How Poor Knowledge Management Is Harming Your Business
In the age of digitization, data is known as "digital gold." It affects almost every business process undertaken by organizations operating in all major industries. Data allows businesses to understand the market, ascertain the customers' needs, and assess their processes. Over time, it has become vital for organizations across the board to record, store, track, and analyze data from multiple resources. It goes without saying that finding the best approach and tools for managing knowledge is one of the most challenging tasks for every corporate organization.
A Deloitte employee survey found that around 36% felt a poor technology infrastructure hindered their company's knowledge management. However, with creating a database, businesses need to make sense of the same to undertake meaningful business processes. The records stored within your system need to be analyzed to understand its context and give you a sense of direction. This is what makes knowledge management important for businesses in 2023 and beyond.
What Is Knowledge Management?
Knowledge management is capturing, organizing, using, and analyzing the collective knowledge possessed by a company. Like a human being, an organization possesses knowledge that helps its employees make critical decisions and provide better customer service.
Knowledge management often requires businesses to build an enterprise knowledge base or a portal that stores all relevant data and information about the company. This information is then put into context and assessed for seamless knowledge management. In the digital age, accessing, sharing, and updating your business knowledge allows you to provide personalized services to your customers, obtain valuable insights about your processes, increase the productivity of your employees, and become more cost-effective in your approach.
The Difference Between Data, Information, and Knowledge
Businesses often get confused between data, information, and knowledge. These terms are often used interchangeably for the records stored within an organization. However, it is essential to understand the difference between them to understand knowledge management better.
In simple words, data refers to a set of symbols and characters that make sense only when you attach context to them. Independently, it makes little sense and bears no meaning to anyone reading the characters. Data can be generated by collecting and measuring specific aspects of an organization or an individual. Generally, data is sent and received by digital platforms and machines to undertake specific processes. It forms the basis of carrying out analytics and obtaining valuable insights.
When you provide context to data, it turns into information. It provides you with facts and meaning that make more sense than plain data. For example, a mere date of birth holds little meaning on its own. If you add the person's name whose birth date it is, it provides you with a little more context.
Knowledge is a collection of information about a specific person or an organization. In the context of an organization, knowledge allows you to know a great deal about the company by consuming various information about the same. It allows machines and humans to make informed decisions and reach conclusions based on the information consumed. Compared to data and information, knowledge is more holistic and allows you to see the complete picture.
Information Included In Knowledge Management
Here is some major information that can be captured to give rise to the enterprise knowledge base:
- Product/Service FAQs
- Handbooks and manuals
- Release notes
- Benefits breakdown
- Organizational charts
- Flows of procurement
- Brand details
- Individual contract information
- Office location
- Office contacts
- Briefs about competitors
- Presentation tactics
- Timelines for product development
- Project timelines
- Work in progress data
How Does Poor Knowledge Management Harm Your Business?
With the traditional tools and outdated processes, employees may not be able to absorb knowledge and use it to their advantage. According to the statistics of PR Newswire, an employee waits more than 5.3 hours each week for the right support or guidance from their teammates. During this time, employees duplicate the knowledge of their colleagues or simply postpone the task at hand. This means, when employees don't receive the appropriate information at the right time, their productivity can suffer, affecting your company's operations and overall business ROI.
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Here are the top reasons how poor knowledge management impacts every corporate company.
- Poor Employee Support
A lot of employee support in the modern age depends on knowledge management. Inadequate knowledge management prevents your employees from obtaining support that is personalized and helpful to them. Modern employee service desks make use of the enterprise knowledge base to provide automated support to the employees. Whenever an employee asks a question, understand its context, scan the knowledge base, and develop a personalized solution.
Poor knowledge management will lead to generic answers being provided for the specific issues faced by your employees. Poor employee support ultimately leads to lower engagement and productivity of your employees. This reduces the value of the overall support provided to your employees.
- Slow And Ineffective Decision-making
Your knowledge base provides all relevant information to employees and senior management to make calculated and data-driven decisions. Poor knowledge management would lead to slower and inefficient decision-making as employees will have to spend time looking for adequate resources.
Employees often use collaborative tools and platforms to access the enterprise knowledge base and have all the required information at their disposal. This information allows them to make the right decisions while carrying out specific processes.
- Lack Of Customer Satisfaction
Just like providing employee support, knowledge management allows an organization to provide seamless support to its customers. Whether you are willing to provide automated support or have dedicated agents to provide the same, you need to manage the enterprise knowledge to provide suitable solutions to the issues faced by your customers.
Poor knowledge management would leave your customers dissatisfied with your services, increasing your chances of losing them over time.
- Poor Internal Collaboration
Knowledge management allows your employees and senior management to collaborate and share valuable information across the organization. This facilitates the free flow of innovative ideas and drives your business towards development. Failure to implement seamless knowledge management would affect the internal collaboration and create an unorganized flow of information.
Especially in the case of hybrid organizations where some employees work remotely, it becomes even more critical to have adequate knowledge management in place to ensure that everyone is on the same page.
- Difficulty In Finding The Required Information
Poor knowledge management makes it difficult for your employees to find relevant information when they need it. Knowledge management allows them to search for specific information without wasting time, whether interacting with leads, preparing for an important meeting, or simply performing their day-to-day activities.
Inadequate knowledge management often delays their search or leads to them obtaining incorrect information. Ultimately, this affects the productivity of your organization.
- Undertaking Repetitive Processes
Automated knowledge management allows your employees to streamline several processes, helping them save time and effort. Poor management of your enterprise knowledge base would lead to your employees performing the same processes every time there is a need to do so. This mechanical repetition of processes is likely to affect the engagement of your employees as their drive towards carrying out the processes keeps going down.
Why is Knowledge Management System Important?
A knowledge management system is paramount for organizations, particularly in providing employee support. A robust knowledge management system acts as a centralized hub that houses valuable information, resources, and expertise. By investing in a robust knowledge management tool, organizations can empower their employees with easy access to a vast knowledge repository, including work policies, procedures, skill-developing guides, troubleshooting handbook , and best practices. This accessibility to the right and relevant information allows employees to find solutions to their questions and address pain-points promptly, reducing their dependence on support agents or technicians and reducing the overall downtime.
Additionally, a well-structured knowledge management system ensures consistency and accuracy in support, ensuring employees have access to reliable and current information. As a result, productivity improves, employee satisfaction is enhanced, and the support ecosystem becomes more efficient and effective.
Benefits of Robust Knowledge Management System
Due to the above-mentioned reasons, CIOs and CEOs should choose a cutting-edge platform that supports employee collaboration in capturing and utilizing corporate knowledge and satisfies their employees’ and the organization's needs. As reported by Knowmax, more than 29% of knowledge management practitioners believe that investing in a robust knowledge management platform will make it simple to overcome knowledge gaps and silos.
Similarly, a Workplace Knowledge and Productivity report by Panopto states that around 85 % of employees say preserving and sharing unique knowledge in the workplace is crucial to enhance their work productivity.
- Ensures a deeper understanding
In order to make wise business decisions, it is crucial to have access to the right knowledge. Poor knowledge management limits the insights and potential for creativity to what those employees' minds can produce.
The use of an effective knowledge management platform can unleash a powerful flow of innovative and possibly beneficial ideas when employers extend knowledge sharing across the entire company, especially among people from different cultural backgrounds.
- Integrates data silos
Indeed, customer support and experience are often hampered when employees don't have proper access to data or a knowledge gap. Internal and external knowledge can be precisely shared with customer service using a robust knowledge management platform.
Employee productivity and customer satisfaction can be increased by managing users and bridging information gaps through knowledge management.
- Enhances process effectiveness
Every organization has various processes that its team leaders and employees carry out daily. A better knowledge management system ensures everyone has access to the knowledge required to do their work as effectively as possible.
- Quick access to files
Imagine your IT service desk agent searching for the right delivery information while an employee is on the phone asking his work-related query.
Finding the data, one wishes to access is made simpler by a knowledge management platform with meta-tags and intuitive search. The time it takes to provide the employees with the right information is reduced, thanks to AI-powered knowledge management tools.
- Improve team collaboration and innovation Implementing an effective knowledge management system helps organizations to enhance team collaboration and innovation, and the entire organization can access viewpoints from various departments.
Examples Of Knowledge Management Systems
Based on your requirements and the objectives you are willing to achieve, you can implement different knowledge management systems. Here are some of the most common examples of these systems:
- Content Management System
As the name suggests, a content management system is a centralized portal that allows you to store different formats of content that your employees can retrieve and utilize to perform specific tasks. These systems allow you to store texts, audio files, videos, infographics, and other media files based on your organization.
- Document Management System
These systems are centralized digital filing cabinets used for managing the documents of an organization. They help in streamlining your workflows, retrieving documents quickly, supporting regulatory compliance. Also, these systems ensure the utmost security of your documents if they are protected via backup procedures and passwords.
- Data Warehouse
These centralized systems obtain various datasets from different sources within your organization and store them on a unified platform. They facilitate seamless reporting and analytics by using the retrieved data and obtaining valuable insights about your business.
Intranets are private computer networks that are built on searchable platforms. These systems provide users with a resource of information that is easily accessible. This facilitates collaboration and communication amongst the employees working within your organization. However, intranets often face threats like data leaks and unauthorized access to information.
A wiki is a web page that serves as an easy-to-collaborate tool. It allows anyone working in your organization to store, create, and publish information on a centralized platform. Businesses often use these systems to store product catalogs and important business documents.
However, these systems can be openly edited, often leading to lower reliability of the information. Unless the information published here is absolutely objective, it is always advisable to cross-check before going ahead with any business processes.
This is the most commonly used knowledge management system that helps users capture, store, and analyze data generated by the organization. Databases are often indexed to make the stored information more accessible. Also, these systems are highly secure as they often store sensitive information about organizations and the customers they cater to.
Conclusion: Invest In A Robust Knowledge Management
Looking at the increasing dependence on digitized platforms and personalized services, seamless knowledge management has become the need of the hour. Whenever you implement a knowledge management system within your organization, always make sure that you go with the latest tools that help you automate your processes.
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- What is knowledge management?
The process of identifying, creating, storing, sharing, and using knowledge within an organization to enhance performance and achieve goals is called knowledge management. In this process, knowledge is captured, organized, structured, and made accessible to those who need it.
- Why is knowledge management critical to a business?
-Improve Employee Support
Robust knowledge management tools ensure employees have access to the right information at the right time. As a result, employees will perform better, leading to better ROI.
When an organization provides the right knowledge management tool, employees can find the information they need quickly and easily. This can save time and reduce duplication of effort, leading to enhanced employee productivity and efficiency.
An effective knowledge management tool promotes collaboration by allowing employees to share information and ideas with their teammates. This will result in improved communication, teamwork, and innovation within the organization.
-Better Customer Service
With a robust knowledge management tool, support agents can access the information they need to provide timely and accurate support to customers.
- Why does knowledge management often fail?
Several factors can contribute to the failure of a knowledge management initiative:
- Poor Leadership Support
- Resistance to Change
- Outdated Technology
- Poor Implementation
- Lack of User Adoption