How to Implement a Company-Wide Knowledge Management System
By capitalizing on intellectual and knowledge-based assets, KMS also empowers knowledge-sharing among employees, customers, and IT while increasing productivity and service quality.
With all its obvious benefits, why do so many organizations find implementing a KMS so challenging? Often it’s because they dive into knowledge management solutions before considering two crucial details: their objectives and how they’ll follow best practices once a program is adopted.
Here’s how to help your organization overcome common barriers to a successful KMS implementation.
Why Implement a Knowledge-Based System?
Whether it’s knowledge management for front-line staff, a retail store management system, or customer service management for stores, the right KMS manages your organization’s critical information and then improves productivity and efficiency throughout all work stages and managerial levels. Without it, you face financial and industry-standing risks.
With the average large U.S. business losing $47 million in productivity by failing to share knowledge, it’s clear that implementing a KMS can help an enterprise improve its chances for success through more efficient learnings environments that support innovation and inspire cultural change.
Implementing a Company-Wide KMS
There are several key considerations that go into implementing a company-wide knowledge management system: people, processes, technology, structure, and culture. They should always be top-of-mind when adopting and following KM best practices.
A Successful KMS is an Inclusive KMS
A successful KMS is one that makes all involved groups and individuals feel they’re a part of the action. For example, it’s no secret some of an organization’s best ideas come from its front-line workers. Yet many businesses fail to tap into the majority of the American workforce. Branch staff and retail associates can also be helpful in sharing customer feedback and sales information.
Tom Smith, best-selling author and co-founder of Partners in Leadership says “Leadership is the ability to facilitate movement in the needed direction and have people feel good about it.” From call center staff to IT support managers and the C-suite, everyone in your organization should feel they’re contributing to and benefiting from the company’s KMS. And making sure this happens starts with an executive team that clearly articulates goals and objectives, plays an on-going role in the KMS launch, and is active on the platform. In other words, successful implementation starts at the top.
Build a KMS for the Way People Work
Most employees don’t need one more task added to their already busy work schedules. Your KMS shouldn’t make searching and contributing to it more work; rather, it should be an integral part of the normal workflow process. Operational procedures can be revised to remove roadblocks and make contribution easier and more efficient through interactive means such as internal blogs, forums, webinars, and live Q&A sessions.
With more people working remotely, a KMS should also be mobile-friendly. This can improve staff experience and foster higher quality knowledge submission. A responsive design approach that works with whatever devices your employees are using is key to remote success.
Most users are enthusiastic about new technology. If the process is allowed to become stagnant, that enthusiasm quickly dies. Proactive measures like regular training meetings focusing on best practices, product updates and changes, and more are the best ways to keep users effectively engaged and sharing information. Awards and other forms of recognition for knowledge contribution are another great way to boost and maintain engagement.
A company-wide, knowledge-driven culture is possible. All it takes is patience, the right vision, strategies, and methods to encourage change and participation. Organizations making the effort will see company, support staff, customers, and user transformation.
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