Beyond providing services or products, companies and organizations also generate insights. As enterprises grow, they amass data on best practices, effective strategies and crucial operations. Whether this information is documented or not, transforming data into company assets requires knowledge management.
Knowledge management is a sector that grew organically from the management consulting community. Consultants increasingly found highly-organized information systems were required to track and service global customers. Having built internal tools, like dashboards and databases, these agencies eventually began selling these information systems to other companies.
A growing field, knowledge management requires a wide spectrum of skills, including data analysis and programming. One study predicts the knowledge management sector will grow to a $1.1 trillion market by 2026. The COVID-19 pandemic has only accelerated demand for knowledge management professionals, as more jobs have become remote and demand improved knowledge management systems to operate efficiently.
With proper knowledge management, vital internal and historical information can be leveraged to facilitate company goals and improve internal structures.
What is Knowledge Management and Why is it Important?
Knowledge management is the active organization and coordination of company knowledge in order to improve efficiencies and strategies. Amassing historical company patterns and best practices can help inform training modules, synchronize work flows and align operations with seamless customer journeys.
Organizing information assets allows company leaders to more effectively address business projects and challenges, improving productivity and ultimately saving precious resources. Effective knowledge management often takes the form of organized internal information networks and can also extend to customer interfaces.
What is the Role of Knowledge Management?
The vital role knowledge management plays in an organization is to transform an entity’s knowledge into useable assets. Knowledge management aims to heal the divide between explicit knowledge, information well-documented and shared within an organization, and tacit knowledge, informal data difficult to retain.
For example, an organization’s director exceeds company sales standards month after month. Similar to sales representatives, the director develops client leads, sends persuasive emails and arranges consultations. However, this enterprise leader may leverage specific tactics to ensure success. For instance, perhaps they use specific language in business correspondences to illicit positive lead responses.
Knowledge management involves assessing what strategies valuable team members employ to achieve success and deriving how to integrate these approaches in a systematic way that is beneficial to the whole organization. Overall, the main purposes of knowledge management are to streamline these knowledge assets to decrease support costs, increase customer happiness, and improve overall customer experience and customer success ROI.
What is the Knowledge Management Process?
As with any discipline, successful knowledge management entails enacting key strategies. Several advisable steps facilitate developing knowledge management systems:
- Discover – This process comprises extracting data that is potentially useful to organizational operations, communications and strategies. This step can include employing data mining and assessing patterns to identify opportunity areas.
- Capture – This step involves gathering useful information from existing company systems, stakeholder interviews, documents and platforms. Comparing tacit knowledge variables contributing to outstanding employee performances to gaps in communicated best practices is an example of capturing vital information used to implement knowledge management.
- Process – This undertaking requires various actions to organize and assess information to make it digestible and accessible by organization team members. Data must be catalogued to be easily retrieved and navigated. Knowledge must also be assessed and verified to ensure accuracy.
- Share– Whether using company knowledge to construct helpful platforms or develop training materials, data generated during the previous steps must be articulated by company leaders and integrated into vital operations. Holding trainings, creating webinars and developing virtual onboarding paths are all important sharing methods.
- Create – Beyond establishing knowledge management systems, it’s vital to ensure users can easily input data and document new information. It’s advisable to encourage team member communication and knowledge management content creation by incentivizing users with rewards and recognition. This way, the structure your company builds will continue to deliver and add value.
This process is typically implemented by knowledge management specialists within a company or professional consultants who facilitate establishing knowledge management systems.
What are Some Knowledge Management Examples?
Keeping the above process in mind, you can synthesize newly-discovered company knowledge into helpful systems and applications Some of the most prominent implementations of knowledge management systems include:
- Cross-Department Trainings – This is a classic yet effective knowledge management strategy. This process typically involves more recent hires shadowing long-term, successful team members. Another iteration is initially staffing new locations with a hybrid of experienced and new workers to help implement best practices.
- Internal Social Networking Platforms – As COVID-19 has forced many companies to conduct business remotely, workplace organization platforms like monday.com have increased in popularity. These social platforms also act as professional applications for knowledge management, as they store historical data on projects, team member conversations and work requirements.
- Chatbots – Although typically encountered on a consumer level, chatbots are also being implemented within companies. As employees can use an organization chatbot to ask questions about company policies regarding subjects like insurance, paid time off and pay stubs, productivity time is reserved for focusing on vital functions and operations.
- Document Coordination Systems – Easily-accessible tools like Google Drive are excellent platforms for storing and organizing documents. These cloud systems allow for meta-tagging for easy searchability.
- Informative Tutorials – When a new employee is hired, or a new system integrated into a company’s operations, tutorials lend a hand in disseminating vital best practices. Incorporating video explanations is an excellent way to articulate expectations and details clearly in an accessible form.
What are the Key Benefits of Knowledge Management?
Implementing effective knowledge management system can yield impressive results for businesses and organizations of all sizes. Some notable benefits include:
- Improved Customer Service – One of the most rewarding result of implementing effective knowledge management is improved customer service. For instance, as team members are better prepared, clients will feel more confident in an organization’s services or products.
- Reduced Employee Turnover – Another noticeable side effect of integrating knowledge management systems is a reduction in employee turnover. As teams become more knowledgeable and empowered with contemporary and effective strategies, they feel more valued in their positions. Additionally, a well-informed team will commit less missteps in implementing customer service, leading to fewer accountability discussions between supervisors and staff.
- Increased Responsiveness – As the entire company becomes more knowledgeable, response time will improve. On an employee level, available information systems can easily answer practical questions. At a supervisor level, easily-accessible data relieve productivity time so that leaders can focus on piloting their departments to achieve and exceed company goals.
- Higher Output – Improved customer service and increased responsiveness can lead to higher company outputs. As customers receive better service and employees are better equipped to handle at-work challenges, client interfacing can be streamlined and sales maximized.
Other benefits of implementing knowledge management include improved decision-making, faster problem-solving, accelerated innovation and better company communication.
Knowledge is an Asset Too Valuable to Ignore
As more businesses integrate improved digital systems, it’s vital to get ahead of the curve and leverage one of your organization’s most important assets: knowledge. Though establishing knowledge management can be challenging, abiding by a systematic process of capturing, discovering, processing, sharing and creating data helps tremendously.
Holding trainings, establishing internal knowledge-sharing platforms and incorporating company knowledge into automated interfaces will all improve productivity and help your bottom line achieve success.