What Does Knowledge Management System (KMS) Mean?
A knowledge management system (KMS) is a centralized repository that’s used to organize, store and share organizational knowledge with employees and customers.
Capturing information in a knowledge management system ensures that employees are able to easily access the information they need in real time -- even if the knowledge holder has changed jobs or has left the organization entirely. In customer service, a knowledge management system allows marketers and customer support teams to quickly create content for customer self-service portals, FAQ web pages and chatbot responses.
Knowledge management system (KMS) software is designed to leverage an organization's pooled knowledge (knowledge base) and improve operational efficiencies. Key components of a KMS support an organization’s ability to:
- Foster an institutional culture that rewards knowledge sharing and reuse.
- Encourage employees to query the KMS for just-in-time learning.
- Provide answers to commonly asked questions for customer self-service initiatives.
Essentially, a KMS provides employees with an organized repository that makes it easy to access institutional information quickly and create FAQ web pages and program chatbot responses with minimal effort. Companies that encourage their employees to document their knowledge in a knowledge management system can reduce the expense of employee training and significantly reduce the overhead costs associated with real-time customer support.
Techopedia Explains Knowledge Management System (KMS)
Dedicated knowledge management software applications allow companies to achieve business objectives faster by fostering learning for employees and customers at an organizational level. Companies that use a knowledge management system for customer self-service can improve customer experience (CXM), reduce average handling times and lower field visit costs.
Benefits of a Knowledge Management System
Organizations can use knowledge management systems internally to take advantage of employee institutional knowledge and improve efficiency. Implementing a dedicated knowledge management system helps employees move towards business goals by making it easy for them to look up answers or find step-by-step instructions for how to do something.
One of the most important benefits of deploying a KMS is cost reduction.
- Employees can lose valuable time searching for relevant information or finding the right person when institutional knowledge is not readily available. A knowledge management system can bring down employee training costs and allow employees to get up to speed quickly and independently when given new tasks. When information is shared across the entire organization, it also becomes easier for employees to work collaboratively.
- Using a KMS to create a knowledge base for customer self-service will help customers answer questions for themselves and potentially resolve problems independently. When a self-service approach to customer experience management is supplemented by FAQs and chatbot interactions, customers can resolve problems faster – which in turn, will improve metrics for first contact resolutions.
Implementing a knowledge management system can provide organizations with a competitive advantage by helping employees to quickly and independently learn something new that supports company goals. While the initial setup of knowledge management tools may be uncomfortable, it's critical to remind employees about the benefits of more independence and less screen time once everything is in place.
Despite efforts by corporations to encourage knowledge-sharing, many employees suppress what they know, and this behavior is referred to as knowledge hoarding or knowledge hiding. When knowledge hoarding becomes part of the organizational culture, employees may feel reluctant to share their experiences, behave as if they don't know something, promise to share information but never do so, or claim they can't share because the knowledge they possess is too complicated to share.
Employee acceptability of knowledge management is often dependent on the knowledge management technologies an organization decides to use. Employee acceptance of these technologies plummets if the tools are outdated and are too complex, cumbersome or time-consuming to use.
Encouraging User Adoption
In the enterprise, a large part of knowledge management is about making it easy for employees to learn how to perform a specific task independently or quickly look up which employees have a specific type of knowledge.
Search functionality plays a very important role in every knowledge management system and the accuracy of the information needs to be validated on a continual basis. When internal search for information returns outdated or irrelevant results, it can be difficult for employees or customers to find the knowledge they need.
The information in a KMS should be managed and updated like an encyclopedia to ensure the information it contains remains accurate and relevant. Today, many KMS software applications include artificial intelligence (AI) components to automate reminders when information should be verified or updated.
Internally, motivation can a big challenge corporations face when it comes to knowledge management. Unfortunately, employees' willingness to share information determines the value of a knowledge management system. That's why it's so important for company leaders to explain the business goals of using a KMS and enforce compliance of its use. Setting expectations and evaluating whether or not employees have reached them is crucial. It cannot be underestimated how important it is for managers to help employees understand why an organization’s knowledge management is critical.
Future of Knowledge Management
Rapid advances in the application of technology and the developing global business environment have increased the amount of knowledge now available to firms and the speed with which they can innovate. Proper use of knowledge is especially necessary in today's age of cloud sprawl and distributed workflows.
Failure to reuse knowledge and repeating the same mistakes as others can waste time, money and business reputation. Therefore, it is crucial to implement a robust knowledge management strategy and use appropriate knowledge management systems to optimize business performance. To effectively classify useful information and help employees and customers fetch it instantly when needed is the need of the hour.