What is Knowledge Management? The Benefits of a Knowledge Management Strategy

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Knowledge is everything in this world. It enables us to advance across multiple disciplines, and provides a clear distinction between humans and animals. Knowledge is power. It allows us to make optimal decisions based on a heightened sense of good and bad. By making the most of the knowledge available to us, we’re positioned to achieve greatness in various domains. This is applicable in many business contexts, where decision making is at the heart of performance. With all this knowledge at our fingertips, it’s essential we learn how to manage it effectively. This process enables us to live a prosperous life in both personal and business contexts. “Knowledge Management is expensive – but so is stupidity!”, Thomas Davenport But what is knowledge management? How can we benefit from it? If you’re intrigued to learn more, let’s begin with a base definition:

What is Knowledge Management?

Though open to interpretation, knowledge management generally concerns an organization’s ability to manage knowledge assets. These should be leveraged to meet strategic requirements and create value across processes, strategies, initiatives, systems, assessment, and knowledge creation. It has a strong tie with organizational goals and strategy, and when executed successfully will create value for your company. Knowledge management additionally involves understanding where knowledge exists, what organizations need to know, and how to promote a continuous improvement culture. What’s most important is you can make the right information available to the right people, at the right time. It also looks at acquiring relevant knowledge, while managing factors which enhance performance and encourage organizations to meet their strategic goals and embrace opportunities. Having answered the question ‘what is knowledge management?’, it’s important we next look into how you can benefit from a knowledge management strategy:

4 Great Knowledge Management Benefits

Organizations can benefit from staff who innovate, collaborate, learn, reuse, and share. These are integral components of a sound knowledge management strategy. But how will your organization benefit from knowledge management? Here are 4 great benefits to consider:

1. Easier to Access Relevant Information

When faced with a unique challenge or business opportunity, companies commonly look to access the resources and information needed to support activities. With knowledge management, you company will be better positioned to access what it needs, when it needs it. You can consequently perform tasks efficiently, to the best of your capabilities. With advanced access to the knowledge you need, you’ll be much better positioned to solve problems, assess markets, analyze trends, evaluate competition, create new offerings, strategically plan, and think critically.

2. Avoid Making the Same Mistakes Twice

Making the same mistakes over and over again is widely considered the definition of madness. By ignoring what’s happened in the past, we’re less likely to avoid repeating the same mistakes over and over. What’s most important is we can learn from our mistakes. Knowledge management enables us to embrace lessons learned. The process of continuous improvement is deeply rooted in understanding the outcome of both successes and failures. A failure to learn from mistakes will cause people to experience them over and over. So how should we safeguard against this outcome? Well, with a culture of openness, trust, and reward, and a willingness to discuss failures. By doing so this the potential benefits are quite staggering. In critical industries recurring mistakes can result in fatalities, and in less severe cases can severely hinder productivity. Reduce the impact of future disasters, learning from mistakes and using them to shape future initiatives. This is all part and parcel with effective knowledge management.

3. Enables Better Decision Making

Knowledge management allows organizations to deliver information as and when it’s needed. This occurs through systems of support, syndication, subscription, and search. This creates a solid foundation for optimal decision making. Good decisions are powered by collaboration, which brings diverse opinions, large numbers, and varied experience when critical decisions need to be made. The omnipresent nature of knowledge allows facilities to repeat beneficial decisions, while reusing information in accordance with large sample sizes, actual experience, and the practical lessons learned along the way. Lessons begin during the onboarding process, where staff are taught the importance of advanced, well-measured decisions. To ensure staff don’t stagnate, as part of a continuous improvement strategy staff should be continuously trained, so they have the knowledge necessary to continue making well-informed decisions. This is facilitated with an effective knowledge management strategy.

4. Avoid Redundant Effort

Typically employees waste significant time repeating the same tasks over and over. This is inexcusable, especially in today’s technological age. Avoiding the duplication of tasks can save significant resources, including time and money. The last thing you’ll want is to spend time on unnecessary duties, those which don’t directly contribute to high performance. Knowledge management allows staff to identify where they’re dedicating too much time. They can use accessible information to improve morale, streamline work, and most importantly allocate time better. You won’t need to reinvent the wheel, just discover newfangled methods to tackle your current work scope.
Jason is the Lead Author & Editor of TrainingStation Blog. Jason established the Training Station blog to create a source for news and discussion about some of the issues, challenges, news, and ideas relating to training, learning and development.