The right information helps your company innovate and stand apart from the competition. It’ll improve customer experience, boost the morale of your employees, and make you more efficient than you ever thought possible.

On the flip side, leaving things to chance or not investing in ways to gather the best information will mean your company is always several steps behind the competition.

In this article, we’ll define knowledge management and show you what to look for in the perfect knowledge management tool, so you always have the upper hand.

What is knowledge management?

Knowledge management (KM) is the process of acquiring, generating, distributing, and using knowledge effectively. You’ll see variations of this definition, but they all mean the same thing.

An organization might use knowledge management to be more productive, cost-efficient, or make more informed decisions. An individual might use it for the exact same reasons.

Almost everything in your organization relies on knowledge. Some common examples include:

  • Developing internal processes or standard operating procedures (SOPs), which are step-by-step pieces of information that join together to create instructions on how your business carries out routine operations. You could think of a sales team’s pipeline as an example.
  • Engaging with customers which requires you to have information they want or need for customer support, and which in turn requires you to gather information to produce better products or services.
  • Creating content or marketing of any kind which requires sending informative and attention-grabbing messages out into the world full of useful information.

Those are just a few examples where having the best knowledge at your disposal comes in handy.

What are the 3 types of knowledge?

There are many types of knowledge, but the major 3 are:

  • Tacit knowledge: often referred to as tribal knowledge, which is what’s inside people’s heads and difficult to explain to others.

It’s largely experience-based knowledge and is easier to do than explain in a knowledge base article, for example. Socializing and mentoring is the best way to transfer tacit knowledge.

  • Implicit knowledge: similar to tacit knowledge, but rather than being difficult to explain, it merely hasn’t been documented yet.

It’s often the exact processes or “know-how” type of knowledge. It’s there, but no one has taken the time to write it out.

  • Explicit knowledge: often called codified knowledge, is any knowledge that’s found in documents or databases.

It’s easily captured, transferred, and shared with others. Memos, standard operating procedures (SOPs), videos, and content libraries are common examples.

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What is a knowledge management tool?

A knowledge management tool streamlines the process of capturing, organizing, and spreading knowledge throughout your organization. It may also be referred to as a knowledge management solution or knowledge base software.

Knowledge management flywheel showing generation, capture, sharing, and assessment

(Image Source)

It automates much of what was tedious or manual before and streamlines your ability to organize and retrieve information when you need it quickly.

The types of information a knowledge management system captures range from:

  • Documents such as product FAQs, company handbooks, customer data, product release notes, and more.
  • Team data such as competitor briefs, strategic objectives, R&D projects, product development timelines.
  • Organizational data such as brand information, organizational charts, office seating charts, and procurement workflows.
  • Organizational news such as NPS scores, promotion updates, company media mentions, and IT updates.

The list is seemingly endless because the right knowledge management tool can capture and store just about any file type.

What are the benefits of knowledge management?

Knowledge management is vital to the success of any organization. Here are just a few of the dozens of benefits the right knowledge management software can bring your team:

  • Increased knowledge retention because you have a central source of knowledge that grows with time. A cloud-based knowledge management system makes this even easier to access. 
  • Quicker decision-making since all your data is at your fingertips at all times.
  • Greater productivity since your team isn’t actively transferring knowledge manually via email and other means.
  • Continual business growth because as you capture and organize the information, you’re creating a commonwealth of ideas that your team can turn into action.
  • Greater team alignment since everyone always has the most up-to-date documents and information available.
  • Maximized security because all your intellectual property and sensitive information sit behind encryption.

All of the above help create a smoother experience for your customers since your employees remain engaged, connected, and prepared to tackle whatever comes their way.

But which tools make your KM dreams a reality?

7 knowledge management tools for 2021

In 2021, many companies are returning from fully remote work to some sort of hybrid work model. This raises the need to have information readily available at home, the office, or when working remotely.

Since effective knowledge management comes down to having the right tools for the job, we’ve gathered a list of the top 7 tools to look for in knowledge management software.

1. Document management

Having the right documents at the right time can make or break a business.

Things move so fast now you can’t afford to have outdated document versions or waste time emailing things back and forth. You need 24/7 instant, user-friendly access.

monday.com uploading files to board

Improving file management is often as easy as having the right software for the job.

monday.com, as an example, acts as a fully functional document management solution. It’s cloud-based, so you can access your documents from anywhere, anytime, and on any device.

You can annotate documents, attach them to tasks, or restrict access and only share them when needed.

2. Internal knowledge base

Many call it a “wiki” these days, but at its core, it’s a knowledge base tool that acts as a knowledge hub or help center for your employees.

It’s often jam-packed with internal articles that outline all your procedures and processes. It’ll have links to important shared documents and other relevant wiki articles. You’ll find SOPs for repetitive tasks, email templates, company letters and memos, and lots of new hire training documentation.

monday.com makes creating and learning management systems like an internal knowledge base simple by creating an organizational wiki board. You can use sub-items and files columns to store all your data and checklists and easily search the entire thing when you need to retrieve something.

3. Content management

Content is king for many organizations, and the only way to create consistently great content is by gathering the best possible information available.

Content management boils down to creating content, formatting it, storing it, and publishing it.

Managing content in monday.com is a form of knowledge management

A big part of that process is gathering information and disseminating it. Breaking it down into simple terms so it’s easily understood by all parties is challenging.

monday Docs gives you the power of content creation inside your knowledge management system. That saves you time and energy since you don’t have to use third-party software and transfer your work into monday.com.

monday.com also has several content management templates that make it easy to track content tasks, status, and other relevant information.

4. Automation

Automation is the buzzword of the decade, and for good reason. It’s transforming the way companies hire, do business, and perform knowledge management.

It’s especially useful considering 57% of employees are feeling burnout at work, and 70% of them would love the automation of routine tasks.

Artificial intelligence (AI) powered and automation-packed tools are already changing the game in so many ways, and knowledge management is no different.

Here’s an area where monday.com shines as a knowledge management software. You can set predefined combinations of triggers and actions that take some of the heavy lifting off your plate.

Image of an automation recipe in monday.com

The software can automatically notify someone when a task’s status changes, so you don’t have to worry about writing an email or calling a meeting. You can also assign checklists or task owners when certain tasks are created.

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5. Inventory management

Inventory management might sound like the opposite of traditional knowledge assets, but knowledge of your company’s inventory and procurement schedules is invaluable.

Knowing which suppliers are experiencing shortages, shipping delays, or having procurement issues has downstream effects on your operations. The same is true for tracking your own inventory.

Balancing incoming materials and outgoing products effectively means lower storage costs, less inventory turnover or spoilage, and happier customers. All of which equals higher profits.

Tracking inventory management on monday.com is easy with the right board. You can create custom columns to track details like product styles, stock, and more.

You can also set up automations that tell you when stock values fall below a certain threshold and even send email notifications to your purchasing staff.

6. Collaboration tools

Effective knowledge management isn’t about hoarding as much knowledge as possible for a select few—it’s getting the word out to your team, your customers, your vendors, and your stakeholders. It’s about doing something with the knowledge you worked so hard to acquire.

monday.com collaboration features

monday.com’s foundation rests on collaboration. Not only does it make it easy to share knowledge via documents, but you can tag your team members to get or give real-time updates on certain tasks.

It has a robust notification system as well, so you’re always in the know even when away from the office. It even integrates with video conferencing and instant messaging tools to add yet another layer of collaboration.

7. Project management

There’s a strong chance your team spends a fair amount of time their day working reactively to the demands of your customers.

After all, maintaining each customer relationship is imperative to a thriving business. But what about growing your business? What about proactively working on initiatives that will provide greater value for your customers and stakeholders?

That’s where project management comes into play. 

It needs a purpose, and creating and driving your own internal projects is a major part of that. 

Yet again, monday.com provides the solution. Between its task management features and timeline tracking features, you have everything you need to ensure your projects have full visibility and a greater chance of success.

As you can see, knowledge management software is multi-faceted and can provide a whole host of solutions if you choose the right provider.

How a Work OS like monday.com outperforms a traditional knowledge solution

Recent research found that 55% of organizations believe that organizational silos are the biggest barrier to effective knowledge management.

If your team isn’t working together, then your organization isn’t working efficiently, which means you’re wasting resources and missing out on opportunities.

Former CEO of Hewlett-Packard (HP), Lewis Platt, famously said, “If HP knew what HP knows, we would be 3x more productive.”

The solution is simple. You need knowledge management software. But more than that, you need a complete Work OS that’ll fulfill your knowledge management needs and much more.

monday.com provides all the tools you need to keep knowledge management running smoothly plus:

  • 200+ templates that’ll kickstart every department’s knowledge management needs.
  • 8+ data visualizations so everyone has the perfect data view to get their job done.
  • Beautiful dashboards that tie all your data together and provide real-time updates to your entire team.
  • Dozens and dozens of software integrations that extend your organization’s reach, including Zapier, which connects you to 3,000+ apps.

From analytics and reporting to 24/7 support, monday.com has you covered from every angle.

Expanding your horizons

Knowledge management software is far more than just storing and retrieving knowledge. It’s about taking action and squeezing all you can out of your hard work.

monday.com sets the stage for doing more with the insights and information your organization collects and creates.

Ready to see the difference for yourself? Check out our Digital Asset Management template today. It may be the best thing you do all week.

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