Knowledge management will unlock your potential when coupled with technology

The growing needs for knowledge management

Every business is in the information and knowledge business. Many are today being valued accordingly, rather than the hard assets they have. The goal of knowledge management is a practical one. It is to improve the business capabilities through better use of the individual and aggregate information and knowledge resources.  It includes links to external sources that are reliable, practical and useful.

Knowledge resources include skills, capabilities, experience, routines and norms. It should also add knowledge about the technologies that are driving all the changes in the marketplace. Customer service experiences and innovation are examples of an area that requires a lot of new knowledge. It is necessary to keep up with the increasing competitiveness of the global marketplace.

A vital and necessary resource for successful and sustainable organisations

Your competitive advantage in the marketplace could well be buried somewhere in this knowledge. This knowledge could be easily lost to competitors if it is not correctly managed and protected. Satisfying your level of need with useful information and knowledge is illustrated in this graphic. As set out above, you have a range of options to choose from when it comes to securing the right information and knowledge.

Your competitive advantage in the market could well be hidden in this knowledge. This knowledge could be easily lost to competitors if it is not correctly managed and protected. Satisfying your level of need with useful information and knowledge is illustrated in this graphic. As set out above, today, you have a range of options to choose from when it comes to securing the right information and knowledge.

The first level is now very inexpensive. It can provide you with the essential tools, processes, programs and training sessions using live and recorded webinars. These can then be activated at a time and place to suit you. Often you can acquire the knowledge online for free if you have the time to invest in finding it.

Having found what you need online, you may need to get a more in-depth understanding. It can come from a facilitator or coach via email or over the phone. Mostly this can be quick and cost-effective if you have the questions you need to be answered carefully framed in advance. Time is never wasted on interpreting precisely what you want and need. By using modern communications technology, it is possible to get the services of a specialist online to address specific problems. It is usually all you need to move a complicated situation forward, without the costs associated with personal visits.

Whatever you do will require data, information and knowledge

Until 1900 human knowledge doubled approximately every century. By the end of World War II, knowledge was doubling every 25 years. Today things are not as simple as different types of knowledge have different rates of growth. For example, nanotechnology knowledge is doubling every two years and clinical knowledge every 18 months. Common knowledge is doubling every 13 months.  According to IBM, the build-out of the “internet of things” will lead to the doubling of knowledge every 12 hours.

As you accumulate information at an accelerating rate, you face growing costs and inefficiencies that threaten their ability to function. The answer lies not just in new ways of applying information technology and services but encouraging new behaviour in knowledge management.

You will need to become involved with big data

You could liken big data to a large river in flood, flowing right past your organisation. In that river is all the information and knowledge you need to be designing your business or organisation. However, there will be some issues you need to address:

  • What will you use to capture the information and knowledge you need as it flows past?
  • Applying your ability to recognise the right information and knowledge at the right time will be a challenge.
  • How will you sort and manage the increasing flow of data?
  • You don’t need much, so let the rest keep flowing down the river.

Take time to assess what information and knowledge you need across the entire organisation. It’s not much good just focusing on one area that you like. Put all the information and knowledge you gather into a knowledge base and make it available across the business. There are now many information technology applications that can do this for you.


Is your road closed to important rivers of data, information and knowledge flowing by your organisation?

Don’t let the size or numbers frighten you

In a recent lecture at Harvard University neuroscientist Jeff Lichtman, who is attempting to map the human brain, has calculated that several billion petabytes of data storage would be needed to index the entire human brain. The Internet is currently estimated to be 5 million terabytes (TB) of which Google has indexed roughly 200 TB or just .004% of its total size. The numbers involved are astounding, especially when considering the size of the human brain and the number of

The numbers involved are staggering, especially when considering the size of the human mind and the number of neurones in it. So when it comes to designing our organisations we have plenty of brain power, we have to use it better. Making good use of the data flowing past is critical, only because your competitors will be doing it.

Your competitive advantage could well be tied up in how you utilise big data. Whatever you do will require data, information and knowledge because these three things lead to wisdom, an critical design input.

Key issues relating to knowledge management

At its most basic level, particularly during drought or adversity, knowledge management seeks to address the following key topics. It will require an action orientation to be effective:

  1. Identifying and executing ongoing revenue generation opportunities
  2. Building awareness of the changes taking place in the marketplace
  3. Improving overall decision making in the business
  4. Identifying and capitalising on opportunities to better control costs
  5. Reduction in and mitigation of risks

Not everything can be successfully executed online, out of books and through training courses.  It is where a visit with a specialist facilitator or coach can help. There will always be issues that will take time to work through and sometimes a workshop run by a facilitator may be what you are looking for

Knowledge management challenges

While having knowledge associated with all aspects of your business, finance and strategic planning, is perhaps the first to focus on doing. Experience in planning, operations, technology, management and relationships will also have significant impacts on the business outcomes. You should look at knowledge like grease to the wheels because, without it, the business can grind to a halt. New, learning about our global economy and the technology that is driving it can make dramatic improvements in your business outlook and performance. One thing that will have a significant impact is the shifting to a mobile workforce, so the more knowledge you can acquire in this area the better,

A business contains information and knowledge which is invaluable to owners and managers; in fact, something everyone in the organisation can receive a benefit. Challenged by the current economic pressures and operating with tighter margins, businesses are struggling to balance customer demands and profitability. It is without the tasks of gathering and managing additional knowledge. But it must be done.

Content marketing is important

The content used in marketing, on websites and social media has long been regarded as necessary. But it’s only in recent times it’s being given the respect it deserves in the way of practical knowledge. Search engine updates are now being specifically geared to high-quality content. It means more and more organisations will be looking to improve learning in the content they provide.

Your focus should be on creating content that provides valuable knowledge to customers and other searches of websites and social media. Emphasis should also be placed on creating, nurturing, and converting leads through the use of useful knowledge. The challenge is to harness the enormous amounts of information and knowledge contained within a business and what’s available externally to contribute to a more efficient, profitable and sustainable business.

Disruptions to your business are not something you look forward to, but something is coming soon to disrupt it? It may be a breaking relationship, a location problem, a new government policy, the impact of mobility, robotics and social media, to name just a few. Whatever it is, it can cause your business model to fall to pieces and your business plans to become obsolete. Disruptions make you lose control; knowledge helps you to keep control,

Practical knowledge management

It is the efficient management of the knowledge, or ‘know how’ you have that is needed to operate your business, as well as being critical to its success and sustainability, includes the following:

  • Identifying what knowledge and knowledge management you already have
  • Identifying the knowledge missing and what knowledge management is required to have your organisation running well
  • Capturing critical industry knowledge
  • Properly qualifying and documenting in a usable form with instructions for its usage
  • Obtaining new knowledge and insights on how to handle droughts
  • Recording and storing for easy retrieval and use
  • Disseminating knowledge into the hands of the people who need to know
  • Leveraging the value of your knowledge to grow and run the business better.

The more times the same piece of knowledge is used, the more you multiply its value. People are forever saying they have no time to grow their businesses. It is because they have to keep working out how to do something over and over again, which is undoubtedly a big time waster. A piece of knowledge which is entered into a ‘knowledge management system’, can be easily retrieved and used over and over again. It must improve the overall performance of the business. When a piece of knowledge is documented and exposed to a number of people, you will be amazed at how it can be and will be improved upon.

Sometimes people take their knowledge for granted and have no concept of its real value. The main thing is to make a start by gathering your people together and do some ‘Brain Storming’. From this, you can start to identify an action list of what is essential knowledge for your business.

Perhaps doing a one-page-plan on your knowledge management would help you. It will undoubtedly help you to make a good start in this vital area,

Quotable quotes

“Knowledge is power”. Sir Francis Bacon

“Of central importance is the changing nature of competitive advantage – not based on market position, size and power as in times past, but on the incorporation of knowledge into all of an organisation’s activities”. Leif Edvinsson


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