How to Develop a Knowledge Management Strategy

Your company is only as strong as the team who runs it. A good KM strategy is a critical driver for business activities by mobilising knowledge between employees in the workplace. This coordinated effort ensures that practices align with the organization’s goals.

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Why You Need a Good Knowledge Management Strategy

When companies leverage on a systematic approach to manage information, encourage collaboration and foster learning, employees are able to reach higher productivity levels. Without proper communication, individuals and departments run the risk of working in silos, incurring wastage of resources. Companies in the Fortune 500 have lost a combined $31.5 billion a year because employees fail to share knowledge effectively.

What Makes a Good Knowledge Management Strategy

Components of a good knowledge management strategy include:

  • Bringing value to the organization and aligns with business goals
  • Easy-to-understand
  • Promotes flow of action between people, machines and processes
  • Leverages on modern technology
  • Have visible and tangible results

In order to integrate all these elements together, designing an effective KM plan requires careful and strategic planning. Emergence of new technologies have now made it possible to capture and disseminate information at incredible speeds. Yet, studies have revealed that some companies still struggle to adapt, sticking to outdated concepts and systems. The same study cited that younger employees, having gotten used to a self-directed learning environment, expect learning to be part of their careers. If employers fall short in this aspect, they might end up losing an essential part of their team. 

Developing a Knowledge Management Strategy for Your Company

Here are 5 steps to follow:

#1 Know your objectives and what it is you want to achieve

First, envision the company at the end-state. Start with pinpointing problem areas and organizational struggles that would reap the benefits of a good knowledge management strategy. What are the short-term and long-term goals? How will the organization benefit from an effective knowledge sharing flow? These are some questions you can ask to justify new implementations.

#2 Assess your knowledge to identify opportunities

KM can provide a holistic learning environment. It is perhaps worth taking a step back to analyze the current system to have a clear idea of capabilities, gaps and potential obstacles. In a single organization, knowledge can be stored and duplicated over several departments. If your team tends to work in silos, a KM strategy can focus on promoting collaboration and getting rid of knowledge leaks. 

#3 Craft your knowledge management strategy 

There are multiple elements for an effective knowledge management strategy, including: 

  • Capture and organize information - organize your knowledge in a systematic way so that it’s easily retrievable. Defining an easy-to-navigate folder structure, adding tags to categorize information and using templates to standardize formatting are some ways to help keep your team knowledge base more organized. 
  • Distribute and share information - it’s useless to have team knowledge documented but no one knows they exist. Formulate standard procedures as in how to share with your teammates when there is new or updated information added to your knowledge base. Some knowledge management systems support activity feed so you can simply link the activity feed to your company communication tool so that your teammates will be notified automatically when there is new or updated information. 
  • Build a search-first culture - if your teammates don’t search the knowledge base and often still ask repeated questions when there is relevant documentation in your knowledge base already, it will discourage other teammates from documenting information anymore because they feel that no one is going to search for them anyways. Check out our blog post on more tips to build a search-first’ culture in your team. 
  • Encourage collaboration - it would be a huge workload if only a few people in the team are contributing in building up your team knowledge base. Choose a knowledge base solution that offers built-in features to drive collaboration. For example, Kipwise allows teammates to create questions when they can’t find relevant information in the knowledge base and teammates can also leave inline comments and request experts to verify the information when they feel that something doesn’t look right. 
  • Analyze and identify knowledge gaps - building up your internal knowledge base is a continuous process. So it’s important to analyze the usage and identify areas of improvement. For example, analytics that you might want to have include search terms analytics - what are the terms that your teammates often search for? Are there any terms that they often search for but couldn’t get any relevant results? Understanding more about how your teammates use the internal knowledge base helps you improve your knowledge management strategy continuously. 

#4 Determine technological needs

A critical aspect is the technologies to drive this new environment. Picking the right knowledge management software goes a long way for attaining organizational success. Contrarily, outdated tools can hinder knowledge management activities.

The usability, shortfalls and life cycle of the systems you use will determine how effectively your plan can work out. KM solutions like internal wiki tools provide a broad support by enhancing and automating knowledge flow in the workplace. They should also blend in with current systems for easy navigation. For instance, Kipwise integrates seamlessly with Slack so that users do not have to leave the platform to create and search for new information. It also offers a Chrome extension for the team wiki so your teammates can easily access your team knowledge when using any web apps.

#5 Lay out a plan of action

After you have documented the needs and capabilities of the organization, create a roadmap for implementation and identify key metrics. Over time, it is normal to go back and re-evaluate the plan to suit the current environment. Always manage your expectations and avoid being disappointed if you do not yield immediate results. KM is something for the long haul-focus on incremental success and celebrate small victories!

Aligning Knowledge Management and Business Strategy

Knowledge is a key differentiator when it comes to organizational success. When developing a knowledge management strategy, it is crucial to make sure it also aligns with business strategies. These initiatives ultimately have the same end goal: to boost productivity levels and efficiency. Additionally, knowledge management, when done right, can attract the support of management and stakeholders who can further drive business objectives through support or funding.

Want to start developing a knowledge management process for your team? Get started today with Kipwise.

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