Technology

What is Knowledge Management?

With the digital age being in full bloom, knowledge management is here to stay.

The overarching goal of knowledge management is for organizations to share ideas, perspectives, opinions, and information in a manner that best benefits the organization, the individuals within it, and the way time and resources are spent. In a much more simplistic sense, the purpose of knowledge management is to ensure that individuals receive the right type of information at the right time in order to make the best decision for their current circumstances. 

The nuances involved in knowledge management differ from organization to organization. However, they will always be broken down into three aspects; accumulated knowledge, stored knowledge, and shared knowledge. 

Accumulated knowledge refers to gathering together all the information that would be defined as “knowledge”. Knowledge can be defined as explicit and tactical. Explicit knowledge refers to knowledge that is easy to understand and deliver. This includes facts or a set of instructions explaining to someone how to do something. Tactical knowledge is more difficult to grasp and is used to describe the ability to critically think or understand social cues and other implicit forms of information. 

Stored knowledge refers to how that tactical or implied knowledge is stored for future use. On a large scale, knowledge can be stored through knowledge management systems. On a smaller scale, knowledge can be stored in the form of an employee policy handbook, a training process, a set of guidelines and rules, and other strategies that allow relevant information to be group and stored in a method that is easy to recall for the purpose of analyzing

Shared knowledge is the facet of knowledge management that is dependent on the successful storage of knowledge. When sharing knowledge occurs, the goal is to be as efficient as possible in pulling out the needed knowledge in an efficient manner, and being able to use it in a manner that is innovative and progressive. Using that information an individual or group is able to make the best decision using the best information available to them. 

Why Is Knowledge Management Important? 

Understanding the basics of knowledge management can significantly benefit any company or organization in terms of how they use resources like time, energy, and money. Having a knowledge management system in place increases the efficiency of your workplace because the information is readily accessible and quick to implement. When this is the case, individuals and team members can quickly access information, collaborate more efficiently through the ability to share ideas, and promote a quicker and better decision making process. This can be helpful in all sorts of operations within your business. From onboarding new employees to crafting new strategies, and managing current projects, having adequate access to information promotes an innovative environment that limits the use of unnecessary resources and monetary waste. 

This level of efficiency and streamlined communication will often turn into an environment of employees and teammates who feel productive, satisfied in their efforts, heard. These emotions usually translate to employees who are generally happier. 

Knowledge Management Frameworks

There are four elements that center around knowledge management. These are commonly referred to as “the frameworks of knowledge management”. They include the following: 

1. People

Knowledge management exists to serve the people of an organization or entity and people are the crux of knowledge management being effective. Streamlining communication and effectiveness in any capacity is dependent on people sharing their ideas and perspectives so that other people can quickly and efficiently pull out ideas that are most serving to the current goals. Knowledge management recognizes that a person’s understanding and execution of a decision relies heavily on knowledge being organized in an optimal manner. 

2. Process

The process by which people access data, information, and knowledge is critical to efficiency. Knowledge management prioritizes process because, without it, people could not make the best possible decisions because the lack of process can create an obstacle to information

3. Technology 

Technology is key to the organizational aspects of knowledge management. Technology allows people to quickly connect with information as well as quickly send out information. Technology including databases, servers, and even digital folders helps with the collection, organization, and recall of information in ways that manual organization can never compete with.  

4. Governance

It is important that with any organization, the governing body promotes an effective flow of information. By doing so, this creates an environment that further prioritizes the flow of information, thus enhancing the organization’s operation. 

What Are the Benefits of Knowledge Management? 

When knowledge management is used within a business or organization, the benefits trickle down to efficiency in time and resources. Businesses that have knowledge management strategies in place can see results including: 

  • Productivity increases
  • Employees work “smarter, not harder” 
  • Resources are not wasted
  • Better financials due to intentional, wasteless spending, 
  • Happier employees

Knowledge management practices within businesses are continuing to increase, an indication that these practices are gaining traction with employers and organizations. In one research report, knowledge management implementation is not only growing but maturing. As technology trends evolve, so do the methods of storing, organizing, and sharing knowledge.  

What are Some Examples of Knowledge Management Systems? 

Knowledge management stems are used to describe the manner in which knowledge is organized. Knowledge management systems are continuously evolving however there are some key systems in place that are staples in the organization of information. 

Document Management

Document management describes a system in which documents are organized in a way that makes them easy to retrieve. Document management systems typically hold documents in some sort of digital format so that documents can be easily searched and located. By being able to quickly locate needed documents and organizations workflow can be significantly enhanced. 

Many document management systems will use a system of organization that includes folders much like one would find with traditional filing cabinets. Typically, some systems may offer increased storage, organization, or streamlining services for additional fees. Google Drive may be considered one of the most universal document management services that serves the needs of varying companies and organizations. 

Content Management

Content management is similar to document management, however, content is defined as files such as audio, photo, video, and other types of non-document content. Much like document management, content management is organized in a manner that is optimal for user retrieval. Content management may also vary in price depending on what the content management system has to offer. Popular types of content management systems include Youtube or Loom.

Databases

A database is a type of computer application that works as a system for an organization to store data on. This stored data can encompass documents, audio, video, and other formats. The purpose of a database is for users to store that information in a defined place, retrieve it when needed, and analyze it in order to make decisions on their organization’s needs. Some databases allow users to analyze data for their own personal use as well. Databases typically have input from select individuals. That input can then be viewed and analyzed by whoever has access to that database. Input is typically limited to select individuals so that manipulation of the information doesn’t take place. For example, only scientists may have access to and be able to input the data on a database centered around rising Covid cases around the world. However, anyone may be able to view and analyze that data without manipulating it. 

Social Networking Sites

One of the most common types of knowledge management systems is social media sites. Platforms including Facebook, Twitter, and even Reddit allow people to input specific information about themselves into an online system that is easy to navigate for the purpose of specific information retrieval. These systems can also be beneficial in helping streamline the way information is delivered. 

Conclusion 

While knowledge management revolves around basic principles including accumulation, storing, and sharing knowledge, the nuances and frameworks of knowledge management may change from sector to sector. The overarching trend however is that in our ever connected world, knowledge management is here to stay. And with the digital age being in full bloom, knowledge management practice will only continue to evolve and advance. 

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