Critical Knowledge: Its Importance to KM Initiatives and Overall Business Strategy

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Critical Knowledge: Its Importance to KM Initiatives and Overall Business StrategyKnowledge Management (KM) is an important process that helps identify and build critical knowledge within an organization. Because an organization is comprised of a number of departments and individual members, knowledge within an organization is created, found and shared among diverse areas. This is why efficiently delivering the right knowledge to the right audience requires the facilitation of an effective knowledge management system (KMS).

Today, KM is becoming more relevant and valuable as organizations continue to face challenges due to rapidly changing socio-economic and technology landscapes. Effective KM initiatives allow businesses to work smarter and improve employee competence while reducing the risks and costs of losing critical knowledge when an employee leaves a company. Furthermore, an effective KMS allows companies to manage and properly utilize different types of knowledge, and improve productivity and satisfaction among employees by promoting continuous learning and development within an organization.

Critical Knowledge is Essential for Strengthening Business Strategies

Recognizing the types of knowledge generated within an organization is a helpful step in getting KM initiatives well on their way. Concentrating on critical knowledge is crucial to identifying knowledge areas that need the most attention or improvement. According to Jose Carlos Favero of The Knowledge Management Company, critical knowledge is essential to strengthening business strategies as it oftentimes includes valuable information such as those gathered from the analysis of key strategies such as new product development, market segments, balanced scorecards and other relevant information needed by the company to grow and move forward.

How to Recognize Critical Knowledge

Critical knowledge can be determined by considering two important factors: importance and urgency.

Important knowledge can often be decided by initiating a dialogue with key persons of the organization. It is important to ask 1) what needs to be done to deliver a specific strategy, 2) what information or knowledge is needed to achieve success and 3) what steps one must take to attain and protect that knowledge. Typically, the answer to the third question pertains to critical knowledge needed to drive a successful KM strategy.

On the other hand, urgent knowledge is knowledge that requires immediate attention from KM. In his blog, Knoco Stories, Nick Milton shares four scenarios where knowledge may require urgent attention in an organization. These scenarios are the following:

  1. When the knowledge involved is important, but there is absence or lack of that specific knowledge within the company.
  2. When knowledge has already been created and developed, yet cannot be accessed (not shared, is siloed or poorly managed).
  3. When extremely valuable information is at the risk of being lost, an example of which is when a key employee resigns or retires from a company.
  4. When critical knowledge is being handled by an outsourcing provider or partner, and they do not have the proper KM system to manage and protect said knowledge.

How these knowledge concerns are addressed can greatly affect the success of a company’s business strategy particularly those that rely greatly on knowledge creation and sharing. Being aware of critical knowledge makes it easier to improve current strategies and establish key business unit facilitators who will take part in the development of effective strategic measures while advocating a knowledge-driven culture within the organization.

It is important to remember that a sound KM program will not just affect one aspect of a company. Knowledge is vital to any organization’s overall growth, and so it must be utilized, developed, stored and shared properly to guarantee the long-term progress, viability and profitability of any business.

ADEC Innovations Knowledge Management is a key player in learning and development and the educational services industry. Dial +63 2 7750632 or visit www.km.adec-innovations.com to learn about how our knowledge management solutions can be utilized to improve business performance and employee proficiency and productivity.