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Why Every Business Should be Focusing on Knowledge Management

Why Every Business Should be Focusing on Knowledge Management

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Why Every Business Should be Focusing on Knowledge Management

In many ways, your business is a living, breathing entity. It is subject to massive amounts of change, often resulting from factors completely out of the control of even the best CEOs and managers. Whether large and small, these changes can have a drastic effect on a business, either positive or negative depending how how they are managed.

While it is impossible to have complete control over every aspect of your business, there are things you can do to help keep things in check. Improving communication and creating a more effective platform for content creation, for example, are both great ways to help streamline processes and improve productivity levels within your organization. Along these lines, one of the best ways to see noticeable positive change is to focus on knowledge management and work towards creating an effecive knowledge base for your company.

What is Knowledge Management?

The first step towards leveraging knowledge management is understanding what it is in the first place. Knowledge management as a concept has only been around for a couple of decades, but the basics of knowledge management are as old as business itself.

Knowledge management is essentially:

The process of managing the knowledge and information that is central to business operations, typically in a way that brings everything together in a holistic manner.

And that is just the beginning.

Effective knowledge management requires not only that knowledge and information be catalogued in an effective manner, but that it is properly distributed as well. Making information available both internally to your employees and externally to customers and partners is essential to getting the most out of knowledge management, and everyone stands to benefit.

There are many ways to improve knowledge management within your organization, and taking the time to focus on it can get you a great deal of mileage. Businesses all over the world are choosing to adopt modern technologies to help take knowledge management to the next level, by allowing them to build a virtual knowledge base.

The Benefits of Building a Knowledge Base

Not surprisingly, organizing knowledge and information in a way that makes it easy to access at any given time can have substantial benefits. But if you're wondering whether or not building a knowledge base might be beneficial for your business, consider the following benefits:

  • Find, share, and reuse intellectual capital
  • Promote productivity, quality, and consistency
  • Leverage the knowledge and expertise of every employee
  • Build a repository of knowledge and utilize it to provide training and skill development among employees
  • Leverage existing document management, contact management, and financial management systems
  • Automate quality review using KeyCite
  • Develop a culture of sharing and collaboration

Faster Access to Information

If there's one thing that can increase productivity and produce greater satisfaction among employees, it's having fast access to the information they need to do their jobs. This is one of the biggest problems associated with paper knowledge bases (think filing cabinets); finding the right information often requires wading through hundreds of documents, and sometimes, the information can't be found at all. In contrast, a virtual knowledge base allows users to enter search terms to find essential information within seconds.

Easier Employee Onboarding

Adequately onboarding new employees is an essential and difficult process. But when employees have instant access to internal documentation and training materials, you can virtually eliminate many of the difficulties associated with understanding the company guidelines, procedures and overall mission. When you outfit your knowledge base with the right materials, onboarding new employees becomes a streamlined process and gives every new employee their best opportunity to succeed.

Improved Customer Service & Support

While a knowledge base adds tremendous value to the internal operations of an organization, utilizing an external knowledge base can have a similarly positive effect in regards to improving customer service. Modern customer service necessitates instant answers and solutions to customer service issues. By providing customers with a self-service knowledge base of information they can reference at any time of day, you can reduce the number of queries directed toward employees and empower customers to gain immediate answers to their questions. 

Less Cause for Confusion

Anytime a large amount of information needs to be processed all at once, the potential for confusion is extremely high. One of the best ways to avoid confusion and eliminate problems is to focus on organization from the very start. Organizing all business-related information in a well-designed knowledge base will help to ensure that confusion doesn't come into play on a regular basis, which can prevent future costly mistakes.

Higher Levels of Productivity

It's no secret that increased employee productivity translates to higher profits. So naturally, whenever employees have to dig for information that should otherwise be easily accessible, productivity goes down and profits will likely follow. However, if you take the time to build a knowledge base and store information in an intuitive mannar, productivity levels among your employees will soar.

Consistency of Guidelines & Processes

One of the biggest challenges faced by today's businesses is remaining consistent with guidelines and processes. It can take a great deal of trial and error to identify best practices within an organization, but once found, business owners understand the value of remaining consistent with the successful processes identified. Locking-down information in a knowledge base ensures that you don't ever have to worry about losing those important, and difficult to obtain processes.

 

Building a Knowledge Base with TransportLAB

TransportLAB offers numerous features, each with specific benefits, that can bring your organizational knowledge management to the next level.

Collaborative Knowledge Building

Documenting pre-existing knowledge is one of the main purposes of creating a knowledge base. When you have a well-designed knowledge base and platform to work from, your employees can work together to create new documentation that can be archived and referred back to at any time.

Organic Knowledge Building Through Discussions

The best way to create valuable, accurate content for your knowledge base is through internal discussions and collaboration. TransportLAB allows your employees to participate in group or individual discussions, in real-time, with just a few clicks. This ensures that every participant is on the same page and concerns can be addressed the moment they come up. Organic knowledge-building through discussions is one of the clearest benefits of utilizing a knowledge management software like TransportLAB, and it happens naturally.

Smart Filters & Robust Search Features

As your knowledge base grows with valuable information, it can be difficult to find exactly what you're looking for. That's why having filters and search features is essential to organize and uncover exactly the information you need when you need it. Surprisingly, many popular knowledge base technologies don't come equipped with robust search capabilities. However, central to TransportLAB are smart filters and robust search features that allow you to effectively cataloge your information by adding tags, ensuring every piece of information is easily accessible all the time. The more you tag, the more you'll get out of utilizing the software.

Removal of Information Silos

Information silos are common, and difficult to avoid, especially among organizations with a constant flow of knowledge and information. These silos can be dangerous to an organization and can bring about confusion, information overlap, and misinformation among other critical issues. The organized nature of social business software means you won't have to worry about dealing with outdated information silos, thus helping employees stay on the same page.

Access to Experts

Every organization is made up of a team of individuals who are experts in their own right. One person, for example, may have a penchant for putting together strategic marketing plans, while another may be a sales wizard. Calling upon experts is an essential part of building a knowledge base, but it's not always easy to identify the experts in larger organizations. By having each employee create a profile within your organization's social community and listing their expertise, matching the right person to the right task suddenly becomes much easier.

 

Tips for Building an Effective Knowledge Base

When building a knowledge base, there are many routes you and your team can take. Each organization, and likewise each knowlege base, is unique and requires careful consideration to develop a system that best fits your company. While there is no one-size-fits-all approach to fleshing-out a knowledge base, there are plenty of things you can do to help ensure that you're on the right track.

Below are a few ideas to help you consider how to plan your knowledge base, all of which can help you to get the most out of managing knowledge and information for your business:

  • Start Simple — You may be tempted to create a knowledge base with as many different categories as possible, especially if you have a large backlog of content to deal with. However, the worst thing you can do in the early stages of your knowledge base development is make things more confusing than they have to be. Starting simple with broad categorization is the best way to ensure that no one suffers information overload, which can quickly cause roadblocks that are difficult to overcome. Remember, you can always take things to more complex levels later should you choose to.
  • Develop a Consistent Writing Style — Whenever you have a large amount of information to catalog, it's essential that consistency be a part of the equation. This couldn't be more true when it comes to writing style, as you want to develop a consistent “voice” that can be seen across all the information in your knowledge base. It can be difficult to maintain consistency, especially when you have several writers working on multiple articles at the same time. Developing writing guidelines can help to ensure that everyone knows what is expected in regards to style, content and tone.
  • Catalog All of Your Discoveries — As each workday passes, it's natural to stumble upon things that are worth noting. Perhaps you learn of a bug in a new product or service that needs to be fixed, or discover a better solution to a common problem. By making notes and cataloging your discoveries you can keep your knowledge base up to date and potentially turn it into a knowledge base article to share with others.
  • Don't Neglect Images — When people begin creating articles for a company's knowledge base, it's common to place the majority of focus on the written word. Indeed, there's no getting around the fact that text holds a great deal of importance when developing articles, but do not overlook the effectiveness of images. Adding images to your knowledge base articles can help keep attention spans high and draw individuals to your articles in the first place. Taking a few moments to find the right image and add it into your article is time well spent.
  • Identify Knowledge Base Leaders — As with any kind of team, someone must take a leadership role when developing a knowledge base. Even if everyone involved in the creation of your knowledge base is on the same page, having a leader, or group of leaders, can ensure that information overlap and other problems don't occur. This could be someone in a managerial role, or simply a team member who has a strong interest in managing a knowledge base.
  • Embrace Lists — It's important to take into consideration ways in which people consume information today. Articles which perform best today are written in “list” form, and readers find it easier to digest information formatted this way. Consider this when publishing content to your knowledge base and your readership will likely be much higher if you take a list-centric approach to content creation.
  • Tag Every Article Carefully — In order to get the most out of a knowledge base, it has to be easy to search. Digging through a host of articles to find what you're looking for can be quite tricky, especially when you seek a very specific piece. When you tag each and every article as carefully as possible, searching for content becomes extremely easy. If your staff doesn't have any issues locating information, you can expect that they won't suffer from issues related to productivity.
  • Crowdsource Information — Sometimes, the best way to gain insight about an organization's products and services is to look towards the customers that are purchasing them in the first place. When you give your audience a platform to share insights, questions and concerns related to your products, you can learn valuable information that can be utilized to resolve potential issues and help push your business forward.

Developing a knowledge base with TransportLAB can be exceptionally beneficial for businesses across all industries. Take TransportLAB for a test run, and learn what it can do for your organization.

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