Every organization needs to use knowledge effectively to be a success. As well as product data, research and logistical information, knowledge is generated within an organization on a daily basis. This means that knowledge management is a dynamic and collaborative process, one which requires specific strategies in place.
Knowledge management aims to codify a business’s practices around three areas – knowledge accumulation, knowledge storing and knowledge sharing. How is knowledge recorded, even as it continues to be generated by a business’s operations? Successful knowledge management will enable accurate and efficient decision making, better internal and external communication and can even improve employee morale. Determining the correct knowledge management strategy is essential for your business.
Types Of Knowledge
Effective knowledge management strategies distinguish between the ways in which knowledge is generated and formed. “Knowledge can be explicit – such as in company documents – but also implicit and tacit in subtle ways such as being housed in body language or shared culture,” says Adam Read, a project manager at Origin Writings and Britstudent. “Understanding the interplay between these different types of knowledge is vital for selecting the proper knowledge management strategy for your business.”
- Explicit Knowledge: When we think of knowledge management, documentation is often the first thing to consider. Explicit knowledge is knowledge housed in physical locations, whether that’s binders or hard discs. Knowledge in this form has been deliberately recorded, codified and realised in an accessible and shareable format.
- Implicit Knowledge: Implicit knowledge exists in practical scenarios and wherever employees are applying their knowledge to specific tasks, implicit knowledge is generated. Identifying the use of implicit knowledge in your organization, wherever knowledge is put into practice, is a primary task of effective knowledge management.
- Tacit Knowledge: Tacit knowledge exists often informally in collaborative transactions throughout your business. For example, in customer interactions, a wealth of historical and cultural understanding exists enabling positive sales actions to take place. Body language is an example of tacit knowledge, making customers feel comfortable and respected. Tacit knowledge can be converted into explicit or implicit knowledge through knowledge management strategies, creating better procedures for operating across your business.
Knowledge Management Considerations
- Documentation: A documentation strategy hinges on creating a centralized database for your documents, an archive or library for the knowledge your organization requires. Documentation is a clear strategy and one that’s inherently understood by employees, making it effective at facilitating workflow and communication. However, centralizing knowledge can make accessibility problematic and without continuous updating, it’s easy for documentation to become obsolete in dynamic industries.
- Collaborative Environments: Collaboratively built knowledge management environments, such as locally hosted intranets, serve to decentralize knowledge management. By encouraging cooperation and collaboration in knowledge management, intranets can boost morale and lead to greater productivity and innovation amongst employees. However, by decentralizing knowledge it can reduce security – if your organization handles sensitive data then intranets need to be considered carefully in this light.
Selecting Knowledge Management Software
In today’s world, physical documentation of knowledge is increasingly outdated as knowledge management software provides ready-built solutions to knowledge management problems. Knowledge management software can facilitate both a centralized and collaborative environment for an organization’s knowledge production, depending on the needs of the business.
“When considering knowledge management software, businesses need to identify restrictions on data compliance and necessary security measures,” says Eileen Lewis, a technical writer at Write My X and 1day2write. “These concerns, along with data formatting, can guide your knowledge management software decision making.” Ensuring that the data generated by your organization is compatible with the software’s functions is vital.
Knowledge management software should be selected to facilitate workflow and increase the ease of business operations. Thus, the operational complexity of the software should be closely considered and staff training is likely to be valuable at the implementation stage. Considering how every stakeholder will access the software is vital, and as workforces are increasingly dispersed, cross-platform accessibility is key.
Knowledge management is essential for organizations of every size, and the complexity of knowledge management scales as you grow. Implementing the right strategies today will build resilience in your organization, enabling you to meet your business goals.
About the author: George J. Newton is a business development manager and knowledge management specialist at Research paper writing services and Thesis writing services. He lives in Chicago, Illinois and when he isn’t optimizing solutions for businesses he likes fishing on the lake. He also writes for NextCoursework.com.
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