We live in a data-driven world right now where businesses make critical decisions based on their data. The amount of data we deal with continues to grow exponentially and is worth millions of dollars to every single business. When knowledge from your data is instantly accessible, it can add great value to your business by helping you make timely decisions. True business leaders are already aware of this and are already investing in knowledge management practices that could contribute to their future growth.
In this blog, we’ll discuss the different types of knowledge management, the strategies involved and how you can build a knowledge-centric organization.
What Is Knowledge Management?
Renowned thought leader Tom Davenport defines knowledge management as the process of capturing, distributing and effectively utilizing knowledge. Within an organization, it can be defined as the process of identifying, organizing, storing and distributing critical information that is valuable to the business.
In other words, knowledge management focuses on putting the right information in front of the right person at the right time. The main aim of knowledge management is to boost efficiency within an organization by reducing the time spent searching for information.
What are the types of knowledge management?
When exploring knowledge management, it is important to understand what the different types of knowledge are and how you can manage them within an organization. This classification is based on how knowledge is captured and organized.
- Tacit Knowledge: This refers to knowledge that is not captured in a formal fashion. It is mostly gained through experience and cannot be easily packaged or shared with others. For instance, leadership skills can be considered tacit knowledge. Similarly, critical thinking and understanding body language are examples of tacit knowledge.
- Explicit Knowledge: This refers to knowledge that is easily captured and can be codified, documented and easily shared with others. For instance, manuals, guides and reports that can be easily shared with teams are examples of explicit knowledge.
What is the difference between knowledge management and information management?
While they might sound similar, there is a subtle difference between knowledge management and information management. Knowledge is basically processed information that goes beyond just collecting, managing and distributing data. Here, the information is refined into something useful. While information focuses on processes, knowledge concerns people.
The Importance of Knowledge Management
Knowledge management boosts the efficiency of decision-making in an organization. In a competitive marketplace, this plays a key role in boosting a company’s growth. When you extract new information from data, it becomes knowledge discovery. This knowledge is vital in performing various tasks. When knowledge is managed the right way, it leads to innovations in the company.
By sharing the overall expertise of your organization with all your employees, you can build a smarter workforce that can make quick, effective decisions. Innovations fostered in this way will benefit your company in the long run and help you become more competitive in the industry.
What are the benefits of knowledge management?
Any organization following knowledge management could potentially reap the following tangible benefits:
- Superior Quality of Data & Information: Since knowledge management focuses on extracting useful information from data, it helps eliminate information silos within an organization. This leads to better quality information being stored and put to use.
- Onboarding & Training Efficiency: With superior quality data and information, you can easily train new employees during the onboarding process. It also becomes easy to share best practices and guidelines with new employees.
- Reduced Repetition & Mistakes: Better information availability leads to better decision-making. This eliminates mistakes in the process and helps avoid repetition. Efficient onboarding and training reduces mistakes as well as the learning curve of the organization.
- Improved Collaboration & Productivity: When mistakes are minimized, there is more focus on improvement and productivity. Knowledge management also boosts process transparency and increases collaboration towards mutual goals within an organization.
- Optimized Alignment & Decision-Making: When you manage to achieve all of the above, you get a culture that is goal-aligned and better able to make impactful decisions about the business. These information-driven decisions will help you easily achieve your business goals.
Knowledge Management Systems
A knowledge management system refers to an IT system that allows users to create, store, retrieve and share relevant knowledge whenever they want. This helps promote collaboration and alignment within an organization. While knowledge management systems exist within an organization, they can also be used as a base for your clients or customers.
What are the key components of knowledge management?
There are three components of knowledge management that can help build and sustain a knowledge management program. These components also play a major role in linking and connecting tacit knowledge with explicit knowledge. This makes knowledge easily searchable. Let’s look at them briefly.
- People: There are various stakeholders involved in a knowledge management framework. From senior leaders who sponsor and provide insight into organizational strategies, to cross-functional stakeholders who implement and support knowledge sharing, you need the right people to implement a knowledge management program. You need to build a documentation culture so that the whole organization is documenting rather than just one person.
- Process: The knowledge flow process involves creating, identifying, collecting, retrieving, sharing, accessing and using relevant information. With strong processes, you can remove bottlenecks and identify inputs and outputs of critical information.
- Technology: Technology helps you share knowledge with different stakeholders. With a strong IT infrastructure, you can facilitate knowledge transfer efficiently and help people boost their knowledge capability.
What are the steps of knowledge management?
Creating an effective knowledge management system involves the following four steps:
- Acquire, Capture & Create – This step involves gathering data or information from various sources. You need to scan various sources to identify what information to be included here.
- Organize & Store – This step involves cataloging and indexing content in your knowledge management system. The information should be easy to find and retrieve through the way you organize it.
- Analyze & Optimize – This step involves deeper analysis and optimization of knowledge to gain the most insights. This step should also focus on how to effectively share the acquired knowledge.
- Share & Use – Finally, once optimized, you share the knowledge within the organization and use it to innovate and improve processes.
How can knowledge management be improved?
When you look for ways to improve your knowledge management process, you need to clearly define the system first and then foster an environment of collaboration around it. The following techniques can boost your knowledge management framework.
- State Goals & Focus – Identify the data or information that is being tracked and establish its importance. You should also define what you are trying to get out of your knowledge management efforts.
- Know Who’s Involved & What Their Roles Are – The actors involved in the process must be identified and their roles must be defined. Employees need to know what they’re responsible for. This helps them play their roles correctly and efficiently.
- Choose the Right KMS – You need to choose technology and a system that fits into the organizational infrastructure. This should be easy to integrate with your existing systems and make data/information easily accessible.
- Train Involved Parties – People involved in the knowledge management system must be constantly trained. You also need to keep existing actors up to date and make sure new actors are properly onboarded to the process.
- Encourage Communication – Encourage those involved to ask questions, share individual learnings and mistakes, and keep communication open. Discuss any possible roadblocks in the future and identify solutions for them.
- Welcome Innovation – The knowledge management process you implement must not be too rigid. You must encourage new ideas and be able to adapt and adjust your knowledge management whenever required for the betterment of the organization.
Improve Your Knowledge Management With IT Glue
IT Glue is a leading, cloud-based documentation platform that can document your most valued assets into knowledge and information. The knowledge you and your team gather in your everyday tasks can be easily consolidated and related to hardware and software information. This means everything can be accessed from a single pane of glass, putting everything at your fingertips.
IT Glue’s SOC 2-compliant documentation platform features an immutable audit trail, multifactor authentication and next-generation password management engine, all of which are fully integrated and linked with all your documentation.
To know more about how IT Glue can help with IT asset management, request a demo!
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