Knowledge as an Asset
In an earlier post I spoke of the future of KM and the impacts AI may have upon the industry. Now, however, I want to take a step back and talk about knowledge as a business asset and how adopting that perspective can benefit a companies’ bottom line through a deeper investment in the knowledge management discipline.
What is a Knowledge Asset?
Knowledge is an invaluable asset to companies, now more than ever. In the information driven world of the past few decades, businesses must manage and leverage their knowledge more effectively and efficiently to determine their success or failure. In the content management world, knowledge assets are the foundation of everything. They are the key to creating, managing, and delivering effective content to drive customer success.
A knowledge asset refers to an organization’s intellectual resources. It can be in the form of information, ideas, understanding, learning, memory, patents, policies, databases, software, or various types of skills, expertise, and capabilities of an organization’s workforce. Quite a broad definition, but one which must encompass such a broad realm to ensure we are thinking more holistically when managing knowledge assets.
The Importance of Knowledge as an Asset
Knowledge is the strategic asset that can help businesses achieve their goals. Knowledge refers to the information and expertise that businesses accumulate over time, including industry insights, customer data, and employee expertise.
In the content management world, knowledge is essential for creating effective content. Knowledge management systems provide a platform for capturing, organizing, and sharing knowledge across an organization. By doing so, businesses can improve their content creation processes, reduce duplication, and improve efficiency in delivery and consumption.
Adopting the perspective that knowledge is an asset can have a significant positive impact on business as it leads to deeper retention and faster rediscovery of data, industry insights, customer information, and employee expertise that businesses accumulate over time. Effective knowledge management can also lead to better customer understanding, as we can leverage customer data to create more personalized and targeted content experiences.
Moreover, treating knowledge as an asset can help us reduce costs associated with content creation. Imagine using support case notes to kickstart a troubleshooting article that an engineer need only refine. By streamlining this creation processes, we can cut down the time a support engineer spends creating articles from their knowledge, and allows them more time to focus on building deeper and broader knowledge to solve the more complex issues.
Furthermore, by making knowledge assets accessible and easy to find, businesses can prevent archived knowledge from becoming useless. This also serves to reduce duplication, or accidental rebuilding of the same content multiple times.
5 Benefits of Effective Knowledge Management
Effective knowledge management provides a range of benefits for businesses, including:
Improved Content Quality
By reusing knowledge assets and empowering our teams to make the necessary changes in the moment, businesses can create more accurate, relevant, and engaging content that resonates with their target audience. Reuse is review is a KCS concept that directly drives iterative improvements in quality far more efficiently than large scale content cleanup projects do.
By effectively managing knowledge assets, businesses can improve their content creation processes, reduce duplication, and improve efficiency. When content is optimized for discovery and reuse, we find duplication is severely reduced while valuable content creation increases by the same rate. A search first mentality drives this increase in efficiencies through initial reuse leading to faster case closures as well as content gap identification and closure based on documenting newly discovered solutions for other customers to then use to self-serve.
Knowledge management systems can help to break down silos within organizations and encourage collaboration across teams and departments. Through collective ownership of the knowledge base, it is every user’s obligation to help maintain the health of the content and contribute to the collective wisdom it contains. This level of collaboration in the knowledge base helps build that same skill than organically transfers to other areas of the business as well.
Better Customer Understanding
By leveraging customer and content data, businesses can gain insights into their audience’s needs and preferences, allowing them to create more personalized and targeted content. Big data means big insights. Big insights means clearer directions for where improvements are needed. The customer experience can’t be improved without a better understanding of the customer and their challenges. Content driven insights help to get us there.
By reducing duplication and streamlining processes more efficiently, effective knowledge management can help to reduce time and indirect costs associated with content creation. Digital delivery of solutions directly dilutes the cost-per-case scale as well, helping to grow businesses faster and larger without large staff increases. When we reuse knowledge that has been captured, refined, and built for ease of discovery, we immediately capitalize on the investment in that asset, seeing returns provide exponential impact.
To treat knowledge as a strategic asset, you need to identify, capture the knowledge and make it accessible. Each business area needs to assign a person responsible for ensuring that a consistent approach is adopted. Otherwise, archived knowledge that is inaccessible has no value.
How to Organize Knowledge Assets
Here are some steps to follow for organizing knowledge assets:
1. Compile Your Assets
Begin by gathering your knowledge assets. Create a centralized location for all of your assets as you begin your organization and management process. Thoughtful information architecture is a critical component here, as is understanding how your repositories work, or don’t work together. In some cases a unified CMS is the right way forward, in others a more distributed creation, but federated discovery approach is appropriate.
2. Establish What You Need to Know
Determine what knowledge you need so you can operate your organization efficiently and profitably. Inventory your existing knowledge assets to establish what you already know as an organization. Establish an understanding of what your customers are asking; a KCS model works exceptionally well here as the core tenet is to capture the customer’s context first and foremost. This leads to invaluable content data that can highlight deep gaps in knowledge. Using the data as a guide, think about what you need to know, such as the critical insights you need to be successful, and confirm whether you have them. Compare your lists of what you have and what you need to determine the knowledge to pursue and obtain to be successful and remain competitive.
3. Encourage Knowledge-Sharing
Promote a culture of knowledge-sharing within your organization. This also helps naturally encourage developing the skills of those who may benefit from improving their abilities. Some ways to create an environment that fosters knowledge-sharing include allowing collaboration, designating a space, encouraging feedback, fostering trust, and providing mentorship opportunities.
4. Protect Your Assets
Implement measures to ensure your crucial knowledge remains secure. This may include disaster recovery processes, encryption, security measures, and staff training. Moreover, this is about a culture of knowledge sharing, as it is imperative to ensure the institutional knowledge is documented and managed in order to weather attrition and ensure rediscovery.
5. Choose Technology Carefully
Research technology and tool options to help you manage your assets effectively. Automation tools are often beneficial for achieving reliable, efficient management. Consider the needs of your organization and look for tools that allow users to access the information they need easily, are easy to use intuitively with little to no additional training, identify, gather and sort information correctly from a variety of sources, safeguard information effectively and comprehensively, satisfy the security best practices and standards for your industry, and support users interacting, collaborating, and sharing information on the platform. One of the biggest hindrances to capturing knowledge effectively is the challenge tooling puts in from of our contributors. Remove as many roadblocks as possible to make it easy for knowledge workers to capture their knowledge as a reusable asset.
Knowledge is an asset that businesses cannot afford to ignore. In the content management world, effective knowledge management is essential for creating and delivering effective content. By leveraging knowledge as an asset, businesses can improve their processes, reduce costs, and drive growth. By effectively managing their knowledge assets, businesses can gain a competitive advantage and achieve their strategic goals.
I hope this all has helped further your understanding of the importance of knowledge as an asset and how investing in knowledge management can benefit you, your organization, but most of all your people and your customers.