You’ve managed to build a solid foundation for knowledge management at your company and you’re experiencing initial success. Each day, editors process new information and ensure your departments have a structured, up-to-date repository of knowledge. They have access to a central and reliable source of knowledge, and you want to keep it that way. Knowledge management software offers benefits in your daily work and thus warrants the necessary maintenance. Below, we outline the methods you’ll need to update your knowledge management system on a regular basis and keep it current.
After just a few weeks, you’ll see the following developments: Deploying knowledge management has achieved initial results and the investment will pay for itself quickly. Fewer customers call your service hotline, because they’re already finding answers online. Your employees are also finding information in a snap, allowing them to respond to customers faster. Your service teams get better ratings because they have all the manuals on their tablets on-site instead of having to call in to the office. That’s great, but this is no time to become complacent. Because knowledge management is a living, breathing system that requires proper care and feeding to achieve maximum effectiveness.
Derive valuable information from content
Take time shortly after the rollout and then afterwards at regular intervals to analyze your knowledge. Most knowledge management systems offer you reports that provide information on how people are using your knowledge content. That feedback gives you insights into trending topics that are relevant for the development department. Or maybe your ERP system is reporting good sales figures for a particular product, but your service team is accessing the product manual with unusual frequency. This could be an indication that customers have too many questions and the product could stand to have its usability enhanced. The reports can even indicate whether employees need additional training or the qualifications that new employees should bring to the table.
The idea is to keep it simple
Of course you should take the necessary time during the rollout to make your knowledge management system simple and easy to understand. And you’ll want it to stay that way in the years to come. To achieve this, many knowledge management vendors rely on standards and proven collaboration to ensure that updates roll out smoothly, whether they be system updates or updates to software on the customer’s end that interfaces with the system.
But when it comes to the content, you should define certain standards and procedures right from the start. The following tips will help you keep your system clean on a daily basis:
The advantages of a centralized editorial team
One aspect that affects content quality is whether you choose a centralized or distributed editorial staff. With distributed editorial staff, designated individuals in your departments write the texts for the knowledge management system. These employees concentrate on knowledge work on a regular basis. One issue that often crops up when these employees have heavy workloads is that the knowledge work quickly takes a back seat, or they view knowledge management work as an extra burden.
In a centralized editorial team, designated knowledge managers create all the knowledge entries for the entire organization. Departments provide information and technical texts, and the editors enter them into the knowledge management system, ensuring adherence to the style guide. Then they have others sign off on the entries using the system’s approval process. Knowledge managers in centralized editorial teams often have a background in journalism or receive corresponding training for writers. One advantage of this approach at large companies is that knowledge remains consistent and knowledge managers can concentrate exclusively on keeping documents up-to-date.
As you’ve seen, knowledge management quickly shows positive effects and, with a little discipline, it’s possible to achieve high quality daily output.
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