7 Best Practices of Knowledge Management

7 Best Practices of Knowledge Management
If your organization is implementing a formal knowledge management strategy for the first time, it is essential that you give good thought to what you want that strategy to accomplish and the types of tools you need to reach your goals. What you do at this formative stage will determine how well your company is able to reap the benefits of knowledge management. Here are seven best practices that will help you structure and implement an effective knowledge management strategy.

Identify your organization’s knowledge

What knowledge is contained in your organization and where is that knowledge currently stored? Knowledge is not just a singular phenomenon. It includes explicit knowledge, which is documented and easily transferable; implicit knowledge, which is not documented and usually resides in people’s brains; and embedded knowledge, which is built into various processes and procedures. An effective knowledge management strategy takes into account all of these types of knowledge.

Set goals and priorities

What do you want your knowledge management strategy to accomplish? Is your goal to improve customer service, operations, or intra-organizational collaboration? If you have multiple goals, what are the priorities? Having clearly defined goals and objectives will help you pick appropriate tools, set tasks and responsibilities, and determine metrics to measure how well your system is working.

Make knowledge creation, identification, and sharing easy

A knowledge management system will only benefit your organization if it is easy to use. The goal is to reduce your employees’ cognitive load and time spent on low-level tasks, not to increase them. Give your employees access to the information they need and provide opportunities for them to collaborate. Also, keep everything in one place—don’t require employees to use different systems to access information related to customer service, sales, and marketing, for example.

Create a knowledge sharing culture

A knowledge sharing culture is one that cultivates the sharing of knowledge across the organization with the goal of making the entire organization more productive. It recognizes that there is a difference between information and knowledge, and strives to transform the former into the latter. It is an environment where collective knowledge is valued over individual knowledge, where failure is seen as an opportunity to gain new knowledge, and where working collaboratively is the norm.

Use what you do know to discover what you don’t

Knowledge management is not just about gathering an organization’s knowledge into a centralized location so that it can be used by all employees. It’s also about recognizing the gaps in that knowledge and working to fill them. In an environment where innovation is essential to success, no business can afford to think it already knows it all.

Think long-term

Ideally, the strategy you implement now will support your company’s growth into the future. Think about what types of knowledge management tools you may need down the road and leave space for them in your current implementation.

Use appropriate technology

Many knowledge management software packages are available, ranging from bare-bones to tricked-out. The features you need will depend on your goals and on the resources you have to devote to them. Before investing in the first knowledge management system you find, do your research and select the one that most closely reflects your objectives. Remember that flexibility is one of the top features of any application.

Implementing a knowledge management strategy is one of the best steps you can take to move your business to the next level. Following these seven best practices will help you identify, define, and carry out a strategy for business success.
Image credit:sheelamohan

Author Bio:
David Miller is an educational researcher who has vast experience in the field of teaching, Online testing and training. He is associated with prestigious universities and many leading educational research organizations. He’s also an ed-tech veteran, currently pursuing research in new Knowledge base software and contributing author with ProProfs.

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