Kickstart Knowledge Management Processes to Empower Employees and Customers

Modern Data Center

Improve Productivity, Employee Retention, and Customer Experiences With Knowledge Sharing That’s Always Fresh

In today’s digital-first world, the steady drip of knowledge accumulation has become more like a torrent — with much of this information being essential for smooth operations and exceptional customer service.

How can modern companies wrangle the overabundance of business knowledge generated by employees and customers without disruption? Read on to better understand knowledge management, its importance for business success, and how to craft knowledge management practices that ensure critical information is always accessible and always current.

A quick definition: “Business knowledge management” is the formal process companies use to organize essential information for employees and customers. The strategic process ensures information is gathered, stored, managed, updated, and made easily accessible by the right people at the right time.

According to a 2022 survey by IDC, the top measurable business benefits of knowledge management include:

  • Better business processes, speed-to-market, innovation, and decision-making
  • Improved customer support and services
  • Higher customer, partner, and employee satisfaction and engagement
  • Improved employee performance, productivity, and collaboration

Strategic knowledge management organizes and shares different types of knowledge:

  • Explicit: Easy to articulate, simple to gather, repeatable, and relatively consistent knowledge, which could be used for FAQ pages, standard operational procedures, and high-level customer service information.
  • Implicit: This type of knowledge is built on experience and sharing of best practices, such as how to optimize project prioritization and proven pathways to better employee engagement or customer satisfaction.
  • Tacit: Less-tangible knowledge gained from personal experiences, making it more challenging to store and more changeable, but still valuable to share among internal teams. For example, an experienced salesperson may share the most effective sales approach for a particular industry or a specific executive role.

Distinct types of knowledge will have varied audiences and only be accessible to the specified audience — whether that’s every employee of an organization, specific teams, the full customer base, or only users of specific products and services.

Knowledge management also includes the codification (formalized documentation) of information in the form of FAQ answers, solution briefs, user and how-to manuals, sales decks, white papers, and customer service guides. Tagging with keywords and other metadata ensures that these answers and assets are easily searchable and shareable through employee knowledge centers, customer help centers, and chatbots.

4 Steps to Creating an Efficient and Cost-Effective Knowledge Management Process

1. Establish a Culture of Knowledge Sharing

Like infrastructure transformation or cybersecurity, knowledge management is most effective when everyone understands its business value and participates where, when, and how they are needed. That may be contributing essential information, using knowledge centers once they are live, or managing updates. Get off to a strong start by ensuring that leadership understands the importance of information sharing and demonstrates transparency as they build the foundations of knowledge sharing and management.

2. Pinpoint Knowledge Gaps and Set Priorities

Assess your company’s current knowledge assets and knowledge-sharing processes. This discovery phase should uncover what information internal and external stakeholders seek out most often, where information silos interrupt productivity, and where critical information is missing entirely.

Interview subject matter experts and “go to” employees for help and guidance across the organization to determine the most essential knowledge assets that need to be created or updated.

Priorities will vary by company and business goals. A fast-growing startup may initially focus on an internal knowledge base for top operational and process questions to reduce frustration and lost productivity among employees. A company with a small headcount, however, may benefit from first updating their FAQ page for customers, so call center staff can focus on more pressing challenges and queries.

3. Leverage Technology to Streamline Knowledge Management Processes

Modern customers and employees generally prefer a self-service-first approach to tracking down information or managing issues. Knowledge management solutions such as ServiceNow simplify and streamline the capture, structure, creation, and use of knowledge articles that deliver answers, guide decision-making, and support seamless operations, which in turn improves employee and customer satisfaction.

With ServiceNow Knowledge Management, you can:

  • Determine what users search for most frequently
  • Identify knowledge gaps using machine learning
  • Assign article creation and establish timelines for article publication
  • Monitor knowledge center usage, timeliness, and relevance
  • Leverage templates for easy knowledge asset creation

4. Schedule Regular Knowledge Reviews and Refreshes

Knowledge center information can rapidly become outdated as your business evolves, operations and employee onboarding processes change, and you roll out new products and services. By clarifying and documenting which teams will be responsible for reviewing specific knowledge center materials, you can ensure your internal and external knowledge base stays up to date and relevant.

Getting started is frequently the biggest hurdle to effective knowledge management. EchoStor’s expert team can help you jump start a knowledge management strategy that aligns with your business goals and returns business value across your organization and your customer base. Contact EchoStor to learn more today.

Knowledge Management Lifecycle

You’ve created a culture of Knowledge Sharing, congratulations. To enhance that culture, you need to develop a repeatable process or a Knowledge Management Lifecycle.

Knowledge Creation –

  • Have a standard format of the contents of a Knowledge Article.
  • Assign a SME or Knowledge Manager to review content prior to sharing.

Knowledge Sharing –

  • Who is your intended audience (internal, external, device or application specific)?
  • What is the target timeline (is this an alert or long-term article)?

Article Structure –

  • Where do you want this article mapped, how will it be retrieved, and stored?

Article Categorization –

  • Is this article associated to a specific product, process, or service you provide?

Review & Retention –

  • Data can get stale; how often should this article be reviewed?
  • Who can decide as to the validity of the article (SME or Knowledge Manager)?
  • Three choices: Archive, update or leave it as is.

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Tom Sweeney

Director of Professional Services

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