The Top 5 Trends of Knowledge Management Systems in 2024
Effective Knowledge Management: Challenges Businesses Face
Knowledge management is at a crossroads. While organizations continue to invest in KM in ever-growing numbers, many still face uphill climbs regarding knowledge loss, disengaged employees, and the current talent shortage.
Common challenges businesses face include:
- A rapidly changing business landscape. Technological advancements, evolving customer expectations, and market disruptions can make staying current an uphill battle.
- Workforce changes. Attracting, retaining, and developing top talent is harder than ever; managing remote workers can make it doubly so.
- Communication barriers. Businesses need effective communication and collaboration to achieve their business goals, but dispersed workforces and geographical differences often make it challenging.
- Information overload. For all its benefits, digital transformation can make it more difficult for businesses to filter, organize, and make sense of vast amounts of data.
- Knowledge silos. Siloed knowledge frustrates users, negatively impacts company culture, and harms customer experiences.
- Compliance and risk management. Many organizations are struggling to keep pace with various regulatory requirements and manage potential risks.
- Meeting customer demands. American consumers are fed up with customer service, and tech solutions don’t seem to be helping.
Fortunately, knowledge management can help by:
- Facilitating continuing learning and knowledge sharing.
- Capturing and sharing critical knowledge from experienced employees.
- Providing team members with a common space for discussions and real-time collaboration.
- Streamlining information retrieval to extract valuable insights.
- Capturing and organizing knowledge in a central repository accessible to all.
- Providing up-to-date policies, procedures, and compliance guidelines.
- Creating troubleshooting guides, FAQ pages, and product or service documentation.
Let’s Look at 5 Knowledge Management Trends for 2024
Whether you’re a casual observer or knowledge management enthusiast, there’s a lot to get excited about KM’s growing role in helping organizations become more efficient and resilient.
While AI and machine learning have trended in the past, this year’s primary knowledge management trends center around driving and improving operations. These five trends are the ones we’re keeping our eye on. As you develop or optimize your knowledge management strategy, we believe you should, too.
1. Proactive Knowledge Retention Measures
Employees are leaving jobs more quickly and in greater numbers. The pandemic, the opportunity for remote work, and a desire for a better work-life balance have led many to reflect on their careers and readjust their long-term goals and values.
As a result, businesses are prioritizing the safeguarding of the organizational knowledge these employees (and early retirees) often take with them. Even organizations that aren’t experiencing higher turnover rates understand the times are changing and that they must shift from relying on a single individual for knowledge, specialized or otherwise.
A proactive knowledge retention policy helps mitigate the risk of business disruption. It encourages subject experts and other team members to document and share all their intrinsic and extrinsic knowledge during routine workflows. For such policies to succeed, leaders must make it as easy as possible for employees to contribute their expertise. They can also foster compliance by adding knowledge sharing to job descriptions so employees understand it’s essential to their roles.
2. Cross-Functional Knowledge Sharing
Breaking down silos and facilitating communication and collaboration between departments with different areas of expertise helps:
- Improve project and business goals alignment.
- Reduce time spent searching for information.
- Decrease task duplication.
- Create more opportunities for enterprise-wide innovation.
Organizations that broaden their knowledge sharing across the company report greater employee engagement and fewer requests for data access, making operations more efficient and fostering an empowered work environment.
3. A Surge in Video Content
Even non-users are aware of YouTube’s and TikTok’s enormous reach and success over the past few years. So it’s unsurprising that video is becoming an increasingly common way to share knowledge within and across organizational teams. In fact, multiple studies and surveys reveal up to 80% of people say they prefer videos over written text.
Today, businesses are using video for more than onboarding and training. They’re also utilizing it to transfer knowledge between team members on everything from how to use productivity apps to creating engaging content.
4. Mobile Takes Center Stage
Over half of global search queries happen on mobile devices. Mobile apps allow businesses to meet their employees’ desire for greater convenience and easier data accessibility. Experts expect to see a significant increase in customizable intranet software and mobile-compatible KM tools to support entire workforces.
5. Onboarding Optimization
The pandemic may no longer be considered an emergency, but there’s no returning to the work world that existed before the health crisis hit. A recent Gallup poll found that in 2022, over 80% of remote-capable workers continued to work outside the office for at least part of the week. Whether employees work entirely remotely or in a hybrid environment, how they’re onboarded and trained on the job has fundamentally changed.
Knowledge management technology helps organizations optimize onboarding and ongoing training by giving employees various paths for learning based on existing skills and experience. Team members can learn from wherever they are, whenever they want.
2024’s knowledge management trends are not just passing fads—they reflect the current state of work environments, helping organizations use their collective knowledge to remain competitive and stimulate growth.
How to Choose the Right Tool for Knowledge Management
Most guides for picking the proper KM tool suggest you begin by assessing your organization’s knowledge management needs. But that isn’t necessarily as simple as it sounds. How do you evaluate the need for something you don’t fully understand?
We suggest starting with a list of your company’s mission and goals. For instance,
Do you want to foster greater innovation?
A knowledge-sharing platform enables team members to contribute diverse ideas, share insights, and collaborate on projects. Employees from multiple departments can use idea submission forms or designated forums to contribute their ideas, regardless of location. Once those ideas are submitted, the KM system captures and organizes them based on different criteria and tags them with relevant keywords. Inter-departmental collaboration is facilitated, and team members can discuss and refine their ideas and offer feedback.
A KM system also captures and organizes best practices, insights, market intelligence, and lessons learned so all employees can access them while collaborating on innovation projects.
Is providing exceptional customer experiences your top priority?
A knowledge management system can help enhance customer experience, reduce support costs, and empower customers to find solutions on their own. Call center automation trends like chatbots, virtual assistants, intelligent routing, and robotic process automation (RPA) ensure consistent and efficient support delivery. KM systems typically include accurate and timely troubleshooting guides, FAQs, and product information that enable agents and customers to quickly find the correct answers to questions.
Do you want to use organizational resources more effectively?
A knowledge management system captures and documents process workflows, standard operating procedures, and company policies and makes them available to employees, ensuring efficiency in executing job-related tasks. It also learns from previous projects and interactions, documenting and analyzing past successes and failures.
Are you concerned you aren’t keeping pace with compliance regulations?
Knowledge management tools provide a centralized repository for policies, procedures, and compliance guidelines. Team members have access to up-to-date regulatory information and can follow the necessary protocols to meet compliance requirements. A KM system also tracks and maintains an audit trail of knowledge-related activities, making it easy for organizations to demonstrate data governance standards compliance.
Whatever your hopes for a knowledge management system, this powerful tool will help your organization leverage its collective knowledge assets and create a culture of learning and continuous improvement.
Once you’ve determined what you want from KM, these steps will help you further define your knowledge management needs.
- Conduct a knowledge audit. Assess your organization’s current knowledge assets, such as documents, databases, and feedback, and evaluate their quality, accessibility, and relevance. Identify gaps, redundancies, and areas where KM will have the most impact.
- Identify pain points. Ask key stakeholders, including team members, managers, and subject matter experts, to understand their KM-related challenges and identify where knowledge management can help.
- Analyze business objectives. Consider how KM might support the key business processes you identified when assessing your organization’s knowledge management needs.
- Engage stakeholders and end-users. Managers, IT professionals, knowledge workers, and HR and customer service reps offer a broad range of perspectives that can help you choose the most suitable KM software.
- Prioritize objectives and outcomes. Use stakeholder insights and input to prioritize your KM objectives.
- Define success criteria. Use SMART (specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound) parameters to measure KM initiative effectiveness.
- Explore industry best practices. Research case studies, network with industry experts, and attend conferences to gain insight into how other organizations have successfully implemented knowledge management initiatives.
- Emphasize continuous improvement. Knowledge management needs typically evolve as businesses grow and change. Develop feedback mechanisms from stakeholders that foster continuing improvement and adjust tools and strategies as needed.
Following these steps ensures you thoroughly understand your organization’s knowledge management needs and makes selecting a knowledge management system that enhances knowledge sharing and supports your overall business objectives easier.
The Future of Knowledge Management
Recent advancements in AI technologies ensure it will continue to play a vital and increasingly significant role in knowledge management, making knowledge even more accessible and actionable. And chatbots and virtual assistants are likely to grow more sophisticated in answering queries.
What other future knowledge management trends should we expect to see? Look for a greater emphasis on user-generated content. Organizations will increasingly encourage team members to use forums, blogs, and other interactive platforms to share their expertise and experience. And as data volumes increase, enhanced search and discovery will help to improve search result accuracy and precision.
Future knowledge management systems will also make greater use of data analytics and business intelligence tools to analyze user interactions and other relevant data. Lastly, as KM systems store and process sensitive organization information, businesses will look for solutions that make data privacy and security top priorities.
Evolving organizational needs, external factors, and the speed of technological advancements typically influence the direction of knowledge management practices. And while predictions are always hypothetical, there are already signs these speculations accurately reflect where knowledge management is headed.
KMS Lighthouse uses advanced technologies and takes an innovative approach to building knowledge management solutions. Our customers use our innovative solutions to reduce training time to an hour, strategically improve customer service, and significantly exceed ROI forecasts.
Get in touch with us to request a demo and learn more about how our cloud-based knowledge system can do the same for your organization.
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