The world now revolves around business, and Knowledge Management of businesses is a very big issue, perhaps the most important in a Company’s overall management structure. Not sharing the generally vast repository of knowledge in a company means that individual or grouped employees often waste time by recreating solutions that already exist within the company, or repeat mistakes that have already been made in the past. Knowledge Management can create an environment where not only knowledge but experience can be shared, in order to ensure maximum efficiency and productivity of the company at all times. But implementing a Knowledge Management system is never easy, and has a large number of pitfalls. As they say, the best plans of “mice and men” may fail. Therefore, the most Common Knowledge Management Mistakes Made By Companies will be discussed in brief in the following review.
The Companies begin the Knowledge Management process for many reasons. The main reasons may be:
- The imminent retirement of key employees could cause a real knowledge vacuum, and necessitate the storage of their accumulated knowledge and experience benefits for the company. These valuable employees are repositories of essential knowledge, which need to be captured and stored for posterity, and for the future of the company.
- The need to input new talent in the ranks of the employees may lead to an upcoming recruitment drive, and show the importance of using Knowledge Management to assist in training the new employees.
- Mergers and acquisitions of other companies or bodies may highlight the need for codifying Knowledge and traditions, and encouraging teams to share expertise.
Knowledge Management can create faster and better decision making, increased collaboration, produce a more efficient workplace, optimize training processes, build organizational knowledge, and increase employee happiness and feeling of belonging to the organization, with consequent benefits to the company in terms of training, sharing, collaboration, innovation and company loyalty. But inherent with these benefits, there are dangerous traps that can not only render the benefits of Knowledge management ineffective, but actually lead to harmful situations for both the individual employees and the company. Some of these are Common Mistakes, which will be enumerated below.
The Most Common Mistakes
The most Common Knowledge Management Mistakes Made By Companies are usually as follows:
- Excess Focus on Knowledge Collection: The main focus is often on collection of vast quantities of raw Data, without first screening or structuring the Data to suit the needs of the company. The main criteria should always be the Usefulness of the Data so collected. Not all knowledge is useful knowledge. Specialist assistance must be used to create a validation system, that can ensure that only knowledge that will be useful is collected.
- Lack of Corporate/Company Vision: While the management of a company may have a clear idea of the present, the future is always uncertain. The flexibility to change with the future is often neglected, and the reality outgrows the existing structure set up originally for Knowledge Management system. It is absolutely not to make this Common Mistake, and include Visionaries among the Planners who will include future expansion as one of the key factors of Knowledge Management.
- Lack of Top-Level Buy-in: There must be a knowledge sharing culture in the company, which encompasses the whole company. The Common Mistake is to be non-inclusive, and leave out certain top management from the knowledge-sharing scheme. Key share-holders need to understand the absolute impact that a Knowledge Management system can have on the environment of a whole company, and this must be inculcated from the very beginning.
- Lack of Departmental Collaboration: There can be no two ways about it, Knowledge Management is the job of the whole company, not a single department entrusted with its execution. Departments need to work closely together for its success, yet this is a Common Mistake everywhere.
- Lack of Mobility: The employees who need this Knowledge, must be able to access it wherever they are. But companies neglect this aspect of availability, and thereby reduce the effectiveness of this system.
- Lack of Training and Education: To maximize the benefits of Knowledge Management for everyone, regularized Training and Education in the system is a must. But a Common Mistake is to make this available to a select few only, and not to all the employees.
- Lack of Updating: The system, even if effective, or perhaps because of it, often makes the management overlook it. This is a Common Mistake. Updating regularly is essential to keep the system free of aging mistakes, and always useful.
- Ignoring the User: The often ignored person at the center of the problem is the User. If it doesn’t work for the User, its useless. So this Common Mistake is the worst of all.