3 Essential Steps to Establishing an Effective Process for Knowledge Management
Knowledge management is no longer a luxury reserved for the world’s biggest brands; it’s an essential component of effective enterprise operations. Knowledge is as valuable to the modern enterprise as the most costly physical infrastructure assets, and it plays an equally critical role in competitive advantage and forward progress. Likewise, knowledge management is also capable of producing ROI.
As MIT points out, knowledge management (KM) actually existed for a long time before the term ‘knowledge management’ was widely used. Of course, enterprises always required some method for organizing their information assets. But knowledge management has become a greater concern today as the digitalization of the world has vastly increased the amount of information and data stored by companies. As such, the need for better knowledge management practices has become a top concern for many enterprise CIOs.
- What’s the business problem?
The first step in designing better knowledge management processes is to identify the business problem. Narrowing the focus here is a necessary step to developing solutions that are in line with business objectives. Starting with something as broad as, “We need a better system for organizing our intellectual property,” results in a complex, daunting process without a clear road map. Plus, if you attempt to solve all problems or implement solutions that solve an issue that’s not really a pain point, you’ll end up with a solution that fails to deliver value or ROI.
Instead, identify the primary pain point(s) that you’re aiming to solve. Do you need better onboarding processes? A way to transfer knowledge easily between departments or individuals? Does your customer service team struggle to locate the most up-to-date technical product guides that help them solve customer issues? While any and all of these things may be a concern, identifying the primary pain point and focusing on addressing each component will ultimately allow you to refine your efforts and create building blocks that culminate with a complete knowledge management solution.
- Establish a knowledge management team.
After identifying the primary business problem you’re aiming to solve, you can establish a dedicated knowledge management team with representatives from each department or division within your organization that will be impacted by changes. This team will offer valuable insight into proposed processes and solutions, ensuring that new methods will be readily adopted by your team after implementation.
Additionally, KM team members also serve as KM champions within your organization, which helps to incentivize teams to utilize newly established systems. For KM to be effective, you need solutions that don’t disrupt existing business process as well as facilitates the input of knowledge in order for the system to remain up-to-date and, thus, valuable.
- Identify the best way to organize content and create discoverability.
The best way to organize knowledge depends on several factors including the source of the knowledge, target users, and format. If you’re aiming to provide technical troubleshooting information to customer support reps, a wiki or searchable FAQ page may work better than a series of files stored in a designated folder that require reps to manually browse through document titles to identify the proper resource, for example.
If you’re aiming to make marketing assets accessible by distributed marketing teams, a solution like Docurated’s sales enablement tool is a more effective option than a content management system, eliminating silos without requiring your marketing team to manually move content to a central repository or disrupt their current systems.
Choosing the right solution for organizing knowledge and enhancing accessibility is the key to the kingdom in the world of knowledge management. There are all sorts of solutions that can aid knowledge management in some way, but it’s rarely a one-size-fits-all proposition.
Beginning with clear goals in mind and gaining insight from your team members on the front lines who will be relying on new KM systems to carry out their job duties are critical for establishing effective KM systems – KM is only effective as long as it’s being utilized to its fullest extent, so implementing new solutions that your team members aren’t inclined to use is merely wasted effort. Aim to establish KM processes that address your key pain points, are in line with business objectives, and enhance discoverability without disrupting established working methods for the best results.
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