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Alexandria Fitzhugh | February 13, 2020

10 Tips for Implementing a Knowledge Management System

Knowledge management is beneficial to every organization, no matter the use case. It can increase operational efficiency, empower employees, improve the customer experience, and build a foundation for AI.

Organizations invest in knowledge management platforms, whether it is across the business or within departments, so that employees can find and share the information they need to do their jobs effectively.

Successfully implementing such a solution, however, requires the right tools and processes—so how can you get started?

Read on to discover 10 things you should consider ensuring you get it right the first time.

1. Establish Your Goals and Objectives

Before you kickoff knowledge creation, it is important to define a process establishing the parameters for your initiative. This might require you to identify and document the business problems that need resolution and the drivers that justify the implementation of knowledge management.

Knowledge management can help with many business initiatives like, ticket deflection, improving self-services, enhancing customer experience, employee on-boarding, taking advantage of AI, and many more.

The best way to start is by writing a list of short-term and long-term goals. This might seem like an obvious first point, but without understanding what you want to achieve with a new knowledge management tool, the implementation can be challenging.

2. Develop a Change Management Strategy

Successfully implementing a new knowledge management solution requires changes within your organization’s norms. Employees will have to adapt the way they capture and share knowledge, and in some instances, individuals might even resist a new knowledge-driven culture.

For this reason, it is essential to reach out to employees at all levels across the different departments who will encourage knowledge sharing behaviors and provide valuable feedback to the implementation team.

Read more: 7 Tips to Encourage Knowledge Sharing in Your Organization

3. Determine Your Process to Establish a Foundation

Your process planning should be finalized prior to actually implementing. Organizations who do not take the time to adequately define their knowledge management process are unlikely to meet their defined objectives. Having a strong understanding of how knowledge is created, categorized, and shared within your organization will yield the best possible results.

4. Involve Leadership

From the beginning, it is best that leadership have a visible role in your knowledge management initiative. Your leadership team should be involved with your goals and objectives and most importantly be active on the platform. Active participation from the leadership team will demonstrate to the entire organization how important this knowledge initiative is and will be a direct reflection of how seriously employees will take this change.

5. Assess Your Current State

After you have established your goals and objectives, developed a change management strategy, established a foundational process, and involved leadership, you can now assess the current state of knowledge management within your organization.

A typical knowledge management assessment should have an overview of the current state, the gaps between the current and desired states, and the recommendations for closing “said” gaps. 

It is important that you not “boil the ocean” when implementing a knowledge management system. It’s about curating the right knowledge that will have a strategic impact on solving the defined business problem and having the best solution for making it available to the target users.

6. Establish Your Core Capabilities

Obviously, this depends on each organization but below are some capabilities that all companies should consider:

  1. The ease of capturing knowledge
  2. Syndication of knowledge for easy access
  3. Available feedback mechanisms
  4. Performance measurement and relevancy reviews
  5. Added intelligence

For a more in-depth look at these capabilities, check out this blog article.

7. Build an Implementation Roadmap

With the current-state assessment and a firm grasp on the core capabilities you are striving for, you can start building the implementation roadmap for your knowledge management solution. Make sure you reconfirm leadership’s support as well as funding to implement and maintain the new knowledge management tool.

The roadmap should illustrate the phase and scope of the project including key milestones. A good roadmap will demonstrate early wins so you can bolster support for future moving parts. Your milestones should focus on business outcomes, “what are you trying to accomplish with the knowledge?”.  

8. Implement

You know what your objectives are, you have established a foundation and involved leadership. You know what the gaps are and have a roadmap to tell you how to address them.

You are ready to implement!

Just be sure to recognize your short-term wins as you advance through your roadmap. Without that, it is easy to lose momentum and support from leadership as well as employees or users of the new tool.

9. Assess Effectiveness

How will you know your knowledge management system is working? You will need to determine a way to measure your effectiveness and compare anticipated results. Generally, you should have a “before” picture of your environment to compare to the “after implementation” picture to see how performance or efficiencies have improved. Remember it takes time to see a return on your investment.

Also, keep in mind, that this is a chance to see what is working and what is not. You can then take the necessary steps to further bridge the gaps between your current state and your vision of the future.

10. Make Continuous Improvements

Knowledge management is a continuous journey, and making it part of the culture in your organization is essential.  You should continually be improving your new knowledge management system with additions and enhancements. This really reiterates consideration #6 with knowing what AI potential is out there.

Integrating advanced technologies, such as chatbots or virtual agents, with knowledge management can raise the level of self-service support in your organization. For example, Through he use of intelligent search, these technologies can deliver contextualized answers and guided support to help your users solve issues on their own.

Getting Started with your Knowledge Management System

Knowledge management takes focus and commitment as with any initiative. Organizations that have made an investment in knowledge management realize significant ROI when planned and executed against a business plan.

Learn more about how knowledge management can transform your self-service in this complementary eBook, The Ultimate Guide for Getting Knowledge Management Right for Self Service.

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Alexandria Fitzhugh

Alexandria Fitzhugh has experience with ITSM, ITOM & ITAM, with a focus on building relationships with mid-market to enterprise-level organizations to help improve their ITIL alignment. Outside of work, she loves spending time with family and her dog, and traveling to new places.