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What Businesses Are Getting Wrong About Knowledge Management

If knowledge truly is power, how come so many businesses and organizations aren’t harnessing it? A recent study by Deloitte found that 75% of organizations identified that preserving knowledge across their workforces is important or very important to their success over the next 12-18 months, yet only a dismal 9% felt ready to do just that. 

So, why the gap? We’d argue it exists because of two realities: a lack of understanding of how to optimize knowledge, and the appropriate tools to do it. Digging deeper into this first point, 55% of respondents only define knowledge management as capturing and disseminating information. Far fewer, 36%, tie knowledge to action to drive value, although 82% recognize that they need to do a better job of this. In fact, according to business and IT executives, 55% of enterprise data goes unused.  

Put more simply, what those numbers mean is that many organizations leave a lot on the table when it comes to tapping into their greatest resource. Knowledge is many things—information, people, ideas, experience and anecdotes—and can culminate into a formidable force when people have access to them. When they do, employees can act fast and be better at their jobs, brands can create stronger communities and organizations can increase engagement with members. Unfortunately, many leaders view knowledge as a stagnant asset to simply catalogue instead. 

This brings us to our second reality that the reason why so many organizations struggle with thinking of knowledge beyond curation is that they employ tools that aren’t equipped with features to do more than that. Technology, while advanced, can make or break information exchange across an organization. Looking back on the Deloitte report, 36% of respondents cited a lack of adequate infrastructure to make knowledge management effective and 55% noted they were hampered by organizational silos. Meaning? Information is trapped, static and poorly organized.  

How does an organization then activate its vast trove of knowledge? It takes an understanding that information is personal. Giving users the ability to unlock the data, ideas or people they need, in the way they like to receive information and when, unlocks knowledge in a new, exciting way. Perhaps a worker wants push notifications when new product features are available so they are at the ready when making calls, or they want to connect with a colleague that sold a service to a similar client for background beyond the latest sales tips or perhaps they prefer video tutorials to static PDFs—by turning knowledge management into an experience, versus a housekeeping item, it is instantly more powerful.

What organizations need, then, is technology that takes information exchange beyond the confines of siloed servers and libraries, and instead makes it current, automated, personalized and social. It’s about less complexity, and more activity.

At CatalystXL, we understand that for knowledge sharing to be effective, it needs to be fluid. We built our mobile platform on the idea that information exchange should be intuitive and always-on, so whoever is on the other end of the stream, can get the insights they need when, where or however they need them. 

When applied correctly, technology can enhance knowledge transfer and put it, quite literally, in the palm of your hand. Curious how you can make knowledge work better for your brand?