Why knowledge management is important
Within any organization, knowledge and expertise reside in numerous and varied locations. These may range from employee onboarding materials and customer-support data, through internal email and chat threads, to the know-how and experience of individual employees.
This internal knowledge base presents in different types.
There’s explicit knowledge, such as how to file expenses or report a data breach, which covers topics that are easy to systematically document. Then there’s implicit knowledge, consisting of learned skills or know-how which often includes practical applications of explicit knowledge.
Finally, there is tacit knowledge, which consists of intangible information that is difficult to document directly or to express and share, such as the best practices developed by years of experience.
Properly harnessed, all of this data has the potential to improve employee performance, help optimize business processes, and contribute to innovation and organizational agility.
However, without proper knowledge management tools, these opportunities may go unnoticed.
Knowledge management is important because it retains each of the various types of knowledge within your organization.
What’s more, a well-configured and comprehensive knowledge management system helps to ensure that your workforce can access both the explicit knowledge required for routine tasks and the tacit knowledge built up over years, to create innovative solutions, services and products.
What is a knowledge management system?
Gartner, Inc., defines knowledge management or KM as “a business process that formalizes the management and use of an enterprise’s intellectual assets. KM promotes a collaborative and integrative approach to the creation, capture, organization, access and use of information assets, including the tacit, uncaptured knowledge of people.”
A knowledge management system (KMS) comprises the set of tools, procedures, working methods and desired behaviors that help an organization collect and share information and be more productive.
KMS solutions provide the specialist applications, tools, technologies and examples that an organization can use as building blocks to support repeatable processes and procedures for information management and knowledge sharing.
Components of knowledge management software
The best knowledge management software will typically provide an integrated suite of applications that cover various business functions. These may include:
Customer Relationship Management (CRM) Systems
Stores of customer data and transaction histories, which enable sales, marketing and support teams to fully understand the customer relationship and offer a more informed response to any issues that may occur.
A knowledge base system provides a searchable index or directory of content relating to many aspects of the business, including product and service lines, best practices, step-by-step procedures, etc.
Learning Management Systems (LMS)
LMS technology can provide on-demand training and skills acquisition to help optimize operations and improve employee performance.
The benefits of knowledge management software
There are several advantages to having a KMS. Among them are the following:
1. Improved access to information
With enterprise-wide knowledge management software, you can make essential information available via a centralized repository.
For example, you could use a Knowledge Base, accessible via your company intranet, to store equipment manuals, process documents, employee guidebooks, and established best practices. By giving your workers instant access to this knowledge, they can get more done more quickly, freeing time to focus on activities that offer greater value to the business.
2. Better decision-making
Knowledge base and enterprise collaboration tools provided by the best knowledge management systems facilitate access to skills and knowledge.
Access to explicit, implicit, and tacit knowledge from across the organization gives your employees a wealth of information, techniques, and perspectives that they can use as the basis for making better decisions.
3. Promote continuous learning
With learning management incorporated into your KMS, you can continuously deliver formalized training programs online.
For example, with an intranet-based KMS, employees can work through these programs on their own schedule, with automated alerts and reminders to help ensure that everything gets completed in good time. This creates a reliable framework for explicit knowledge transfer across your organization.
4. Improve the customer experience
With improved knowledge sharing and the greater collaboration made possible through knowledge management software, your workers are empowered to deliver value and support to consumers.
Learn more about our inbuilt Knowledge Management Software
An integrated knowledge management platform enables your organization to significantly reduce the time it takes to provide a proposal, product, or service to a customer. You can even help customers help themselves, by setting up a self-service knowledge base for them.
5. Reduce information leakage
If employees change location or leave your organization entirely, their knowledge, skills, and experience might disappear with them. By establishing a KMS, your knowledge management tools can help you retain the store of information and expertise that your employees – past and present – have contributed to the business.
6. Promote innovation
The best knowledge management software will provide you with the tools and facilities you need to logically and systematically store and access information that you can harness to innovate new products, services and techniques.
Putting it all together
A solid knowledge management strategy can lead to increased innovation, higher customer satisfaction, and heightened employee engagement.
To realize these benefits, you’ll need to take a holistic approach to knowledge sharing, with serious commitment at executive level, dedication to creating an open, engaged company culture and, where appropriate, an investment in the right technology.
A modern intranet is a powerful tool in this regard.
With Claromentis, you can use your intranet content management system to encourage knowledge sharing and collaboration among employees. Social intranet features such as open forums increase employee engagement and encourage sharing and discussion of best practices.
To learn more about how Claromentis can provide a knowledge management solution that’s in tune with your needs, book a demo with our experts.