In every human endeavor, knowledge is the key to the success. The ability to harness knowledge effectively is what differentiates leaders from laggards – especially in business. But how can organizations harness knowledge to their advantage?
Technology can help. Today more and more businesses are investing in technology that promises to revolutionize the way they manage information, and transform them into highly effective digital organizations.
In celebration of World IP Day, we’ll explore how innovative technology is enabling businesses to digitize their knowledge management systems, and find new value as digital organizations.
Knowledge management: Digitization of information and knowledge
Knowledge management is the process of gathering, securing, and implementing knowledge or information.
In the past, this was done manually, but manual processes were marred with errors, inefficiencies and leakages. Information was scattered throughout the organization, hidden in silos, inaccessible or sitting idle with individuals unable to visualize its potential for the rest of the organization. Information was also unstructured. There was no standardization so data and knowledge was maintained differently for different individuals to suit their needs only.
And of course, key information was easily compromised. It was forgotten, misplaced, lost when an employee left the organization or when a contract expired with a partner or a vendor. Sometimes it was withheld, preventing businesses from leveraging it for market advantage. Traditional knowledge management systems encouraged inconsistencies, silos, and mishandling of knowledge, which in turn negatively impacted business and operations.
Now compare this to today’s tech-driven knowledge management systems, which allow for an efficient flow of data and instructions. This means better governance, control, and visibility for decision makers, making overall business much more secure, agile and rewarding.
As organizations go digital, knowledge must too
While adopting cutting-edge technology to simplify and drive business efficiencies remains the primary interest of digital transformation, organizations are beginning to focus on digitizing their information as well. Digitized knowledge management ensures business success by making knowledge available to stakeholders at the click of a button – or even better, automatically, as soon as the system identifies a need.
Digitization also enables robust decision making. With sufficient, well-structured data, a business can make more informed decisions and establish a better name for itself in the marketplace. Sounder decisions also increase the chances of achieving organizational goals, immediately and in the long-run, leading to more sustained profitability.
Today, there are so many digital platforms that contain information about our businesses. Voice and smart search are becoming the new normal, and automated information management across digital or traditional channels is more vital than ever to the success of any business. Omni-channel knowledge management, driven by technology, provides better collaboration and a far more efficient exchange of information than traditional, manual approaches.
Visualizing knowledge as a tangible business asset
Digitized knowledge management is a powerful tool because it helps organizations see information as a tangible business asset rather than an intangible byproduct. This perspective helps organizations identify their strongest assets – what they know best – and leverage them to meet business needs more effectively and efficiently.
Consider the hostile exit of a partner or a vendor. With traditional knowledge management systems, the business would likely struggle to get control of the situation. Finding a new partner can be a nightmare, especially with all the information lost with the termination of the partnership. But a digital organization would have all the essential information digitized, standardized, and stored in an accessible format, so that even in such an undesirable moment the organization could act quickly and resolve the situation. Having industry knowledge readily available would also allow the organization to continuously assess new vendors and partners, and likely find a better deal or a stronger partnership than the one they lost.
Structured knowledge: Your highway to becoming truly digital
Organizations have been digitizing information for decades – scanning documents and storing them in shared folders. This saves time and money, but it doesn’t help organizations monetize that information. This unstructured information, stored in multiple formats and locations, is difficult to access and leverage without significant human intervention.
To be of any value, industry knowledge needs to highlight new opportunities and insights, enhance customer experience and optimize operations. This is no longer a luxury but existential tool in a highly competitive and digital word. Before businesses can take advantage of strategic opportunities, knowledge has to be managed effectively.
Knowledge related to any specific skill, task, process, methodology, or approach, needs to be captured in a digital format that is easy to accesses and engage. This describes structured knowledge, which enables businesses to manipulate relevant information leading to innovative analytics, new opportunities for improvement, and transformational solutions. For example, organizations can easily access and learn from past mistakes and successes, or use structured knowledge data to train intelligent systems to further enhance business processes. With structured knowledge, enterprises can focus on developing the precise competencies and skills needed and discourage obsolete information form creeping back into the system.
Digital knowledge management continuously pushes individuals to innovate and drives organizational culture changes to adapt to evolving business demands. Other business benefits of a digitized knowledge management system include:
- Enhanced protection of intellectual capital
- Knowledge-driven culture for a more agile business
- Dissolved information silos, ensuring immediate access to the most relevant knowledge
- Faster response time by managing issues and troubleshooting through digital/omni-channels and automation
- Greater control of the business, even in emergencies (i.e. erring or noncompliant partners, vendors, or employees)
- Customers empowered to resolve queries on their own with self-help services
- Secure collaboration techniques and increased accountability
- Eliminate redundancies
Knowledge management platforms: The way forward
For a business to be “future-proof” it needs a secure, technologically agnostic, user-friendly platform in place to manage all critical business information.
One such platform is Wipro Harmony, a SaaS-based platform for digitizing, managing and leveraging process knowledge to accelerate digital transformation journeys for businesses, captives or global shared services. Already, the platform has supported many multinational organizations along their digital journeys, helping them plan and implement strategies, simplify, standardize and harmonize processes across business or shared services centers, often across the globe. Harmony allows businesses to identify automation opportunities across business units thereby shortening their automation and digital journeys. In doing so, organizations develop golden processes that become key drivers of digital transformation for their businesses.
For more information on how knowledge management can help your business go digital, contact us.