— August 23, 2019
The most innovative businesses know that managing how they create, store and share their information is a key to their success. From intellectual property and content, to lessons learned and employee experience, managing knowledge is the cornerstone of the modern business.
In reality, businesses create mountains of knowledge and information. Yet for all of this information, it’s still quite common for businesses to forget about what knowledge they have access to internally, often leading to repeated mistakes and wasted time ‘reinventing the wheel’.
It’s not, for example, only a question of creating amazing content, it’s also a question of how this content is stored, who can access it and how easily. A business can be the most innovative in its field, but if these innovations are siloed in a small group then they fail to reach their full potential.
This is where knowledge management, a key element of Business Intelligence, comes in. With the right knowledge management infrastructure a business can encourage innovation and good decision making. Unfortunately, creating the right infrastructure and practices is easier said than done, as the field is constantly developing. That’s why it’s crucial to take the time to review the benefits of good knowledge management, and look into the latest trends in the field.
The Benefits of Knowledge Management
Good knowledge management can lead to a wide range of benefits, helping to keep businesses competitive and innovative. Here are a few of the most important:
Better Decision Making- Solid decision making depends on access to all of the relevant information. A good knowledge management structure can guarantee that a business can draw on the necessary intelligence in order to make the right decision.
Increased Productivity- In order to perform at the highest level possible, employees need to be able to draw on all of the knowledge a business holds. Providing employees with easy and intuitive access to all the necessary resources and knowledge can help increase their productivity.
Protected Intellectual Capital- In the modern economy, businesses thrive on their intellectual capital. Protecting intellectual capital is such an important topic that it can lead to expensive court battles, and even trade wars. A secure system for knowledge management can protect a business’ intellectual capital, helping it maintain its competitiveness in the long run.
Increased Knowledge and Experience Capture- While there are ways to encourage employees to stay at an organization longer, inevitably there is turnover as part of the natural employment cycle. Proper knowledge management practices can capture employees experience prior to any departures, ensuring that valuable insights don’t leave with the employee.
Increased Efficiency and Innovation- Properly capturing lessons learned and best practices can help employees avoid situations of reinventing something that has already been done in the organization. Proper knowledge management can thus keep teams innovating and on the cutting edge, rather than going in circles.
Latest Trends in Knowledge Management
The knowledge management field is constantly innovating, as one would expect given growing insights into best practices and technological advancements. Here are four of the trends that will continue to define the knowledge management field in the months to come.
Some knowledge lies in concrete products, but much of it lies in the heads of employees. The insights and ideas that they gain through their experience are some of the most valuable pieces of knowledge in any business, and yet also the most difficult to access without the right tools.
This type of knowledge can be structured through interviews, surveys and other research tools, but given its fluidity, with new insights constantly emerging, it can be difficult to capture everything. For this reason many businesses are beginning to focus more of their attention on how to facilitate connections between employees so that they can access their experience and insights on the go.
Luckily technological solutions are constantly emerging and improving. The best collaboration tools can provide businesses with an organic structure for team interactions. This is particularly important given the dispersed nature of many teams, with colleagues located in several separate locations.
‘Social’ Knowledge Management Software
Social media is so well ingrained in the everyday lives of most people that it comes as second nature. It’s quite logical, therefore, that knowledge management software developers are increasingly incorporating social media elements in their offerings.
By including more elements of social media, knowledge management software can improve the ease of use and functionality, allowing for quicker and easier user uptake. This highlights the increasing focus on making knowledge management systems as user friendly as possible, in order to increase their likelihood of being implemented successfully.
Gone are the days of stationary work stations. Employees are signing in and connecting from more dispersed locations, highlighting the continuing growth of mobile devices in the workplace. Knowledge management software developers are responding to this trend by focusing even more on integrating mobile features into all offerings.
Many knowledge management systems are now turning towards strengthening their mobile offerings, as the demand to access knowledge management systems remotely increases. In the coming months mobile is set to become an even more central aspect of knowledge management software.
Culture is Key
In its 6th annual report of the ‘State of Knowledge Management,’ the Technology Services Industries Association finds that the biggest determining factor for the success of a knowledge management system is a culture that rewards knowledge sharing. This highlights a growing focus on the softer aspects of knowledge management.
It’s not enough to invest in the most cutting-edge technological solutions: businesses also need to focus on building a culture of continuous learning and growth in order to make their knowledge management systems achieve their utmost potential. Strategies for building such a culture will be in even greater focus in the months to come, as more businesses come to this realization.
Knowledge management is a field focused on increasing innovation and efficiency, so it’s not a surprise that the field itself is constantly developing. Given that many businesses do not manage their knowledge effectively, there is great potential for a business to set itself apart from its competitors through good knowledge management.
From new and improved technological solutions to an increasing focus on the human aspects, businesses should take care to embrace the latest trends in the field of knowledge management in order to increase their competitiveness.