The 5 Commandments of Launching a Knowledge Management Solution

Bloomfire Admin
3 mins
Medieval philosopher reading the 5 commandments of launching a knowledge management system

Follow the five commandments of launching a knowledge management solution, and your team will be collaborating like never before, saving time, and increasing productivity and ROI.

1. Thou shalt not purchase a KMS without doing the proper research.

Not all knowledge management solutions are created equal, and not all possess the right features to suit the technology needs of your organization. Purchasing a KMS that is not right for your organization may doom its success before you even launch. To avoid disaster, look for these features (among others) when shopping around:

  • Video transcription
  • Q&A
  • Reporting and analytics
  • Full mobile access
  • Integration with solutions you use today

2. Thou shalt define goals and objectives.

As every great leader should, define your motivation and objective for purchasing a KMS, and communicate those goals clearly to your team members. Do you think Noah just stood around twiddling his thumbs because he wasn’t given clear instructions or an end goal for building the arc? No.

Change in the workplace can be extremely difficult and disruptive to the daily routines of your team members, so when establishing goals, consider what would be most helpful to them. Do your sales reps spend all day in Salesforce? Let them know that the new KMS integrates with Salesforce to make everyday tasks more convenient for them. Is customer insights tired of distributing the same data over and over again? Explain to them that one of the goals for this change is to ensure they only have to post their findings once, and everyone who should have access to it will.

3. Honor thy executives by securing executive buy-in.

Depending on your company’s culture and where its executives place sharing/capturing institutional knowledge on their list of priorities, this could be an easy sell or a very challenging one. Regardless, the most effective way to win over your executives and owners is with numbers. Show them the return they will see on their investment if they buy into the solution you propose.

If an organization lacks a knowledge management solution, its employees spend an average of 20% of their time searching for the information they need to do their jobs. This statistic works to your advantage. Showing executives these kinds of numbers and tying them to increased revenue is a good start, as revenue is often the surest way to a business owner or executive’s approval. However, remember that ROI is not measured solely in profits. There are soft benefits as well, such as connectivity in the workplace, collaboration, and open cross-departmental communication. Address both when selling your idea to executive leadership.

4. Thou shalt not stop at executive buy-in.

Securing executive buy-in is crucial to successfully launching a knowledge management system. We can’t stress this enough. But many organizations make the mistake of launching a KMS chosen at the top without input from the employees who will actually be contributing to and interacting with the solution on a daily basis. Make this mistake, and your shiny new knowledge management solution will be resting in a graveyard of underutilized software in no time. RIP.

A tried and true method to avoid this tragedy is to hold a soft launch. Invite members of various departments who you know to be enthusiastic about improving their workplace to test drive the new knowledge management solution. Ask for their input; what did they like? What could be improved? What results would they like to see from the KMS?

Don’t just ask for their input; listen to it! Your employees are the ones who will live in the KMS, so be sure that it suits their needs and truly increases collaboration and productivity.

5. Thou shalt launch with hands-on activities for thy users.

Kicking off your knowledge management solution with fun contests and activities is a great way to drive engagement from the start and set the tone for the future. Do something special to create buzz around launch. Whether it’s a pizza party at the office, new company t-shirts, or a lunch out with your team, welcome the new solution with something everyone will enjoy.

Any quality knowledge management solution will include an analytics feature that allows you to track and measure your employees engagement with the content. By rewarding those who are most engaged and contributing the most content a week or two after the launch, you will encourage others to do the same.

Follow the five commandments of launching a knowledge management solution, and we are confident your organization will reap the benefits of increased collaboration and productivity! Added bonus, you will avoid knowledge management purgatory, where content is piled up to the ceilings but is unsearchable and unorganized. Happy launching!

November 14, 2016

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