Knowledge management can be a fantastic tool in helping your business achieve its goals and objectives. It’s practical and systematic approach to collecting comprehensive knowledge from across your organisation can lead to better internal processes, increased performance and opportunities for innovation – to name just a few. If executed correctly, knowledge management can ultimately impact your company’s bottom line for the better, but it comes with a few challenges worth considering.
At its very core knowledge management is the streamlining of data, ideas, and well, knowledge! No corner of your business is safe, as every area has the potential to affect overall productivity. And so building a repository of information on such a subject can’t fall to just one man. It’s a team effort, and no one knows the role better than the people who actually do it day in and day out. Organizing and motivating your employees to record and share their work and their processes can be difficult. Especially at the rate that technology moves these days, your staff may need to regularly amend their records just to them keep up-to-date.
However, as the importance of knowledge management has become ever-clearer, tools have been developed to help make the process as easy as possible. From content repositories to decision support software, there’s something for every type of business to use. We’ve put together a list of the 5 types of knowledge management tools you may find useful when attempting to convert your raw data into easy-to-follow information.
A content repository is a collective database of your digital documents and content created through data management processes.
Rather than saving files and documents across different servers, cloud storage services and even user devices, a content repository functions as a maintained and curated database that can be used and accessed by most employees in a central location. This can come in many shapes and forms, such a document management software, storage engines or even a managed hard drive, depending on your business’s overall functional size and needs.
Typical benefits of a managed content repository include version control, audit trails, locking, access management and more. These extras give your business the ability to hold employees accountable for their data management and offer multiple layers of data protection that are worth considering.
By adopting a content repository you’ll improve overall transparency of your content, which will in turn tighten up processes and improve productivity.
Social software is designed to help you manage your business’s social media channels.
Often a company will have a number of social media accounts split by channel, segments, sub-brands and more. And social media has become a popular way for consumers to engage with brands before and after point of sale.This can quickly add up and become a challenge to manage. A slip in social media management can have a negative effect on your company’s image, and some can even go viral.
Social software can aid your business in managing all your social media channels from a single central location. This allows for better visibility across all activity taking place, ensuring engagement doesn’t get lost in the noise. It also allows for record keeping of social media engagement which often integrates with a CRM system so your employees can see a backlog of social media queries per customer and refer back to them for context.
If you’re looking to keep a close eye on your business’s social media practices and are interested in record keeping and reporting, investing in social software is the right step for you.
A knowledge base is a central database for sharing information and data both externally and internally within your business. A good knowledge base will support in the collecting, retrieving, and organizing of your data to allow those who are contributing to the storing of their knowledge easily and effectively.
This is particularly handy when your business is offering highly technical solutions. Often consumers for this type of product are looking to self-educate themselves, but instead find themselves making multiple calls to help desks, support staff and sales people. Being left on hold or having to be called back multiple times over a number of days can be frustrating and leave a bad taste in their mouth.
A knowledge base offers on-demand information that’s in-depth and answers queries your audience may have regularly. Access to this data can help to relieve overworked support staff and offers immediate satisfaction to consumers.
This can also be very beneficial from an internal standpoint. A comprehensive knowledge base is key to aid in the training of new employees and gives them a consistent point to reference when they need to, and guide them through the learning process.
It can be easy to confuse a knowledge base with a content repository. The difference is that a content repository refers to the management of documents and content within a business, whereas a knowledge base works as an educational center for both process and technical knowledge within a business. If you’re looking to reduce the strain of your help desks and improve customer satisfaction, a knowledge base is a great place to start!
Sometimes numbers on a spreadsheet can say a lot but mean nothing themselves. Knowledge visualization aims to create visual representations of your data to improve understanding and provide clarity as to what it means, and expose any emerging patterns you may not spot otherwise. It supports cognitive processes in generating, structuring and sharing data.
While still a very new concept, there are many programs on the market that offer knowledge visualization capabilities. The visuals that are created from your data can be used to a number of functions, including presentations, case studies, reports, decision making and sales, for example. These have historically been 2D renderings, however with modern advancements, 3D visuals that are both interactive and great to look at are becoming common place.
It’s worth considering an investment in knowledge visualization if you’re looking to give you data meaning that is easy-to-understand and digestible. It can improve and streamline the decision-making process and provide a bigger impact to an audience when data is presented.
Decision support tools are programs that aid the decision making process within a business. These tools are often analytical and provide hard data and insight into a subject matter.
Business decisions are often critical to productivity, so they need to be based on fact. Large enterprise-level businesses often have to work through large volumes of data. This can be both structured (think managed databases) and unstructured (think unmanaged documents), and so programs that can pull and organize data from multiple sources to help companies make an informed decision play a very important role in any business’s success.
If your ultimate goal is to be able to organize your data from all over your business and use it elsewhere to back up ideas and choices, taking a look at decision support software may not be a bad place to start.
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There are many different programs that can help your company combat knowledge management challenges. If you’re looking to invest in the right tools for your business, it’s important to understand what your goals are and scope out your functional needs beforehand. Once you have an understanding of these things you can start the research process and decide which tools are going to help you achieve your objectives effectively.
When putting budget aside, it’s important to understand that when investing in complex business tools such a knowledge management, you get what you pay for! The best tools on the market may come at a higher price but will ultimately do the job you need at a higher quality than cheaper tools that are similar, but do not offer the same level of functionality, support or usability. Consider more than just the short term benefits of such a decision. Knowledge management is a long term investment with high ROI, so be sure you’re getting the best tools available for your business’s success.