In its basic form, knowledge management is about converting available raw data into digestible information. That information is then placed in a reusable repository for the benefit of any future need based on similar kinds of experiences. Knowledge management contributes to the streamlining of ideas, solved problems, new projects and product deployment driving towards productivity.
But, it’s more than just knowing everything your organization has learned and devised in the past, it’s about creating a synthesis between the people and the information to the point that the whole is more than the sum of the parts.
Today’s Knowledge Management Challenges
1. Getting and keeping people motivated
It can prove challenging to get everyone on the same frequency when it comes to storing and sharing data. People (specifically, developers) are usually pretty comfortable with how they are used to doing things, making the adaptation stage a hurdle of its own. Getting your team motivated to share their work and ideas in a shared space is imperative to the success of your community and productivity. An easy way to get people on the same page from the get-go is to embody a culture of learning, improving, sharing, and change.
2. Keeping up with ever-changing technology
Releases and updates are continuing to get more and more frequent when it comes to the technology we are using. Although there are constant changes nowadays with the technologies we utilize, it does instill a sense of urgency within us to keep up. Just remember this, changes and updated to technology are a pain at first, but they usually open doors for new opportunities and can do more things for us in return.
3. Measuring Knowledge Contribution
Knowledge is not something that can be easily quantified and is far more complex because it is derived out of human relationships and experience. When it comes to knowledge contribution, the focus should be on the shared purpose rather than results or efforts.
It is key (in most technical efforts) the provide the right level of security for your data, and it’s no different for knowledge management. Use permissions and levels of security to make sure that various information is shared in the correct channels and with the right people.
5. Keeping shared information up to date and accurate
Moderation of your content is challenging, there’s no denying it. Valuable data generated by your users may need routine updating and verification. Keep your information up-to-date by setting up validation reminders for your moderators or for the original posters.
6. Interpreting data effectively
Information derived by one group may need to be mapped or standardized in order to be meaningful to someone else in the organization.
7. Ensuring relevancy
Data must support and answer questions being asked by your users. To do this effectively it requires appropriate meta-data is readily available for reference. Data relevancy means avoiding overloading users with unnecessary data and ensuring that content is moderated efficiently.
8. Rewarding active users
Choosing how you’re going to reward your users is tough, and if you get enough contribution that you don’t worry about what it would be like without those users, you may have never had this idea cross your mind. A community is only as strong as its users, so do what you can to recognize them for their knowledge contributions. It will not only encourage them to continue their interaction with your community, but it will encourage new users to jump on board and join your community.
9. Determining who will be responsible for managing your knowledge
Choosing a moderator, community manager, or developer relations specialist is complex; You don’t want to give the responsibility of the site to the wrong person, but without having run a community in the past it may be unclear who owns what. Break your community’s goals out and determine who is responsible for the success of each of those KPIs, from there you can delegate who will be in charge of managing various pieces of knowledge.
10. Overcoming shared leadership
An extension of the above challenge, sometimes giving multiple people community responsibility can create a level of tension because many people feel attached in a way that they need to give their approval for various things.
There are two levels to this, and neither is very fun. Turnover is inevitable, and sometimes the responsibilities tied to your community can fall through the cracks. Keep a detailed log or manual of the tasks involved to keep your knowledge management system running smoothly. You can also experience a level of turnover at the user level. Some of your best users may have the time budgeted for you now, but what will you do manage all of their expertise once they move on. Create clear and easy to understand processes for data migration once people have left your company or no longer use your community.
Overcoming Knowledge Management Challenges
Knowledge, learning, and sharing come from people and their relationships with one another, not necessarily from the tools, databases and technological aids used. However, with the proper technology in place, you can facilitate better communication and overcome these challenges to have an up-to-date, secure and organized knowledge base.
Looking for ways to improve knowledge management adoption in your organization? Download our ebook The Top 5 Reasons Your Employees Want Knowledge Management.