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7 Key Components to a Successful Knowledge Management Strategy

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7 Key Components to a Successful Knowledge Management Strategy

Jan 20, 2023   |  By
KMI Guest Blogger Gary Wyatt

If you are embarking on a Knowledge Management journey then it is important to set it up for success from the beginning. Here are my 7 key components for a successful Knowledge Management strategy. 

Vision / Scope / Strategic principles

Defining the organisation's vision for Knowledge Management is an essential first step. Make sure it is linked to the organisation's strategy and helps tell the story of where it wants to head with Knowledge Management. A clear scope and boundaries regarding what is in/out of the KM Strategy are also vital. It's also essential to agree on KM Strategic principles or guidelines that the KM program team and stakeholders will adhere to from the outset. 

  • Where - Vision helps set the KM destination,
  • What - Scope determines what will be achieved. 
  • How - Principles are the rules to follow to get there successfully.

For a successful strategy, you will need to define the current state, the ideal future state (based on the vision) and the tasks involved to get to that future state for the six components below.

Content

Content will likely be the most time-consuming component and critical to the success of any KM strategy. You'll often hear "Content is King" in many Knowledge Management industry forums, and from what i have seen on all my KM deployments, I agree - Content is indeed King. 

Content will need to be Identified, Analysed, and Prioritised. Editorial standards will need to be defined and agreed. Taxonomy approach defined. Then comes the task of creating and curating content in a way that works for the frontline users and customers and managing it successfully on an ongoing basis.

People 

It's crucial to identify all the critical stakeholders in a successful KM strategy and be clear about the roles and responsibilities of each and how they influence the overall strategy. Here are some examples: -

  • Customers and Customer-Facing users
  • Senior Stakeholders and Decision Makers
  • Knowledge Champions
  • KM Manager and Team
  • Knowledge Architect
  • Approvers (Legal, Compliance, Regulators, Product owners, Process owners etc.)
  • Key content collaborators and SMEs
  • External Vendors
  • Technology teams (IT, Digital, Developers, UX designers)
  • Relevant business stakeholders (HR, Training, Back office, Finance etc.)

It's also essential to map the current organisational structure for these stakeholders and highlight opportunities to improve in line with the broader KM strategy

Technology

Knowledge Management initiatives are often seen as IT or Technology implementations, which they are not. Technology is an enabler for the other components of KM to be successful. Technology can be a headache, so it is essential to take a step back and define requirements as to what it is you want from technology to help you achieve your vision. Assess your organisation's existing technology against your needs to highlight any opportunities. For example, what already exists in the organisation to support the end users accessing knowledge? What exists to support the curation, creation, and lifecycle management of knowledge?

Engage your relevant technical stakeholders in this process to ensure buy-in to the strategy and ensure the KM strategy aligns with the internal IT strategy.

If necessary, engage with the relevant vendors (existing and new) to talk through your requirements and see what they can offer.

Its always useful to attend industry events and participate in Knowledge Management forums to keep up to date. 

Process

Analyse existing processes to identify what's working well and what needs improvement. When going through this process, it is often easier to build KM practices into existing processes rather than creating new methods from scratch. Some process examples could be: -

  • How is the end-to-end content lifecycle managed? 
  • Where does content originate? 
  • How is it captured? 
  • How is it reviewed and validated? 
  • How does it get published to the end user?
  • Is there an end-user feedback loop?
  • How are end users trained on using knowledge?
  • How are users notified of knowledge updates?
  • How is knowledge circulated and shared?
  • What is the continuous improvement process to review, improve or remove content?
  • What are the ongoing Engagement and adoption activities?
  • How is the KM team trained and coached in their roles?  
  • How do you onboard new starters (identified in the people section) on the KM culture?

Governance

Governance is needed to ensure that the KM strategy is on track and delivered as planned. For example, there could be a steering committee of various stakeholders to make critical decisions (in line with the strategic principles) to ensure the strategy is delivering value. Ongoing Senior stakeholder engagement and buy-in are crucial to the continuing success of KM, and the overall Governance structure must make sure this happens.

Consider creating a KM centre of excellence within the organisation, focussed on sharing best practice and keeping up to date with the latest KM industry trends around Content, Technology and Business process.

Metrics and Benefits

Metrics and benefits often get overlooked, but very important to keep on track against the broader KM Strategy and show the value it is delivering. Define the key metrics for your KM implementation and how you can measure against them. This may combine initial benefits against a business case and ongoing BAU KM metrics.

Culture 

Culture is far less tangible than the other KM Strategy components. However, it is vital to assess the existing Culture within an organisation. For example, are people motivated to share knowledge and participate in knowledge exchange sessions? Do people feel like they can freely challenge and give feedback on knowledge? Is there a problem with knowledge hoarding amongst more experienced employees? Ultimately you want the organisation to move to an open knowledge-sharing and knowledge-management evangelist culture. 

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About Gary Wyatt

Gary is an award-winning knowledge management professional with over 22 years of experience across multiple roles, countries, languages, and industries. Gary has a proven track record of helping businesses achieve greater effectiveness and efficiency through the application of knowledge management tools, principles, and techniques across multiple channels. Gary is committed to helping organisations to deliver tangible, measurable results and believes that by effectively managing and leveraging knowledge, businesses can unlock huge potential and achieve their goals.

See how his expertise in knowledge management can benefit your organization.  Follow Gary at LinkedIn...

 

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