There are plenty of reasons why a company or organization should employ some form of knowledge management. Aside from the high number of success stories attributed to businesses that added KM programs, there are the positive factors which it brings to the forefront. The fact of the matter is that there are literally hundreds of examples from around the world that perfectly demonstrate the effectiveness of KM, and this isn’t limited to any specific field like technology or IT. Businesses of all shapes and sizes have benefited from increased centralization of knowledge, be it in the retail industry or even the energy market.
At this point you’re probably wondering what knowledge management actually does for institutions, right? To get a clear idea about how truly beneficial KM can actually be, it might make more sense for someone to imagine what things would be like without it. For example, KM helps businesses to:
Make much better, more informed decisions (across the board)
Get the correct information / knowledge to the right people at the right time
Build a more efficient enterprise
Capitalize on shared knowledge
Create “hotbeds” for innovation
Promote examination and recycling of their available knowledge base
Virtually eliminate repetitive or disorganized behaviors
Avoid previously encountered mistakes
Once you’ve considered the aforementioned (let’s call them) “conveniences” or perks, the idea of trying to conduct operations without them seems somewhat outdated. Figuratively speaking, there are a ton of examples of how knowledge management has transformed certain businesses into efficient, profitable powerhouses.
First off, there are a number of oil companies which have fully embraced KM in recent years; among them are BP and Saudi Aramco. This is very telling because (in case you weren’t aware) the oil industry is the most profitable area of the most gainful sector in the world – the energy market. In this industry, the person who has the latest intelligence and information at their disposal stands to make significant gains in a relatively short period of time. The fact that more oil businesses are turning to KM is a clear signal that there is distinct value in it.
Similarly, the field of healthcare has also been quick to embrace knowledge management and is clearly benefiting from this move. 2 great examples of KM in healthcare are NSW health and HealthCanada; this also demonstrates the global spread of KM (from Australia to Canada). Knowledge management is particularly useful in the domain of healthcare and aside from being able to greatly improve administrative abilities it has significantly contributed in other ways which has either improved the lives of patients or saved them. In short, KM in healthcare is extremely powerful and should be considered a default addition these days.
Transportation is yet another area where KM is helping to improve operations and technological production. 3 great examples of this are the Israel Aircraft Industry, the Federal Transit Authority (US), and British Airways. Whether we’re talking about developments for civilian or military projects the results are basically the same, KM helps these transportation specialists (particularly aircraft manufacturers) build better, safer machines. Moreover, knowledge management can also facilitate other types of operations like transportation security by making pertinent knowledge available to everyone who has access to that particular network. Likewise, as these institutions are building knowledge bases they’re constantly improving and/or refining their entire approach, which means more people can come to depend on their services (even in emergency situations).
There are plenty of unexpected examples of organizations using KM as well; for instance, many law offices and firms are on board. In fact, one might argue that it is law firms which are among the best examples of knowledge management in practice. Aside from the ongoing complexity of trying to run a myriad of cases simultaneously, it’s fairly obvious that a great number of cases are very similar (or even identical) in nature. Rather than having to build every single similar case from scratch, law firms employ a system of KM that’s not unlike the vast examples of case law which courts might use as precedent material in certain rulings. The bottom line is that KM helps law firms operate more efficiently, in exactly the same manner as other businesses.
What does this mean to you, the IT professional?
If you’re still scratching your head wondering how this applies to you and your career, take a step back and look at everything objectively. The point is, all types of businesses from nearly every industry you can imagine are deeply interested in knowledge management. Wherever you turn there are plenty of examples of successes with KM too, which means that most employers are on the lookout for individuals who know how to implement it. Simply put, if you have the certification and relevant experience, you could easily find a great deal of work in knowledge management. In other words, seek out KM certification programs and prepare for a future career that’s poised for growth.