Collaborate more effectively and deliver better value to your customers through efficient knowledge management.
In the age of digitalisation, lost or siloed information can cause an organisation a lot of issues. If knowledge is hidden or difficult to find, employees waste time looking for resources or end up duplicating documented information that already exists. This can lead to inconsistencies and time being wasted. Furthermore, without easily accessible information in a single source of truth, communication and collaboration are unlikely to thrive.
To keep up with digitalisation and to effectively support a remote or hybrid workforce, organisations must find new ways of working. Knowledge management—the deliberate process of identifying, managing, maintaining and sharing knowledge and expertise within an organisation—can provide your teams with a base for knowledge, making information easy to access, action and iterate according to changes in demand. It’s important to note, knowledge management isn't solely about managing processes; it is also about managing data with complete transparency and visibility.
In this blog, we'll explore knowledge management further. We'll examine best practices and benefits, before outlining how to build a strategy. Let's take a deeper look at this practice.
What is knowledge management?
Knowledge management is the process of identifying, organising, storing and sharing information within an organisation. It extracts both numerical and non-numerical information or from employees and technology within an organisation so it can be utilised by wider teams. When knowledge is shared in this way, it means that when someone goes on holiday, leaves the business or takes a sick day, you don’t lose it.
4 key benefits of knowledge management
1. A single source of truth
Knowledge management practices collect your teams’ knowledge and present it as one shared truth. With a single source of truth, all the knowledge that is available to your business is accessed from a single source. Effective decisions are backed by data that is processed into information. This knowledge is then shared with teams to use to confidently make decisions. As a result, they will increase their productivity and perform tasks consistently, efficiently and hopefully more effectively. Using a single source framework eliminates data fragmentation by having everything in one place, and it saves time when searching for answers.
2. Improved organisation-wide collaboration
Knowledge management encourages everyone to become champions of their insights, creating a point of contact for other colleagues to reach out to if they wish to understand more, and building natural cross-team collaboration across the organisation.
A lack of knowledge management can become a trigger that can collapse or impede your progress toward achieving your strategic goals. With effective knowledge management skills, teams can elevate their morale, creativity, motivation, innovation and everything they need to collaborate more effectively.
3. Faster resolution times
Easy access to knowledge and information will allow your teams to follow correct processes and share what aspects of the process haven't worked, enabling iterations to be addressed quickly, to prevent the same mistakes from being repeated. Leading to faster and more effective problem-solving.
4. More adaptable to change
When change occurs having an open platform of shared knowledge will pay dividends. It can provide a place where colleagues and team mates can find the latest information, review details of changes, understand proposed changes at all levels. As well as providing the current understanding it should also retain a history of the changes to ensure that an audit trail is available in case of any need to review changes.
Confluence and Jira Service Management: The ultimate knowledge management duo
Watch Phill Fox, Principal Customer Success Advocate from Adaptavist, and Natalie Shaw, Knowledge and production manager from Nationwide Building Society, present at Atlassian’s Team ‘23 event to learn why Confluence and Jira Service Management are the ultimate knowledge management duo.
Key insights to knowledge management best practice
Provide your teams with access to the latest information and encourage them to break silos and become more innovative. When your teams base their actions on clear, accessible knowledge, they can make faster decisions with more confidence - reducing the chance of escalations to senior members. In order to fully maximise the value of your knowledge management strategy, consider these key insights:
Create a culture that promotes learning and sharing
Any lasting change within an organisation starts at the top. Leadership teams should set a good example by sharing regular organisation updates with their teams. Leadership can encourage the use of digital knowledge management platforms and tools to share information by using it to communicate with teams regularly.
Encourage the sharing of learnings and experiences
Free documents from permission settings and remove documents from siloed locations, such as emails or locked-in folders – make them available to all. Your entire organisation should have access to knowledge, so make it easy to search and find on systems. With easy access to documents, you can encourage your teams to collaborate on documents, edit or provide feedback in an accessible way. To support your knowledge management goals, you can leverage a tool or technology - which brings us to the next point.
Implement a tool that supports your knowledge management initiatives
The right tool will support your needs and connect and unify your teams with knowledge. A knowledge management tool enables employees to access information and easily locate it. It encourages team participation through a flexible workspace, whereby your team can collaborate and share information on the platform.
It is important to note, integration is key here. But make sure your dedicated knowledge management platform can integrate with the wider organisation's technology stack - even if it is just linking from one platform to another.
Building a knowledge management strategy
After you've implemented a knowledge management system, it will require ongoing curation. You'll need to add new material and update and possibly eliminate old items while being prepared to discover hidden knowledge. Take a look at these simple steps below to build your knowledge management strategy.
Through internal analysis of your organisation, identify your business situation and develop your objectives and goals. Once complete, you'll be able to align the knowledge management strategy with your organisation's goals.
In the stage before you form a team, you will need to get ready for implementation. Acknowledge the need for cultural changes and the impact this will have on your business and teams.
In this stage, you will form a knowledge management team. This involves assigning a person to lead the change and oversee the process.
Perform a knowledge audit to identify any hidden knowledge, through observation, interviews or surveying, to reduce the risk of missing hidden information.
Determine what tools and technology you'll need to support your knowledge management goals. Consider any associated costs now and engage with the stakeholders who are required for final sign-off.
Identify key attributes and features of your knowledge management system. In this stage, you will figure out what you want your system to look like. It’s important to make sure everything lines up internally, and that technology and scope will lead to the desired results.
Gather your knowledge in one place. In doing so, you will make it easier for your teams to learn and serve customers. You can use a solution provider that supplies a single repository to aggregate your knowledge.
Collate the knowledge in a structure that supports the business organisational needs. This structure should be focused around the needs of the end-user of the knowledge management system rather than providers of information.
After you've launched your knowledge management system, take time to review how it is working. Analyse what's working well and what isn't so that you can make any improvements. The system requires constant curation, so it will be an ongoing responsibility. You should consier following ITILs Continual Service Improvement framework to ensure you follow the correct steps to developing your Knowledge Management system so it doesnt become stale.
In conclusion, Knowledge management is the practice that provides an effective way of sharing knowledge and increasing team collaboration. But effective knowledge sharing will only occur when embedded in the organisation's culture. By implementing a knowledge management solution, you can provide your teams with a single source of truth which drives productivity, supports onboarding of new staff and improves your ability to adapt to change. It can also act as a base for decision-making, so your teams will be better prepared to solve problems and prevent future ones.