Best Practices for Knowledge Management System Creation - Master of Information
Most large organizations collect information treasure-troves from the many inputs and experiences created by frontline employees and consumers using online portals. Firms can harness the information generated from these sources by instituting knowledge management platforms. To leverage this technology, firms have to make sure that their employees fully adopt a knowledge sharing culture. When instituting these systems, information technology officers follow a general deployment structure customized to their firm’s needs.
The Knowledge Management Solution
Without knowledge management, firm staff members exhaust their energy researching solutions to the same problems for different clients. What if there was a way to save these cases so other staff members can look up the solution when the problem arises again?
This very question eventually led to the creation of knowledge management platforms, which, for the last 20 years, have been utilized by firms to amass massive information stores containing their organizations’ knowledge sums. Information technology (IT) directors that run knowledge management platforms now collect and organize this information from many sources, such as:
- Policy Outlines
- Company Procedure Manuals
- Company Personnel
Firms utilize knowledge management systems so that once a problem exists other staff members can quickly uncover a solution that worked well in the past. By keeping these records, companies eliminate labor waste by reducing work redundancies. It is not enough to simply collect the information, it is critical that staff members can locate this information easily.
The Information Behind the Knowledge
Firms can gather case intelligence passively or proactively. IT departments can find enterprise knowledge by provisioning their systems to collect data. This data may include flagged internal and external database information, recorded customer support sessions, account comments and incident reports.
Alternatively, firms can actively seek enterprise solutions to exploit. For example, firms can conduct focus groups with employees or consumers and add the resulting conclusions to their knowledge database. Firms can also promote a knowledge sharing culture by furnishing rewards for employees who publish their solutions.
Knowledge Comes from People
It is essential for information technology directors to remember the human factor in knowledge management. Knowledge management specialists can collect useful data by making their systems intuitive and navigable. For instance, firms can set up software workflows that automatically give staff members the option to record a solution when closing out a client’s account screen. IT directors can also set up groupware to facilitate information flow and allow staff members to share and search company data.
Starting Down the Path to Knowledge
IT officers installing new information sharing systems have a unique opportunity to provide firms with exactly what they need. Before firms dedicate the first server to knowledge management, they must clearly understand their goals. This will help firms establish and monitor realistic objectives.
It is often beneficial for a firm to begin their knowledge management deployment in the consumer call center. This is the perfect high-volume contact point to test and benchmark a knowledge management platform. Additionally, once the call center rollout produces a considerable investment return, the revenue the project produces can support expansion throughout the enterprise.
Knowledge Management Planning
When developing a knowledge management strategy, firms can focus on several areas, such as operations, client bases, innovations and growth opportunities.
To improve firm operations, management can actively look for improvement opportunities in past case histories. These histories can highlight company inefficiencies and serve as the starting point for change. Managers can also use the histories to develop staff guidebooks which contain solutions to common client issues. This is where management can encourage employees to actively proffer inventive solutions and develop a sharing workplace culture.
The firm client case history is also an opportune source to gain insight into customers’ thoughts. By reviewing these cases, analysts can find patterns that reveal what their consumers really want. Through careful observation and review, firms can identify what solutions ultimately satisfy their target demographic.
Firms can also use knowledge management to create novel and improved products or services. The remark that necessity is the mother of invention applies here. For example, if a firm sees their clients frequently order the same custom product, they can offer that customization as a standard product and boost sales.
Enterprises can also use knowledge management as a growth tool. For instance, if a firm begins to receive significant calls from outside their service area, by recording these exchanges, even though they did not result in a sale, the firms can discover new territories and market verticals.
Easing the Transition to the Knowledge Base
A key component to making knowledge management work is selling the concept on staff members. To this end, many firms use familiar social media platforms. Its unstructured format allows employees to have free-flowing, open discussions about workplace business. Social media platforms are available for free, or firms can opt to use private customized solutions. These platforms are so flexible and feature packed that firms can implement everything from discussion boards to polls.
Enterprise Wide Adoption
When implementing a new knowledge management system, it is important to ultimately include the entire enterprise in the service plan. The more departments that participate in the knowledge management agenda, the more likely the effort will gain momentum and yield impressive results. The concept behind knowledge management is to support idea flows across the entire organization. Knowledge management platforms can help firms find organizational stars who sincerely buy into the corporate culture. These are the staff members who genuinely produce groundbreaking ideas.
The Big Picture
Knowledge management is an ongoing process. There is a general framework firms follow when instituting knowledge management programs.
The framework core revolves around:
- rallying staff members to support the initiative.
- identifying where a firm is at in relation to knowledge management and where it wants to go.
- designing and launching the knowledge management system.
- developing and maintaining the knowledge management system.
By beginning with senior management, and working down to frontline employees, the officer can help facilitate knowledge management adoption. Next, the officer will audit the firm’s current knowledge management assets. They can then build on those processes to determine what direction the project will take. The officer can use this as the basis for a strategic outline modified specifically for their firm’s goals.
A knowledge management launch is a large task. The head IT officers will have to delegate these tasks to effect the launch in a timely fashion. Once the information officer solidifies the plan, they will take it to their superiors for final approval.
It is important that the knowledge management system continues to satisfy the firm’s goals. It is also critical that the staff continues to effectively exploit the resource. As the firm grows, the officer will expand the knowledge management system to meet firm demands. The information officer will continue monitoring and adjusting the knowledge management platform for its entire life-cycle.
The key to productivity loss reduction lies in the massive information stores most organizations already collect, which originate from the comments and transactions stored in firm legacy systems. It is critical that firms understand that knowledge management revolves around the people that generate the information rather than software and hardware. With the right agenda, organizations that exploit knowledge management systems can reap huge financial gains.
Information means more than knowledge, it means solutions. When technology, people and information intersect, society and industry benefit. You can harness the power of information with our online Master of Information from Rutgers School of Communication and Information.