Knowledge management skill is the ability to collect, organize, store, and then share the information assets of an enterprise in a manner such that they can be used effectively for the benefit of the organization.
Therefore, the two critical steps are clearly the ‘gathering’ and ‘dissemination’ of information assets, which can be anything explicit such as company documents and databases, or tacit such as people skills. All these efforts are aimed at enabling the effective use of all these intellectual assets so that they can play their role in the success of the organization and make it competitive.
Why is knowledge management important
Knowledge is believed to have power because it, indeed, controls one’s access to opportunities and advancement. Effective knowledge management skills have become a dominant force behind the competitiveness of any organization as well as professionals working for it. Following are some benefits that make knowledge management so important:
- Saves time and money. If knowledge is effectively managed, organizations and the teams working within them will save a lot of time and money. Knowledge management prevents them from reinventing the wheel by making all required information easily accessible such that no more money and time is wasted for doing something that has already been done, even if by someone else.
- Reduces the response time. Whether it is a customer need, employee need, or an industry need that you are going to respond to, the process will be a lot quicker if you have a better access to knowledge. Knowledge management skill is what enables you to better organize and timely locate all relevant information as well as expertise required to address a particular issue at hand.
How to improve knowledge management skills
Knowing its importance, following are some measures you can take to bring about improvement in your knowledge management skills and their application within an organization:
- Establish a strong culture where knowledge management is adopted and supported. Organizations and professionals should put strong emphasis on building a culture such that the value as well as role of knowledge in day-to-day business operation and important decision-making is realized. One of the best ways to do this is to adopt the practice of rewarding learning, experimentation, scrutiny, and most of all, innovation. Efforts must be made to make the personnel recognize effective creation, transfer, as well as use of knowledge as an important asset.
- Create as many opportunities for knowledge transfer as possible. Some of the effective ways of creating such opportunities might be setting up informal gatherings to enable information exchange between team members or the development of practice communities for employees to find and share information by working together. Whichever is the preferred method, transfer of important knowledge must be insured as it is one of the major components of knowledge management. Even if an organization relies on the knowledge of consultants, the transfer of that knowledge to internal employees must be ensured so that inconvenience can be avoided when such consultants finish their work and leave.
- Ensure adequate and appropriate use of information technology. Information technology has played a vital role in the growing trend as well as importance of knowledge management. It is one of the most practical aspects of knowledge management skills. It has facilitated knowledge management in many ways e.g. by enabling the creation of a virtual meeting place where communication, collaboration, and information exchange has become a lot easier. Electronic databases and documents are another example of how knowledge management is facilitated.