No matter what your business makes, sells, or develops, your business is a knowledge company. You manage all sorts of data: how to make your product, who your ideal consumers are, and how to innovate new solutions. It’s important to control that information, to know who has access to certain data, and to be able to get knowledge to people who need it.
Because information is such a valuable asset, good knowledge management, also known as knowledge enablement, is a key piece of your business operation, and it can help your organization grow as well.
What is knowledge enablement?
Knowledge enablement is a set of tools, processes, and practices that help an organization effectively manage, capture, store, use. and share its information. Knowledge assets can be any information that’s important to an enterprise, including records, databases, documents, policies, and even personal expertise or information about how your enterprises do their jobs.
In many cases, knowledge enablement is concerned with getting the right information to the right individual exactly when it’s needed, be that person a customer with questions, a new employee who needs access to their predecessor’s institutional knowledge, or a salesperson who needs product information to make a sale.
When applied to your sales organization, knowledge enablement can be seen as a form of sales enablement: it gives your employees what they need to do their jobs better.
How can knowledge enablement help your business grow?
Knowledge is power, and the more control you have over your company’s data, the better positioned you will be to make the most of it and grow your business. For example, knowledge management helps your company:
- Break down silos: When one department or individual owns certain data and doesn’t share it, that’s a data silo, and it’s bad for business. If someone else needs that information, they need to find the person who controls it and ask for it, which is both a time-suck and a potential cause of friction in an organization. Knowledge enablement can break down those silos, making information available to everyone.
- Make better decisions: When all the knowledge is at your fingertips (or you know where to find it), it’s much easier to make business decisions. Not only do you have access to data, but to the thoughts and opinions of people across your organization.
- Onboard employees quickly: New hires take a while to learn the ropes. Take sales for example: reports find that it takes the average salesperson an average three months before they hit their revenue targets, and in some sectors, it can take even longer.. Knowledge enablement can help get new hires up to speed, making sure they have all the knowledge they need whenever they need it.
- Improve customer service: Help desks, FAQs, websites, instructions, tutorials: you likely have a lot of customer information available, but it’s not always searchable, or it may take a while to access. Customers like to be able to get the information they need when they’re looking for it. By having an automated knowledge enablement tool, you can help them easily find the information they need when they need it, and that means more happy customers (and fewer support tickets).
- Become more efficient: You don’t want your employees doing the same work twice. Knowledge enablement creates a record of previous work—previous answers to security questionnaires or RFP questions, for example—so no one has to answer the same question twice. That will let your employees move on to the next task rather than chasing someone to answer a question that was already answered.
What tools are available for knowledge enablement?
A knowledge enablement tool can look a number of ways, depending on the sort of knowledge you’re trying to manage. If you’re looking to manage customer data, you might use a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) tool. If you are looking to manage innovations, you might look into project management tools. If, however, you are trying to keep a variety of information in one place, you’ll want to investigate a knowledge base.
A knowledge base is a company-wide platform that stores and manages a wide variety of information. Ombud, for example, offers a platform that shares information across the entire organization, curating knowledge and storing it in a centralized searchable library. It’s intended to break down silos: employees from departments across the company can add to this database or search for information.
This can be particularly helpful when, for example, a writer from a proposal team is searching for information from a subject matter expert (SME), or if someone on the sales team needs to understand a feature best explained by someone from the product team. Rather than trying to find the person who owns certain data, knowledge enablement makes it easy for everyone to find the right data, and get back to their own job.
Interested in learning more? Find out how Ombud can help you compile a central library of all of your organization’s most important k