In our modern digital world, every single business, large or small, possesses a large amount of information and data, and with each passing day, the amount continues to grow.
If companies wish to benefit from and use this data properly, there is a pressing need for a system to be in place that can collect, store, and manage it efficiently and effectively. This is known as knowledge management and it is typically managed by a Knowledge Management System (KMS), something that can be implemented by any business.
Implementing a Knowledge Management System
Implementing a KMS can help prevent your company from wasting time, money, and other resources on the discovery, collection, and overall management of key data. The time it takes to properly implement a KMS depends on your company processes and how much information and data you currently possess, collect and wish to manage in the KMS.
There is no one-size-fits-all approach to implementing a KMS and timeframe depends on various factors.
For some organizations, particularly smaller start-ups, implementation is instant and seamless. This is quite the contrast to larger organizations or those that are more complex by nature where successful implementation can take days, weeks, and, in rare circumstances, months.
Aiding the Implementation Process
Whilst the overall implementation timeframe is largely beyond the control of an organization, there are several things that can be done to help facilitate the implementation process and make it more efficient.
1. Know your objectives for knowledge management
Prior to selecting a knowledge management solution and undergoing the implementation process, it is important to define your objectives and goals.
Identify both short and long-term goals and objectives that take account of your organization’s overall problems and help to support what drives your company forward. Your short-term KMS objectives should help to ensure that your knowledge management endeavours are on the right track and your long-term objectives should help to manage the bigger picture.
2. Consider more than technology alone
Successful implementation of knowledge management considers more than technology alone, this is something that many organizations fail to understand. Whilst technology addresses how you choose, configure, and utilize the tools that enable knowledge management, you should also consider:
- People—your organization’s people represent how you increase the ability of individuals within your organization to disseminate their knowledge
- Processes—these help you establish governance and best practices for the facilitation of accurate collection, management, and sharing of knowledge
- Content—it dictates how you control and modify organizational structures to facilitate cross-discipline awareness and expertise
- Measurement—all this should be continuously measured and analyzed for ongoing success and maximum benefit.
It is important to know that alone, technology cannot deliver a comprehensive solution; you must ensure that technology supplements the above four components before starting your knowledge management project.
3. Prepare for change
Knowledge management is not just the application of a technology solution, it involves a change to the way your employees share the knowledge that they possess, collect, and develop. Lots of companies struggle to prepare for the change that a KMS brings and this can cause a delay to realizing the benefits.
By moving away from a “knowledge is power” attitude that curtails knowledge sharing through the rewarding of individual performance, you start to get maximum benefit out of your knowledge management affairs and move towards a knowledge-driven organizational culture.
Often, organizations are unaware that this is the case and fail to prepare for the changes that knowledge management brings. Whilst employees may be resistant to these changes, it is important to persevere.
4. Be ready for the demands of implementation
Implementing a KMS requires leadership and resource. If you are ready for the challenges that lay ahead due to sufficient preparation, you should find that implementation will be infinitely easier and a lot more seamless.
So long as your organization is recognizing and publicizing the value and benefits that knowledge management is bringing with it, particularly to your employees there will likely be a lot less resistance. As you go through the implementation process and get to grips with knowledge management, regularly reflect on the short-term benefits and continue to focus on your long-term goals.
Implementation Needn’t Be Complicated
Whilst implementing requires focus, leadership and resource it doesn’t need to be complicated and by being prepared, the process will be far quicker and more efficient. Although implementation time depends on many factors there are steps you can take to streamline the process.
Organizations that take the plunge and implement a knowledge management system very quickly begin to see the benefits, they manage data and information, enhance decision making, become more effective and ultimately impact on an organizations results.