You’re in the process of introducing a professional knowledge management system at your company, and you have successfully completed the first step: you know which software you want to use. Now it’s time to properly deploy and introduce the new system — this is a task best accomplished by a team. Management, IT, departments, and editors all have to pull together. Because the success of your knowledge management system depends upon how the rollout goes.
There are 10 steps that every company should take when introducing a new knowledge management solution. Knowledge management providers also frequently offer consultation to guide customers through the process and help them manage the associated changes at their organizations. If you have started a free trial, talk to your vendor’s onboarding team — frequently, these services are also available during the trial period. The rollout will focus on properly collecting and structuring existing knowledge so that all employees will be able to easily and intuitively find what they need later — for instance by using a navigation tree in the knowledge management solution. We’ve put together a quick summary of the 10 steps you should keep in mind.
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Get together with your colleagues and figure out what knowledge you want to manage with SABIO, and what you’ll choose to leave out. It’s important to make this fundamental strategic decision at the very beginning. This will also help you to figure out where knowledge is located and get it cleaned up and ready to go.
Brainstorm all the keywords that are important to you and collect them to get an overview. You’ll want to start considering how to structure your knowledge now. Using these keywords, you’ll be able to identify groups, which can be represented for instance by the branches of a navigation tree in SABIO. Pro tip: Keep it short and be as precise as possible. Make sure to avoid keywords like “other,” “general,” and “more”.
Determine roles and permissions for your users. Who is allowed to edit knowledge, and who should be permitted to see what? Then use these criteria to set up the user groups. Knowledge management systems usually have three user types: administrators, editors, and users. In addition to the user types, you can also specify views. Are there different divisions at your company that deal with different subject matter? In this case, you can use views to ensure that users only have access to information that is truly important to them.
Add the editors to the knowledge management system first and train them. Lots of knowledge management vendors offer workshops for editors and administrators that they assign to their trained consultants.
5. Gather knowledge
Fill your knowledge management system with the keyword structure that you developed in step two.
Now your knowledge tree will start to grow.
Develop a style guide and templates before the editors start writing. This way, knowledge will stay readable and uniform. Many systems offer basic templates that you can use and customize. The style guide should include a brief description of how entries in the system should be written so that your knowledge stays consistent.
7. Editorial team
Now it’s time to start putting knowledge into the system. The editors add content to the system according to a plan. Give your editors sufficient time as well as a specific time period with milestones during which everyone can add their content to the system. Pro tip: Many systems allow you to set expiration dates on knowledge. Once these entries have expired, editors must refresh or delete them. That helps to keep your knowledge database constantly up to date. Make sure when creating texts to assign an expiration date so that the knowledge does not become obsolete.
8. Training for administrators
Train your administrators. They need to know your knowledge management system inside and out. They are the ones who will respond to employee questions with tips and advice.
9. Quality check
Go through the system’s settings one more time. Is everything how you wanted it? Do the texts adhere to the style guide?
10. Training the users
Train the users and don’t forget to mention that it’s important to submit suggestions and reviews. Your users may have heard something about your new knowledge management system during the preparation phase and are excited to get to use it. Suggestions and reviews of texts are particularly valuable in the beginning to help improve the quality of the information.
If you follow these 10 simple steps, the content and technology behind your knowledge management system will be a success. If you need support for your team, onboarding experts are often available. At SABIO, for instance, experts are available to take you through the process from the very start. They help with implementation and offer best practices and training.
Change management — turning change into success
With the 10 steps above, you’ve laid a solid foundation for the success of your knowledge management system. You have good software, a clear structure, and current content. It usually takes less than a half hour for users to understand how SABIO works. But how can you ensure that employees use the system consistently? For many people, breaking old habits can be difficult.
Our experience at SABIO shows that, although users generally get up to speed quickly with a new knowledge management system, it can be even faster by laying the groundwork with good communication. Here are some tips:
intranet, and explain as accurately as possible what it’s all about.
become your evangelists — and so will the ones who work on implementing the 10 steps.
This forces employees to use and become familiar with it.
before the rollout to open their minds to the topic.
In your communications, you should make it clear that professional knowledge management requires ongoing discipline from all participants. As knowledge becomes increasingly current and valuable, synergies will result throughout the organization. This can help employees access important information by as much as 73% faster.
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