Are you using the knowledge that resides in the people resources in your business that has the potential as a source of competitive advantage in your market, especially online?
The fact is that these people resources can be built, shared, and utilised for…
- What they know
- How it uses what they know, and…
- How quick they can react to your market to get to know something else of value
The point that is being made is that it is not enough to have the knowledge in your business because competitive advantage comes from …how you use the knowledge and from the ability of your business to learn from changing market circumstances.
Which means, business knowledge creation is linked to innovation, and knowledge management is closely linked to learning how to compete in a competitive environment, especially with radical and fast developments in online technology.
The main knowledge management processes are:
- Create new knowledge: This can happen naturally, but it can also be encouraged
- Share knowledge: Ensure that the benefits of learning are shared
- Transform knowledge: Make knowledge applicable to different situations both inside and outside your business
- Map knowledge: Analyse and make sense of knowledge to make it more useful for your customer market groups
- Absorb knowledge from outside: Bring in and utilise new knowledge
- Store knowledge: Ensure knowledge is available for the future development and growth of your business
These important knowledge strategies are the starting point for your business to decide on the process that will be needed to manage knowledge sharing. And just remember that knowledge is different from, data. Data needs to be interpreted to become knowledge and then that resulting knowledge can be used to provide the wisdom to make important business decisions.
There is also the case where knowledge is so embedded in the minds of individuals that you can be almost unaware of it and your people find it difficult to explain aspects of their actions or decisions, which means you could be leaving yourself vulnerable to individuals leaving. So, you need to increase the transfer of knowledge so that it can be shared with others.
The following questions may clarify the issues that need thinking through in relation to knowledge transfer…
- Is the knowledge context-specific or generalised?
- Is the emphasis on learning how or on learning why …which helps focus the ability to solve problems, and to innovate?
- How is knowledge transferred, for example through learned interaction between people, in which experienced workers show and explain what they do and then create the procedures to be followed?
- How is collective know-how transferred to teams in other business units?
It is arguably easier to manage knowledge transfer in small businesses. However, both owner-managers of small businesses and larger companies should not be complacent. There needs to be a clear picture about what knowledge is important, and how it can be made more useful.
In a competitive world, the successful companies will be those that are able to learn faster than their rivals, especially for adapting to changing trends and advances in online technology. After all, in today’s business environment, we have recently seen many long established companies either struggle to keep up or collapse.