Knowledge management 101

Everything you need to know about Knowledge Management

Knowledge is a key asset in every company, it is what allows your staff, and your organization to perform. As the saying goes: Knowledge is power.
It’s estimated that poor knowledge-sharing practices cost Fortune 500 companies $31.5 billion annually, according to International Data Corp. (IDC), a market intelligence and advisory firm in the IT and telecommunications industries. Moreover, 74% of organizations estimate that effective knowledge management disciplines increase company productivity by 10-40%.
You now understand why it is a good idea to invest in a knowledge management system (and that’s an understatement!).

If you need a refresher about knowledge management, here’s a crash course that will help you get up to speed on this topic.

Knowledge Management definition

What is Knowledge Management?

Knowledge Management is a framework that an organization puts in place to source, deploy, and maximize the value of its knowledge by developing tools and best practices enabling it to more effectively share, create, access and retain knowledge.

What is a Knowledge Management System?

As a consequence, a Knowledge Management System (KMS) usually refers to the technology that enables a business to gather, store, organize, retrieve and share knowledge across the organization.

Knowledge Management Systems can take various forms, but they usually share some common characteristics such as:

  • Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) content
  • Community forums
  • How-to articles and tutorials
  • Education portals and training programs

Why implement a Knowledge Management System?

There are many reasons for implementing a Knowledge Management System in an organization, but the main purpose is usually to help people access and utilize knowledge in order to better achieve tasks.

Lew Platt, former CEO of Hewlett-Packard, once said: “If HP knew what HP knows, we would be three times more productive.”

The statistics shared at the beginning of this article and the above quote shows that knowledge is one of an organization’s most important assets. Yet, knowledge is too often undocumented, difficult to access and at risk of disappearing:

  • Because teams use different apps across the same company, this results in siloed and fragmented information that is hard to find when customers or agents need it most. That’s why knowledge workers end up spending 30% of their time looking for or recreating information that already exists. When knowledge isn’t shared and accessible, employees waste time recreating solutions, making mistakes people made before, not getting the insights they need to be productive, and answering the same questions over and over again.
  • Employees retire or quit a business, taking with them what can amount to decades of company knowledge. And even if they train their replacement before leaving, departing employees are never able to pass on everything they know because some knowledge is tacit. Having a process helps capture that tacit knowledge that might otherwise fall through the cracks.
  • Knowledge stored in emails or local drives can disappear due to system failures or devices getting lost or stolen.

All these situations are inevitable, which emphasize the need for a proper Knowledge Management System.

What are the benefits of Knowledge Management?

The benefits of a Knowledge Management System are numerous. But let’s focus on the main values of good Knowledge Management:

  • Speed up access to information and knowledge
    Knowledge Management makes it easier to find the information or the people who hold the information you need. It increases efficiency and productivity and allows you to work better, reducing the tendency to “reinvent the wheel.”
  • Avoid recreating existing knowledge
    When information is easy to access and accurate, it cancels the need for recreating that same knowledge. Why do the same work twice (or even more!), when you can just implement a Knowledge Management System instead!
  • Make fewer mistakes
    When employees aren’t sharing information, they’re doomed to repeat the same mistakes others have already made. But this is avoidable when the lessons-learned from mistakes and failures are easily accessible to everyone.
  • Decrease support costs
    By giving support agents easy access to knowledge, good internal KM helps them perform their job better and more efficiently, which ultimately translates into savings.
    Offered externally as a self-service portal (such as FAQs), a Knowledge Management System enables customers to help themselves when they need assistance with simple issues, instead of contacting the support team. This relieves the agents of tier-1 request, allowing them to focus on more complex issues, and ultimately resulting in decreased support costs.
    It is relatively expensive to have a customer support rep interact with a customer for each and every issue. According to Forrester, a chat with a live customer support agent can cost $6-12 per interaction, but an automated interaction can cost as little as 25 cents.
  • Increase customer satisfaction and ROI
    Nearly 70% of customers now expect a company’s website to include a self-service application and 91% of customers try to solve their problems on their own before contacting the support team. By offering access to information through a Knowledge Management System or an AI chatbot, customers can resolve their problems faster, resulting in happy and successful customers.
    As we’ve known for a long time now, happy and successful customers keep coming back to buy more (and more often) than other customers. They also tell their friends about your brand, thus becoming enthusiastic brand advocates.

How to choose your Knowledge Management System?

If you’re now convinced that a KMS is for you, you might be wondering how to choose the best one for your business. There are so many different tools available today, and not all of them offer the same value.

Technology to power your KMS

In a similar way to chatbots, a KMS can be powered by different types of AI technologies. The technology used will obviously have an impact on your KM performance and on the quality of results provided by the software.

  • Keyword-based KM
    You can choose to implement a KM that is keyword-based, meaning that the search engine will identify the keywords in the user’s query and try to match these with the content loaded in the knowledge base. It can work fine, but the risk with these basic Knowledge Management Systems is that the KM often pushes search results that are not relevant to the original query. How can that be? Simply because natural language is difficult for computers to understand and can often be ambiguous.
  • Symbolic AI powered knowledge management system
    At Inbenta, our Knowledge module uses Symbolic AI to power our Natural Language Processing (NLP) technology. Coupled with our Lexicon, this patented and proprietary technology enables our KMS to understand users’ intents in order to present them with the best answers possible. This also means that it is able to understand ambiguity, misspellings and even slang, thus providing a greater user experience.

Functionalities to take into consideration

  • Ease of use
    Inbenta Knowledge is easy to get up and running and makes content management simple. Whether you need to add, edit, or organize content, you can do it in total autonomy in our Workspace.
  • Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
    Investing in a KMS is already a great idea. Implementing Inbenta Knowledge that has built-in SEO features and enables your public content (such as Frequently Asked Questions) to be crawled and indexed by Google, will also positively impact your ranking on SERPs, which is a win-win.
  • Powerful reporting
    Inbenta Knowledge comes with a robust back-office that allows you to monitor the performance of your knowledge through a dashboard that provides a real-time view of all the key indicators you need. This powerful tool can also help you detect potential gaps in your content and discover areas of improvement.

Now that you understand the basics of a good Knowledge Management System,
you might be interested in our ebook that will teach you
how to build an efficient knowledge base.

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