Knowledge sharing made easyon 7 June 2016Posted by Jacqui Hogan
Have you ever had the experience of not being able to get the information you need because it was locked up in a filing cabinet in another office? Or the knowledge disappeared with Fred, when he left the company? Or it’s on a system in another country, where the office is now closed? If so, you will already know the value of having the right information available at the right time.
Whether you are trying to share knowledge across your project team, your department or your whole organisation, accessing the right information at the right time is essential.
Data or knowledge?
We often talk about data, information and knowledge as if they were interchangeable. In order to understand how to share them, it is important to understand the difference.
- Data is essentially facts and figures. It defines what it is.
- Knowledge is what we know. Our knowledge is unique to each of us. Knowledge identifies how data is connected to other data, our expectations about how important and relevant it is to other data and ourselves. Knowledge directs which data to use, the context and how we can use that data in meaningful ways.
- Information is a convenient vehicle to share and move data and knowledge around, and allows people to share them.
The cloud makes it possible
Before the Cloud, knowledge used to sit in people’s heads, in physical filing cabinets, virtual file stores and individual databases. These knowledge silos made it difficult to share even basic knowledge. Many of us tried to use emails to share information creating bandwidth bottlenecks as files were transferred back and forth, causing confusion and slowing down important work.
With advent of the Cloud, we now have the technology to extract this information and share it all in one place. Everyone who needs to access it can do so, easily and safely. Cloud technology helps you create a learning partnership between employees for sharing their knowledge for the benefit of themselves and your organisation.
Of course while data is relatively easy to capture, knowledge often is not. For this reason, it is important to capture conversations as well as storing documents to form your knowledge base. The more knowledge you can capture as information about the activities your team participates in, the greater value your knowledge base will become.
Having easy to use tools encourage social collaboration. Social collaboration encourages participation and contribution from your team, helping you capture knowledge as well as data. Your knowledge sharing tool should allow sharing of news items, common calendars and feedback e.g. likes and comments.
Bottling your knowledge and experience in a shared knowledge base will keep it within your organization, reducing the risk of knowledge walking out the door when people leave or retire.
Create your own knowledge ecosystem
Based on a framework of structured information sharing, people are encouraged to create new shareable knowledge through adding comments and feedback. When all your information is stored in one central place, the knowledge it describes becomes accessible to everyone within a controlled environment.
A knowledge ecosystem enables the dynamic creation of new information, through connections between existing pieces of knowledge. This makes collaboration, change responsiveness and decision making easier.
Knowledge where you want it, when you want it
How much time do employees waste trying to find up to date, latest greatest insights on a particular topic?
While it may seem easy just to phone up Fred when you want to know something, what happens when Fred is unavailable, or has left or retired? If Fred uses a tool to share his thoughts and comments in a knowledge sharing tool in his day-to-day working, that knowledge will be there for others to benefit from too.
Of course, with the greater variety of information, you need an effective means of searching it. A good knowledge sharing tool will have a search tool that is easy to use and effective in finding the right knowledge across all information stored.
Training and mentoring are essential in addressing individual knowledge gaps too. A common knowledge base will help give them meaning and purpose. It will also capture that additional knowledge for wider sharing, thus increasing the positive impact.
Using a structured, but flexible, easy to use central knowledge base means knowledge is available exactly when it is needed most.
When everyone uses the same knowledge sharing tool, the knowledge that makes your organization successful and unique is where it should be: permanently within your organization.
Glasscubes is a cost effective, easy to use and secure collaboration tool for businesses. Find out more about how it could help you take control of your knowledge +44 (0)20 3274 2310.
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