(Article complementary to the article “Sharing knowledge in companies“.)
Knowledge is part of a company’s intangible capital. They are not exclusive: a person with knowledge does not prevent others from having the same knowledge. Thus, knowledge sharing appears to be a means of creating value and making it sustainable.
Today, we notice that knowledge management is often left to a personal will. The transmission of knowledge within a company is therefore disparate and non-homogeneous. Faced with this situation, the challenge is to structure these different initiatives within a global knowledge management system.
In companies, the exchanges between the parties are complex by nature
A company is a complex social entity. There are many agents, divided into different departments and professions. The daily vocabulary used is not the same, the problems encountered are different, the documents created to respect a certain way of thinking and are organized according to a different structure from one department to another. These differences in vocabulary, skills and document classification make communication between departments difficult. These weaknesses are felt daily during verbal exchanges and document transfers. The information communicated orally or in writing will not necessarily be understandable and usable by the person who will receive it. This result in unreliability and a loss of time in terms of understanding, transcription and sometimes recreation. This is a waste of resources and increases the risk of replicating past mistakes. All these impacts of partial and imperfect knowledge management justify the need for companies today to have a powerful knowledge management solution.
The need to implement a digital solution for knowledge sharing
In the age of the knowledge economy, each company can develop a significant added value through the efficient reuse of knowledge. This will contribute in particular to empowering newcomers more quickly, making the choices best suited to each context by taking advantage of feedback from shared experiences.
Software solutions exist and require the support of all parts of the company. Indeed, the need often arises from experts, design offices, laboratory specialists, material and design engineers (bottom-up) who wish to share knowledge efficiently and reliably in order to work in good conditions. This is why microsystems for knowledge management are created. In addition, the management team has its role to play (top-down) to ensure the sustainability of the solution and its overall use in the company.
The implementation of a knowledge management solution takes time and must be progressive because there may be a reluctance to change practices and several constraints to take into account. This approach to structural and social change must remain consistent with the company’s spirit, pace and operating methods. It is therefore essential to have a clear vision of all the organizational issues and risks to be taken into account in order to identify them from the beginning of the project. Then, the implementation of pilots on restricted perimeters will make it possible to adjust the work axes and take into account the interests of the various stakeholders. A knowledge management solution generally integrates various development axes aimed at changing practices, such as the animation of communities of practice for example or the enhancement of technical expertise providers. Once the pilots are satisfied that they are functioning and have secured all identified brakes, a deployment plan for all services can be launched.
The digital knowledge management solution must establish a common knowledge structure and harmonize its vocabulary in order to facilitate and simplify exchanges. While respecting the right to know, i.e. the right of agents to access one or more pieces of information (such information can be confidential within a company from one department to another, from one individual to another), knowledge must flow freely through knowledge systems. Indeed, the challenge is to make systematic use of the new digital platform. To do this, the objective is to establish routines, habits, rituals within the company so that individuals integrate these practices into their daily lives. It is in this capacity that the company is also called society: a set of stakeholders linked by social ties and sharing rites and customs.
When the exchange of knowledge and documents is facilitated, the challenge is also to promote the sharing of feedback (REX). The potential for cross-cutting lessons learned makes it possible to create rules and good practices in the company, thus considerably reducing the risk of repeating mistakes from the past and allowing other individuals to quickly adopt these recommendations.
Other sources of updating, such as standards, clients, etc., help to maintain the management of the knowledge system. Their management is only effective if a knowledge management system is put in place, thus allowing their distribution to the right people, at the right level and above all at the right time.
With more than 25 years of experience, BASSETTI publishes and integrates the TEEXMA® Design Handbook knowledge management software package. This tool helps you to structure and optimizes a knowledge management system within your organization. Thanks to this solution, you can increase your efficiency and performance. Feel free to contact us for more information.