Every business relies on data. The success of a business always depends on how well they can convert the data into valuable information. This information must be strategically converted to knowledge and used in crucial decision making.
Research suggests that the global knowledge management market will grow to $1,232,000 million by 2025. As we can all gauge, knowledge management is thus vital for the growth of a business.
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It is essential to share, access, and update business knowledge at all organizational levels at the right time. And, this process has to be continuous. We will describe the knowledge management process in four crucial steps to understand and implement this better.
4 Steps of Knowledge Management Process for Businesses
In the simplest terms, knowledge management is the process of discovering, capturing, sharing, and applying knowledge cost-effectively to increase business process productivity.
Now the question is, how do we manage knowledge for the betterment of a business?
So, here are the four essential steps businesses need to follow for efficient knowledge management.
1. Knowledge Discovery
Knowledge needs to be discovered before being put to use! Knowledge discovery refers to developing new tacit and explicit knowledge from raw data. We must refine raw data to generate valuable information and then analyze and process it into knowledge.
Examples of processes commonly used for knowledge discovery are surveys, questionnaires, individual interviews, group interviews, and observation.
Knowledge discovery, the first step of the knowledge management process involves communication, integration, and systemization of multiple streams of explicit knowledge. Tacit knowledge is implied knowledge that is discovered by socialization, for example, through joint activities, instead of written or oral instructions.
2. Knowledge Capture
Knowledge capture is the part of knowledge management that deals with retrieving explicit or tacit knowledge that resides within people, artifacts, or organizational entities.
Tacit knowledge is captured from the employees through externalization, which involves documentation, verbalization, and sharing; for example, forming quality circles to improve a specific business process.
Internalization, another subprocess of knowledge capture, involves the acquiring of tacit knowledge by employees through learning. Additionally, internalization is the process of converting the employee’s tacit knowledge into explicit by applying it to practical situations. For example, organizations conduct on-job training or practical training sessions for the employees through simulation or experiments.
3. Knowledge Sharing
The organization now has a considerable chunk of explicit or tacit knowledge. But, it is a waste if they cannot share it across for use. As it is said, knowledge shared is knowledge squared!
So, knowledge sharing is the process of making the relevant explicit or tacit knowledge available to the right people at the right time. Knowledge sharing additionally benefits businesses by improving communication among team members.
For example, knowledge sharing involves writing books, research papers, delivering a speech, lectures, presentations, training events, forums. Technology has enabled organizations to have shared project files where multiple team members can work together and contribute to managing knowledge sharing effectively.
4. Knowledge Application
Last but not least, the knowledge discovered, captured, and shared has to be applied for the benefit of the business. All the efforts of knowledge management fail if this application or implementation is not effective.
Knowledge application is about the actualization of knowledge to make decisions, improve processes, and make the best use of this knowledge to solve business problems. The essential knowledge chunks are leveraged to make business decisions. Knowledge is also applied organization-wide through instructions, procedures, norms, etc.
Knowledge application has become more comfortable these days with the help of technology. For example, numerous business intelligence tools like SAP Business Intelligence leverage Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML) to process the knowledge data and offer analytics and reporting for better decision making.
It is a must to have a systematic knowledge management approach at all levels and areas of the business for the best results. It is not difficult anymore to implement knowledge management across your business, especially with the presence of knowledge-base software and automation tools with features such as document management, content management, databases, data warehouses, social networking, etc.
Effective implementation of knowledge management in your business can reap immense benefits. The best knowledge management can be understood by top companies examples. How it helps in efficient storage, access, sharing, and updation of knowledge; and results in faster decision making, improved quality of information, increased collaboration, idea generation, intellectual property security, and optimization of training systems.
As a result, your business can perform better with increased customer satisfaction, reduced customer support costs, and overall better return on investment (RoI) in your organization.