After several years “on the road”, I started to ask myself: is Knowledge Management (KM) seriously considered in companies? How are they managing that unique asset of the organization? Are they maximizing the potential of such massive knowledge?
You may think these questions are naïve, but for me, they became important when I looked into training or research programs, operations processes, etc. Yes, there was a massive amount of information available, in the vast majority of cases spread accross departments, functions, systems, intranets and employee computers without a common approach neither for creation nor for usage, security or maintenance & storage.
Even if Knowledge Management Systems (KMS) were in place, it was evident the presence of knowledge “silos”, different levels of deployment & usage, data quality issues, security risks, etc. To illustrate some impacts provoked by that situation, we can mention three:
- Critical/core data lost (how to replace knowledge?)
- Productivity loss (more than needed than required)
- Cost increase (training, operations, maintenance, customer service, etc)
For me, Knowledge Management means discipline for spreading knowledge across the organization in ways that impact performance. And this is so because individuals and teams generate such knowledge that boosts overall performance when sharing: it is not great that engineers design new processes if they remain inside their computers; it is not great that a warehouse manager creates a new picking procedure if their colleagues keep using old process and procedure; it is not great that a customer support team improve performance by 2 digits and the rest of customer support organization is struggling.
Knowledge Management is a culture: it is not software, it is not a process, it is more than that. Knowledge Management is empowering people to boost their creativity, try new things, share achievements and measure their impact.
Ah, the magic word: “CULTURE”. You may think, are we talking about another fashion idea? I don’t think so: in these changing times, organizations will have to search for new opportunities to succeed in the market, and improving the overall performance is a good starting point. In this case, don’t forget that your organization is made by people that use their capabilities and skills in their jobs, and the more knowledge they have the better for them, but also for the organization.
Embrace the Knowledge Management culture!! We will be delighted to help on that journey.