Knowledge Management Institute

Explaining Knowledge Management; It's Importance, Use Cases and Types

How would you like to be a Guest Blogger for KMI? Email us at: info@kminstitute.org and let us know your topic(s)!

Explaining Knowledge Management; It's Importance, Use Cases and Types

Mar 31, 2022   |  By
KMI Guest Blogger Sasi Dharan

Knowledge Management: Key Questions and Answers

 

Do you understand the difference between information and knowledge? In a business context, information gathering happens at all levels of an organization. It can include everything from customer interactions to internal company meetings. On the other hand, knowledge is what every member of an organization understands and uses in their everyday activities. 75% of companies realize that knowledge management is crucial for their success. Let's look at knowledge management and its benefits to your workplace. 

What is Knowledge Management? 

So, what is knowledge management? IBM defines knowledge management as a way to identify, organize, store and share information. A knowledge management system is a platform that gathers business information to help streamline operations such as:

- Recruitment
- Training, and
- Communication

Additionally, knowledge management can foster better:

- Transparency
- Accountability, and
- Collaboration

Each of which helps improve employee satisfaction and retention.   

What are the Goals of Knowledge Management? 

Knowledge management serves several key goals in an enterprise. The goals of a knowledge management system are to: 

  • Keep knowledge in an easily-accessible form
  • Share knowledge with the right people at the right time
  • Break down information silos 
  • Maintain knowledge if valuable employees leave the company
  • Create a culture of continuous learning 

What are the Benefits of Knowledge Management? 

The main benefit of knowledge management is efficient business operations. A knowledge management system makes a business more agile because it: 

  • Improves the quality of business data
  • Boosts collaboration within your team
  • Identifies skill and competency gaps for training opportunities
  • Enables faster decision-making at all levels 
  • Increases data security for intellectual property 
  • Creates standardized business processes 

What are the Challenges of Knowledge Management? 

Like every business process, knowledge management can present challenges to an organization. Here are four of the top challenges organizations face when it comes to knowledge management:

  • Some employees may hoard their knowledge to maintain their positions in the company
  • Knowledge sharing is not a priority for employees because of their existing workloads
  • Knowledge management systems need proper configuration with the right permissions. The aim is to protect sensitive business information
  • A knowledge management framework takes more time and human resources to update and maintain

What are the Types of Knowledge in an Organization? 

Three main types of organizational knowledge drive your knowledge management process: 

1. Explicit knowledge

Documented information like policies, product specifications, service functionality, and other business-generated content.

2. Implicit or embedded knowledge

Information about business processes such as:
- Recruitment or merit systems
- Routines
- Manuals, and 
- Organizational culture

3. Tacit knowledge

This is practical know-how about business operations gained through experience. This includes subject matter expertise held by certain employees.

Practically speaking, these types of knowledge come from: 

  • Organizational documents like reports, business records, and market research 
  • Structural information such as:
    • Company hierarchy charts
    • Handbooks
    • Presentation formats workflows
    • Best practices, and 
    • Business strategies
  • Group data like mentorship programs, project teams, and training groups
  • Individual knowledge like customer inquiries, notebooks, or even a team member’s memory

Knowledge Management Use Cases

A knowledge management framework finds value in the following business processes: 

Onboarding

New team members can quickly search and find what they need on a centralized knowledge management system. This significantly reduces training time and increases competence levels. 

Customer support

Customer service teams can find quick references and answers for inquiries. 

Internal communications

Teams can seek out knowledge directly from the system and save emails and chats for priority queries. 

Inventory updates

All departments get notified of product changes like prices, upgrades, or shortages. 

What is the Knowledge Management Process? 

To manage knowledge in your organization, first you must understand how knowledge arises in business and how to make it work for you. 

The ideal knowledge management process has six steps: 

1. Knowledge discovery

Figure out your organization's implicit, explicit and tacit sources of knowledge.  

2. Knowledge auditing

Check that all your information is relevant, up-to-date, and error-free. 

3. Knowledge structuring

Organize your information into a searchable, accessible knowledge management database. 

4. Knowledge sharing

Grant your team secure access to your knowledge management system. Encourage them to contribute and share their knowledge on the platform and create an incentive program to promote the sharing process. 

5. Knowledge application

Reward team members who use the knowledge to improve their performance. 

6. Knowledge creation

Keep gathering and updating your knowledge management system according to the outlined steps. 

What are Knowledge Management Tools? 

Anything that captures business information and generates insights is a knowledge management tool. That qualifies your basic spreadsheets as one. However, knowledge management tools can be highly specialized to match your industry. The most common tools include: 

  • Content management systems (CMS) for online publishing
  • Intranets for sharing business information securely within an organization 
  • Data warehouses that use machine learning and artificial intelligence (AI) to aggregate and analyze data
  • Feedback databases for project management communications 
  • Document management systems for hosting all digital business documents 

Conclusion 

Your knowledge management process depends on your company's size and structure. Smaller companies can build a goldmine of business data and scale up over time. Larger companies can put in place a system for digital transformation and business forecasting. Implement a knowledge management strategy to improve your business outcomes today!

~~~ 

Sasi Dharan, Marketing Manager, Profit.co

In his current role, he leads the Digital Marketing Team. He has a decade of experience in Project management, Operation Excellence Consulting, and Digital Marketing. 

He is passionate about creating new approaches to brand awareness, and demand generation. He is passionate about learning new technologies, and strategies in marketing and deploying them in his organization. He is also an avid traveler and a biker who has traveled almost 7000miles in a year.

 

Linkedin: linkedin.com/in/sasiceo
Twitter:  https://twitter.com/SasiDha56015764

 

How to Contact Us

3554 Founders Club Drive, 
Sarasota, FL, 34240 (USA)

Phone:         (US) 1-703-327-7096

Training: training@kminstitute.org
General Questions: info@kminstitute.org
Partnering: eric.weidner@kminstitute.org

Follow us on Twitter Connect to us on Linked In Like us on Facebook Join us on Slack

What's Coming Up

Information Architecture Certification (US)
July 26-27; click here...

Certified Knowledge Manager (US)
July 25-29; click here... 

Certified Knowledge Manager (Gulf Region)
Sep 26-29; click here...

Full Calendar

 

© 2022 KM Institute

All Rights Reserved.