1. Enable quick and effective decision-making

By providing relevant information at the right time through effective search tools, structure, collaboration, alerts; a knowledge sharing base can provide the information to make the right decision. Collaboration brings the thinking power of a large number of users, their experiences, the diversity of opinions and know-how to reach an objective opinion when making a decision on a given subject. Reusing the available knowledge makes it possible to base decisions on real experiences, feedbacks and the knowledge of a large number of experts and specialists.

2. Facilitate research and access to relevant information and resources

Whatever the need: answering a customer, analyzing trends, solving a technical problem, creating new offers, understanding the experiences of other departments or other countries on marketing approaches; you mus have access to collective resources for critical and objective reflection. Your efficiency will be improved if the necessary content is easy and quick to be found when needed. In some large companies where knowledge sharing in digital form began in the early 2000s without any governance and under the impetus of well-meaning employees (project managers, product managers, maintenance managers, etc.), there has been an anarchic development of sharing platforms, too often carried out without any coordination and sometimes using different technologies. After a few years, the result was a abundance of platforms, each with their administrator, password, structure and organization, often containing the same knowledge in different versions. When a user wanted to find information, for lack of a unique and efficient search engine, he was confronted to several hundreds of databases, more or less private, without any idea of where the needed pieces information were.

3. Reuse ideas, experiences and expertise

When an effective process has been developed, it seems normal that others use the same process when the same problem arises. If someone has formalized this know-how in a document, a presentation or a video, it can be re-used easily, thus enabling any potential user to not reinvent the wheel, avoid mistakes, homogenize working methods, improve its performance, accelerate the organization achievements. It is important to know that these good practices exist! Only one solution exists: segmented, relevant and regular communication.

4. Avoid redundant efforts

No one likes to waste time doing things that have already been done, but people do so very often for a number of reasons that are not always very “collaborative”. Not reinventing the wheel saves time and money, motivate employees because they will achieve their goals faster and more surely. Finally, the time saved allows to work on new projects, on new solutions and to invent the future.

5. Avoid making the same mistake several times

Knowledge sharing provides access to good practices but also to the learnings that mistakes brought. But it is difficult for anyone to admit his failures especially in a professional setting where competition is fierce. Since more understanding is gained from failures versus successes, it is important to build a climate of trust and collaboration. But that is not enough. If the level of trust within an organization is such that everyone shares their experiences (good or bad) on a platform, one can think that they have reached a good level of collaboration. However, if no process encourages users to look at previous experiences before embarking on a new project or development, they will repeat the same mistakes. The capitalization of knowledge and knowledge is important, but their reuse is even more important. The establishment of an effective knowledge sharing platform must take account of the overall value chain from sharing to reusing and set up the incentives and processes that will allow each of the steps in the Nonaka Takeuchi knowledge spiral to be completed (link).

6. Take advantage of existing experiences and expertise

Teams benefit from the experience and know-how of each member. This complementarity makes the team more efficient than the sum of the individuals composing it. The bigger the company, the more employees are evolving, the more varied and multiple expertise that become, in theory, an asset for the company. But, the more people there are, the more difficult it is for everyone to know who the experts are. It is therefore important to know what others know, and a sharing platform allows quick and easy access to collective knowledge on a specific subject, but also to the coordinate the experts so that they can be reached quickly.

7. Communicate widely and quickly important information

We almost all work in “communication” whether it be official or by need. We all need information to carry out our missions efficiently, be it basic training on new hardware or access to strategic intelligence to work on the future strategy of a multinational company. Information and the transmission of knowledge are everywhere. It is therefore important to access the necessary knowledge by avoiding unnecessary delays in the constant flow of emails, drowning in hundreds of websites existing information and of course succumbing to the weight of tons of printed materials. Knowledge management makes it possible to solve this problem thanks to the search engines provided, tags, RSS feeds, targeted alerts.

8. Promote and rapidly deploy reproducible standards, procedures and processes

If standards have been defined, they should be followed. This allows employees to learn how things are done, to have predictable and consistent results, to ensure optimal tracking and maintenance, and to guarantee consistency around how the work is done. The aim is to provide procedures and standards as soon as possible to all concerned. A sharing platform allows to disseminate this knowledge as quickly as possible, without interference and with the certainty that all will receive the same version at the same time so that they are deployed as quickly as possible.

9. Provide methods, tools, templates, techniques and examples

All knowledge is reusable. Advertising and encouraging employees to use it can improve quality, increase performance and ensure compatibility throughout the organization. In most cases, this knowledge comes from the field and is very operational. It is therefore immediately understandable by the targeted audience even unfiltered. A video in which a teller explains how to accommodate a client does not require any montage or pre-established dialogue, it is destined to the other counter staff who speak the same language, use the same words. It is essential to keep in mind that the standards and procedures mentioned above have not been self-generated but are based on field experiments. In the end, all tools, methods, examples are material that will allow to evolve the existing standards in the future.

10. Ensure that scarce expertise is widely disseminated

When rare competencies exist within the organization, knowledge sharing allows them to be disseminated to all involved and more broadly to the organization as a whole. Of course, there are several ways to make them as accessible as possible in terms of substance and form: discussion forums within a community of practice, training, e-learning, video presentation, white papers, blogs, webinars, etc. Keep in mind that the expertise holders of this type of knowledge are often very reluctant to share it. They imagine that once this knowledge is disseminated, they will lose their expert aura, they even think that some unauthorized people might misuse it. It is the role of the organization to value these experts, to put them forward and sometimes to entrust them with increased responsibilities in order to reassure them. Their expert role does not stop there since, as soon as they are freed from the time related to their exclusive expertise, they will be able to work on other subjects and move the organization forward.

11. Show clients how knowledge can be used and the benefits that can be gained

In a competitive environment, it is important to differentiate from the competition. Be able to demonstrate to your customers and prospects that your ability to share and collaborate will enable you to offer better, more successful and more efficient solutions is key. Imagine an architectural project where the participants in the project phase come from several companies and from several countries, the unity of the sharing base will avoid unnecessary operations and redundancies. Moreover, the stakeholders multiplicity will bring a wealth of proposed solutions, difficult to envision with traditional techniques of sharing and communication.

12. Accelerate delivery times for customers

Execution speed is also a significant competitive advantage: an organization that delivers faster will win the market. Sharing knowledge, reusing knowledge and sharing experiences significantly reduce the time required to create and deliver a business proposal, assistance or service to customers. This performance improvement translates into improved conversion rates, new customers and often additional markets for existing customers.

13. Allow the organization to take advantage of its size

When an organization grows, its increase in size is an advantage, only if it can use the knowledge and skills of all its employees. Through the use of collaborative tools and knowledge management platforms, size becomes an asset, communities of practice can be created and enriched rapidly, expert location systems help create more efficient project teams, the knowledge bases become exhaustive. In short, it is a chance for an enterprise to exploit rapidly all its tangible and intangible assets.

14. Make the organization the champion of reusing experience to solve its problems

The systematic use of good practices significantly improves the results of any organization. Let us imagine that a process of placing self-compacting concrete in the framework of underfloor heating was developed in one country and increases its sales by 20% in this niche, it is clear that the deployment of this good practice in all countries can only generate the same types of profits in the rest of the world. By putting in place a formalization process, dissemination and communication on good practices, the whole company benefits from its ability to solve problems and innovate. A good practice is deployed and can generate benefits if it is easily understood and transferred as soon as possible (especially if it can be implemented quickly). It is therefore necessary to establish governing good practice parameters within the governance: the context, the problem, the solution and the potential gains. We have seen too many good practices whose utility has yet to be proved as their construction was so complex.

15. Stimulate innovation and development

Most companies want to increase their revenues, but it is becoming more and more difficult for mature industries and sectors where competition is raging. Creating new knowledge and expertise through collaboration, knowledge sharing and information dissemination can stimulate innovation and lead to the creation of new products and services.

By Jean-Luc Abelin