In order to achieve a competitive advantage, companies look for solutions to access, share and make use of internal and external knowledge. Being able to think in terms of flow and exchange, knowledge networks and data management constitutes a major benefit for companies.
This article is an abstract of a White Paper from our partners at Questel presenting best practices for sourcing and managing information helping to capitalize on an enterprise’s collective intelligence.
“Today companies are aware that knowledge is a resource that needs to be strategically managed. It develops their intellectual capital, increases their value and leads to competitive advantage.”
Knowledge is power
Accessing scientific expertise and available technological capacities before the competition does, guarantees company sustainability. Rapidly developing areas such as client relations and innovation, company growth, the anticipation of future developments require new operating modes in the sharing of knowledge and experiences.
More than before, reacting with greater agility, effectively accessing knowledge and capitalizing on that knowledge are key elements that significantly influence the success of a company. To succeed in these tasks, firms need a methodical approach and complementary tools that allow them to capture, structure and spread information.
Any organization that is looking to improve its innovation power, is bound to discuss efficient knowledge management. People want fast access to knowledge they understand and they can use. From this perspective we are talking about seconds, not minutes before they get irritated.
If we don’t find a useful, understandable, and over all channels, consistent answer to our question, we disengage. For organizations this means losing momentum and losing internal support and it is highly inefficient. To make better use of this potential, organizations have to be prepared to answer questions and capture employee feedback consistently and instantly in a new knowledge environment.
“Knowledge management is the enabler for large-scale competence building and an important prerequisite for successful innovation.”
As such, knowledge management is clearly more than just managing documents or having multiple, information locations where information is shared. It has a specific employee added value that leads to long term organizational and competitive value creation: continuous improvement! Merging multiple knowledge bases without having a knowledge organization in place is doomed to be a short-lived initiative as it will not increase user, nor organizational value.
In order to really create value with knowledge management a few things need to be taken into account:
- Vision, mission objectives and internal support
- Cross-departmental processes and breaking silos
- Roles and responsibilities in the knowledge organization
- Actionable language of the user
- Ask for feedback and act on it
- Findability and structure
- Technology and implementation in one consistent knowledge base
- Learning and continuous improvement
Benefits of accessing internal expertise
A central knowledge base, one source for all the knowledge with a clear definition of roles and responsibilities helps an organization to reach goals and KPI’s. Rework is no longer necessary and previous experiences can more easily be re-used for future projects.
Time is saved on searching and acquiring the correct validated knowledge. The knowledge is structured in such a way that it can be used straight away. This has a direct impact on the productivity of the organization.
“The business case around knowledge management is worth pure gold.”
Apart from of the increase in employee productivity and satisfaction, a well-organized knowledge management also leads to a decrease in training time. Thanks to well-structured knowledge management, training efforts become less important. New employees will be more productive at a quicker rate.
Tapping into external knowledge
Being informed on the research ecosystem as well as the scientific and technological environment surrounding an innovative company is becoming increasingly complex and costly.
Companies are forced to face a new reality:
- Proliferation in the volume of scientific data
- Mushrooming of different sources of information, disseminated on a global scale
- Emergence of highly dynamic new countries and operators
- Interconnection of many different scientific fields
- Shortening of product life cycles
In response to this fast pace environment, integrating an effective and unique search-tool which gives access to reliable and precise information will facilitate this external sourcing. Consequently, developing an innovation network contributes building companies’ knowledge-capital.
“Research breakthroughs demand a range of intellectual and scientific skills that far exceed the capabilities of any single organization”
What a management solution should offer
In order to map-out internal knowledge and efficiently access external global expertise, companies are now equipping themselves with sourcing tools. These tools facilitate their work by helping to avoid fastidious data compilation processes, allowing them to take more informed decisions, access updated data and save time.
Implementing a sourcing tool, it is not something to consider lightly. To help you with this task we will highlight some of the technical pre-requisites you should focus on the following questions:
- Does my sourcing tool provide me with relevant data?
- Is my sourcing tool equipped with advanced technology?
- Does my sourcing tool provide me with intelligent data analysis?
- Does my sourcing tool allow for an internal collaborative workflow?
- Is the sourcing tool expansive?
- Can you manage access and sharing rights?
How to implement knowledge sharing
In order to get the best results and organizational profit now and especially in the future paying close attention to a professional set up of the knowledge organization is key.
These action points offer some guidance to start with:
- Share a vision
- Scope your vision
- Define the structure
- Re-write the content
- Build the knowledge base
- Test the knowledge base
- Implement the knowledge organization
- Enter and test the knowledge
- Train your workforce and roll out
- Cut over your internal support organization
You want to know how a company fosters employee innovation through connecting internal knowledge and solutions? Follow the best practice of Bayer AG!