Each company has its own knowledge base. To a greater or lesser extent, the success of the company depends on that foundation. Even from it, competitive advantages can be created, provided they are managed professionally. To achieve this, a functioning system is needed and in this context, the so-called knowledge management comes into play. Here’s everything you need to know: from definition to methods, and how knowledge management software can help you apply them.
From Definition To Knowledge Management Methods
Definition Of Knowledge Management
Knowledge management is generally considered one of the most important factors in business success. Access to knowledge and its transfer are basic requirements for companies’ ability to innovate.
According to its definition, knowledge management deals with the acquisition, use, transfer, development, and storage of knowledge in order to make it transparent and accessible to the company and its employees.
To this end, it is necessary to organize the management and reserve of knowledge within the framework of professional management. The basis is what is called implicit knowledge, which is stored in the form of thought patterns, complex links, and experiences in the minds of employees. It is therefore much more difficult to access than explicit knowledge, but it has the decisive advantage that it is continually updated and expanded through daily work and permanent exchange.
Gartner defines it as follows: “Knowledge management is a business process that formalizes the management and use of an organization’s intellectual resources. Knowledge management promotes a collaborative and inclusive approach to create, collect, organize, access and use information assets, including implicit and unrecorded knowledge of people ”.
What Is Knowledge Management In Organizations?
Once we have seen the definition we would like to delve into what is knowledge management in organizations. Knowledge management, as we have already mentioned, does not focus so much on explicit knowledge, but on the expertise of people and on the accumulation of experience of each employee. This implicit knowledge must be networked and accessible within the company. Its transformation into explicit knowledge, expressing it or documenting it, is just one of the tasks of knowledge management: it is also about generating new knowledge and transferring external knowledge. To achieve this, you have to actively design the transfer between them. Consequently, knowledge management is an integral process that must be permanently incorporated into organizational processes to identify, use productively and network the knowledge available in the company.
This is important because professional knowledge management makes companies more competitive in our modern knowledge economy. In addition, it increases productivity, results in higher quality products and better services, and enhances customer satisfaction. By making it easier for employees to find the information they need, not only can you increase productivity in a sustainable way, but you can also make your business processes more efficient overall.
Objectives Of Knowledge Management
Knowledge management is based on the fundamental assumption that knowledge is one of the most important resources that a company can have. Unlike goods or information, it cannot be acquired or increased through trade. For this reason, knowledge management is clearly distinguished from information management. Its objectives are to use, acquire, store and develop knowledge.
In this regard, knowledge transfer also plays a crucial role. It is about transforming implicit knowledge into explicit knowledge, thus creating a kind of collective knowledge available throughout the company. However, knowledge management also aims to transform explicit knowledge into implicit knowledge, for example, incorporating it into one’s own routine.
In principle, three different knowledge objectives can be distinguished: normative objectives, which constitute the guidelines for knowledge management; the strategic objectives, within which long-term measures are formulated; and operational objectives, which are oriented towards concrete implementation measures. With the help of these, a comprehensive concept will be created that combines technical, human, and organizational aspects.
In this way, making knowledge available more quickly means that the process of becoming familiar with new areas of expertise can be shortened considerably. In short, companies that incorporate knowledge management can significantly increase their competitiveness in a very short time.
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Knowledge Management Methods
Several methods can be used to incorporate knowledge management. The objective is to introduce tailored instruments that notably reinforce and effectively develop business knowledge management.
- The first question should always be: When is relevant knowledge available in the company? Be it a team chat or a group discussion; There are numerous ways to find out what knowledge is latent in the company and to what extent.
- Collect knowledge in the company selectively and log it logically. This can be achieved, for example, in the context of a presentation or interview in which the most important information is briefly presented. Ideally, the collected knowledge is stored in digital format so that all employees can access it at any time.
- Another effective method: exchange rounds, in which the team catches up. So that no valuable knowledge is lost, it is a good idea to always keep short minutes of the meeting.
- You can also bring outside knowledge to the company to optimize it later. New impulses, for example in the form of videos, specialized literature, or webinars, help to hone internal skills in the long term.
- Building links through social media can also help you gain valuable advice and helpful tips for your own business.
- The next step is to create a knowledge database that is logically structured and accessible. This not only facilitates the search for relevant information but also the internal transfer of knowledge, for example when new employees join the company. Digital tools have a clear advantage in this context because they are always available from anywhere. When choosing the right solution, it is important to choose a tool that everyone can use regularly.
Knowledge Management Software
Software knowledge management enables companies to store and share knowledge that employees have acquired over the years based on their experience. With its help, data can be collected and stored in a structured way. Likewise, the information can be evaluated through knowledge management software to make it easier for entrepreneurs to make important decisions in this regard. A clear representation of relevant knowledge makes it easier for entrepreneurs to identify opportunities and risks for their products and services.
In addition, the internal processes of the company can be better standardized with the help of this type of software; a basic requirement if a company wants to get certified. The resulting benefits seem quite obvious: knowledge management software not only eliminates printing costs but also improves control and speed of information, as news can now be disseminated more quickly and more specifically. The time losses derived from the tedious search for relevant information are significantly reduced because the necessary knowledge can be grouped together. It can also make employee training more efficient, helping companies to be more agile overall.