It has been said that, human resource are the most important assets in the organization. It is because they have all the capabilities to manipulate all other resources. In short, they have knowledge with them. Knowledge is identified as the most critical factor for business success. Thus, knowledge should be managed in order to be of advantage and to drive efficiency and innovation throughout the business and can boost customer satisfaction.
In the book, Information Technology Management, Knowledge management is defined by George W. Reynolds as a practice concerned with increasing awareness, fostering learning, spreading collaboration and innovation, and exchanging insights. KM is considered as one of the essential elements that made organizations survive through the test of time. This includes creating value from an organization’s intellectual assets through codifying what employees, suppliers, business partners, and customer know, and then sharing that information with employees and even with other companies to devise best practices.
This speaks true that Knowledge Management can benefit every organizations in many ways. Stan Garfield listed the following benefits which can be derived from KM:
- Enabling better and faster decision making
KM enables better and faster decision making by delivering relevant information at the time of need through structure, search, subscription, syndication, and support. Managers and employees can collaborate with each other, they can get involve with diverse opinions and this would be used when decisions need to be made.
- Making it easy to find relevant information and resources
KM helps in making it easy to find relevant information and resources in the time you need it especially when faced with a need to respond to a customer, solve a problem, analyze trends, assess markets, benchmark against peers, understand competition, create new offerings, plan strategy, and to think critically. This way, tasks can be performed efficiently and effectively.
- Reusing ideas, documents, and expertise
KM facilitates the reusing of ideas, documents, and expertise in order for the organizations to minimize rework, prevent problems, save time, and accelerate progress.
- Avoiding redundant effort
KM avoids redundant effort for no one likes to spend time doing something over again and again. By avoiding duplication of effort, time and money be can saved, can keep employee morale up, and streamline work and can have more time to discover something new and different.
- Taking advantage of existing expertise and experience
KM provides avenue for knowledge sharing by taking advantage of expertise and experiences of the employees. The more complementary the expertise of the employees, the greater the power of the team. Knowing what others know can be very helpful at a time of need, since you learn from their experience and apply it to your current requirements.
- Communicating important information widely and quickly
KM helps address problem like information overload through personalized portals, targeted subscriptions, RSS feeds, tagging, and specialized search engines. This way, information can be communicated widely and quickly.
- Promoting standard, repeatable processes and procedures
KM promotes a process for creating, storing, communicating, and using standard processes and procedures which will be able employees to use routinely. If standard processes and procedures have been defined, they should always be followed. This allows employees to learn how things are done, leads to predictable and high-quality results, and enables large organizations to be consistent in how work is performed.
- Providing methods, tools, templates, techniques, and examples
KM provides methods, tools, templates, techniques, and examples which are the building blocks supporting repeatable processes and procedures. Using these consistently streamlines work, improves quality, and ensures compatibility across the organization.
- Making scarce expertise widely available
KM can help make that resource available to the entire organization if there is a resource who is in great demand due to having a skill which is in short supply. This could be done through community discussion, forums, training events, ask the expert systems, recorded presentations, white papers, podcasts, and blogs.
- Showing customers how knowledge is used for their benefit
In competitive situations, it is important to be able to differentiate yourself from other firms. Demonstrating to potential and current customers that you have widespread expertise and have ways of bringing it to bear for their benefit can help convince them to start or continue doing business with you. Conversely, failure to do so could leave you vulnerable to competitors who can demonstrate their knowledge management capabilities and benefits.
- Accelerating delivery to customers
KM can be of help in the speedy execution time to deliver a proposal, product, or service to a customer. And that translates into increased win rates, add-on business, and new customers.
- Enabling the organization to leverage its size
As an organization grows, the increasing size is only a benefit if it can use the knowledge of all of its employees. Through the use of tools such as communities, expertise locators, and repositories, the full power of a large enterprise can be exploited.
- Making the organization’s best problem-solving experiences reusable
Consistently applying best practices can significantly improve the results of any organization. By establishing a process for defining, communicating, and replicating proven practices, organization can take advantage of what it learns about solving problems.
- Stimulating innovation and growth
Since most businesses want to increase their revenues, but it becomes increasingly difficult as industries mature and competition increases. KM helps in creating new knowledge through effective knowledge sharing, collaboration, and information delivery which can stimulate innovation and growth.
However, Knowledge Management cannot benefit organizations also for the reasons such as dependency on knowledge contributors, creating confusion among managers and employees, and the mishandling of valuable company information. Failure to use company knowledge properly can lead to a great loss of time, resources and even organizational failure. Knowledge management systems are complex and hard to understand for the average worker, and training workers to use knowledge management systems is costly. When employees fail to collect and input data into knowledge management systems properly, the organization cannot take full advantage of the system’s major benefits. Organizing company information by relevancy within knowledge management systems can be a greater challenge. In addition, knowledge management systems must be integrated into the rest of the company’s information systems for it to work well. Such systems require internal updates to function efficiently, and companies often fail to keep up with new technologies that affect knowledge management systems. (https://www.reference.com)
The implementation of Knowledge management in an organization might not be successfully done because of the barriers that surfaced the organizational environment. These could be greediness of someone to impart his or her knowledge for the reason that he feels that he might be outranked by that person. They want to monopolize what they have discovered. They only want to keep it themselves so that they might be easily replaced by others. They may feel insecure and inferior also. This attitude of being selfish can possibly damage the organization and would hinder for its quest for development and growth.
Aside from these, here are some other barriers in the implementation of KM (http://knowledgemanagement.ittoolbox.com):
An organization can be caught in a technological trap, caused by a long gone decision for special software. Reversing this old decision once the software has been implemented could become impossible, due to financial or reputation reasons or because of a lack of skills.
Collecting content for the knowledge inventory can be hard work, no matter where you are. Transforming implicit knowledge into explicit information is an activity in which special skills and often creativity are needed. Some communication and information processes are very difficult to describe.
Routines and Procedures
Some processes and procedures that are only claimed to exist meetings. Some processes may work in certain cases but not in others or never again which makes them unreliable. Some work carried out without planning may lead to re-inventing the wheel over and over again.
A knowledge-sharing culture in an organization that is badly role-modeled by those highest in the organization’s hierarchy can hinder knowledge management.
Many of the above issues are connected to individual behavior. Employees may not have any idea or understanding of what knowledge management is all about or and this poses a challenge to the organization. Providing and sharing information can be hindered by a lack of motivation: employees do not receive or do not understand the surplus that comes along with cooperating on knowledge management.
Well, as the famous adage goes, “knowledge is power but knowledge sharing is empowerment.” It has been said that every success of an organization is cultivated by empowering others with your knowledge. Managers would be more successful if they share their knowledge freely on a regular basis with their peers, staff or even more broadly. Managers that are transparent communicators and share what they know with their employees can empower people across the organization to make better decisions and work with more clarity towards achieving a common goal. People at all levels of the organization benefit from having as much relevant knowledge as they can possibly obtain in order to do their job well. As such managers should share their knowledge in the right way, at regular intervals and ensure the knowledge is relevant for their audience, are highly effective in leading change. Individuals expand their knowledge when others share their knowledge, and one’s knowledge is combined with the knowledge of other to create new knowledge.
Consider sharing more of your knowledge with others every day. Great things will happen when knowledge is shared and more and more people are empowered!
Thus, knowledge shared is power!