How to Use a Knowledge Management System? Definition and Ideas

A knowledge management system is sometimes confused with business intelligence, which has pretty much the same goal of acquiring data for making business decisions. However, there are a couple of important differences between them. For this reason, today we are going to look at a knowledge management system definition, learn how to use it, and see a couple of ideas about it.

Knowledge Management System Definition

Also abbreviated KMS, this refers to a system used for applying and using some knowledge management principles. They have data-driven objectives that center around business productivity, business intelligence analysis, a competitive business model, as well as other principles. For this reason, as we were saying in the beginning, knowledge management gets often confused with business intelligence. However, the main difference between the two is that business intelligence focuses more on explicit knowledge, as opposed to the KMS’s broader view that includes both explicit and implied knowledge.

Such a system is made up of various software modules that are served by a central user interface. Some of the features found on such a system allow you to data mine for customer input, as well as histories, sharing or provision of electronic documents. It is generally used for staff training, orientation, supporting sales, or helping leaders make important decisions.

knowledge management system chart

Chart of a KMS structure and components. Image courtesy of Prescient Digital Media

Types of Knowledge Managed

There is a variety of information databases available for knowledge management system settings, such as:

  • Expertise Location – This is one of the databases that lets you locate an expert or any type of expert information;
  • Lesson Learned Databases – These are given by people who already encountered a problem and found a solution for it;
  • Communities of Practice – Groups of people who discuss opportunities, problems, and other information, including lessons learned. These can be spread out communities that share information.

These are just a few of the types of knowledge that can be managed with such systems. Of course, you can find plenty others, depending on the field.

Forms of Knowledge Management

When prospecting an efficient use of the knowledge management, you should think of many factors, as well as needs. There are many forms of KMS, some of them being:

  • Business intelligence;
  • Content life cycle management;
  • Purpose-built databases;
  • Integration of enterprise search;
  • Secure file sharing;
  • Optical character recognition;
  • Process-driven applications;
  • Automated data integration;
  • Data capture and workflow solutions, etc.

Knowledge Management Systems Examples

Now that you are familiar with the types of knowledge that are managed, as well as other forms of KMS, it’s time to have a look at some systems examples:

  • Research files

For example, a company that develops a new product needs to conduct research on the competitors. Moreover, they need focus groups to see what does their product or market niche need. The information can be found in a database that has objective data regarding the market sales potential. Furthermore, this shows what assets and processes the company has and what they can use to reach their customer needs, sales potential, etc.

  • Shared project files

This is suitable for an employee team that works together on a project. The system shares the files, as well as other information that lets the team upload and comment on each other’s work.

  • Feedback Database

A company can have a database of feedback from its employees and customers who share their feedback with the company. This can refer to development, research, and design departments. All the members of the organization need to have access to the database. An integrated approach is necessary for all the people to grasp the information they need.

Watch this short clip showing you how to implement a knowledge management system into a business:

Knowledge Management System Ideas

Finally, let’s have a look at a couple of ideas that will help you learn how to use a KMS and implement it the right way.

1. Find the Knowledge

As technology evolves more and more, knowledge will appear in more and more disparate places. Information can be stuck in social media interactions, email, comments, forum discussions, tickets, and even individual agents. It’s essential to aggregate your knowledge into one single system. Centralizing all the content makes it accessible to everybody, thus helping any team make better decisions.

2. Make It Accessible and Actionable

The faster you find the information you need, the faster you can solve the incidents that might appear. Whether the knowledge base relies on agents or customers, it’s important to make the system easy to update. In this way, agents can enjoy their flexibility in refreshing the content and offering better solutions.

3. Include KMS in Your Workflow

A knowledge-centered support is useful because it can involve all the agents at the same time. It’s hard to make time to update information in a system when you have other important things to do as well. For this reason, a KMS should be integrated into the workflow. Craig Samuel, who works as the Chief Knowledge Officer at HP, says that around 90% of the problems in a company are caused by cultural issues and work processes. A knowledge management practice relies on cultivating a culture of collaboration. As such, you should shift your focus from the individual to the team.

4. Leave Room for Feedback

Is the knowledge you’re offering helpful? One way of finding this out is to fine-tune the content to deliver the best answers. Without any feedback, you can’t know if you’re doing the right thing. Include a thumbs up section or a comments one. Regardless of the way you choose, make sure agents and customers have a place to go to and provide some feedback.

To draw a conclusion, a KMS (Knowledge Management System) is critical both for agents and customers. It helps distribute the information in an organization better, with the purpose of obtaining better results. This practice has been more and more often found in current companies, with amazing results. There are plenty of types of knowledge systems and it’s important to align them with the organizational strategies, especially when things are changing in the industry.

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