The use of knowledge management in the company

The enormous amounts of data in a company - whether in the heads of the employees or on the operating computers - make it necessary to actively manage knowledge.

This not only increases the competence of the employees, important resources are saved and a faster service results, which has a positive influence on the customer satisfaction of the company.
In our new blog article, you can find out what types of knowledge there are, what exactly is behind knowledge management and what benefits result from it.

Definition of knowledge management

Knowledge management refers to all strategic as well as operational activities and management tasks of a company that optimize the handling of knowledge.
Knowledge management is thus the methodical influencing of a company's knowledge base, whereby it is understood to include all data and information, all knowledge and all skills that a corporation has - or should have - to cope with its diverse tasks.
In the course of today's knowledge- and innovation-oriented communication age, the available knowledge capital - in addition to capital, company equipment, raw materials and employees - is increasingly becoming the decisive production factor.

As a result, many companies have introduced the role of Chief Information Officer, who is responsible for ensuring that:

  • Employees are provided with important information
  • Training courses are designed for employees so that they can optimally deal with the knowledge provided
  • Information processing is aligned with the overall strategy of the company and value-adding processes are enabled

Knowledge management strategies

Analogous to these two poles, a distinction can be made between two fundamental strategies of knowledge management:
The so-called people-to-document strategy intends to make knowledge generally available at central locations. The question here is how easily accessible databases can be created, with the help of which employees can obtain information quickly and comprehensively.
In contrast, the people-to-people strategy aims at the interpersonal transfer of knowledge. So how can human knowledge carriers be profitably used as multipliers in the company?
Whereas standard content is particularly suitable for the people-to-document strategy because it is less complex and usually has a long validity period, more complex expert knowledge is suitable for the people-to-people strategy. This changes more frequently and can be broken down individually by a human instructor. In addition, the human instructor is immediately available for queries and can add knowledge as quickly as possible if a need for adaptation arises.

The foundation of knowledge management

Knowledge experience counts as the foundation of knowledge management. Three components are important here:

  • Organizational memory: This refers to the actual acquisition of knowledge, the processing of knowledge, and the use of knowledge.
  • Organizational Knowledge: This comprises the present-related knowledge of an organization, which is often stored in a knowledge database.
  • Organizational learning: This refers to the reproduction of organizational knowledge, for example in the form of an internal enterprise wiki.

Tasks of knowledge management

Probst, Raub and Romhardt define eight important building blocks of knowledge management:

They give knowledge management a specific direction: what exactly is it intended to achieve, what business goals can it support, and what capabilities should it build on?

The aim of this is to create transparency about a company's internal and external knowledge environment. This refers to relevant data, resources and capabilities.

New knowledge can be acquired both internally and externally by recruiting experts or acquiring particularly innovative companies.

Knowledge development is intended to ensure that knowledge can flourish within the company. In this context, further training is linked to workshops, training courses or e-learning offerings, for example, and aims to give the company's own organization a market or competitive advantage.

The guiding question here is: Who should know or be able to do what and to what extent? The aim is to achieve a cross-departmental transfer of knowledge.

Knowledge should always contribute to optimizing one's own value creation, so how can knowledge utilization increase productive output and reduce resource consumption, for example?

Knowledge must be backed up (also for several generations of employees) and updated if necessary. Protection against data loss or external attacks also play an important role.

Tracking is used to evaluate the quality and degree of goal achievement of knowledge management. Ideally, these (new) findings are incorporated into the knowledge objectives module.

The difference between knowledge management and information management

Information and knowledge are clearly dependent on each other; after all, it is only through information that new knowledge can be acquired and learned. In this context, both information and knowledge management are essential for the existence and success of a company, but there are major differences between the two strategies: If a company has a functioning information management system, it is ensured that all employees have access to the available, recordable information, whereby it is primarily information that is available in the form of facts. Therefore, information management deals with the question "Know What"?
Knowledge management, on the other hand, goes beyond providing the necessary documents, as it creates a platform that allows users to contact and collaborate with the right tools and people. For example, if there are problems with input in an Exel spreadsheet created by another employee, it must be possible to see who created the spreadsheet and on what basis without additional effort. While information management provides e.g. contact data and formulas for the calculation, a structured knowledge management additionally provides the necessary action knowledge to apply the stored formulas independently and correctly. Alternatively, the person currently responsible can be contacted directly. In this way, knowledge management addresses the question "Know Why?" and ensures that employees can implement knowledge.

Knowledge Management

Implicit vs. explicit knowledge

Accordingly, the objectives of practical knowledge management clearly exceed the mere supply of information, as employees are expected to develop qualities and skills while learning in order to be able to use them in a value-adding manner.

Two forms of knowledge can be distinguished: tacit and explicit knowledge.

Implicit knowledge cannot be put into a codifiable form because it defies linguistic description and exists only as skills and experience in the minds of employees and is therefore difficult to grasp - even though it accounts for the far greater share of corporate knowledge. Explicit knowledge, on the other hand, can be easily described and recorded in the form of written work instructions, reports or drawings.

A simple example: The process of inflating a bicycle tire can be illustrated in documentation or instructions, but there is no documentation for learning to ride a bicycle, since this knowledge only comes about through one's own experience.

The task of successful knowledge management is therefore to transform tacit knowledge into explicit, available knowledge.

What are the benefits of knowledge management?

Through successful knowledge management, you benefit from a wide range of advantages:

Promotion of collective knowledge

Good knowledge management ensures that individual knowledge is located, documented and distributed - after all, there is a lot of expert knowledge slumbering in your employees that could significantly benefit your company if it were available to everyone.

Knowledge transfer between departments and locations

In addition to the introduction of a central knowledge platform, growing companies are faced with the task of coordinating the increasing number of employees, departments and locations. If a central knowledge management system that serves as a basis for all participants is missing, there is a risk that the company will develop its own processes and procedures. This can lead to major misunderstandings and problems, for example by softening standard-compliant processes or, in the worst case, inadvertently forgetting them, thus jeopardizing the workflow.
Therefore, uniform knowledge management is indispensable so that all stakeholders can access it and compare their own processes with the company standard, so that both autonomy and compliance with important processes are guaranteed throughout the company at the same time. Finally, all employees, departments and locations can share their knowledge, learn from each other and contribute to the company's success.

Increased training

If knowledge is organized centrally and presented in an appealing way, your employees will feel invited to familiarize themselves with new areas of knowledge on their own responsibility. In this way, they further qualify themselves and your company gains access to new competencies, which gives you a competitive advantage.

Security despite employee changes

In terms of turnover rates, without successful knowledge management, you risk losing important expert knowledge when employees change, which can delay processes.
With the right knowledge management tools, on the other hand, the loss is mitigated because the employees' knowledge has been stored and can be retrieved if necessary, so that important information and processes are not lost and are easier for successors to reproduce. In this way, potential downtime costs in the company can be minimized.

Organize knowledge independent of location

A decisive advantage is that necessary information is available to employees more quickly and can be accessed at any time and from anywhere with digital knowledge management. This proves particularly helpful for companies that have different locations or offer home offices. Regardless of whether they are long-time managers or new employees, from the office or home office - all employees are given secure, location-independent access to company-specific knowledge. And all this without having to search for information in a cumbersome way.

Increase efficiency

Whether it's job-specific issues such as company procedures, product questions or simply how to operate the new computer - employees are constantly spending a lot of time on time-consuming searches for information, whether it's in their own documents, from colleagues or on the Internet. As a result, efficiency decreases.
Structured knowledge management not only minimizes the time and effort spent on research, but also prevents the risk of incorrect information by enabling employees to find all the answers they need quickly and in an appropriate form through a simple search in the corporate knowledge platform. Above all, this avoids duplication of effort, as once answers have been found, they are documented in the same place for all to see, instead of different employees having to search for specific solutions in parallel. This ensures greater security and a more efficient working day.

Accelerate innovation

Employees are confronted with an ever-increasing number of applications, conditions and processes that are constantly changing, even within an industry. It is important that these are implemented in the company as quickly as possible - however, this is a major challenge without knowledge management, as quite a few briefings and meetings with employees are often necessary to inform them of the changes.
With a central knowledge source, such problems occur much less frequently, since knowledge can be easily "updated" within the system and processes can be presented in an orderly fashion. Much more, employees always keep track of spontaneous changes and do not risk implementing the process in the outdated way. Thus, as a company, you ensure not only knowledge acquisition, but also knowledge development.

Facilitate employee onboarding

Without effective knowledge management, new employees are completely dependent on their colleagues, which usually puts a lot of strain on them. In this context, familiarization turns out to be particularly difficult if the new position could not be filled early on and the new worker has to acquire all the required knowledge independently and thus laboriously.
Knowledge management offers immense added value here, as the new employees can access a central database and, for example, read up on all the important information via a targeted search or receive training by means of explanatory videos. Colleagues no longer have to explain all the basics, but can refer to relevant content and thus save resources.
Knowledge is therefore retained for successors and both the quality and speed of onboarding are increased. At the same time, uncertainty decreases after onboarding, which leads to increased employee enablement.

Knowledge management with datango

Do you want to store all your company knowledge in a resource-friendly way and ensure ideal knowledge distribution and knowledge development? Use the datango knowledge management tools and rely on digital knowledge management in your company.

datango offers three different tools:

Authoring tool and software for reliable documentation

Our datango creator offers you an optimal authoring and documentation solution that allows you to create individual e-learning content in seconds and with ease, and adapt it to different requirements. This means you can rely on professional documentation that trains your employees reliably and effectively. The creator is compatible with global applications (MS Office) and ERP systems (SAP, Oracle), industry-specific applications (hospital information systems such as ORBIT or construction and site software such as RIB and 123erfasst) as well as in-house developments.

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Content management, author cooperation and author coordination

The datango collaborator is a multi-user driven, database-driven working environment that supports both the development of your learning content and its delivery cycle. This central platform provides digital learning content and serves as an interface between authors, training instructors and knowledge managers, coordinating and organizing their collaboration. This keeps all training content up-to-date, clear and efficient.
The collaborator includes the datango academy, our basic Learning Management System component, with which you make content available to learners on a mandatory basis, e.g. in the form of courses. Predefined learning paths allow you to control the learning experience of your employees and unlock advanced content after completion of previous chapters. In combination with datango journeys, you create a varied journey through your learning worlds.

Another component of the collaborator is the datango analyzer, our reporting tool for employee performance and weak point analysis. On the one hand, it provides you with anonymous or learner-related evaluations of the courses, but on the other hand, you can also check learning progress and learning behavior.
Collect (anonymized) data and results on learning efficiency and incorporate the findings into your knowledge management.

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Live help

datango live! supports your employees directly in the respective work processes and automatically recognizes the application used. The operation is intuitive and always offers the possibility to switch between the real process and demo / exercise / training mode. With our context-sensitive live help, you ensure that the training materials you create are actually understood and used by your employees by providing the required know-how in the "moment-of-need" and supporting the users individually and with exactly the desired intensity in their daily work.

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Improve your knowledge management with datango!

Knowledge is a key success factor and one of the most valuable resources of companies, and it is essential to handle this raw material with care. As a company, it is therefore important to create the right structures and conditions to successfully convert tacit knowledge into explicit knowledge and to enable the transfer between employees and different departments. datango is the software that can ideally support you in this process and offer you a variety of benefits on many levels through successful knowledge management: from a better working atmosphere to more customer satisfaction to optimized internal as well as external communication. datango: The use of knowledge management in the company.

With datango, you improve both the flexibility and security of your company in the face of internal and external challenges and make a significant contribution to achieving your corporate goals.
We will advise you extensively on the options available to you. Feel free to contact us!