The way we treat and use Knowledge is the main asset of modern organizations and one of the biggest competitive advantages that you can have against your competitors.
According to a study by IDC (International Data Corporation) “The knowledge worker spends about 2.5 hours per day, or roughly 30% of the workday, searching for information”.
In most cases, the information already exists in the organization, but for some reason it is not available or accessible.
The natural growth of organizations implies the emergence of new systems and with it more knowledge is added to the system.
But, in most cases, it is restricted to one person, area or department and rarely is available to the rest of the structure. Knowledge is thus retained in silos within the organization.
The lack of efficient knowledge management leads to:
- Duplication of information and content over several platforms
- Lack of consistency and standards in the presentation of information
- Information unavailable to all layers of the company
- Lack of access to information through user levels and segmentation
- Inconsistency in the information provided by the various channels with the Client
- Lack of statistics on document usage
- Extremely complex content creation and management
- High costs of content management on different platforms
- Very hard to find the right information
- Few people know the last updated official information and knowledge
What is Knowledge Management
Knowledge Management is the process of capturing, treating, sharing and managing the knowledge of an organization.
It is important to point out that this is an ongoing process in which organizations must strive to remain competitive.
To this end, a robust knowledge management platform is important to enable:
- Organize: your content by hierarchical topics or use tags to label your documents. Choose the combination that best fits your information architecture.
- Find: relevant knowledge the moment your team needs it.
- Share: knowledge must be available to all people and systems that need it. A powerful API as well as a robust system of permissions and roles are fundamental.
- Access: knowledge needs to be mobile to the people who need it. Tablets and mobile phones are the gateway to your organization’s knowledge. It should be available at anytime, anywhere and in any device.
- Analytics: gather and analyze relevant information about your users and content. Track key performance indicators such as visits, key words, downloads, goal conversion rate, and many more. Learn how your team uses the knowledge and what are they looking for.
Knowledge management benefits
Efficient information management enables smooth, fast and direct dissemination of knowledge throughout the organization and ensures that people are able to perform their tasks more efficiently, saving time and gaining efficiency.
A knowledge management system let you turn knowledge into a real, actionable asset.
Efficient knowledge management enables:
- Better and faster decision making
- Quickly and easily find relevant information
- Provide better customer service
- Reduce the inherent costs of content production, multiple system maintenance, and customer and team dissatisfaction
- Reuse content, ideas and experiences
- Avoid duplicate efforts
- Maintain consistency and standards in the presentation of information
- Spreading the company culture and values better
- Eliminate information asymmetries
How to capture Knowledge?
All organizations have huge amounts of information and knowledge that makes them unique towards competition. But often this knowledge is deposited in long-term employees or in informal systems.
In order to enable this Knowledge and manage it efficiently a good technology platform to support it is needed, but it is more than that. It is a process and a culture.
It is essential to create a long-term plan for an effective digital and cultural transformation. To allow continuous and enable permanent capture and knowledge sharing. It implies the creation of appropriate processes to match the organization specifics.
Implementing a knowledge management has several dimensions:
- Strategy & Design: definition of strategies and processes to capture, reconcile, share and manage the organization knowledge. Knowledge management implies multilevel leadership and accurate strategies to ensure adequate leadership.
- Build & Integrate: Choose the right application for your organization’s needs. It is crucial to Identify the appropriate integration requirements to ensure knowledge availability to all employees and systems. Also, at an early stage, it’s important to ensure efficient migration of all knowledge and strategies stored in the organization’s multiple informal systems.
- Adopt & Spread: The success of a Knowledge Management project is closely linked with cultural change. The culture of an organization influences how its cadres interact, share and consult knowledge. Ultimately it influences the resistance in adopting a new system and processes.
- Measure: in a logic of continuous improvement it is important to measure the use of knowledge and learn from observation. How many organizations do actually know what their teams are looking for? KM enables that quest.
Most Knowledge Management projects fail due to an excessive focus on the Knowledge Management system (software), overlooking the other aspects, which are also fundamental.
It is common to verify an effort focus on requirements definition of the software, convinced that once in production all the knowledge will become available.
Our experience tells us that, first and foremost, the whole process must be based on strategy and leadership. The technology will come later, to support the whole process and make the knowledge simple, quick and truly effective.
Return on Investment
There is no doubt that efficient knowledge management has enormous impact on business, teams and the way to interact with customers. Companies that can do so, will witness huge competitiveness advantages as well as tangible results in the short term.
In addition a good knowledge management allows an effective operation costs reduction.
As mentioned at the beginning of the article, knowledge workers spend an average of 30% of their time looking for information. What if we can reduce that time to only 20%? Why wait?