Business today operates in a content rich environment. The sheer volume of information, be it in the form of documents, images, videos or audio files, has exploded with the rise of the Internet and social media (as key business communication channels).
All this content is being synthesized into new knowledge at an exponential rate, posing challenges for businesses about how to access and leverage that knowledge, how to move it around the organization and how to protect the valuable intellectual capital that it represents.
5 Key Benefits of Knowledge Management
Businesses are realizing the value of investing in knowledge management to:
- Protect intellectual capital
- Focus on important assets such as human capital
- Reorient work culture by optimizing knowledge sharing strategies
- Improve collaboration to drive productivity, improve quality and mitigate risk
- Enhance client satisfaction
Protect intellectual capital
Leveraging knowledge management to protect proprietary intellectual capital can lead to significant improvements in organizational effectiveness and efficiency. Harnessed correctly, it can also form a sustainable competitive advantage.
Knowledge management is playing an important role in helping to manage many companies’ new product development and patent application process in two key areas.
Firstly, from a documentation and information support standpoint, it is all about managing the vast quantities of data, rich media, information and research experience that typifies a new product or innovation pipeline.
Secondly, intellectual property management is leveraging knowledge management systems to manage their company’s internal process for bringing a new product or other innovation ideas from concept through to fruition. Large organizations, in particular, can find several departments working on similar projects, resulting in duplication of effort and loss of productivity.
Hence, one of the emerging areas of knowledge management is invention disclosure and idea submission within a company. Companies are starting to focus on how to take their in-house technical and scientific expertise and harness their power. Workflow, knowledge management and other technologies can facilitate extraction of this knowledge.
Focus On Human Capital Assets
As employees become more experienced in their work, they acquire knowledge that is highly customized to reflect the unique idiosyncrasies of their organization. These insights and operational experience developed over time are difficult to replicate and to replace as staff leave or retire. This very combination of explicit and tacit knowledge that experienced employees enjoy can become an organization’s most valuable resource.
Knowledge software can help organizations understand and leverage its human assets by facilitating knowledge transfer within a multi-generational workforce. This can be achieved by accommodating a range of techniques including; simulations and games, storytelling and conferences, blogs and papers, Instant Messages and podcasts. These techniques reflect the diverse learning styles within any organization’s workforce while making highly skilled individuals more comfortable in transferring their experience and expertise.
Reorient Work Culture
Constantly applying proven practices and experience can greatly enhance the results within any organization with savings flowing directly to the bottom line. Embedding a process that continually defines and communicates proven good practices across the enterprise enables the organization to exploit its knowledge and streamline its problem-solving process.
Similarly, all organizations experience resource constraints. If there is a skill in short supply, knowledge management tools can help make that resource available across the enterprise using community discussion forums, master classes, expert systems, white papers, blog posts and podcasts.
Driving Productivity, Quality and Risk Mitigation
As an organization evolves and grows, size and scale only represent a benefit if its employees can leverage the organization’s knowledge. Aside from acting as an access point and clearinghouse for knowledge and information, knowledge management tools provide a foundation for continuous process improvement across the organization. By employing tools such as communities, expertise locators, learning and information repositories, the enterprise’s full intellectual horsepower can be unleashed.
Enhanced Client Satisfaction
The right knowledge delivered to the customer either via a self-service knowledge base or through a customer service agent, at the right time and format can transform customer perceptions of an organization’s service. In competitive environments, showcasing your expertise helps differentiate you from your competition by demonstrating your expertise and crystallizing it in ways that drive value for your customers.
Leveraged in a savvy way, knowledge personalizes the customer touch point and makes it easier and faster for their questions and concerns to be answered. This translates into higher levels of customer satisfaction and fabulous word of mouth. The organization also benefits from reduced servicing costs, lower customer service costs and greater operational efficiencies.
Organizations that invest in and nurture a knowledge management system commonly report an increase in productivity, collaboration, and employee engagement levels. Not only are their employees happier by having access to knowledge, but also their customers and partners benefit from greater organizational agility and responsiveness.