Knowledge Management: Why is it critical to your business?
The term “knowledge management” has been around for years. In the meantime, this term has also permeated the daily routine in the workplace. We all want to work “smarter” and “do something” with the knowledge that is present in our organization. But what exactly is knowledge management? And why is it indispensable in an organization? I will explain it in this blog.
What do we mean by ‘knowledge’?
To answer the key question of this blog, I will explain what is meant by ‘knowledge’. The different types of knowledge within an organization are:
- Data and information
- Experience from individuals in the company
- Skills that an organization can use to solve specific tasks or problems
Data and information is explicit knowledge. You can record and share this “tangible knowledge”. If the employee leaves at the end of the day, this explicit knowledge remains in the company. Experience and skills are seen as tacit knowledge. This “intangible knowledge” belongs to the employees. The employee, therefore, takes it home at the end of his working day. In the worst case, the employee leaves the company and this knowledge disappears completely from the organization.
What is Knowledge Management?
Knowledge management is all about capturing, sharing, using and managing tangible and intangible knowledge in an organization. The purpose of managing knowledge is to facilitate so organizations can work as efficiently as possible towards their goals.
It is a way to perform the tasks as good and efficiently as possible. If you are considering introducing knowledge management into your organization, keep in mind that this is not a responsibility of one department, for example, HR or IT. In fact, it should be widely supported throughout the organization. Managing knowledge is a journey, not a destiny.
A smarter organization
Nobody wants to keep reinventing the wheel. Organizations already ‘managed’ their knowledge probably since they existed. However, the shape keeps changing, of course. Until recently, we stored information in filing cabinets and libraries. We followed training courses in the classroom. And we still exchange experiences, very informally, with our colleagues at the coffee machine or during lunch.
Organizations nowadays consciously stimulate this informal interaction and exchange of knowledge, for example through a document management system or by setting up an internal wiki. Also, creating your own company-specific training is so accessible nowadays that more and more organizations are working on this. But the new technology does not only bring us conveniences in the field of knowledge and information transfer. We are also dealing with an overload of knowledge and data. Due to the rise of the internet, we are collecting more and more data. And without the correct interpretation, that data remains worthless. Not surprising that storing, processing and interpreting this enormous amount of information brings new challenges.
Knowledge management challenges
The problem with knowledge is that it is distributed and scattered throughout the organization. One of the core questions of knowledge management is, therefore: How do we record knowledge and how do we make it available to others? The following aspects need to be clarified:
- How do we identify the knowledge carriers?
- How do we bring the internal experts together?
- How do we create environments for the exchange of knowledge?
- Where and how do we store, manage and document knowledge?
Ultimately, benefits should be drawn from a variety of information. Order is one lever, another is intelligent networking. Both of these require a system that is transparent and understandable for everyone involved in a company. Because knowledge management only brings something if it is lived.
Benefits of knowledge management
Increasing digitization makes it possible to store and share knowledge easily and inexpensively. In other words, employees can access information at any time and from anywhere and also develop it further and integrate it into their everyday work. Rather, employees no longer have to ask their colleagues for this knowledge.
However, employees have to clearly categorize their information and tag them with keywords to enable other colleagues to quickly find answers using a keyword search on selected topics. As soon as a piece of knowledge – for example, software code or a manual – has been developed, it can be used (or improved) again and again, which saves work and thus costs. There is less (unnecessary) communication. You can learn from mistakes or hurdles that have already occurred and nobody misses a development because it is “lying around” somewhere.
In the best case, professional knowledge management creates the breeding ground for innovations or deeper knowledge with which tangible company-related problems can be solved. Employees can make better, faster and more data-based decisions.
In short, organizations can improve their operating results if they manage their knowledge intelligently They succeed in increasing the productivity and competences of employees. Last but not least: your customers are happier!
How we can help
At IRIS Nederland we take information management seriously. Information is the source of every organization and therefor requires intelligent, future-proof solutions which meet the needs of organizations and their users. We keep that promise to our customers for over 20 years now. Whether you are looking to implement a new document- or any other information management solution: we have the experience to support you with such a project from start to finish.
Get in touch with us if you want to know more how our solutions and services can make your organization work more efficient, secure and smarter.