The most basic benefit of a knowledge management system is helping organizations collect, store, and access information. Beyond the cataloging of important information, there are many other reasons businesses choose to adopt knowledge management systems to address their business objectives:
- Improve new employee onboarding and training by providing a central repository of knowledge.
- Provide answers to employees with questions, especially those in customer-facing roles.
- Create cross-organizational collaboration to ensure teams are on the same page with everything from strategy to policy, to tactical questions.
- Provide an overall productivity boost as employees no longer have to dig through email, chat threads, and old company wikis.
There are several types of knowledge management systems – they break-down into 3 major categories:
- Internal knowledge management: the most common example, these systems create an environment for internal employees to share information, documents, knowledge, and company information.
- External knowledge management: allows companies to create a community for their customers to share tips, ask questions, and distribute other types of information.
- A hybrid system: combines both types of knowledge management systems.
Use cases for knowledge management systems
There are many use cases for knowledge management systems, from developer teams to product management, to customer service. Here are some examples to help you brainstorm how knowledge management can help your organization:
- Engineering: Software engineering teams are used to Q&A formats; a knowledge management systems can help reduce distractions.
- DevOps and SRE teams: These teams can leverage knowledge management systems to break down organizational silos and release products faster.
- Data Scientists: This user group traditionally use wikis but are migrating to knowledge management systems to hold information in a central repository that the entire company can access and self-serve.
- Customer Support: Reduce time to resolution and per-ticket cost for these teams by capturing support knowledge and providing quick access to information.
- Product Management: Fuel product innovation by enabling cross-team collaboration among product management teams.
Between benefits and use cases, you can see why many companies are adopting a knowledge management system. While there are many types, leveraging software for an internal knowledge repository is a great step in preserving the talent of your organization.
Food for thought … Knowledge Reuse
Many companies have tried to calculate the ROI of knowledge management, knowledge sharing, and collaboration platforms. Their first instinct is to look at time and cost savings from these types of systems. But we discovered that many clients don’t have the tools or metrics to track increased productivity, decreased cycle times, acceleration in time to market, or protection of institutional knowledge. They don’t have the systems in place to measure these data points or they were relying on flawed elements such as the number of commits or bugs caught.
So, we flipped it – what is the input required to track increased productivity, decreased cycle times, accelerated time to market, and protected institutional knowledge? The answer is knowledge reuse.
Knowledge reuse involves reusing what others have already learned, created, and proven. It minimizes risk by making standardized information available to everyone. Knowledge reuse also increases effectiveness by reducing repetitive work and decreasing interruptions. All of this impacts productivity and efficiency and has protecting institutional knowledge at the core.
Our knowledge reuse metric measures the people who come to Stack Overflow for Teams—but don’t ask a question. We can find out what they needed, or, in other words, when they “reused” existing information from the knowledge base.
This is a critical metric for companies because knowledge reuse scales over time – the more information available, the more it is reused. It’s a more tangible outcome than looking at time or cost savings.
Like us, you know that people cost is already a sunk cost. And not all time in an 8-hour day returns equal value to a company.
The real need is to increase the focus, or the flow time of your employees:
- The more flow time, the more “aha” moments are possible.
- Greater realization corresponds to more problems or challenges solved.
- And more problems or challenges solved increases innovation, productivity, and revenue.
The end result is more knowledge that can be reused by others in the organization, with the cycle beginning again. Reusing knowledge is the only scalable way to improve technical skills and increase problem-solving capabilities to drive innovation and bridge communication gaps.
Knowledge reuse leads to a natural outcome of increased productivity, decreased cycle times, accelerated time to market, and protected institutional knowledge – everything that Stack Overflow for Teams is built for.
Learn more about Stack Overflow for Teams, click here.