ISO Knowledge Management (KM) Standard sets requirements and provides guidelines for building an effective Knowledge Management System.
Regardless of any size and business type, the ISO 30401:2018 Standard is applicable to any organization.
The Knowledge Management Standard focuses on the capture, management, and delivery of knowledge through a robust knowledge management system.
With respect to the organization’s business activity, operational requirements and business goals. They can craft a Knowledge Management Strategy that works best for their goals.
Importance of Knowledge Management
Knowledge Management is aimed at producing valuable results by applying the concepts of Knowledge sharing and collaboration in organizations.
The organizational work culture will be transformed into more open and eliminate hierarchy and complicated approval processes.
Knowledge Management increases the access to knowledge and leading to create new business opportunities. It also enhances the professional development of employees through learning practices.
Geographically dispersed large organizations will benefit greatly by introducing a central repository for information storage and sharing.
Knowledge is an intangible asset for the organization and mostly it lies hidden with the experts of your organization. As they leave the company, this knowledge is lost.
KM is an important asset for the organization, KM allows informed decision making and enhances efficiency in the business process and increases transparency among teams.
KM enhances competitive advantage by turning the organization into a thought leader.
Hence, Knowledge must be retained and shared with other employees through a robust system.
Knowledge sharing, in turn, enhances the employee retention rates too, as employee recognition and a culture of learning will keep employees motivated.
Knowledge to be Captured by the Organization
Organizational knowledge exists in many formats. Within the organization, there are two types of knowledge that can be defined.
1. Tacit Knowledge
Tacit Knowledge is a basic ‘know-how’ on a certain topic that exists in an organization. It is mostly experience-based and it is hard to document this type of knowledge.
Tacit Knowledge is mostly action-oriented and depends on individual talent. E.g. Coding ideas for certain complex projects.
2. Explicit Knowledge
Explicit Knowledge is something to do with the operational aspects of the general working of tasks. It is often documented and can be explained easily to others.
E.g. Standard Operating Procedures, employee skill training, Call Centre Training, Assembly line worker training, etc.
Explicit Knowledge has to be made available to the right audience set at the right time.
Organizations must ensure there is a robust system in place to store, protect, and process the information. Also, it requires constant monitoring to ensure accurate information is being stored and shared.
All outdated information in the system has to be removed periodically.
To create an efficient Knowledge Management System, there must be a strategy in place.
A knowledge management strategy is a plan of action that outlines how your organization will manage company information, data, and knowledge to improve your productivity and efficiencies.
How to Set up a Robust KM System
The four-step process of setting up a robust KM System.
1. Need Analysis
- Analyze and assess the knowledge needs and objectives of users and departments across the enterprise
- Meet the employees to build complete user profiles for the KM team
- Prepare recommendations based on best practices of KM
2. Technology Evaluation
- Perform a current state analysis of your existing IT Systems and list out options for new tools to consider
- Find out the best vendors and assistance to develop a knowledge management portal with easy access, resource integration, and analytics
3. Workflow and Process Analysis
- Identify opportunities to streamline processes and enhance workflow
- Facilitate an effective search engine, content management system, employee management, etc.
4. Training and Support
- To promote knowledge-sharing initiatives, conduct employee training
- Prepare the training and orientation materials by assessing the organizational needs and future business goals
Why is ISO 30401:2018 relevant in today’s world?
ISO KM Standard is voluntary and is for the overall benefit of the organization. The standard does not give you a set of regulations or instructions.
Instead, it defines basic fundamentals and must-haves for your Knowledge Management System to comply with the ISO standard.
The standards define the requirements for a KM system, and how these requirements have to meet is left for the organization’s choice.
The intent of ISO 30401:2018 is to set sound knowledge management principles and requirements as guidance.
Every organization based on their goals and existing business practices can access the KM requirements and work around a management system that is compliant with ISO 30401 requirements.
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