholders. This dissemination of knowledge should be smooth and convenient.
Knowledge is evolving in its nature; that is why KM is progressive. It should not stop. In this information age, information can get outdated amazingly fast as new technologies emerge. So, a KM should be dynamic also.
Let us talk about the processes involved in building an effective knowledge management system for businesses.
- Define your objectives and focus
What is the purpose of creating this knowledge database? Knowledge can be varied in an organization, define the focus of the knowledge database. There may be more than one knowledge stream and database in an organization. Each should have a specified direction.
- Determine and define involved parties
Define the involved parties, stakeholders for each knowledge base. It is best to define and assign roles to the involved parties for creating a knowledge management system. These roles may include project managers, knowledge finders, knowledge processors, knowledge creators, etc.
- Determine and define tools and technology for KM
There are plenty of technologies and tools such as software available for knowledge management. Find out the best tech and tools available that suit the size and nature of your business.
The next step in knowledge management is to start the KM process; here are few steps:
- Collection of knowledge
- Organization of knowledge
- Summarization of information
- Storage of knowledge
Knowledge management is a tedious and evolving process. But with experience and experimenting, one can improve and master the skill. Here is one helpful link for learning more about knowledge management.
It is advisable to use a Training Management Software cum knowledge management system that will make the employee training, knowledge sharing, feedback collection, etc. smoother with a better understanding of metrics.