With the correct technology accompanying the appropriate processes and organisational culture, a commercial Knowledge Management system provides a quick and easy way to achieve the project goals from the outset and beyond.
Often, in the long term this costs a lot less, particularly when taking into account the cost to do nothing, build costs and the time and effort to maintain a bespoke system.
With no build, testing and system refinement/enhancement costs, the implementation of a 3rd party tool will provide security, a future proofed investment, with the ability to influence future product direction.
And without the overhead of creating and enhancing a knowledge management system.
Within any Knowledge Management project there are a range of components that you will need to take into consideration. Before we consider these elements, identifying the aim of the project is the first and most important, not only for buy-in from key Stakeholders but also to the end users of the Knowledge Management software;
1. What is your Knowledge Management project trying to achieve?
Whilst this may change as you learn about Knowledge Management benefits and as you seek additional stakeholder engagement, you will need to have a clear aim or vision of what your project is trying to achieve so this can be clearly articulated to each stakeholder.
First of all, think about:
- How do your knowledge assets currently fail the business?
- What information issues are you are struggling with?
- Why is it difficult to find information at the point of need?
- Can you search using your own words?
- Where is your information stored?
- What content and repositories make up your information estate?
- Are your existing documents automatically tagged?
- Does your information estate evolve through usage?
Is machine learning taking place across your information estate to promote documents used?
It would also be good to understand:
– What metrics do you need to prove your ROI – brainstorming with key stakeholders can gain some different perspectives from various business units and key knowledge consumers.
– What metrics do you currently measure or would like to measure?
2. Seek Buy-in through requirements gathering and Stakeholder expectations
Bringing in key stakeholders to gather requirements helps to enhance buy-in of the project further downstream. Caution should be applied though as this does need to be handled carefully. It is great if all stakeholders can provide input on how a Knowledge Management system will help them, however just because a feature is requested, this needs to be balanced with the value that will be derived from that element. Hence the need for strong project leadership.
Any Knowledge Management project needs to have strong leadership – decisions that can be made quickly, with an overall understanding of the impact of why decisions have been made to either leave document sets in a certain repository, or if a migration exercise needs to take place. Without strong leadership and a strong communication plan, projects will fail. If not managed effectively scope creep can also be an issue. The nature of knowledge management projects means that key stakeholders should be involved, however projects should be managed and the key aims and objectives should be clearly communicated, regardless of when stakeholders join the team.
3. Understand and Create the Value that your Knowledge Management software will deliver
A matrix often helps to establish where the savings and service improvements within your organisation will be gained; for an internal Business Case the following Knowledge Management Value Quadrant helps to split out the benefits across two key areas the employee and organisation, split into four sections; Staff interactions and Employee Effectiveness. Organisational Benefits include; Content Quality and Governance and Operational.