What is Knowledge Management?
Knowledge Management (KM) is the process(es) used to deal with and direct all the information that exists inside an organization. Information the executives depends on a comprehension of information, which comprises of discrete or elusive aptitudes that an individual has.
The field of information the board recognizes two principle sorts of information. Unequivocal information is information or skills that can be effectively verbalized and comprehended, and thus effectively moved to other people (this is likewise called formal or classified information). Anything that can be recorded in a manual - guidelines, scientific conditions, and so on - qualify as unequivocal information. Implied information, conversely, is information that is hard to perfectly well-spoken, bundle, and move to other people. These are normally natural ranges of abilities that are trying to educate, for example, non-verbal communication, tasteful sense, or imaginative reasoning. (A third information type is understood information, which is data that has not yet been systematized or moved, yet that would be conceivable to instruct. Verifiable information is unique in relation to implicit information, which is probably not going to have the option to be arranged. For this article, be that as it may, we will essentially talk about express and inferred information.)
You can break these knowledge types down further into four categories:
- Factual Knowledge is measurable, observable, and verifiable data.
- Conceptual Knowledge relates to perspectives and systems.
- Expectational Knowledge is knowledge rooted in expectations, hypotheses, or judgments.
- Methodological Knowledge deals with decision-making and problem-solving.
Knowledge Management empowers organizational learning, an idea where organizations are put not just in the dependable, master generation of an item or administration, however in the information that underlies these creation forms. Organizations committed to hierarchical learning are keen on keeping up and expanding upon inward information at an authoritative level - helping people gather uncommon abilities, yet guaranteeing that this information is accessible to and scattered all through the workforce.
As one Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) paper states, the core goal of knowledge management is to connect “knowledge nodes” - those with knowledge and those seeking knowledge - to ultimately increase the knowledge within an organization. Within that goal, the authors identify four objectives of KM: to capture knowledge, to increase knowledge access, to enhance the knowledge environment, and to manage knowledge as an asset.
Eventually, knowledge management is an integrated system of accumulating, storing, and sharing knowledge within a team or organization. KM consists of several components, as well as strategies to implement it successfully - we’ll delve deeper into these later in the article.
Who Uses Knowledge Management?
Knowledge management can be implemented organization-wide across a number of industries. However, the way you implement KM might change depending on factors such as industry and company size.
KM is often used differently for small vs. large organizations, however. Small (and/or young) companies must carve out a competitive market advantage early on, and therefore benefit from KM by codifying and storing internal knowledge from the get-go. Large organizations - even those with unwavering strength in their market - use KM to act quickly in the digital age, where business changes constantly and often without warning. Without a reliable system to store existing knowledge and accumulate new knowledge, it would be difficult to react to these market changes. However, both large and small companies can benefit from KM because it treats the knowledge that every individual brings as an asset, so employees feel respected for their skills in the workplace.
For those hoping to actualize information the board in a particular office, you can likewise tailor the training to sub-fields. Other than big business KM, information the executives is most usually actualized in IT/data frameworks and science, hierarchical administration, business organization, HR the board, content administration, or for individual use.
How Does Knowledge Management Work? Basic Components and Strategies
As we’ve discussed, the theory behind knowledge management is that in order to make the best business decisions, the workforce must be as educated and skillful as possible. One way to ensure an educated - and continually learning - workforce is to stimulate organizational learning, which companies can do by implementing knowledge management. This practice ensures not only that existing knowledge (both explicit and tacit forms) is codified and stored, but that it can be dispersed among other employees so that people can continue to amass skills. Another benefit is that KM evenly distributes knowledge so no one is contributing in silos.
As Nonaka and Takeuchi first stated in their seminal academic papers, there are three main ways that people approach knowledge management:
- People-centric: Centered on people, relationships, and how people form learning communities and other informal ways of knowledge sharing. This idea is also known as ecological KM theory.
- Tech-centric: Focused on the technology that facilitates knowledge storage and transfer, and aims to create technology systems that encourage knowledge sharing.
- Process-centric: Interested in how the organizational structure and processes accommodate and encourage knowledge sharing and organizational learning. This concept includes the production processes, the organizational hierarchy, and the cultural framework.
The approach you take will depend on how your company currently functions. Organizational structure, politics, management style, and existing processes all create parameters around what kind of KM implementation is workable. Regardless of the approach you choose, however, implementing KM will inevitably affect your organization’s people, technology, and processes. Therefore, it’s best to keep all three in mind when enacting a knowledge management strategy.
Theoretical approaches aside, there are some common tactical ways of handling knowledge. The common strategies include:
- Storing knowledge vs. sharing knowledge: Storing knowledge involves accumulating, codifying, and maintaining knowledge in a reliable storage system. This is a good first step, but successful knowledge management also requires a system to disperse that stored knowledge.
- Codification vs. personalization: The difference between these strategies are similar to the previous example. Codification is any activity where you are collecting knowledge (creating and maintaining databases, content architecture, training to support software storage systems), and creating awareness of these collection systems. Personalization, is connecting people to this codified knowledge by forming learning communities, promoting active discussion and knowledge transfer, and facilitating group interaction.
- Push vs. pull: These represent two opposing strategies. In a push strategy, individuals actively encode their knowledge to make it available for others. In a pull strategy, team members seek out experts to request knowledge sharing, so you only transfer knowledge on an as-needed basis.
- SECI model: This is the knowledge transfer and strategy model first proposed by Nonaka and Takeuchi in 1996, and is considered the cornerstone of knowledge management theory. It outlines the four different types of knowledge transfer:
- Socialization: Tacit to tacit, where knowledge is transferred intuitively through observation, guidance, and practice.
- Externalization: Tacit to explicit, which codifies intuitive, intangible knowledge in order to be taught. This type of knowledge transfer is the most difficult because tacit knowledge is extremely difficult to break down into digestible directives.
- Combination: Explicit to explicit, where codified knowledge is transferred or combined with other codified knowledge. This type of knowledge transfer is the simplest.
- Internalization: Explicit to tacit, where an organization follows and practices codified knowledge so that it becomes intuitive.
Data mining is a process of discovering data patterns based on algorithms, and is another common element of sophisticated knowledge management programs. Because codifying all of your internal knowledge will result in a huge knowledge library, data mining can help identify patterns and extract data. It still uses qualitative methods of data analysis, but automated programs will likely rely on algorithmic work.
Why is Knowledge Management important?
Knowledge management comes in many different forms. One great example of an effective—yet simple—practice comes from Geisinger Medical Group. After developing checklists for doctors to use when conducting surgeries, the cost of surgery declined $2,000 per patient, and patients experienced fewer complications after surgery.
But simple checklists just won’t cut it for the breadth and depth of knowledge that exists in most organizations. Robust solutions for knowledge management include:
- Cross-training programs – Mentoring, shadowing, and other training programs allow employees to gain business knowledge by watching others work. For example, new employees at Toyota shadow experienced employees for months, and new factories are initially staffed by experienced workers from existing factories as well as new hires.
- Document management systems – Document management systems like Google Drive and Box allow organizations to store company documents on the cloud, share them, and control access permissions at a granular level. Typically, these tools have systems for tagging files and adding metadata that make information easier to find.
- Content management systems (CMSs) – Content management systems like SharePoint and Bloomfire allow teams and individuals to publish, update, and access information on a company intranet.
- Social networking tools – Private social networking tools like Workplace by Facebook and Slack allow teams to communicate and collaborate in a shared space. But these tools also double as knowledge management systems because they store all historical conversations, allowing employees to search for previously-discussed information.
- Chatbots – We believe chatbots represent the natural evolution of knowledge management. Chatbots like Engati use AI and machine learning to respond to employee questions and requests for information. Using chatbots, employees don’t have to wonder who to ask or where to go for information they need. They don’t have to go digging around in a CMS, document system, or chat history. They can use pose natural-language questions (“How do I add a new baby to my insurance?”) and the chatbot will surface the best information from its knowledge base, regardless of where that info lives in the organization.
What are the key benefits of knowledge management in an organization?
Effective knowledge management reduces operational costs and improves productivity because it provides seven key benefits:
- Spend less time recreating existing knowledge. When information is easy to access and accurate, it reduces the need for coworkers to interrupt each other with emails, chats, and support tickets. Employees and especially support teams spend less time answering repetitive questions, freeing them up to focus on more important—and more profitable—work.
- Get the information you need sooner (and with fewer headaches). If you’ve ever sent an email asking for information only to have that email forwarded multiple times to different people who might know the answer, you know how unproductive it is when finding information feels like playing a game of whack-a-mole.
- Make fewer mistakes. The old adage “history repeats itself” is as true in business as it is in all other aspects of life. When employees aren’t sharing information, they’re doomed to repeat the same mistakes others have already made. But this is avoidable when the lessons-learned from mistakes and failures are easily accessible to everyone.
- Make informed decisions. When employees share their experiences, lessons-learned, and research on a searchable knowledge system, others can access and review that information in order to consider multiple pieces of data and differing viewpoints before making decisions.
- Standardize processes. If you’ve ever played the telephone game, you know exactly how distorted information gets when communicated by word-of-mouth and in silos. With documented and shared processes, it’s easy to make sure that everyone is on the same page and following approved procedures.
- Provide better service to employees and customers. Effective knowledge management allows support teams to resolve employee and customer requests quickly and correctly. Employees are able to stay happy and productive, and customers place more trust in the company, which makes them more likely to purchase.
What are the biggest barriers to Knowledge Management?
- Knowledge is power. Too often people see knowledge hoarding as a way to personal power. However by the same argument, knowledge sharing is empowerment.
- People need to move from Building empires to building new relationships.
- The Individual work bias of the past ("I have to solve this all by myself") is shifting to a teamwork and a collaborative bias.
- Local focus is often a perceived barrier to knowledge management, which can be converted to a network focus by the establishment of communities of practice.
- "Not invented here" can be a real barrier to the import of knowledge, if the relationship of trust is missing. Trust will grow with face-to-face knowledge sharing, and few people resist a request for help.
- People are often afraid that Errors will be Penalized, and are therefore unwilling to share what they may see as failures. That is why techniques such as Retrospects accentuate learning from success
- People feel they are Not paid to share. Knowledge management is often seen as not part of normal business. Preserving the value of our knowledge assets is not seen as core business.
- People feel they have No time to share. This is a very real barrier; most people are 'maxed out' at the moment. So we need to make knowledge sharing as quick and efficient as we can, because really we have no time NOT to share.