What is Knowledge Management?
Start with Wikipedia: Knowledge management (KM) comprises a range of strategies and practices used in an organization to identify, create, represent, distribute, and enable adoption of insights and experiences. Such insights and experiences comprise knowledge, either embodied in individuals or embedded in organizational processes or practice.
It doesn’t any more clear further along in the article.
In casual terms, knowledge management addresses that part of your business value that’s at risk when “your most valuable business assets go home every night.”
On this site, we use the term to encompass the management of your firm’s data and information, in addition to as much of the knowledge of the practitioners as can be codified into systems and processes. Given that many of our clients are in the late-middle range of the nine stages of business, much of our knowledge management work with them consists of defining and creating basic systems so that work gets done the way the business does it, rather than the way the founder did it. This helps to institutionalize knowledge, paves the way for process improvement, and minimizes the impact of any particular employee leaving. In addition, we create dashboards and reporting to track essential business data that help business owners prepare for the future.
What does Knowledge Management look like?
Although you might classify each of the following scenarios into a separate “management challenge” category, they can also be addressed by practices in the knowledge management arena.
- Employees want to work from home, and you need documented processes and policies to guide how they work when they are not in the office.
- You’re concerned that an important employee may be thinking about retiring and you need to capture what she knows about your business so you can train a replacement.
- Your younger employees are pushing you to “go on Facebook and Twitter” and you don’t know how to think about guiding them in presenting your company’s brand and proprietary information on social media.
- Everyone in the office uses a different type of cell phone and you have to remember who can get e-mail and who needs text messages.
- One of your vendors claims that you agreed to pay them on completion, and you are sure you had a warranty period before the final payment was due. You can’t find your notes and don’t remember who attended the meeting where the agreement was signed.
- One of your business partners has invited you to collaborate on what could be a lucrative piece of new business. They use email exclusively, and the thought of managing all those drafts and updates and schedule changes via email makes you queasy.
Some other terms than are used to describe sub-domains of the larger field of knowledge management include:
- Content Management
- Customer Relationship Management
- Your “list” and marketing system
- Digital Asset Management
- Document Management
- E-mail Management
- Intellectual Property Management
- Process Management
- Records Management
Call us to see how you can start making your information work harder for you.