What many companies are lacking though is good management of knowledge. This is often left to employees – they store the knowledge in their computers, document folders and mainly – their brains. They have meetings where they exchange this knowledge, but that is quite expensive as every time someone needs knowledge that John has – (s)he has to have a meeting with John. If he is not available – (s)he waits. If John leaves the company – someone is hired to learn again from scratch and that is a huge loss.
We are a knowledge company and thus we need to treat knowledge with same care as a factory needs to manage their machinery. We need to constantly document, maintain, fix and update our knowledge in an efficient manner. This is why I think we are a bit better with knowledge management than many other companies and our experience might help someone to improve theirs.
Create Knowledge Bases and FAQs
There is a fairly simple solution to this issue that we are using – Knowledge base. Do you know wikipedia? The place where you go when you need to know how cats are making purring noises and why do they do that? Or what is EBITDA and how to calculate it? Knowledge base is the same, but for internal company questions. Once a question is asked you just need to write down the answer in knowledge base and tell the person who asked it to look for it there. And tell everyone else to look there first before asking someone. With time it becomes as normal as asking google anything.
You can structure the content in whatever way you want, add labels, tags, create multiple knowledge bases for different parts of the business or departments. You can create your own wikipedia. We are using Atlassian Confluence for that which is a great product allowing to quickly search in the vast amount of information, quickly create new information and share it inside the company.
We have also separate knowledge base for our customers where we capture answers to most frequent questions, create manuals for the system administrators and end users and reuse them all the time. It is always up to date and always available.
Do your employees and customers ask questions? Perhaps you should consider something like Confluence too. Since we are certified Atlassian partners – we can help.
Project and product management
Each project can have it’s own wiki space where meeting notes can be stored and shared among the shareholders, tasks can be assigned and progress tracked. Project requirements can be written down, changed and history can be traced and audited. If we would try to use e-mails and documents for this – we would be in big trouble.
I believe that every company has projects – internal and external. There is a lot of different unstructured information related to them – documents, meetings notes, budgets, tasks and all of it changes constantly. Confluence can create a single source of truth allowing everyone to be efficient and spend their mental resources for what actually needs to be done in the project. It even allows to collaborate on the same document at the same time for multiple people. Yes – exactly like google docs do.
Policy and process management
Confluence allows to create a documentation space to share all the processes in the same place, keep them up to date and always have them at fingertips. Not to mention that for new employees it is so much easier to just read all the guidelines there and be up to date in the shortest time possible.
Marketing, sales, legal, human resources and any other department
And all the departments are working together. Sales needs marketing materials, marketing needs legal advice and so on. Confluence allows to share this information effortlessly and without unnecessary meetings and time waste.
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