KMWorld 2024 Is Nov. 18-21 in Washington, DC. Register now for Super Early Bird Savings!

Master These Five KM Practices for Success

Article Featured Image

Knowledge management encourages the application of a structured process to help information and knowledge flow to the right people at the right time so they can act more efficiently and effectively to find, understand, share, and use knowledge to create value. For KM to provide value, knowledge should be easily accessible to the people and systems that need it and delivered in a format they can absorb and apply. Some common reasons organizations pursue KM are to reduce the duplication of efforts, provide improved solutions, lessen risk, avoid knowledge loss, reduce time to competency, and save time and reduce frustration for employees.

The people side of the equation, often forgotten, should always be considered and managed along with facets such as strategy, process, content, technology, and measurement. In addition, KM should aim to prioritize and support the most critical business needs rather than try to focus on everything.

Through decades of KM research, APQC has identified five practices that reliably help organizations to develop, implement, and evolve their KM strategies:

1. Leverage KM for business value.
2. Understand how knowledge flows.
3. Identify key roles and skill sets needed for KM.
4. Implement relevant KM approaches and capabilities.
5. Focus on a scalable, holistic KM strategy.

This article draws from APQC’s research to explore each of these practices in more detail.

Leverage KM for business value

Organizations with mature KM programs typically have a clearly defined strategic direction for their KM capabilities. Showing strategic alignment will improve the value of each KM capability and enhance the benefit of KM to the business. APQC has found that leading organizations tend to carry out five important practices to ensure KM is aligned with what matters most to the business:

1. Start small with experiments focused on a specific business need or challenge. KM is a journey, not a project or a tool. Leading organizations begin by selecting a specific business need and designing KM solutions that address that need.

2. Keep KM’s mission, vision, and work aligned with business goals and strategy. Aligning a proven KM capability (for example, communities of practice or robust content management) to an immediate business need is a great starting point for setting a strategic direction for KM. Rapidly maturing KM programs build on this by continuing to scale capabilities that support business objectives, developing and then aligning the KM vision to the business strategy, and ultimately establishing a KM brand that reflects that vision.

3. Regularly assess and benchmark the KM program. KM strategy is not a “one and done” endeavor. Leading organizations continually assess their KM maturity using APQC’s Knowledge Management Capability Assessment Tool and benchmark against peers and third-party frameworks to identify critical needs, measure progress against goals, and validate investments. Organizations that regularly assess and benchmark their KM programs not only improve their level of KM maturity but also outperform their peers when it comes to aligning KM to business strategy and expanding KM to new domains across time.

4. Remain flexible and adapt to changes in the business or from external disruption. APQC has found that mature KM programs re-evaluate and refresh their priorities regularly so that the KM strategy evolves in line with the business. This ability to adjust enables KM to continue providing value in moments of disruption, whether it comes in the form of a new technology, rapid growth, supply chain outages, environmental factors, or something else.


KMWorld Covers
for qualified subscribers
Subscribe Now Current Issue Past Issues