What is Knowledge Management? By definition it is “the process of capturing, distributing, and effectively using knowledge.” It is the systematic handling of all the information, data, and knowledge assets held by an organization with the purpose of creating value and meeting both strategic and tactical goals and targets, such as employee productivity and/or exceptional customer service.
The typical benefits achieved with effective Knowledge Management are:
- Employees feel empowered as they can quickly share tacit knowledge previously hidden from colleagues
- An increase in employee productivity as content that is needed to perform a task is accessible quickly
- Increased customer satisfaction when used in a customer service setting as users can quickly and easily find the content to help solve customer problems
Knowledge Management is not just the implementation of technology, it brings together people, processes, content and technology. An effective knowledge management implementation will use a knowledge management system which allows business process to be mapped into the technology, not the other way round. It will allow the automation of content delivery, through functionality to alert users to important information and tasks which should be completed.
Knowledge Management is therefore a multi-disciplinary approach, Knowledge Management is not, on its own, the implementation of a system but a process which is facilitated by IT.
Knowledge management includes the collection, analysis, dissemination, and general management of all information that is possessed by an organization. A Knowledge Management System carries out these functions and follows best practices to deliver optimal results for the organization using it in an efficient and effective manner. By definition, a Knowledge Management System (KMS) is a system for applying and using knowledge management principles to typically enable employees and customers to create, share and find relevant information quickly. Typical functionality includes;
- Content capture/upload and/or leveraging of existing content sources
- Advanced searching, including natural language, keyword and parameter led
- The ability to effectively capture tacit knowledge
- Insights into content use, knowledge gaps and user adoption levels
Therefore, a Knowledge Management System facilitates, supports and automates key areas of the knowledge management process by providing data capture functionality, configurable processes, and the means to analyze, monitor, and share data, information, and organizational knowledge.
Functionally, a knowledge management system will collect, store, and retrieve knowledge, find sources of knowledge, monitor knowledge use and needs. It helps automate the knowledge management process and creates efficiencies by providing key players with more time to spend learning from and applying data insights, information, and knowledge.
Knowledge management as a discipline seeks to accomplish effective use of a company’s knowledge assets, to increase productivity, improve staff morale and transform service delivery.
A successful Knowledge Management System implementation will provide the following benefits:
- Promote collaboration within and between teams
- Quickly share tacit knowledge previously hidden from colleagues
- Increase employee productivity
- Quickly and easy find the content to help solve problems
- Make use of existing content as the KMS will do the hard work to find the nuggets of valuable information
The benefits of developing a knowledge sharing culture in any industry facilitates the transfer of invaluable tacit knowledge from experienced employees and make it available to all those who need it. The benefits of knowledge sharing are to effectively leverage your intellectual capital, the biggest asset for any company.
Enabling a process, particularly through the use of a knowledge management platform, allows employees to provide feedback, suggest edits or request new knowledge, ensuring all employees feel valued. Those with the tacit knowledge can be recognised for their efforts in providing much needed information to all that require it, empowering them to continue the good work.
Knowledge exchange can only be effective if a single platform is utilised, otherwise information and knowledge will be missed, or information duplicated. This creates an unnecessary administration over head at best or provides incorrect or incomplete information at worst and if your organisation is customer facing, the implications of providing incorrect information can be far reaching.
Remote working and hybrid working has pushed the knowledge sharing requirement to the fore, relying on a colleague’s instant knowledge and availability is not practical, a knowledge sharing platform and culture must be implemented to ensure employees can do their jobs and customers can be well served.
Universal Knowledge allows you to both leverage existing content and index this in-situ or upload content to be stored and managed directly within the Knowledge Management system, or a combination of the two. The main benefit of leveraging content is that you can quickly deploy your Knowledge Management system providing access to multiple repositories from a single platform. Content is still edited, and version controlled on your source system such as SharePoint, but Universal Knowledge will allow you to search this content more efficiently and provide valuable usage data through its comprehensive insights.
To take full advantage of everything Universal Knowledge has to offer, migrated or uploading content allows you to not only search content but also manage the content. Features include;
- Full audit trails
- Revision histories
- Comparisons between revisions
- Configurable review and approval cycles
- Reverting back to previous revision
- In-line edits
- Change management through rework requests from users
Absolutely. Universal Knowledge is built from the ground up with restful APIs. This means that every function within the tool can be exposed through a different interface or application.
A set of documented use cases and code examples are provided to make the process of integrating the knowledge base data and functionality into another tool as simple as possible.
Tacit knowledge refers to knowledge that is difficult to articulate, express, or codify in a formal or explicit manner. It is the type of knowledge that is often deeply rooted in an individual’s experiences, skills, intuition, and personal insights. Tacit knowledge contrasts with explicit knowledge, which can be easily documented, written down, and transferred in a formalized way.
A Knowledge Management System (KMS) such as Universal Knowledge can play a crucial role in capturing tacit knowledge within an organization;
Documenting Expertise: Universal Knowledge allows employees to document their expertise, experiences, and insights in various formats. This documentation can include case studies, best practices, lessons learned, and personal anecdotes that showcase how tacit knowledge has been applied successfully.
Collaborative Platforms: Universal Knowledge includes collaborative tools and platforms where employees can share their tacit knowledge in real-time. This include discussion forums where employees can ask questions and receive insights from their peers and experts within the organization. Feedback can be given on content and experts can be formally asked for an answer to a question which can then be captured in a standardized format using inbuilt templates.
Search and Retrieval: Universal Knowledge has robust search capabilities that can help users find tacit knowledge quickly and efficiently.
In summary, a well-designed Knowledge Management System can facilitate the capture of tacit knowledge by providing tools, platforms, and processes that encourage knowledge sharing, collaboration, and documentation among employees. It helps transform implicit knowledge into explicit knowledge that can be accessed and leveraged by others within the organization.
Explicit content is essential in knowledge management because it provides a structured and accessible foundation for knowledge sharing, learning, and decision-making within an organization. It can be easily disseminated among employees, shared across teams, and leveraged to address specific challenges or tasks. Effective KM practices often involve creating, organizing, updating, and disseminating explicit content to ensure that organizational knowledge is readily available and usable. Examples of Explicit Knowledge are;
- Documents: Written reports, manuals, procedures, guidelines, and other textual documents that convey knowledge in a clear and organized manner.
- Presentations: Slide decks, presentations, and visual materials that convey knowledge through visual and auditory means.
- Videos and Multimedia: Knowledge captured in video or multimedia formats, such as training videos, webinars, and multimedia presentations.
- Spreadsheets: Data and information organized in spreadsheet formats, often used for quantitative analysis and reporting.
- Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs): Detailed step-by-step instructions and processes for performing tasks or activities within an organization.
- FAQs: Frequently Asked Questions documents that provide answers to common queries or issues.
- Manuals and Handbooks: Comprehensive reference materials that offer guidance on specific topics or domains.
- Reports and Research Findings: Research reports, studies, and findings that summarize information and insights on particular subjects.
Explicit content is essential in knowledge management because it provides a structured and accessible foundation for knowledge sharing, learning, and decision-making within an organization. It can be easily disseminated among employees, shared across teams, and leveraged to address specific challenges or tasks. Effective KM practices often involve creating, organizing, updating, and disseminating explicit content to ensure that organizational knowledge is readily available and usable.
SOP stands for “Standard Operating Procedure.” It is a written document or set of step-by-step instructions that outlines the standard processes and procedures for carrying out specific tasks or activities within an organization. SOPs are a fundamental part of business and organizational management and are commonly used in various industries, including healthcare, manufacturing, aviation, research, and more. Here are some key characteristics and purposes of SOPs:
Consistency: SOPs are designed to ensure consistency and uniformity in how tasks or processes are performed. By following established procedures, employees can consistently produce reliable and predictable results.
Compliance: SOPs often incorporate industry regulations, safety guidelines, and legal requirements. Following SOPs helps organizations comply with relevant standards and regulations.
Training: SOPs are valuable tools for training new employees. They provide a structured framework for teaching individuals how to perform tasks correctly and safely.
Quality Control: SOPs play a critical role in quality control and quality assurance. They specify the standards and criteria that must be met to maintain product or service quality.
Efficiency: SOPs can improve efficiency by streamlining processes and reducing the likelihood of errors. They outline the most efficient and effective way to perform tasks.
Risk Management: In industries where safety is a concern, SOPs help manage risks by detailing safety protocols and emergency procedures.
Documentation: SOPs serve as documented evidence of how tasks are performed. This documentation can be crucial in audits, inspections, and legal matters.
Continuous Improvement: Organizations often review and update SOPs to incorporate improvements and best practices, ensuring that processes evolve with changing needs and technologies.
Creating and maintaining effective SOPs is a crucial aspect of organizational and knowledge management and ensures that tasks are carried out consistently and in accordance with best practices and standards.
Yes, both models are supported.
Our on-premise Knowledge Management deployment option allows you and your IT department complete control over your Knowledge Management investment. An on-premise deployment can be implemented across multiple servers, virtual machines or even within your own cloud, making integrations with current systems a simple process, whilst also ensuring that your data is kept safe behind the measures of your company firewall. An on-premise Knowledge Management deployment is the ideal option for highly regulated industries and organisations such as financial or credit sectors. During implementation, our highly skilled technical team will scope your every need and help you to evaluate how best to deploy your on-premise Knowledge Management solution.
Our cloud/SaaS Knowledge Management deployment is a safe, secure and easy way to implement Universal Knowledge and is perfect for operations such as within the contact centre where scaling up or down is a frequent process year round. Cloud offers a flexible and secure option for you and can be implemented within days with minimal effort required from your IT department.
A knowledge base is a centralized repository of information, data, and knowledge that is organized and structured for easy access, retrieval, and management. A knowledge base platform serves as a resource for storing, organizing, and sharing information within an organization or for a specific purpose. Knowledge bases systems and software are used in various fields, including business, technology, customer support, education, and more.
Key characteristics of a knowledge base system include:
- Structured Information: Knowledge bases typically organize information in a structured manner, often using categories, topics, or a hierarchical structure to make it easier to navigate and locate specific pieces of information.
- Search Functionality: Knowledge bases often include a search feature that allows users to quickly find the information they need by entering keywords or queries.
- Content Variety: Knowledge bases can contain a wide range of content types, including text documents, articles, FAQs, images, videos, diagrams, and more, depending on the specific needs of the organization.
- Collaboration Tools: In some cases, knowledge bases may support collaboration features, allowing multiple users to contribute, edit, or update content collaboratively.
- Version Control: Knowledge bases often include version control mechanisms to track changes and updates to the information over time.
- Access Control: Access to a knowledge base may be restricted to authorized users or groups to ensure that sensitive or proprietary information is protected.
- Integration: Knowledge base systems can be integrated with other software systems, such as customer relationship management (CRM) systems, helpdesk software, or content management systems, to provide seamless access to knowledge and information.
- User-Friendly Interface: A user-friendly interface is crucial for easy navigation and utilization of the knowledge base by employees, customers, or other stakeholders.
Knowledge bases serve various purposes, including:
- Internal Knowledge Sharing: Organizations use knowledge base systems to store and share internal information, best practices, policies, and procedures among employees, promoting efficient operations and decision-making.
- Customer Support: Many companies use knowledge base tools to provide self-service support to their customers. Customers can access FAQs, troubleshooting guides, and instructional materials to find solutions to common issues without the need for direct customer support.
- Training and Onboarding: Knowledge base tools are often used to create training materials and resources for new employees, helping them learn about company processes and systems.
- Documentation: Technical documentation, product manuals, and user guides can be included in knowledge bases to provide users with detailed information about products or services.
- Research and Reference: Educational institutions, research organizations, and libraries use knowledge bases to store and access research papers, academic materials, and reference information.
Overall, a knowledge base system is a valuable tool for efficiently managing and sharing information, which can improve decision-making, problem-solving, and customer satisfaction.
A self-service portal is a web-based interface or platform that allows users to independently access information, perform tasks, and resolve issues without the need for direct assistance from customer support or service personnel. These portals are commonly used by organizations to empower their customers, employees, or other stakeholders to find answers, complete transactions, and manage their own needs efficiently. In this sense, the self service portal acts as a customer engagement platform.
Key features and functions of a self-service portal include:
- Information Retrieval: Users can access a wealth of information, such as FAQs, knowledge articles, product documentation, troubleshooting guides, and policies, to find answers to common questions or problems. A knowledge management platform should power this to ensure accurate searching.
- Account Management: Users can often update their account information, such as contact details, passwords, and preferences, without contacting customer support.
- Transactional Services: Some self-service portals allow users to perform transactions, such as making payments, placing orders, tracking shipments, or booking appointments, independently.
- Case Logging and Tracking: Customers can initiate support or service requests, log issues, and track the progress of their requests through the portal. This reduces the need for phone calls or email exchanges.
- Troubleshooting Tools: Self-service portals may provide interactive tools and diagnostic features to help users troubleshoot problems with products or services, typically powered by a knowledge management system.
- Multichannel Access: Users can typically access self-service portals through various devices, including computers, smartphones, and tablets, as well as through web browsers or mobile apps.
Self-service portals are commonly used in various industries and sectors, including:
- Customer Support: Businesses use self-service portals to provide customers with 24/7 access to support resources and enable them to troubleshoot common issues independently.
- Employee Self-Service: Companies utilize self-service portals for HR-related tasks, such as benefits enrollment, time tracking, and accessing pay stubs.
- Financial Services: Banks and financial institutions offer self-service portals for customers to check account balances, transfer funds, and manage investments.
- E-commerce: Online retailers provide self-service portals for customers to place orders, track shipments, and manage returns or exchanges.
- Healthcare: Healthcare providers offer patient portals for scheduling appointments, accessing medical records, and communicating with healthcare professionals.
- Government: Government agencies use self-service portals for citizens to access information, pay taxes, renew licenses, and apply for services online.
Self-service portals can enhance user satisfaction, reduce operational costs, and increase efficiency by allowing users to find information and complete tasks independently, all while providing a convenient and accessible experience.
To explore this question, the definition of a Knowledge Management System must first be outlined;
A Knowledge Management System (KMS) is a system for applying and using knowledge management principles to typically enable employees and customers to create, share and find relevant information quickly. Typical functionality includes;
- Content capture/upload and/or leveraging of existing content sources
- Advanced searching, including natural language, keyword and parameter led
- The ability to effectively capture tacit knowledge
- Insights into content use, knowledge gaps and user adoption level
SharePoint can store solutions, but in capturing and capitalizing on
their relevancy, SharePoint fails. Sharepoint typically resides as its own system, without integration with other tools such as CRMs or service desk applications. Without the ability to link solutions to the search query, the usefulness of solutions is not measured.
Search has historically also been a weakness of Sharepoint and continues to present challenges to users. Without manual tagging and knowledge of document titles, it can be difficult to find what you are looking for. Universal Knowledge provides google quality results and will take the user directly to the answer to the query within the document. This is an automatic, admin free function available out of the box.
Capturing tacit knowledge is most effective when this is built into a knowledge management process. Sharepoint does not offer this. Universal Knowledge encourages users to ask questions informally using discussion forums and formally using the ‘Ask the Expert’ function. In either case, alerts and notifications are triggered to the relevant people to make them aware of a potential knowledge gap and the status of this tracked and analysed through reporting functions.
Reporting functions are also lacking within Sharepoint. As is often said, knowing what we don’t know is as important as knowing what we know. Universal Knowledge provides comprehensive reporting to understand user adoption, potential knowledge gaps and document usage and relevancy.
As we have seen, the more rigorous the definition of Knowledge Management, the more gaps there are in SharePoint’s capacity to fulfil the mission. An organization can obtain truly effective Knowledge Management functionality while continuing to leverage its investment in SharePoint, by adopting a purpose-built Knowledge Management tool such as Universal Knowledge – and maintaining a shared knowledge repository in SharePoint. The Knowledge Management software would index the content in site collections designated as repositories for knowledge content for the supported business processes, treating those site collections just as it would any other repository in the enterprise.
Complementing your investment in SharePoint with an investment in Knowledge Management software would unlock your information and make it accessible exactly where it is required.
A knowledge management process refers to the systematic steps and activities that an organization follows to create, capture, store, organize, share, and apply knowledge within its operations. Effective knowledge management processes are designed to enhance collaboration, innovation, and decision-making within an organization. While specific processes may vary from one organization to another, a typical knowledge management process includes the following key elements:
- Knowledge Creation:
- Idea Generation: Encourage the generation of new ideas and knowledge within the organization.
- Innovation: Foster a culture of innovation to create new solutions and insights.
- Knowledge Capture:
- Documentation: Capture knowledge in various forms, including documents, reports, lessons learned, and best practices.
- Data Collection: Gather relevant data and information to convert it into usable knowledge.
- Knowledge Organization:
- Classification: Categorize and classify knowledge based on relevance and context.
- Taxonomy: Develop a structured taxonomy or classification system to organize information.
- Knowledge Storage:
- Repositories: Establish repositories or databases for storing knowledge in a centralized and easily accessible manner.
- Digital Platforms: Utilize digital platforms, such as knowledge management systems or intranets, for efficient storage.
- Knowledge Retrieval:
- Search Functionality: Implement search capabilities to enable quick and easy retrieval of relevant knowledge.
- Indexing: Create indexes and metadata to facilitate efficient searching.
- Knowledge Sharing:
- Collaboration Tools: Utilize collaboration tools and platforms for sharing knowledge among team members.
- Training Programs: Implement training programs to share expertise and skills among employees.
- Knowledge Application:
- Decision Support: Use knowledge to support decision-making processes within the organization.
- Problem Solving: Apply knowledge to solve problems and address challenges effectively.
- Knowledge Maintenance:
- Update and Review: Regularly update and review knowledge to ensure its accuracy and relevance.
- Feedback Mechanisms: Establish feedback mechanisms to improve knowledge over time.
- Knowledge Culture:
- Leadership Support: Foster a culture that values and encourages knowledge sharing, with support from leadership.
- Recognition: Recognize and reward contributions to knowledge management.
- Continuous Improvement:
- Feedback Loops: Establish feedback loops to continuously improve knowledge management processes.
- Adaptation: Adapt processes based on changing organizational needs and technological advancements.
By systematically implementing these processes, organizations can create a robust knowledge management framework that enhances their ability to leverage and apply knowledge for strategic and operational advantages.
Knowledge management plays a crucial role in a customer engagement platform, as it helps organizations efficiently organize, share, and leverage information to enhance customer interactions. Here are several key aspects of how knowledge management contributes to a customer engagement platform:
- Centralized Information Repository:
- A knowledge management system provides a centralized repository for storing information related to products, services, policies, and customer interactions.
- This centralization ensures that customer service representatives have access to accurate and up-to-date information.
- Consistent and Accurate Information:
- By managing knowledge centrally, organizations can ensure consistency in the information provided to customers across various channels.
- This consistency is vital for building trust and delivering a seamless customer experience.
- Efficient Problem Resolution:
- Knowledge management enables customer service teams to quickly find relevant information, troubleshooting guides, and solutions to common issues.
- This efficiency in problem resolution contributes to a positive customer experience and can help reduce resolution times.
- Training and Onboarding:
- A knowledge base within the customer engagement platform serves as a valuable resource for training and onboarding new customer service representatives.
- It ensures that employees have the necessary information to assist customers effectively from the start.
- Self-Service Capabilities:
- Knowledge management supports the development of self-service options for customers. By providing a well-organized knowledge base, customers can find answers to their questions without direct assistance.
- This reduces the workload on customer support teams and empowers customers to resolve issues independently.
- Knowledge about customer preferences, history, and interactions can be stored and utilized to personalize engagements.
- This personalization helps in tailoring responses, recommendations, and offers, contributing to a more meaningful and satisfying customer experience.
- Data Analytics and Insights:
- Knowledge management systems often include analytics tools that help organizations understand how information is being utilized.
- By analyzing data on customer interactions and information consumption, businesses can make informed decisions to improve their knowledge base and enhance customer engagement strategies.
- Continuous Improvement:
- Through feedback mechanisms and analytics, organizations can identify gaps in knowledge or areas where improvements are needed.
- This feedback loop supports continuous improvement in the content and effectiveness of the knowledge management system.
In summary, knowledge management is a foundational element in a customer engagement platform and plays a key role in digital transformation. It enables organizations to provide consistent, accurate, and personalized interactions with customers while also supporting the ongoing development and improvement of customer service processes.