As we are slowly returning to our offices, now is a good time to revisit the way we manage our knowledge and information management. If we’ve learned anything during WFH, we’ve noted we need to integrate IM and KM back into our life, now we are back in the office. KM is a discipline that improves the productivity of organizations by leveraging technology, processes, and organizational culture to better share, apply, create, capture, and store knowledge. Poorly run KM practices duplicate efforts resulting in versioning issues, compromise quality by following less-than-best practices, waste time searching for existing resources, and jeopardize business opportunities when personnel fail to share knowledge. Good KM improves the creation and flow of useful information for decision making, fosters smart organizations by making searching, finding, and learning routine, and encourages a culture of trust that fosters innovation and productivity. Basic practices in knowledge management have been around for a while–the trick is to implement them into the redefined way we work:
Start by keeping KM 101 in mind. Align the clarified ways of working ( e.g. splitting time between WFH and office) with your stated goals and strategies. How can you deliver appropriately to your clients? How have your information management shifts (adopted during COVID) continue to support your back-to-normal? For example, your staff is working from home with Laserfiche WebAccess. Now that you are back in the office are you sure you want to switch back to the thick client?
Formalize, assign stakeholders, and fund a project that supports the missive, “contextual information matters just as much as data.” The challenge is to demonstrate that knowledge is absolutely an asset and that having it readily available makes the work more productive and the end results of that work more valuable to the customers and users. Managing that knowledge well is good for the bottom line. Managing it poorly can hurt the bottom line in a number of ways. If you haven’t implemented ECM for your unstructured data, please consider Laserfiche.
Automate the capture and categorization with the judicious and intentional use of technology. One method to consider is to use Laserfiche workflow to capture vital data from your documents. This data can then be used to launch a process, such as asking for approval to pay an invoice. In general, this concept can be used for many of your documents. Another example is if a given business process has specific documents or information moving from Human Resources to Finance following a specific process, capture and use the metadata of the document as well as information from the process itself to build a comprehensive narrative about the entire operation or business.
Start small and find repeatable processes with predictable information flows and outcomes. When you choose an automation tool, make sure it is scalable so you can systematize it across your entire organization. In addition, look to standardize the user’s experience as well as the process. Implement technology such as the automation of a few steps or even the entire workflow as it leaves your department.
Engage staff with surveys or roundtables- Any initiative will fail if you don’t get buy-in from the right people. And people love to be asked their opinions. So, before you start, survey the team or hold a series of meetings to take input. Even if you only use 5% of the knowledge gleaned, it will have been worth the effort. Staff will be much more likely to participate and speak well of projects if they think their input was used.