Knowledge Management – Why is it critical for organisations?

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Recently, Knowledge Management experts emphasised that even small to medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) can be disadvantaged without a proper strategy for their intellectual assets. The challenge of poor information flows between business units; back and forward from the wrong people at the wrong time; can have the negative effect of decreasing productivity and the effectiveness of business operations. Knowledge Management (KM) is nothing new - organisations have always known of its importance, but how should they go about achieving these goals to ensure they maximise the value it can create for the organisation? 

According to Gartner, Knowledge Management (KM) is a “business process that formalises the management and use of an enterprise’s intellectual assets” helping to promote a “collaborative and integrative approach to the creation, capture, organisation, access and use of information assets, including the tacit, uncaptured knowledge of people.” Knowledge management has evolved over the years and its impact has become more and more prominent for organisations and companies in the present context, considering we are living in a data-driven world that is becoming increasingly digitised. With organisations generating and discovering knowledge every single day – it’s no wonder intellectual assets have become so difficult to manage.

A good knowledge management strategy has various benefits – we can access information and resources whenever we need it, information can be retained even after employees have left, and having standardised procedures and processes helps us to avoid rework and enables incremental process improvement. To reap these benefits, we must involve IT along the way. However, many organisations make the mistake of overemphasising the role of technology in attaining a comprehensive KM strategy. Before pursuing a technological solution, it is imperative an organisation determines:

  • which problems they would like to solve
  • the goals they aim to achieve
  • the capabilities needed
  • how well as-is systems can be integrated with a new software solution.

Whichever tools they select will need to be matched to their knowledge strategy. They must detail the different use cases relevant to their organisation and consider if the functionality can support them, and remember to create a knowledge sharing culture within their organisation. Only then will the knowledge management strategy be successful for organisations.