You’ve learned the importance of making sure you don’t just gather data for everything just because you can. And now, you’ll need to know just how to use that smart data in knowledge management.
Obviously, as someone who is familiar with the self-service portal, you might immediately start thinking about ways to create articles in a knowledge base or actively creating a knowledge bank based on your most commonly submitted issues. However, in the enterprise, each service department can benefit from knowledge management’s processes — it just depends on what your expertise is.
What is Knowledge Management?
According to the KMWorld website, knowledge management (KM) is described as follows:
“Knowledge management is a discipline that promotes an integrated approach to identifying, capturing, evaluating, retrieving, and sharing all of an enterprise’s information assets. These assets may include databases, documents, policies, procedures, and previously un-captured expertise and experience in individual workers.”
In a nutshell, what this means is that the knowledge that you currently possess is beneficial to your company and should be captured in a way that makes it easily shareable for anyone else who might make use of it. The end goal is that anyone, especially management, can access the information to make smarter decisions on tasks and projects, as one of the key determining factors of what should be captured is based on your business objectives.
Is What I Know Really “Knowledge”?
KMWorld discusses the different types of knowledge:
- Explicit — Information that is clearly set out in a tangible way.
- Implicit — Information that hasn’t been set out tangibly, but easily could be.
- Tacit — Information that has a high level of difficulty in making it tangible.
While it sounds like a philosophical discussion, it actually makes a lot of sense when you put it into practice. You can probably figure out what explicit knowledge is (changing a password), and implicit knowledge is also understandable (you know how to walk without necessarily remembering how you learned to do it), but tacit is where things get a bit tricky. Tacit knowledge is particularly difficult to share because it’s hard to put into words; it would be like someone trying to teach someone how to fix an engine without a physical demonstration. Before you get discouraged, here’s the takeaway for these types of knowledge: They underscore the fact that anything you deem necessary to your business objectives and processes can be made accessible to other people in your organization.
The Six Steps of Knowledge Management
Did I lose you? Still here? Good. Because we’ve simplified it all down for you in this nice little list:
1. Define Your Objectives
Begin by meeting with department managers and team leaders to determine the overall business objectives. While you may have a central goal, each department has a different deliverable, which leads to different types of knowledge.
2. Start Gathering Data
Now you can start collecting your data. This can include data entry, scanning documents, collaboration, etc. While the way you collect the information may vary, make sure each piece supports your goals and projects.
3. Let’s Get Organized
Start taking your data one step further by adding some context. This includes getting rid of the data you don’t really need, cleaning up what you already have, and collaborating on what’s stored so far to being making use cases.
4. Review and Prepare
Now that you have all your data, it’s time to figure out where to put it. Begin by deciding on the type of storage you want to have your knowledge live in, and then start indexing, cataloging, linking, and making sure the it’s easy to use.
5. Share Your Data
Your database doesn’t live in a vacuum — it’s time to let people use it. Whether you’ve decided to let it live in a knowledge base or you just want to use it on a project-by-project basis, it’s time to let others start using it.
6. Manage and Monitor
This one is included as a step, but should be ongoing. Updates are inevitable, new tools happen, and your knowledge will adapt accordingly. So make sure your database stays up to date by assigning routine maintenance.