How to Get Your Knowledge Management Back on the Rails
It’s high time to reconsider the traditional vision of knowledge management and to transform it into an engaging and productive process by improving both the concept and technologies in use. Here we’ve come up with a democratic approach to deal with this challenge.
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Knowledge management may look like a rather newly-borne approach, since companies still don’t have a unified understanding of how to process and store valuable data and how to transform tacit knowledge into explicit, but the concept has been around since the early 1990s.
A study conducted by Technology Services Industry Association (TSIA) in 2015 wasn’t reassuring either. With 12 days spent on average to publish a new item in the knowledge base, some companies needed between 90 and 120 days to make a new publication; only 26% of companies updated their content on a regular basis and 62% of them had no performance goals or incentive structure in place for knowledge management.
As if that’s not enough, the negligence towards knowledge management is coupled with unfriendly technologies. It’s no surprise that one of the most used platforms for knowledge management is SharePoint. Unfortunately, only a few companies decide to go beyond the out-of-the-box features and address their needs to SharePoint developers to get a powerful and interactive solution. Far more often, a SharePoint-focused knowledge base looks unattractive and offers a quite poor user experience.
Such a deplorable situation proves that it’s high time to reconsider the traditional vision of knowledge management and to transform it into an engaging and productive process by improving both the concept and technologies in use. Here we’ve come up with a democratic approach to deal with this challenge.
Make Knowledge Generation and Sharing More Open
One of the most widespread mistakes companies make is assigning knowledge management to a very limited group of people well-experienced in a particular domain. This way, the process of knowledge generation automatically transforms into a privileged activity inaccessible for the majority of employees.
Without diminishing the role of experts, it’s still reasonable to make knowledge management more democratic and let employees from different departments participate. It will make a knowledge base more dynamic, increase the volume of information and stimulate the staff’s engagement.
To involve people, it’s also important to think about possible psychological or material rewards. For example, you can create a virtual rating to mark out the most active contributors and organize a special board to place their photos and names or introduce special prizes such as free lunches or cinema tickets.
For those who are ready to taste some advanced SharePoint features, it is a great opportunity to implement gamification features and make knowledge management more interactive and entertaining.
Prioritize and Appraise Knowledge Units
Applying more a democratic approach to publishing content should not lead to a knowledge base pollution with irrelevant or low-quality content. It’s advisable to implement a system of content moderation that will include an obligatory assessment of every new publication made and to assign content moderators who will approve, assess and rate posts before they are published.
The content evaluation not only guarantees high quality of your knowledge base, but it also helps to sort out the needed information. Assigning value and relevance to every publication will allow you to provide employees with a Google-like search option so that they can see the most important publications on the top of the list.
Adopt Simple and User-Friendly Solutions
Sounds banal? Maybe. But the reality shows that too complex, scattered and unattractive solutions continue ruining knowledge management initiatives. In the case of SharePoint, the problem of poor user adoption is one of the hardest issues that plagued the platform.
Quite a frequent delusion while adopting the platform for knowledge management is to think that the out-of-the box features will be more than enough for internal use. The problem with this approach is that with no customization, SharePoint can hardly meet your employees’ requirements and will be very soon left aside.
Without resorting to enforcement measures, think of your solution’s tailoring. Take the example of public forums and make knowledge management as engaging and simple as forum discussions. The publication process should be clear and intuitive with all the necessary functions at users’ fingertips. Custom design isn’t a must but it helps to support the corporate culture and contributes to the team spirit formation.
Knowledge management meets lots of pitfalls on its way to transforming raw ideas into a tangible profit. If your knowledge management just marks time, it’s necessary to come back to the start and analyze if the approach and tools that are currently used can really ensure sustainable knowledge generation and processing, then elaborate on feasible changes.
Published at DZone with permission of Sandra Lupanava, DZone MVB. See the original article here.
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