Superior knowledge management (KM) is often credited with boosting shareholder value, jumpstarting innovation and improving customer service, but with little evidence to support vendors’ heady claims, executives have to rely on faith instead of facts when approving costly initiatives.
Finally, research confirms that acquiring, sharing and using knowledge in meaningful ways definitively improves a company’s return on assets, sales and operating income…..
What is KM and what types of knowledge does it typically include?
KM generally refers to a tool or automated system where companies gather, archive, analyze, and share tangible and intangible information from a variety of sources. In most companies, knowledge is scattered across the enterprise; it resides in databases, documents, manuals and people’s heads. The disparate formats and locales make it virtually impossible to tap or review holistic data when tackling business problems, and efficiency is compromised because business units and managers operate independently.
Top-performing firms use accumulated data to solve business problems, create new products, educate employees or drive operating efficiencies. For example, KM helps managers proactively spot patterns and relationships among customer complaints, product returns and diminishing sales. In turn, they eliminate restocking costs by altering product designs or instruction manuals, which boosts goodwill, sales, market share and the bottom line.
What are the benefits of a knowledge management system?
The top benefits include:
- Superior knowledge acquisition: Centralization allows executives to measure knowledge collection and make it a priority. Plus, a KM tool reduces the tendency for a manager to collect and hoard separate data.
- Superior storage and retrieval: KM systems allow companies to collect, organize, codify, store, safeguard, and access institutional knowledge and data. Without a tool or program, information stored in a variety of formats and systems can’t be retrieved or analyzed, and staff turnover often results in the loss of critical institutional know-how.
- Superior sharing and dissemination: It’s easy to share best practices and foster collaboration when everyone shares the same goals and has access to the same information. Plus, studies show that superior KM is capable of transforming run-of-the-mill companies into powerful learning organizations.
- Superior decision-making: It’s hard to make good decisions when managers have to react to problems. KM lets them analyze suppliers, customer preferences and the competitive landscape so they can forecast the impact of a new product on revenue, accounting, manufacturing and distribution, customer service and the bottom line. Our research revealed that superior KM firms are more efficient and profitable because they use data instead of hunches to anticipate problems, establish priorities and align valuable resources.
Read the complete article here: http://www.sbnonline.com/2012/09/how-to-outsmart-the-competition-through-superior-knowledge-management/?full=1