This article explains in detail how to implement a knowledge management strategy.
What are the real capacities of a company in terms of productivity, adaptation and resilience? In the digital age, knowledge and know-how are intangible resources that determine the strengths of a group. By capitalising on knowledge management, organisations build competitive advantages every day to ensure their future. From this perspective, a multi-level strategy is essential. This article explains in detail why and how to implement it.
Why implement a knowledge management strategy?
In the world of data, a petabyte (PB) is a unit of measurement representing one million billion bytes. In 2016, the amount of data managed by companies was 1.4 PB. Two years later, this volume has increased to... 11.22 PB! These figures give an idea of the scale of the technological evolution underway.
Knowledge management is an essential link in the information chain and now occupies a prominent place in company strategies. The stakes are considerable, as they include several dimensions.
- Improve the Onboarding process, to develop the learning capacity of newcomers.
- Counteract the negative effects of turnover by strengthening knowledge transfer. A person leaving the company can represent a wealth of knowledge. In some cases, this knowledge involves information that can be key. Indeed, this information can have a decisive impact, as it guides the company in its strategic orientations and decision making. From this perspective, the numerous retirements of the baby boomer generation represent a major challenge for organisations in terms of knowledge management.
- Implement a knowledge management approach that has a leverage effect on team motivation and productivity.
Key points to master for optimal knowledge management
The value chain at the origin of your company's knowledge (explicit knowledge) and know-how (tacit knowledge) is structured around four strategic objectives:
- Identifying the knowledge inherent in the business ;
- Preservation by structuring and archiving the identified data;
- Valorization of recorded resources (this stage allows the dissemination and linking of information, in order to encourage the creation of new knowledge).
- Updating data.
To ensure the sustainability of knowledge management, two points are key: the pooling and sharing of information. Socialisation is based on two foundations: informal exchanges and collective thinking. According to Nonaka, it is the sharing of practical experiences, observations and imitations. An example of this model is the relationship between a coach and a coachee. Overall, it ensures and facilitates the exchange of information.
🔍 In this context, radically different approaches, from the most classic (meetings) to the most surprising, each prove their effectiveness. For example, the use of abstract concepts such as analogy or metaphor can allow information to get through. Political communication excels in this exercise: let's remember Jacques Chirac's phrase "Our house is burning and we are looking elsewhere", during one of the first world summits on the state of the planet in 2002. The image was striking and the expression has remained. Figures of speech can thus have an impact, in order to explain to new employees information that represents the company's values.
In order to facilitate the transmission of knowledge, this knowledge can be recorded in multiple formats(FAQ, How to...?, diagram, knowledge booklet) and disseminated on different channels(wiki, intranet, company server).
The Knowledge Management Roadmap
For every company, implementing a KM (Knowledge Management) strategy is a real challenge.
The American Productivity and Quality Center (APQC) provides one of the best known tools, the KM Roadmap, to help companies define their roadmap. This method is based on the practices of the most advanced organisations and consists of 5 steps:
- Getting started. The aim here is to propose an initial communication campaign focusing on the benefits of Knowledge Management. The explanations must be simple. The objective is to reveal the initiators of knowledge management practices within the group, while convincing a maximum number of employees.
- Develop the strategy. This phase consists of relying on the initiators to set up a working group. The task of the working group will be to create pilot projects that are in line with the company's strategic orientations.
- Develop and launch knowledge management initiatives. At this stage, pilot projects lead to introductory steps, called "lessons". Initial communities of practice and knowledge sharing are encouraged.
- To enhance development with a comprehensive strategy, to assert the first results of the implementation of the knowledge management plan.
- Anchor Knowledge Management in the company's practices, both organizationally and financially. At this level, evaluation tools must be installed in order to measure the progress of knowledge management actions.
The Digital Workplace, an ally of knowledge management
Teleworking has redefined the world of work. More and more teams are no longer looking at their job through a location. They now see it as a platform for exchange, where information and actions are interwoven across different geographies and time zones.
The Cloud is one of the key technologies in this evolution of practices, guiding the strategies of organisations of all sizes and in all sectors. Indeed, "cloud computing" on remote servers is a revolution in several aspects, such as speed, security, automation and continuous improvement.
New modes of collaboration between field and teleworking teams are developing at an unprecedented rate. Business strategies are being improved through productivity gains made possible by the Digital Workplace.
The solutions of Co-authoring and Versioning are two examples of the developments made possible by the Cloud:
- Co-authoring technology allows several people to work on a common file. For example, Microsoft's SharePoint collaborative platform offers co-authoring on Word, Excel, Onenote or Powerpoint files. The headache and risk of errors associated with multiple copies is over.
- Versioning allows you to keep an archive of all the changes made to a document. In this way, it is possible to consult or restore the old version of a file, whether it concerns an addition or a correction.
These two tools, which focus on simplicity, have major effects on team productivity. Saving time, efficiency and adaptability, the cloud is transforming our daily work habits.
Implementing a knowledge management strategy reflects a company's ability to define and consolidate its competitive advantages over time. In this respect, the expression "the collective is greater than the sum of its parts" takes on its full meaning.
Change management for teams: a key element in a company's strategy
Managing change is a crucial issue for organisations. Even if digital transformation has an obvious technical dimension, the success of the change process depends on human capital. In this context, the Digital Workplace and Knowledge Management are key cards in the initiation and continuity of change.
For these reasons, the positions of CM (Change Managers) and CMO (Change Manager Officer) are increasingly visible in French companies. This is a sign that organisations are restructuring their human resources around the issues inherent in change.
Their leaders share a long-term vision and the commitment of the teams is the engine that makes this vision a reality. To achieve this, collaborative tools and knowledge management help to maintain the momentum for change over the long term.
Implementing a knowledge management strategy reflects the ability of a company to define and consolidate its competitive advantages over time. In this respect, the expression "the collective is greater than the sum of its parts" takes on its full meaning.
In this endeavour, collaborative intelligence is put into action through the combination of Knowledge Management and the Digital Workplace. Indeed, these two approaches offer solutions that are perfectly adapted to the needs of change. They determine the strengths of a company, both on the digital and the human level.
Things to remember
Knowledge management enables :
📌 Improve the Onboarding process;
📌 Reduce turnover;
This requires :
📌 Identify knowledge inherent in the business;
📌 Preserve and archive identified data;
📌 Update data.