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What is Knowledge Management (the Basics)?
Types of Knowledge
There are two main types of knowledge:
- Explicit knowledge is formalised and easily codified, such as documents, databases, and procedures.
- Tacit knowledge is informal and hard to articulate, residing in the minds of individuals. It includes insights, experiences and expertise that can be valuable but challenging to capture and transfer.
What is a Knowledge Management System
Advantages of using a KMS
- Improved Decision-Making: Access to relevant and up-to-date knowledge empowers employees to make well-informed decisions.
- Enhanced Innovation: By capturing and sharing knowledge, organisations can foster a culture of innovation and creativity.
- Increased Productivity: Quick and easy access to knowledge saves time and enhances overall productivity.
- Knowledge Retention: A KMS helps preserve valuable knowledge even when employees leave the organisation.
- Effective Collaboration: Employees can collaborate seamlessly, breaking down silos and sharing insights.
- Continuous Learning: Knowledge management encourages a learning culture, promoting individual and organisational growth.
The Knowledge Management Process
The knowledge management process involves several key stages:
- Identification: Identifying the knowledge that is crucial for the organisation’s success.
- Capture: Gathering and recording both explicit and tacit knowledge from various sources.
- Organisation: Categorising and structuring knowledge for easy retrieval and understanding.
- Storage: Storing knowledge in a secure and accessible manner within the KMS.
- Sharing: Encouraging employees to share their knowledge and insights with others.
- Application: Applying knowledge to solve problems, make decisions, and drive innovation.
- Evaluation: Assessing the effectiveness and impact of knowledge management efforts.
Use Cases of Knowledge Management
Knowledge management has diverse applications across industries and sectors:
Customer Support: Providing customer support teams with access to relevant product knowledge and troubleshooting information.
Research and Development: Sharing research findings and insights to fuel product innovation.
Project Management: Leveraging past project experiences to improve future project outcomes.
Training and Development: Delivering training materials and resources to employees for continuous learning.
Competitive Intelligence: Analysing market trends and competitor data to stay ahead in the industry.
Challenges facing Knowledge Management
- Knowledge Hoarding: Some employees may resist sharing knowledge due to fear of losing their competitive advantage.
- Technology Adoption: Ensuring seamless adoption of KMS tools and technologies across the organisation.
- Culture and Mindset: Creating a culture that values knowledge sharing and collaboration.
- Knowledge Validation: Verifying the accuracy and relevancy of the knowledge shared.
- Knowledge Decay: Keeping knowledge up-to-date and relevant in rapidly changing environments.