What is Knowledge Management and why should you care?

Knowledge Management, whether you have a department for it or not, is a crucial part of how companies function. 

In an organisation with thousands of people working across the world, knowledge is not only created constantly, but it is also shared and consumed with near immediacy. Our designers are coming up with new ideas, our engineers are solving technical challenges, and our marketers are uncovering new trends in the industry. 

Managing that knowledge effectively allows companies to achieve better performance, because it avoids duplication and promotes the use of best practices 1. These mean cost and time savings for the organisation, making it more competitive. 

Good knowledge management not only benefits the company, it also creates a happier workforce. 

Our users expect to have the right information at the right time and it’s our role to enable that.

I dare you to recall the last time you trawled through never-ending search results across document management systems, email or your intranet… looking for THAT document that you need. That is the pain we try to relieve.

Dilbert link

You’re not alone. Knowledge workers waste between 20 and 30% of their time searching for information 2. A particular study found workers to be spending 1.9 hours a week searching for but not finding documents and 1.5 hours a week recreating documents that already exist 3.

We want an organisation where knowledge can be reused with near-immediacy to enable our employees to work more efficiently and produce better quality work, while helping them flourish in their job. 

Therefore our product vision is to build a digital workplace where all employees can focus on what’s important because they have the right knowledge at their fingertips.

This is part of a series on being a product manager in Knowledge Management. See part 2 on building Knowledge Management products.

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Footnotes

  1. There’s lots of stuff in academic literature about that. You could start with Abubakar et al, 2019.
  2. See ‘Employees spend more than 25% of their time searching for the information they need to do their jobs‘ and ‘Do workers still waste time searching for information?
  3. Bridging the Information Worker productivity gap in Western Europe: New challenges and opportunities for IT

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