What Is Knowledge Management?
Knowledge Management (KM) is a set of strategies used by companies to create, capture and transfer knowledge between their employees. These strategies can include a vast array of strategies, processes and technologies. These strategies can be grouped into two sides of KM. This includes the process side and the technology side. The processes side includes all employee focused strategies, for example: 1) Changing company knowledge sharing culture 2) Using knowledge cafes 3) The support of management 4) Incentives to share knowledge etc. This is should work in tandem with the technology side to work to the same goals. These include technologies such as: 1) Wikis 2) Corporate blogs 3) Document managers 4) Yellow pages to find in house experts 5) Lesson learned databases etc.
Where to begin?
KM starts where the knowledge is… the people! Every good KM initiative starts with the people of the company and then moves onto the more complex strategies and technologies later.
Everyone has something to contribute. Employees know more than they can write down on their resumes and they should not be taken for granted. This means that KM should have the ability to allow every employee to contribute knowledge.
Everyone is an expert at something. This is also refereed to as being an expert in context. This means that lower levels employees will have a better understanding of common processes than senior employees. KM should have the ability to take knowledge evently from employees at all levels and not just those with the most experience.
Which technologies to use. Once a company has created effective KM processes they can then begin to look into technologies that will complements their processes. This will differ from each company and depend on their strategies. Technologies should only be chosen if they directly benefit a core processes. For further information on how to implement a KM strategy, see (Link soon).
Challenges to KM
Sounded easy right? Well there are a lot of challenges that come with KM that need to be addressed before you can start seeing the real benefits. Below is a small list of the most common challenges that effect every KM initiative. It is a good start if you can answer all of these questions BEFORE you start KM!
Joining the Network
- Can a new employee join the network easily?
- Do you accept new knowledge and ideas?
- How easy is it to learn the new processes?
Leaving the Knowledge Network
- But what about if some one leaves the company?
- What happens to their knowledge?
- Have you successfully captured their knowledge?
- Do they still have access to you KM network?
- What if an employee doesn’t want to share their knowledge?
- What if an employee doesn’t see the value of KM?
- How can you motivate your employees?
- Do your employees feel that if they share, will they loose there advantages?
So at its core, Knowledge Management (KM) is a strategy to help transfer knowledge between employees to create value for a company. This strategy is build from a range of processes and technologies that contribute to one broad vision of KM. If the challenges of KM can be mitigated, a company can see real value for the benefit of the employees and the company as a whole. This is just the tip of the ice beg that is KM, explore the rest of this blog to find out more and to get the most out of your new KM strategy.