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How do knowledge management systems work?

Advantages of an effective knowledge management system

What is a knowledge management system

A knowledge management system (KMS) is a tool companies use to help them organize company knowledge to be easily accessible. 

Companies have a wealth of organizational knowledge known as a knowledge base. A knowledge base is a company’s collective knowledge that people can access to find answers to common questions, solutions, and resources.

Companies can use knowledge management systems as part of their overall knowledge management strategy to house their internal and external knowledge bases in one centralized hub.

There are two types of knowledge bases: external and internal knowledge bases. An internal knowledge base comprises a company’s private or confidential information and serves only the company’s team members. In contrast, an external knowledge base includes information that customers, clients, stakeholders, or the general public can access.

Organizations can use knowledge management systems to store, organize and share knowledge in various formats, such as:

  • Frequently asked questions (FAQs)

  • Metrics

  • Case studies

  • Onboarding materials

  • Business processes and policies

  • Tutorials

  • Templates

  • Workflows

  • Resources

  • Documents

How do knowledge management systems work?

Functionally, a knowledge management system will automate the knowledge management process, retrieving an organization’s knowledge from different sources across the company and storing them in one centralized place.

A KMS lets you easily scan through large volumes of knowledge, thanks to helpful features like a powerful search engine, customized segmentation, and maintenance automation.

There are three major types of knowledge management systems: enterprise-wide knowledge management systems, knowledge work systems, and intelligent systems.

Enterprise-wide knowledge management systems: Such systems support firmwide efforts to collect, store, distribute and apply knowledge. Often these systems include group collaboration tools, portals to simplify information access, search tools, and tools for classifying information based on a taxonomy appropriate for the organization.

Knowledge work systems (KWS): These systems support the creation of new knowledge and its integration into an organization. The system runs on workstations customized to knowledge workers’ unique operations. For example, KWS for financial professionals provides access to external databases and the ability to quickly analyze massive amounts of financial data.

Intelligent systems: Systems that use artificial intelligence can capture and preserve tacit knowledge that is too complex to be analyzed by humans. Intelligent systems can learn without programming and decipher the information. These systems are primarily used in science, medicine, and business to recognize patterns, evaluate variables, and locate useful information in massive amounts of data.

Finding the best knowledge management solution for your company depends on your company size, budget, and needs.

Alternative Knowledge management tools and knowledge management software include:

  • Document management systems

  • Content management systems

  • Databases

  • Data warehouses

  • Intranets

  • Wikis

Advantages of an effective knowledge management system

Elevated customer experience: Building a knowledge management system ensures a more proactive approach to addressing common customer questions and concerns. Users are empowered to self-serve, quickly finding answers and relevant information in real-time without reaching out for help. This approach improves overall customer satisfaction and presents a competitive advantage in the market.

Reduced customer support costs: A robust knowledge management system lowers the number of internal support tickets your support team has to handle. They enable companies to scale down their customer support teams and allow support agents to focus on more complex matters and initiatives.

Enhanced company performance: Knowledge management systems make knowledge sharing easier. They remove silos between departments, inform accurate decision-making and stimulate collaboration and innovation among team members.

Improved data security: A goodKnowledge management system enables organizations to customize permission control, viewership control, and the level of document security. As a result, information is shared only in the correct channels or with selected individuals.

Streamlined problem-solving: Often, teams use numerous apps, software, and databases across the same company to store organizational knowledge. Scattered information results in fragmented and hard-to-find information. Having one source of truth streamlines the problem-solving process giving teams easy access to the right knowledge when needed.

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