5 Signs It’s Time to Upgrade Your Existing Knowledge Management Strategy

Madeline Jacobson
Madeline Jacobson
3 mins
stack of folders on desk suggest it's time to upgrade knowledge management strategy

What do fax machines, Rolodexes, and file cabinets all have in common? At one point, they were critical tools necessary for running a modern business—and, over time, companies replaced all of these items with more innovative and user-friendly solutions.

Even the most essential products and processes can eventually become obsolete and begin to strain your team’s productivity—and that includes your knowledge management strategy.

But how do you know it’s time for a knowledge management overhaul?

Here are five red flags, and what you can do about them:

No One Is Using Your Existing Knowledge Management Solution

When was the last time someone leveraged your company’s intranet—or even logged in? An effective knowledge management strategy relies on a usable platform that’s continually being reviewed, updated, and consulted. If the technology you depend on has become a ghost town, that may mean it’s no longer effective (and probably significantly impacting your strategy’s effectiveness).

What you can do: If you’ve noticed usage rates dipping, take time to investigate why. Is your platform too clunky to navigate? Does it lack crucial functionality, like a robust search engine or rich text editing? Knowing this information will help guide your mission to find the right upgrade.

It’s Challenging to Demonstrate Success to Senior Leadership

A great knowledge management strategy provides such undeniable value that senior stakeholders rarely question the investment—or, if they do, it’s easy to communicate its benefits by pointing to tangible outcomes, such as a decrease in average onboarding time or a reduction in work errors. But, if you constantly have to defend your strategy and budget, that probably means it’s time for an upgrade.

What you can do: Take some time to evaluate your strategy and identify what’s making it a tough sell. In addition to low usage, another indicator it’s time to replace your knowledge management technology is poor reporting. You should have access to a wealth of information about your platform to ensure you always know what to optimize and enhance. And if you have the right platform, senior leadership will have no trouble understanding the technology’s value (because they’ll be using it, too).

You Lose Tacit Knowledge Every Time Someone Leaves Your Company

We’ve all been there: the oracle of the company, the person everyone goes to with their most challenging customer concerns, turns in their notice. Suddenly, you’re freaking out—because you know once they walk out the door, so will years of valuable tacit knowledge your team needs.

If you’re losing crucial information every time a team member leaves your company or takes on a new role, then that’s a big sign your knowledge management strategy isn’t setting you up for success.

What you can do: Knowledge management technology should help you prevent knowledge loss by storing all that useful info in one easy-to-access location. And an effective knowledge engagement platform will not only store that data, but also ensure it’s searchable and digestible.

Employees Are Still Struggling While Working Remotely

The transition from in-office to remote amidst the COVID-19 pandemic hasn’t been seamless for everyone. In fact, for professionals accustomed to having subject matter experts nearby when they need help, it’s been downright brutal. Over the past several months, many organizations have overcome those obstacles. But, if your employees are still struggling, it’s likely a knowledge management issue.

What you can do: To do their best possible work, employees need to feel empowered to find answers on their own. When employees know all the information they need is a quick search away, they’ll feel more confident. Supporting them with a user-friendly solution will also help them get greater visibility into the knowledge of other teams and departments and stay aligned with company goals.

Furthermore, high-quality knowledge engagement technology will foster knowledge sharing, promote conversations around existing knowledge, and prevent remote employees from feeling isolated from the team.

You Can’t Find the Resources You Need When You Need Them

If you and your team are immediately filled with frustration every time you access your intranet or file management system—or you constantly have to recreate documents that have gone missing—that’s a pretty clear indicator that your current system isn’t working for you.

According to McKinsey & Company, the average knowledge worker spends about 20 percent of their day trying to track down information—and that’s not something your organization should settle for. If employees are spending almost a full day every week just trying to find the information they need to do their jobs, it’s time to update your knowledge management strategy.

What you can do: Not to sound like a broken record, but it all comes back to technology. 

Even if you’ve gathered and stored all the information your team needs, if they’re not able to quickly and easily locate that knowledge, it’s all for nothing. By investing in the right knowledge engagement platform, you can eliminate those headaches and promote better productivity.

An effective knowledge management strategy relies on two things: a culture of knowledge sharing and powerful, user-friendly technology—and you can’t support one without the other. By upgrading your knowledge management solution and committing to democratizing knowledge across the organization, you can ensure you’re set up for success.

October 28, 2020

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