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Knowledge Management Process

To grasp knowledge management, you should first understand how crucial it is for companies and organizations to efficiently and effectively manage information and data. Without doing so, necessary information for future projects, employee tasks, and other activities may be miscommunicated, misplaced, or lost altogether. This reality means that not only was the work that was done to acquire that information wasted, but now the people who need to access that information have to stop, postpone what they’re working on, and find a different way of the information they need.

But, rest assured. Almost every business struggles with documenting, filing, organizing, and/or sharing information because their methods are eclectic, uncoordinated, or hard to untangle. So, you aren’t alone. What organizations need is a more efficient knowledge management process. Knowledge management is the process of documenting, organizing, and sharing a company’s knowledge and data amongst its employees, partners, customers, and even stakeholders. There are many knowledge management process steps to take before you get it right, and though they may be tricky at first, it’s well worth the effort.

Types of Knowledge that Needs to Be Managed

If you struggle to maintain an efficient system for organizing, sharing, and accessing information, you need to implement a new, improved knowledge management process. Unfortunately, that’s often easier said than done. There are many approaches used in knowledge management, and finding the right one for your company is essential. So, which one is right for you? 

You are the only one capable of answering that question because all organizations are unique. Still, having a deep, detailed understanding of the types of knowledge management, what they’re used for, and their purposes will help get you started down the right path.

Explicit knowledge (document info)

Explicit knowledge is something that businesses can readily access without hassle. It’s articulated, stored, and codified to provide access to those who need it. There will be fewer miscommunications and misunderstandings since it’s so easy to share with others. Explicit knowledge is very open and efficient, making the communication process more convenient for everyone involved.

An example of explicit information is when you forget a birthday, and someone calls to remind you. They may say something along the lines of “It’s so-and-so’s birthday. They’re having a party, so bring a present or a card.” Here, they have provided information, context, and instructions for applying this information, leaving you no need to read between the lines.

Implicit information (applied info)

Implicit information stands in contrast to explicit information. Explicit information is knowledge stated outright that says what needs to be conveyed right from the beginning. Implicit information is knowledge shared amongst individuals without necessarily being stated outright. You may hear this referred to as an “unspoken truth” or “the elephant in the room” in everyday life. Implicit information requires those receiving it to read between the lines and understand the context for themselves. And, people use it frequently without realizing it.

A good example of implicit information is when you’re about to go outside with someone in the winter, and they tell you that you should probably grab a jacket. While they didn’t explicitly say it, you can use the context to figure out why you need a coat. It’s winter, there may be snow, and you’re going outside. Therefore, you need a jacket because it is cold outside.

Tacit knowledge (understood info)

Tacit knowledge is information expressed through a person’s skills, ideas, and methods. It’s commonly learned from first-hand experiences and a long process involving trial and error. The information gained from tacit knowledge is difficult to communicate, though doing so benefits the group. Tacit knowledge is essential for everyone, as it makes the information seem more relevant and easier to remember. 

An excellent example of this is when you tell a toddler not to touch something because it’s hot. They may listen, but often they won’t. That’s because while they understand what you said, they’ve never tried it before. Chances are, they’ll touch the hot surface anyway and subsequently burn themselves. Having firsthand experience of the pain that comes from touching something hot, they are far less likely to repeat that course of action next time, because they’ve gained a tacit understanding of what you told them.

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How to Develop a Knowledge Management Process

Now that you hopefully understand the difference between the various types of knowledge, let’s dive into how your organization can develop a management process of its own. There are five stages of knowledge management, and you need all of them to be successful. Depending on who you ask, there are some variations, but here are the core phases of knowledge management.

1. Acquire

The most important of the five phases of knowledge management is acquiring information; otherwise, you’ll have nothing to work with. The source of your information is up to you, but accuracy is essential.

2. Create and store

Create documents for the information you’ve acquired. The sooner you store the data after receiving it, the more accurate it will be.

3. Distribute and share

Once you document the information accessibly and efficiently, send it to the individuals for whom you acquired it. Make sure they have access to it as needed, so you don’t have to share it multiple times.

4. Apply and use

You and the individuals you shared it with can now apply the information to whatever uses are applicable. As a result, you should have fewer chances of error now.

5. Analyze usage and start the process over again based on data

In the knowledge management process, flow is essential. Analyze the use of this information and adjust your approach based on your results. Implement solutions to any problems, and start again. Continue doing so until you’ve perfected the process.

Why is the Process of Knowledge Management Useful

Knowledge management is essential. A good knowledge management process has many benefits for your business. They make your team more efficient by speeding up access to information, boosting employee performance, and creating a positive learning environment. Here are just a few benefit examples of knowledge management practices.

1. Speeds up access to important knowledge and information

Having your company’s knowledge and data stored and filed in an organized manner allows employees to access it more efficiently. They will no longer have to waste time struggling to find the correct files, asking for the information they need or researching a subject that someone else already has. Instead, it will allow them to get their tasks done faster and quickly access the required information without risking a misunderstanding.

2. Improve efficiency and performance of employees

Giving employees access to information means they no longer have to consult with others to get the knowledge they need to complete tasks. This benefit will save them and their colleagues time, thus improving efficiency in your workplace. Additionally, the employees’ performances will increase due to readily available documents containing the information they need. That way, they won’t have to go off of memory or somebody else’s word.

3. Creates a culture of learning and collaboration

Having information that all individuals in your organization can access creates an atmosphere that enables and encourages learning and teamwork. Companies that use knowledge management practices properly show their employees they value their education and want to make their jobs easier.

Lessonly makes the Knowledge Management Process Easy

We know that the knowledge management process can seem like a large and never-ending project. That’s why we created our newest product, Lessonly Knowledge. Knowledge helps with the implementation of knowledge management in organizations in a few key ways:

  • Onboard smarter: Whether your team works in-person or remotely, streamlining where knowledge lives is critical. 
  • Integrate simply: Lessonly’s knowledge management system connects information that’s stored in Google Drive, Confluence, Zendesk Help Guides, Jira, Dropbox, Trello, and more.
  • Silo search: Enable one source of truth and centralize where teammates find information.
  • Save time: This knowledge management process automatically reduces repeat questions, clarifies best practices, and sources key information in your employees’ workflows. 

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