Building a corporate Knowledge Base is the first step in implementing a Knowledge Management system to facilitate decision making and reduce costs.
In the previous article, we looked at how information management can support decision making in the enterprise. Implementing a business infrastructure through which to manage and monitor processes helps transform data into useful information for various departments, both to understand and improve the use of resources, and to guide decisions.
What costs are involved in not managing information correctly in the company
An information management system includes people, functions, applications, technology infrastructure, and procedures. Therefore, it is based not only on appropriate technology, but also on a corporate culture that promotes knowledge sharing.
Knowledge is the company's intellectual asset and is made up of documented information, but also, and above all, of the experience of personnel.
This is the most valuable resource for an organization, because without proper management of this information, there are several risks: first, the failure to capitalize on experience, often caused by a lack of sharing of best practices.
This leads to repeated errors in the performance of work activities and, consequently, decreased productivity.
Moreover, there are very high costs to finding information, especially in terms of time wasted looking for it, time to build it where it is not there, and time to use it to create revenue.
Building a Knowledge Base to facilitate knowledge management
To exploit and make use of all the company's knowledge capital, it is necessary to organize it, building a Knowledge Base.
Thanks to Knowledge Management tools, in fact, it is possible to implement technological systems, more and more often based on Artificial Intelligence, that allow to collect, catalogue, and keep always updated large amounts of documentation.
In both Customer Service and other business divisions, such as Sales, Marketing and HR, having a centralized source of information makes it possible to speed up work and constantly monitor changes and updates to documentation.
In addition, it will be easier to analyze and share data and KPI's on business performance and resource utilization.
Barriers to the development of Knowledge Management systems
In order to collect and map knowledge, it is necessary to introduce a Knowledge Management technology, i.e. a software that allows access and management of the company Knowledge Base.
Often this phase is the most critical, since it involves, on the one hand, the choice of a program that should be easy to use and with an intuitive and user-friendly interface, and on the other, the actual use that people in the company make of it.
On a more strictly technology-related level, there are several issues that could arise:
- first of all, the choice of a software that is complicated to use and not very adaptable to the needs of the various departments;
- the difficulty of finding data as they are located in different repositories, archives and servers;
- the use of systems that approach documents based on a specific language, such as codes, keywords, or tags: these types of software imply the need to know these terms to search for information.
In terms of the use of Knowledge Management, one of the biggest obstacles may be represented by the corporate culture:
- there is often a lack of appreciation of Knowledge Sharing practices, so each employee avoids sharing best practices learned through experience, as they consider them a personal strength and a treasure to be jealously guarded;
- secondly, if a culture of innovation is not widespread in the company, people will be reluctant to change and adopt new technological tools, even though they could facilitate their work.
To avoid these situations, change must come from the top, and encompass the entire corporate culture: fostering knowledge-sharing practices among colleagues and departments with rewards and incentives for those who circulate information, stimulating the production of new ideas and, consequently, innovation.