For businesses in the modern era, access to the massive amount of information on the internet can be an incredible boon. Not only can companies help electronically transmit skills internally with technology, they can also learn from other corporations’ public knowledge. The internet has shortened the distance between the receiver and the poster when it comes to information exchange. However, why is it that companies’ knowledge management systems have not evolved concurrently?
A study by Deloitte’s Human Capital practices found that only 34% of companies are incorporating technology into their knowledge process. Now, I definitely wouldn’t say that CEOs should drop everything and tackle this. However, not digitally streamlining your knowledge bases through technology can cause bottlenecks of understanding among your employees. It’ll generally slow down everything.
Thankfully, incorporating technology into knowledge management isn’t rocket science. Tools and digital AI have been built to make this process much easier. These tools include Wing AI’s Wing for Business as well as IBM’s Watson Discovery. These types of tech can be implemented at each of the three stages in a knowledge management process.
What is Knowledge Management?
Before we begin, you may not even know what knowledge management means in the context of this article. The term itself can mean a variety of possible denotations. For our purposes, this definition works well: the systematic management of an organization’s knowledge assets for the purpose of creating value and meeting tactical & strategic requirements.
Basically, it is the inventory of skills and competencies contained within a company or organization. Each individual in your teams operate and contribute to the knowledge management system. It allows team leaders to apply this knowledge within and outside the organization.
This specific phenomenon has become much more palpable within the business world because of technology. In the olden days, knowledge transference was relatively manual. Individuals passed on their competencies to others who entered their organizational silo. There was no real way of storing and disseminating useful information besides spreading it with the human touch.
Nowadays, knowledge management is simplified by tech. International companies can collect and distribute research from one end of the world to the other. R&D teams can operate on opposite ends of a country. Collaboration and sharing of expertise, even across ecosystems, have become more widespread. However, these ideas are the peak of effective knowledge management, and therein lies the central issue: mainly, many companies do not have an effective enough knowledge management system to achieve this.
Consequently, our team has split the knowledge management process into three stages, and want to lay out where technology comes into each.
Stage 1: Collecting Competencies
The initial stage of knowledge management is the curation and collection of the knowledge itself. This is easier said than done. Workers themselves may not even really grasp their core competencies or what knowledge they can bring to the table. Consequently, even with each worker looped into this initiative, the management database may still be incomplete.
Effective and collectively exhaustive management can be one way to accurately record all knowledge. Meetings between executives and team managers can help thoroughly develop an understanding of what areas of knowledge they should be emphasizing when collecting it.
Additionally, besides the structure of knowledge collecting, companies need to establish a baseline culture conducive to this ideal of learning. Knowledge creation is equally as important in this first phase as knowledge collection. You have to somehow engender this data, evidently.
This stage comes down to, mostly, effective management. There has to be a strong, consistent emphasis on promoting knowledge sharing and generation, as well as a structured way of viewing the organization’s workers and their competencies.
Stage 2: Uploading
Prior to the internet age, this second stage looked extremely different. Stage 2 is definitely the stage most heavily affected by the introduction of technology.
What do I mean by “upload”? I basically mean inputting Stage 1’s collected knowledge into a database. Companies then will use this for later. One can also call this stage the inventory stage, where knowledge is preserved and stored for Stage 3.
The reason technology has so heavily affected this stage is because it changed the scope of this system. Knowledge management nowadays is a virtual endeavor. Smart companies can keep these competencies stored within databases or learning systems. Consequently, this changed how individuals understand, store, and view knowledge.
The uploading stage is easier than done. There are a lot more tasks that enter the process than just throwing words into a bank. For instance, you must index and combine knowledge to allow for more efficient storing and database management. You must then further tag or organize information, which is almost necessary if you want to make your lives easier for Stage 3.
This area, however, can be incredibly tedious. Most of the time, this metadata creation is done manually. After all, technology only begins to work at its best after all the tagging of data.
However, Wing is a strong tool for this phase of the process. Because of Wing’s skilled human operators who work alongside AI, Wing for Business can actually take this responsibility off of your team members. Organizations can ask Wing to take over the responsibility of tagging and organizing knowledge data. If provided with the framework, Wing operators can move forward with the relatively tedious work of organizing this data.
Once the system tags the knowledge, you can upload it easily to whatever knowledge management system you use.
Stage 3: Utilization
The final stage, the utilization stage, is equally as deceptive in its simplicity. Of course, once a company finishes uploading all of its knowledge, this inventory becomes useful for a variety of purposes. Generally, however, the main utilization of this knowledge would be for internal training and collaboration purposes.
Technology can often streamline the utilization process, especially when it comes to retrieving relevant information for the team member. For instance, Wing can play a role in hunting down the specific information that an individual would need from a database and bring that knowledge back. This way, individuals wouldn’t have to personally jump through hoops just to find a specific set of information.