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Cracking The Knowledge Management Technology Code

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Cracking The Knowledge Management Technology Code

Jan 19, 2022   |  By
KMI Guest Blogger Adam Bielanski

In recent years, knowledge management systems have changed business and customer success. And companies who don't want to be left in the dust need to start using new tools that can help them simplify complex data and develop better ways to store and access information to achieve better business outcomes instead of relying on bandaid solutions for an easy fix.

However, cracking the code to a new knowledge management technology is no easy feat, especially for large companies with massive data and endless amounts of information.

There are many software programs out there claiming to be the end-all tool that can help you manage your entire business strategy in a few simple clicks, but it's only half true.

The good news: There are programs that can genuinely help you manage your data and access it in a way that makes sense for your company but only if you know the right questions to ask and the best features that make sense for your company.

In this article, we're going to take a closer look at what knowledge management technology is and what it can do to help you better understand your customers, improve your internal processes, and how to take this technology to your advantage to see real and measurable results.

What is knowledge management technology and how do organizations benefit from it?

A knowledge management system is an IT solution that stores and retrieves information. Creating and developing an efficient KM system aims to enhance comprehension, collaboration, and process alignment to develop better strategies that achieve favorable business outcomes.

Knowledge management can also refer to technologies that allow businesses of all sizes to better organize, share, and capture information in a single platform. Examples include document management systems, content management systems, data warehouses, and customer relationship management (CRM) software.

The benefits of knowledge management technology for businesses can be summed up in three main areas:

  • Improved Customer Understanding
  • Better Internal Process Alignment
  • Measurable Results

Improved Customer Understanding

One of the reasons organizations implement knowledge management systems is to better understand their customers' needs, requirements, and preferences. It also offers companies an in-depth view of how their customers use their products and services. The collected data could then be used to implement necessary adjustments to improve prior offerings or to come up with new ones. Improved customer understanding can also lead to increased customer satisfaction and loyalty.

Some examples of KM systems that help businesses better understand their customers include:

  • Survey software
  • Data collection tools for research purposes
  • Analytics programs that generate a report of gathered customer data

Better Internal Process Alignment

Another benefit of using knowledge management technology is that it helps improve internal process alignment. This is essential to companies with different departments that need to share critical information easily and conveniently to initiate organizational change or make smarter decisions throughout the entire business process.

For many companies, the primary reason for utilizing such technology is to give managers access to the collective knowledge of data and insights stored in a single platform. While this is true, a KM solution also supports a collaborative learning workplace that enables the easy transition of information across different teams and platforms. In addition, this improved communication also allows for a more streamlined workflow, which leads to increased efficiency and reduced costs.

Some examples of knowledge management solutions that help businesses improve their internal process include project management software, recruitment systems, and training software.

Measurable Results

When different teams can access the right information at the right time, they're better equipped to make quick decisions and avoid unnecessary delays.

A company using a knowledge management system can learn more about their customers and apply those insights to better deliver on customer needs. Consequently, companies can better understand their existing and new customers, improve customer experience, sell more, and ultimately boost their profits.

How can knowledge management technology be used to improve productivity in the workplace?

There are various applications.

As a Research Tool

Employees can use knowledge management technology to increase productivity by using it as a research tool. By having access to all company data and insights in one place, employees can quickly find the information they need without searching through multiple folders or databases across multiple platforms and computers. This also enables managers to create and compile reports more quickly and efficiently.

As a Customer Relationship Management System

Second, employees can use knowledge management solutions by sharing information with each other easily and conveniently. When different teams within an organization have easy access to critical information, they can work more productively together. For example, customer service representatives can leverage this technology to share information with different teams to provide a better customer solution and improve customer success management. Some examples of CRM tools are Microsoft Dynamics 365, Salesforce CRM, and Zoho CRM.

As a Document Management System

When employees have easy access to important company data and insights, they can also identify issues faster, solve problems more easily and mitigate risks before they escalate. As a whole, they do their jobs more effectively without seeking approval or help from other departments. This allows them greater autonomy within the organization so that they can take on more significant projects, which ultimately leads to increased productivity across the board.

As an Intranet

An intranet is a corporate website where employees can access company information, communicate with colleagues, and manage projects. By having a central repository for all critical company data and insights, employees can find the information they need without searching through multiple folders or databases. This saves time and eliminates the risk of losing critical information.

As a Data Warehouse

Data warehouses combine data from various sources into a single, centralized, consistent data repository to aid in data analysis, data mining, artificial intelligence (AI), and machine learning. Extracting information from these repositories allows businesses to extract insights and customer patterns that enable executives to make data-driven decisions.

As a Content Management System

A content management system (CMS) enables businesses to manage digital content creation, editing, publishing, and deletion. A CMS typically provides a user interface and tools that allow non-technical users to create and manage website content without learning how to code. This is beneficial for businesses because it will enable them to update their site without coding skills easily.

As a Collaboration Platform

A collaboration platform allows businesses to easily share information, documents, ideas, and projects with each other online. These platforms are also known as enterprise social networks and enable employees to easily collaborate no matter where they're located or what time zone they live in. For organizations, it provides them the ability to increase employee engagement, retain top talent, and support a hyper-flexible workforce.

As a Decision Support System

A decision support system (DSS) is an interactive computer application that allows users to make better decisions by helping them gather, analyze, and understand data. DSSs are used in various industries, including healthcare, finance, education, and manufacturing. By providing employees with insights and data-driven decision models, businesses can improve their bottom line while reducing risks.

Now that you know more about what KM technology is and what it can do for you, let's understand how to choose the right KM system for your organization.

Building Blocks of a Successful KM Strategy

Before you can even begin to think about choosing a KM system, you need to understand your business goals and objectives clearly. Once you have that in place, you can then start thinking about the specific features and functionality you need to achieve those goals.

With that said, let's take a look at some of the features to consider when evaluating KM systems:

1. Accessibility and Ease of Use:

The interface should be user-friendly and intuitive so that the learning curve is minimal and adoption is quicker. It should also have a cloud storage feature, accessible from any device, whether it's a desktop computer, laptop, tablet, or smartphone.

Suppose your organization uses a lot of video and PDF files. In that case, you should also make sure that it supports this format or has an option to convert files and documents into searchable text for easier retrieval.

2. Data Integration and Visualization

Ideally, your KM system should have the ability to integrate with your company's existing data sources, including ERP, CRM, and HR systems. This way, you do not need to shell out additional funds for data integration and can get started using the system right away.

The system should also come with built-in reporting and visualization tools to easily see how your company's data is being used and what insights it is providing.

3. Analytics and Reporting

Your KM system should come with built-in analytics and reporting that allow you to see what information is most in demand, which projects are taking up the bulk of your employees' time, and how much money specific departments are spending on outsourced work.

4. Security and Compliance

Make sure that the system you choose has robust security features in place to protect your company's data. It should also be compliant with industry-specific regulations such as HIPAA and GDPR.

5. AI and Machine Learning Capabilities

The development of machine learning capabilities can give your KM system the ability to detect and classify relevant information for you automatically. With machine learning, you can have access to predictive insights and recommendations, which can help you better formulate winning sales and marketing strategies.

In other countries, AI and machine learning are used in the healthcare industry to identify repeat offenders and people with mental health conditions. Over the years, natural language processing (NLP) has also become more accurate, making it the perfect tool for handling unstructured data.

Jeff Bezos, CEO of Amazon, believes that AI will be the key to unlocking new opportunities for optimizing business processes, "Much of what we do with machine learning happens beneath the surface. Machine learning drives our algorithms for demand forecasting, product search ranking, product and deals recommendations, merchandising placements, fraud detection, translations, and much more".

Cracking the Code of the Future

There is no one-size-fits-all answer when it comes to deciding to invest in a KM system. It depends on your specific business needs and what you hope to achieve with the system. However, by keeping the above features in mind, you'll be well on your way to making an informed decision.

The right KM system will provide business users with the information they need to streamline operations, reduce costs, support faster decision-making, increase employee engagement and productivity while enabling you to adapt quickly in a fast-paced marketplace.  

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About the Author

Adam Bielanski is the CEO of Sierra Pacific Group, who puts the “Vision” back in Visionary – Shaping today’s business leaders for tomorrow’s technology business. If you’re ready to start becoming an effective business leader, then connect with me on LinkedIn.

 

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