Today, knowledge management is an important issue for all companies, regardless of their sector of activity. Within an organization, each individual has a certain level of knowledge in one or more areas. Each person is recruited for his or her ability to mobilize this knowledge in concrete business situations. The knowledge we are talking about in this article is the knowledge that has an added value for the company. It can be theoretical knowledge, practical knowledge, feedback. Applied to the industrial sector, this knowledge will take the form of technical know-how, good practices proven over time and scientific expertise.
Knowledge and skills represent the intangible capital of a company. The latter is defined as a set of separately identifiable assets that contribute to the company’s current and future profitability, but whose value does not appear on its balance sheet. We can enrich our knowledge and transmit it without reducing this level of knowledge. This is the whole point of the notion of knowledge sharing. Knowledge is not exclusive: whoever holds it does not prevent others from having it too. Sharing knowledge within a company, therefore, appears to be a way of creating value and making it sustainable.
Today, we notice that knowledge management is often left to the personal will. The transmission of knowledge is then disparate, non-homogeneous and non-perennial. Local initiatives are developing in the company, increasing the number of micro-knowledge management systems that interact very little with each other. This increases the organisational complexity of the company and makes the search for information and knowledge long and energy-consuming. The challenge is to structure these different initiatives within a global* knowledge management system, to unite stakeholders around this tool and to integrate good practices in knowledge capitalization into the work routine of individuals. It is now essential to respond to these challenges, given the sinusoidal market conditions and the organizations that are experiencing exponential growth phases. These phenomena make old methodologies for the transmission of knowledge insufficient. In the age of the knowledge economy, the structuring of information flows and the perpetuation of corporate memory (contexts, decision-making motivations, areas of agreement and doubt, etc.) are the main drivers of performance.
Knowledge sharing, a guarantee of increased efficiency in companies
The sharing of knowledge between the stakeholders of a company responds to the challenge by creating a community of practices and collectivizing knowledge. Indeed, when the right knowledge is available when people need it, they save valuable time. First-level knowledge must, therefore, be capitalized within an easy-to-use interface. When this knowledge requires extensive expertise and reasoning, it becomes difficult to convey it in writing. In these cases, the interface must be able to redirect the person who needs some information to the expert who holds it. The tool thus empowers individuals at the first level of knowledge and promotes learning in companies (for young people hired for example). In addition, it creates a link within the company and promotes the exchange of high added value knowledge. This means that experts and specialists spend less time answering standard questions or directing people to the right documents. They can focus on technical issues that require their highest level of competence.
Connect knowledge to enhance and secure it
Capitalized knowledge is linked to each other in different ways (causes and effects, explanations, illustrations, origins, solutions…). The challenge is therefore to establish links between the computer pages containing the knowledge in order to facilitate navigation between them, in the same way as an enterprise wiki, but also to prioritize them in order to create trees and bring relief to the knowledge (avoid flat files).
Navigation within the interface must be simple and intuitive: link tracking by simple mouse clicks, text search by keywords, multi-criteria search (with a level of importance assigned to each criterion). Knowledge and feedback are collected, monitored and validated. Then, they are connected, in order to build rules, practical guides, and support individuals through a decision support system.
The right of access to knowledge is set up so that only those with a right to know can access certain types of knowledge. Thus, confidential data or data that does not concern the entire company can only be accessed by a well-defined network of agents.
The sharing of knowledge within a company, when well-orchestrated, offers opportunities for productivity gains and asset enhancement. Until now, knowledge management has not been a priority for companies, which have focused on operational and financial results. Today, these operating modes are showing their limits and more and more companies are becoming aware of the importance of an effective knowledge management system, which, by encouraging companies to change their organisational paradigms, will transform the operating models of tomorrow.
BASSETTI publishes and integrates the TEEXMA® software package, a powerful tool that helps you to build and make optimal use of your knowledge repository. Thus, promote the circulation, and reuse of knowledge within your structure, encourage the learning of your employees, and co-construct a set of good practices within your organization thanks to feedback from capitalized experiences.
*More on this topic in the next article.