Organizations and people need and use knowledge on a daily basis. Often, the total knowledge of a specific organization is represented by the knowledge of their employees. However, the knowledge employees need is not always available to them because they do not know where it is, how to access it, or whether it exists in the first place. That’s where knowledge management comes into play. Knowledge management is all about establishing organizational processes, environments, culture, and technological infrastructure to help you understand what you know, compared to what you need to know. You could say that, by definition, knowledge management is about delivering the right kind of knowledge to the right person, at the right time. To be proficient at it, we must first look at the different tools and techniques used in various organizations which practice and value knowledge management.
The oldest and most reliable option, when it comes to proper knowledge management, is to adopt the idea of knowledge bases and create one. Companies most often do it through the use of the intranet and the extranet.
The intranet is a scaled-down version of the internet. It operates with the same functionality and purpose as the internet, however, its content is limited within the firm or the organization. Although not a necessity, the intranet is usually connected to the internet, allowing for a broader search of information. However, the data of the organization is protected by the exclusion of the outside world with security measures such as firewalls or encryptions. It allows the collective access to multimedia communication for publishing ideas. It enrichens productivity, collaboration and even socialization, and acts as a repository for embedded knowledge.
Similarly to the intranet, the extranet has the same function, but it further expands to the organization’s external network. Such a system can include suppliers, partners, sister firms and the like. Even though the goal is to share knowledge, securing it is the key. Therefore, the access to the information is limited by usernames and passwords, digital certificates and similar.
Other aspects of knowledge management are less tech-based and more focused on the social approach to it. One of those aspects is the communities of practices where members united under the same sphere of various activities share the common goal. However, the purpose of the community itself is having employees exchange their knowledge, tips or experiences without feeling obliged to do so.
Namely, storytelling is a form of knowledge sharing. Stories can be organizational, cultural or stories which share wisdom. For example, certain stories of success can be used to gather information on how different people perceive success.
There are too many knowledge management tools to name them all, however, out of all of them the one that stands out the most would be the bank of ideas. By giving your employees a voice and storing the ideas for use at a later time, your organization will have a potential to be the next Google or Apple.