Matshona Dhliwayo, the renowned author once said “Knowledge is wealth, wisdom is a treasure, understanding is riches, and ignorance is poverty”. In today’s age of technology, innovation, and high competition, knowing the information is not enough. The ability to use known data to create something useful is more important. A Knowledge Management System is designed with exactly this thought in mind: To preserve all organization's tacit and explicit knowledge. But the most common question that comes in mind is what information should your organizational system document includes? We have answered this question for you below, so without further ado, lets jump right in.
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Preliminaries about Organizational Knowledge and Knowledge Management Systems
Knowledge Management System is a tool used by organizations to collect, organize, share, and manage the data known to an organization. A lot of big companies have so much knowledge in their hands, but they fail to realize this and waste their time and money. Thus, since the last few years, all big companies like Amazon, Toyota, Pratt-Whitney, etc. have invested to build a platform that can preserve all the data they already know in order to use the relevant knowledge as and when needed.
The first question that comes in mind when talking about KMS is undoubtedly what is the knowledge that an organization has? Broadly speaking there are 2 types of information that all organizations have:
- Explicit Knowledge: This type of knowledge is very easy to notice and document. Explicit knowledge is seen in formal company documents, videos, Standard Operating Procedures, research data, etc. To spot explicit knowledge within your company, you simply need to look for spottable data like all how-to videos, documents, checklists, etc. which is used either to onboard new employees or used by your employees in their day-to-day operations. It is very easy to capture all explicit knowledge in your KMS, and once done successfully, you will notice that your staff spends very little time looking around for data. Just by typing a few keywords, you can look for all the related documents, from anywhere at any time. Due to this, productivity and efficiency are increased.
- Tacit Knowledge: This type of knowledge is very hard to spot and very crucial to the growth of an organization. Tacit knowledge refers to the knowledge that is gained through experience and can be very hard to transfer. All companies spend a huge proportion of their salary expense in retaining senior and experienced employees. The reason they do this is that after spending so many years at a company, senior employees have knowledge that comes only from experience and not education. If tacit knowledge is converted to explicit knowledge, then this can contribute largely to the growth of the organization and its employees.
Now that we have brushed over concepts of KMS and different types of knowledge that an organization has, let's look at what one needs to store in the Management Platform of an organization.
What Information to Store in a KMS?
1. FAQ Content
In large companies, experts and specialists have to spend a lot of time answering the question of other employees. A lot of times, they have to answer repeated questions, which wastes a lot of time for the senior staff. In addition to that, there is a lot of back-and-forth correspondence before a satisfactory answer is obtained. To avoid this waste of time and give a faster and detailed answer to your employees as well as clients, you should include a FAQ section in your KMS.
2. How-to articles and videos
The second thing almost every single company tries to include in their KMS is how-to articles and videos. For detail-driven industries like the engineering of mechanical parts, the energy industry, watch manufacturers, etc. even the smallest mistake is not acceptable. For such companies, there are a lot of how-to videos of assembling and repairing if these videos are added to your KMS with appropriate description, your employees can watch it any time they feel stuck. Due to easy access to these videos and articles, the more efficient output is achieved.
3. Training Programs and Certification Courses
All companies need their employees to get new training and certification courses every once in a while for their personal growth as well as the company's growth. If these training videos are available to employees through the organization's KMS platform, then your staff is able to learn at their convenience and the accessibility of these training programs is higher. In addition to this, if an employee is looking for data on a particular topic then all training videos related to that topic can be very helpful in creating a thorough learning experience.
4. Case Studies
The next thing to include in your filing management platform is the case studies conducted by your employees as well as other relevant case studies. With so many case studies being conducted, not everyone is aware of the relevant case studies and many people end up spending hours looking for this data. If you include a properly structured case study with the title of the piece, author title and credentials, and sources, then your employees can not only refer to these studies but are also able to get in touch with the author for additional information.
For companies that operate across multiple locations, it is quite hard to get all your employees to agree on a common time for webinars. Since webinars are very vital to share important information with your employees, making your webinar available to your employees is very vital. In such situations, uploading the Webinar once completed can be quite resourceful for your company.
6. Community Forum
The last and the most important feature to include in your KM platform is a place for your employees to ask and resolve questions. This management system documentation section is considered to be the most effective in sharing tacit knowledge. Your employees can ask questions and other employees, as well as experts, can answer those questions. This is a great way to share knowledge amongst employees, and you can associate keywords with each forum/discussion so that it is easy to look up information in the future as well.
1. Why do organizations need a KMS?
Answer: A Knowledge Management Platform has several advantages to a company. Some of them are:
1. A flawless platform to collect and manage all data
2. Easily look up for relevant data
3. Increase productivity
4. Reduce redundant efforts
5. Faster and more informed decisions
6. Improved customer service
2. Is there any software you can use to manage documents and capture data?
Answer: Yes, there are a lot of software solutions that offer Knowledge and File Management solutions. Some of the top software solutions are Confluence, Zendesk, Guru, and ProProfs. All of these applications provide a knowledge management platform that can help in the growth of your organization. If you want to learn more about these applications, please read our blog on an extensive comparison of 5 KM applications where we have covered everything about these software applications in detail.
3. What data should your organization's knowledge management platform record?
a. bibliographic information for all sources used
b. research information in its various forms
c. author, the title of the piece, and publisher
d. all of these
Answer: The correct answer is option d: all of these. It is very vital to document all research data as well as the author’s data and source data. This way whoever is reading the article can get additional details about the article if needed. Also, if you include all the above details, then your article looks more authentic and is more trustworthy.
We hope that after reading this blog you have gained some clarity on what to include in your Knowledge Management platform. The details and contents of the files added to a KMS are characteristic of an organizational structure. It depends and varies from company to company. Adding the right data in a proper format benefits your company in many ways.
If you have any questions or would like to get in touch with us, please fill the form on our contact us page and we will be happy to talk to you.