Thanks to the Knowledge Management process, companies can now filter and condense data streamlined through the internet in order to reorganize more efficiently their internal infrastructure, measure their market potential with that of other competitors, and improve customer relations. Customer/client satisfaction and allegiance are primary components to successful business growth, and major companies now seek the advice and consulting expertise of professional entities like Expertsystem, in order to create a perfect knowledge management process that utilizes the full potential of KM applications to help even small businesses achieve prosperity in an increasingly competitive and saturated marketplace. The boost it gives to small competitors is due to the elimination of excessive or duplicated data ‘noise’ through efficient filter mechanisms, and to the leveraging of the learning process that allows all company departments to continuously innovate thanks to the recycling and propagation of shared ideas, and thereby develop new tactics by following shifts in the main KM indicators: level of customer preference/satisfaction, level of competition, and the quality level of the company’s internal and organizational infrastructure.
There are five essential steps that a company must take in order to unleash the full benefits of KM. The first centres on a good balance between increasing revenue and reducing cost, and KM helps by providing a clear measuring system on an ongoing basis that grants perfect transparency to observe market fluctuations and level of customer satisfaction, and informs you on when to take the appropriate steps regarding the implementation of a specific product or service.
The second step involves encouraging executive sponsorship from any employee in the department that is responsible for developing or implementing a specific key business driver. Giving the task to just any IT person will not do, because the ultimate aim of KM is to encourage the sharing of expertise, collaboration, free exchange of ideas and contribution between all company levels.
Thirdly, the data analytics process must be redefined and information must be streamlined through the data filter of KM, which ensures that superfluous data or duplications of business ideas or models is eliminated and all the information that is gathered is focused on the key business driver of interest.
Providing rewards and recognition is a fourth element that will ensure employee satisfaction and promote their work-drive. The reward need not be in the form of monetary compensation, but it can be visibly expressed in the form of scorecards and award ceremonies that will also be helpful in the individual strive for excellence, thus boosting group-effort and employee collaboration.
Lastly, phased implementation is the best way to introduce employees to the KM process. Plunging a company headlong into KM implementation will not benefit it in the long run unless the workforce has learned how to use it, so separating the learning process into separate phases or steps is the key to successful growth for a company.
Ultimately, one of the most significant aspects of KM is that it improves personal collaboration across all company levels—improving staff efficiency—and extending to the customers, clients, investors and external partners. Most importantly, it promotes a cross-disciplinary approach to communication with other significant industrial entities, professional associations, academic sources and private experts. This may be similar in many ways to ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) technology, which merges the functions of all company departments into a central database which can be accessed by all the levels in the organizational hierarchy (thus promoting the free exchange and inter-change of ideas that allow for prompt response in real time), except for the fact that KM applications encourage direct communication. In other words, it is not just a piece of software, and its success depends more on the inter-personal factor between all the people recruited into the organization than on the implementation of a business software.
KM provides all company levels with the opportunity to optimize their learning process and continuously improve their skills and level of performance. The only down-side to their global implementation is the refusal of many 500 fortune companies to engage in the KM process in order to protect vital company and market information, instead of recognizing the enormous benefit that they also can gain from a higher level of transparency and through the use of KM.