The 5 Key Principles of Knowledge Management
Teams and organizations can use structured information to create knowledge and to maximize their efficiency.
A knowledge management (KM) system like Skara will help you to unify data access and to minimize wasted time searching for relevant sources of information. So you can focus on creating new ideas instead. To ensure the success of your KM strategy, you just need to follow the following five steps.
#1 Set up the Right Objectives
To organize, manage and utilize knowledge in the best way possible, you need to understand your key business drivers first. This way you will set boundaries as well as aspirations for the people implementing your knowledge management strategy. So let’s start with the bigger picture and decide which objectives matter the most to you:
Is your business keen to deliver better outcomes constantly? Then you might focus on learning from past experiences. By using best practices and guidelines you can build a knowledge base of what did work for you.
Do you have to reduce costs and time to meet your goals? Then KM can help you to improve internal processes while achieving higher quality standards at the same time. You can also use lessons learned to avoid repeating mistakes.
Do you put your customer satisfaction at the center of your business? Then you might help your support agents with all the information needed to explain products, workflows and a complete directory of problem-solving strategies.
Knowledge management can also be deployed to improve innovation. Therefore people will need access to a variety of techniques and resources to create new products, new processes, and even new business models.
To support company growth, you need to allow the development of reproducible and reusable knowledge. Each team must be capable to grow as fast as the market allows and to deploy effective learning techniques in new areas of business.
Health, Safety, and Environment
Are you committed to doing your work in the safest and cleanest way possible? Then you might also benefit from an exchange of knowledge inside your company and beyond. You need to collect best practices along the way and keep an eye on ways to improve health and the environment.
Remember: The more focussed your knowledge management strategy is, the easier people can access the right facts at the right time. Your knowledge base (KB) also becomes way more accountable by focussing on a small number of objectives. You just need to measure your business drivers on an ongoing basis to demonstrate the value added by your KM strategy.
After all, you can easily set up different KB’s for different audiences and use cases.
#2 Knowledge Building Done Right
Now it’s time to build your company wiki and to gather all the relevant information. Therefore you need to meet with all the different departments that ultimately will benefit from using your KB. Because they already know all the relevant sources and common issues you want to extract insights from!
First and foremost: Do not try to extract all the knowledge that is available in your organization. That will end in information overload and it will take way too much time to differentiate between useful and useless data. Probably employees won’t use such a packed tool at all.
Just focus on the knowledge that affects your business drivers. Now, ask your department heads to identify those for you or do it yourself. And come up with a logical hierarchy featuring all relevant broad topics – moving on to categories and subcategories.
The more tacit and unspoken knowledge you can convert into explicit and adaptable knowledge, the better. Think about best practices learned from project implementations, that are worthy to be shared asynchronously and across teams. Do not cover information types such as project status updates, that need to be available within project teams in real-time.
#3 Use a Tool with Simplicity in Mind
People have to love working with your knowledge base to benefit from it. That’s basically why we build Skara for our very own company. We constantly lost touch with over-complicated alternatives and eventually stopped using them at all.
Skara is a collaborative knowledge management tool with simplicity in mind. We truly believe in focussing on doing one thing right, instead of trying to accomplish multiple things at once. And we choose lovability to be our main goal.
Whether you choose Skara for sharing information between teams, onboard new employees or as a resource library – our editor is extremely simple to use yet super powerful. And complete distraction-free, so you can purely focus on what matters most to you.
Content within Skara can be accessed via a browser from all kinds of devices, authorized team members can add knowledge with just one click and all changes can be restored, period. We even help you identify outdated content (see our key to success #5).
#4 Establish Easy to Use Formats
Implementing a knowledge base from the ground up can be an overwhelming task. That’s why it’s highly useful to create a handful of adaptable templates you and your co-workers can use over and over again. We suggest to start with the following:
Do you often suggest on how something should be done or what something should be like? Then create a guideline template with paragraphs structuring the content.
Do you want to set up a recommended practice for any kind of process or create training material? Or do you have to explain products and features quite often? Then create a workflow template for step-by-step procedures.
People should follow strict lists of things that they must think about, or that they need to remember? Help them to create those by providing a checklist template.
Is there a working method, or set of working methods, that is officially accepted as being the best to use? Prepare a best practice template that can be used to collect such insights.
The project is done – but you do not wanna lose the insights from research, implementation, and release? Just create a lessons learned template.
Is there material that can be used to help people accomplish any given task or goal? Help them to collect those valuable things with a resources template.
Who do you contact for a specific matter? Create a contact person template that can be used to refer to experts with specific skills and insights.
#5 Keep Content Relevant
Sure your company wiki will only be as good as its content. But you can do a lot to stay relevant! And Skara will assist you.
Let’s start with clear responsibilities for your team members and departments. You need to make sure that maintaining specific topics is an assigned task to one specific team lead. Maybe you have to incorporate this into their very own targets. Knowledge keeps evolving constantly and therefore requires care, just like CRM data.
Whenever they come across something new and valuable, they need to think about adding this data to the knowledge base and have the time required to do this. So others can benefit from as well.
If you want to take your KM to the next level, you can even set up a well-trained group of technicians, who are familiar with your organizational model and start supervising your knowledge base. It will be their respective area of responsibility to streamline workflows, identify possible areas of extension and coordinate between topic heads.
Skara will also take action and inform people about content, that hasn’t been edited in a while. This way we make sure your KB keeps applicable across time and assignees. Because even the best knowledge management systems are unfinished by default.
We’re sure your knowledge base will be a success when you follow those five key principles of KM. Let us know if you have any further questions about setting up your knowledge management strategy and say hi to: firstname.lastname@example.org.
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