With information becoming more abundant every day, your small business needs a knowledge management plan to keep track of it. Managing knowledge means understanding the extent of your intellectual assets in the form of collected, stored, shared and updated information and learning how to distribute it in the most beneficial way for your business. Developing and deploying such a plan can help your company in many ways.
An information management program puts all the knowledge accumulated by your business in one easily accessible place. Whether it’s through a wiki, an enterprise social network or a collaboration tool like Evernote, giving employees a portal through which they can access common knowledge makes answering questions and completing repetitive tasks much more efficient.
When employees and executives can find the information they need quickly, the entire company becomes more productive. More hours in each day can be devoted to work when the flow isn’t repeatedly interrupted by the need to do extensive research or send a dozen emails looking for a simple answer. Learning is faster, easier and more intuitive because information is stored just a few clicks or keystrokes away.
A study performed by SIS International Research showed “70 [percent] of small to mid-size businesses cite ineffective communication as their primary problem.” A lack of communication between employees and executives, errors in the sharing of information or delays in responding to questions can all interfere with the growth of your company. Organizing knowledge in a central database and using tags, specialized searches or targeted RSS feeds improves information delivery on every level.
Knowledge management cuts out the data you don’t need and focuses on the information with real benefits for your business. This speeds up the decision-making process by giving everyone fast access to essential information regardless of who can attend a meeting or be on a conference call at any given time. You no longer have waste time on emails or play phone tag for days to find the answers you need to inform your decisions.
Since all employees contribute to the intellectual assets of your business, everyone can benefit from shared expertise. Managing knowledge connects all the departments of your company, allowing information to flow freely and facilitating an environment of continual learning. Even if you have only one expert in a given field, the rest of the company gains instant access to all they’ve contributed during their career and can use it to improve their own performance.
Making information more readily available to everyone in your company through an organized knowledge management program is essential to survival in a data-obsessed market. Your employees have collected a great deal of information and knowledge, and learning to use it in a smarter, more economical way can put the business on the fast track to growth and success.
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