Guide

Knowledge management and business growth

Advantages and disadvantages of knowledge management

Consider the measurable benefits of capturing and using knowledge more effectively in your business. The following are all possible outcomes:

  • An improvement in the goods or services you offer and the processes that you use to sell them. For example, identifying market trends before they happen might enable you to offer products and services to customers before your competitors.
  • Increased customer satisfaction because you have a greater understanding of their requirements through feedback from customer communications.
  • An increase in the quality of your suppliers, resulting from better awareness of what customers want and what your staff require.
  • Improved staff productivity, because employees are able to benefit from colleagues' knowledge and expertise to find out the best way to get things done. They'll also feel more appreciated in a business where their ideas are listened to.
  • Increased business efficiency, by making better use of in-house expertise.
  • Better recruitment and staffing policies. For instance, if you have increased knowledge of what your customers are looking for, you're better able to find the right staff to serve them.
  • The ability to sell or license your knowledge to others. You may be able to use your knowledge and expertise in an advisory or consultancy capacity. In order to do so, though, make sure that you protect your intellectual property. See protecting intellectual property.

Challenges of knowledge management

In order to maximise the benefit of knowledge management within your business you may have to overcome the following challenges:

  • Capturing and recording business knowledge - ensure your business has processes in place to capture and record business knowledge.
  • Sharing information and knowledge – develop a culture within your business for sharing knowledge between employees.
  • Business strategy and goals – without clear goals or a business strategy in place for the knowledge gathered the information will be of no use to your business.
  • Knowledge management systems – these systems can be costly and complex to understand but when utilised properly can provide huge business benefits. It is important that staff are fully trained on these systems so that they collect and record the right data.