Part Two: Benefits of Knowledge Management
As mentioned in my first post on this topic, in order to sell knowledge management to your stakeholders, you first need to become a KM expert yourself. As an expert, you’ll develop a very clear understanding of KM’s benefits to your unique organization. I included seven of the major benefits of having a successful knowledge management program in Part One of this post; here are another eight—drawn from my new book, Proven Practices for Promoting Knowledge Management.
Processes and procedures can be standardized and repeatable
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. When there is a process for creating, storing, communicating, and using standard processes and procedures, employees will be able to leverage them routinely.
Methods, tools, templates, techniques, and examples are available
Methods, tools, templates, techniques, and examples are the building blocks that support repeatable processes and procedures. Consistent use of them streamlines work, improves quality, and ensures compatibility across the organization.
Unique expertise becomes widely accessible
When there are experts who have skills that are in short supply, they are usually in great demand. Knowledge management helps them make their expertise available to the entire organization. Ways of doing so include community discussion forums, training events, “ask the expert” systems, recorded presentations, white papers, podcasts, and blogs.
Customers can see exactly how knowledge is used for their benefit
In competitive situations, it is important to differentiate yourself from other firms. When you demonstrate to potential and current customers that you have widespread expertise—and ways of bringing it to bear for their benefit—it can 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.
Accelerated customer delivery
Speed of execution is another important differentiator among competitors. All other things being equal, the company that delivers sooner will win. Knowledge sharing, reuse and innovation can significantly reduce time to deliver a proposal, product, or service to a customer. And that translates into increased win rates, add-on business, and new customers.
Organizations can leverage scale
As an organization grows, the increasing size is only a benefit if it can use its employees’ collective knowledge. Through the use of tools such as communities, expertise locators, and repositories, the full intellectual power of a large enterprise can be exploited.
The best organizational problem-solving experiences are reusable
Consistently applying proven practices can significantly improve any company’s results. For example, if a manufacturing plant in one part of the world has figured out how to prevent the need for product rework, and all other plants around the world adopt this practice, savings will flow directly to the bottom line. By establishing a process for defining, communicating, and replicating proven practices, an enterprise takes advantage of what it learns about solving problems.
Innovation and growth are stimulated
Most businesses want to increase their revenues, but it becomes increasingly difficult as industries mature and competition increases. Creating new knowledge through effective knowledge sharing, collaboration, and information delivery can stimulate innovation. If you achieve this and many of the other 14 benefits enabled by knowledge management, you should be able to achieve growth.
Lucidea Press has published my latest book, Proven Practices for Promoting a Knowledge Management Program, which includes more information on the compelling organizational benefits of a KM program, as well as additional advice and insights drawn from my career as a KM practitioner.
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