Whether you’re running a large corporation or managing a simple drop shipping online store, you need to utilize each team member’s expertise to attain its short and long-term goals.
Within one department, there is plenty of untapped knowledge that can add value to the organization as a whole.
A company with a good knowledge management system empowers the whole organization by boosting collaboration, creating easy reference points, and making work easier for everyone. One department that benefits from knowledge management is the IT department.
Later in the article, we’ll discuss how this department reaps some fruits from a well-organized company knowledge system. But first, let’s discuss what knowledge management is.
What Is Knowledge Management?
In a nutshell, knowledge management is the art of capturing, storing and sharing knowledge that adds for the benefit of individual employees and the organization as a whole..
There are two categories of knowledge that aims to be captured by knowledge management:
- Tacit knowledge: Tacit knowledge is abstract and influenced by how you perceive the world. It’s gained by experience on a personal and professional level. This type of knowledge is difficult to express. It’s informal and affected by personal values and beliefs.
- Explicit knowledge: Explicit knowledge is easily shared as it is straightforward. It involves clear documentation of strategies like programming and operating procedures. This type of knowledge can be captured, organized, and shared among employees and other corporate teams through platforms like a company Wiki.
While explicit knowledge can easily be stored and transferred through books, learning modules, and training materials, tacit knowledge is something that is not easily transmitted to others. Knowledge management aims to capture both types of knowledge for the benefit of everyone in the organization.
How Can Knowledge Management Help Your IT Department?
Implementing knowledge management in the IT department can bring significant organizational progress. Below are ways in which knowledge management helps IT.
Improves Employee Interaction and Communication
The IT department mainly comprises ‘geeks.’ These techies are mostly glued to a screen which minimizes their interaction with others. Knowledge management in the IT department enables virtual and physical interactions among teams and departments.
For example, when IT guys get to interact and share ideas and experiences with others, this kind of networking impacts their communication skills on a personal level. These skills are important as the IT department relies on professional relationships forged with external vendors and other industry experts to maintain and plan the network system.
Every IT department has to deal with cyber security and emergencies. Examples of scenarios requiring faster problem-solving skills include;
- Website rollback
- Social engineering attack
- Vendor vulnerability
- Insider data theft
Having a comprehensive knowledge management system for the IT department will ensure the experts have relevant information pertaining to the company system, which is necessary for troubleshooting.
For example, if it’s a recurring issue, storing knowledge of previous solutions may help current employees stay on top of their game in coming up with the solution.
Increases the Rate of Innovation
IT experts possess similar knowledge. However, each individual has perfected a particular craft. Introducing knowledge management in the IT department enables team members to share their expertise.
For example, if one person in the department is talented or certified in a certain skill or program, capturing and duplicating such knowledge among all the other employees improves innovation and retention of talent.
Helps Recognize Market Trends Early
Knowledge management in the IT department helps employees from other departments share updates about trends they see in the market. This enables the company to realize trends early and seize opportunities.
For example, the marketing department can see new developments about creating and optimizing the content on the company website. When shared with the IT team, it can lead to improvements of site content and therefore boost brand awareness in the digital space.
Supports Employee Growth and Productivity
IT staff can cut down on wasted hours looking for information and asking colleagues about certain issues and potential solutions. With a few clicks, they can quickly access the needed information, or get troubleshooting tips. This makes them more productive while improving job satisfaction.
The Knowledge Management Process
Knowledge management as a process involves three significant steps:
Step 1. Creation
Knowledge creation in an organization comes from various sources–individuals working within the department or outsiders brought in to impact expertise. Keeping in mind knowledge is either implicit or explicit, the organization will strive to capture all information valuable to the business, such as roles, processes and best practices.
Step 2. Organization
The collected data must be structured and organized in a meaningful way. This is possible through filtering and selecting the relevant from the irrelevant. Information that is conflicting will also need to be mediated to arrive at an accurate knowledge entry.
The knowledge is then stored on a knowledge base or knowledge management tool specifically designed for the purpose. Such platforms exist enable easy search, interlinking, and real-time updating. Some even have an internal wiki template to make it easier for employees to start using and creating content.
Step 3. Sharing
Sharing knowledge is the final part of the knowledge management process, and it’s all about knowledge exchange and enhancement. The sharing process involves training, discussions, team building, meeting, benchmarking, and updating.
Knowledge management involves creating, organizing, and sharing knowledge among employees. This is undoubtedly valuable for the IT department, which is entrusted with responsibilities like network contingencies, telephony, company website development, technical support, application development, and cyber security. The IT department plays a critical role in making the knowledge management system possible, and of course, they also stand to gain from it.