Knowledge Management, great, but what is it?
In today’s business world, it seems new terms are being thrown around by guerrilla marketing enthusiasts every day to describe the latest trends of the online world. Phrases are coined to try to make sense of the immense amounts of information available and turn it into something usable for day to day business ventures. These terms are so frequently used and changed they have the ability to lose their meaning and get lost in the fold once their 15 minutes of fame are up.
Knowledge management is not a new term, and not a fading trend. However, it can still lack depth of meaning due to its close association with the world-wide web and all things buzz marketing related. This can create a problem when attempting to understand why knowledge management is more important than ever and why your business should be leveraging its knowledge assets.
We’ve heard that knowledge management is important. Great, step #1 completed. Now, what exactly is it, and why should you care?
A Company’s Greatest Asset
If knowledge is thought of as a business’s most essential asset, then the term knowledge management begins to hold more gravity. Who wouldn’t want to optimize their greatest asset? Knowledge is found in every aspect of a business; within management, your employees, operating systems and manuals, cloud storage systems, customer files, and so on. It would make sense to pay close attention to this knowledge and the information your business holds in order to ensure that it is being used to its full potential, or hire a third party to do it for you.
Imagine you are part of a large international firm which is spread out over multiple countries and continents, yet still theoretically operating using the same information. Your company’s information may include processes, procedures, files, customer data, internal resources, employee knowledge, technology, essentially everything that keeps the wheels turning is out there floating in space. If managed poorly this would inevitably be disastrous. However, if managed well, then you have the capability to access the same information in Tokyo as your employee does in London even if they are accessing from different platforms from the same source or asset. Instead of wasting time searching for information or risk duplicating it you have processes and procedures to efficiently and effectively use your business’s information to its full potential. This is knowledge management.
Knowledge is your business’s intellectual capital. It will only be optimized when it’s properly made accessible for every process, procedure, or project you take on. This means taking steps to put systems in place to record and store this information in a way that makes sense for your specific needs. This will help you leverage your employee’s knowledge, the people who hold the most valuable information, by allowing them to easily share what they know and save time searching for information. Before you realize it, you will have created a competitive advantage for your business that will ensure success well into the future.
Here to Stay
Understanding what knowledge management is, and being able to utilize it effectively is how you stay competitive in todays ever changing business environment. Taking large amounts of information and turning it into usable, organized, and easily accessible every day systems will only become more challenging as technology advances and the pace of change accelerates.
Gone are the days of books and manuals, and here to stay are the days of multiple sources of information including cloud based storage systems. With it brings new ways to view and understand the knowledge your business holds. When it comes down to it, those who have embraced systems to efficiently handle and optimize their information will be the ones who excel, and those who don’t will be left scrambling. Knowledge management is a long-term solution that can make or break your business’s success.