Implementing a Knowledge Base in your organization can be a time-consuming process. Many companies avoid implementing a Knowledge Base because they have had a negative experience with their homegrown solutions or former knowledge initiatives. That's wrong.
Aside from that, the level of frustration associated with building out a knowledge base is too high, and the variety of existing knowledge silos makes it impossible to oversee the big picture which causes Knowledge Management to turn into a vicious activity. This activity does not affect your business in a positive manner nor causes greater productivity because the process of getting the right information is too complicated. Many different scenarios like this complicate the start of building out a Knowledge Base and cause organizations to avoid doing so.
Below are the 5 Best Practices on how to implement a Knowledge Base and get started with ease:
1. Start Small
Identifying and creating new or existing knowledge can be an endless process. If your company has never used a Knowledge Base to streamline this process before, the variety of knowledge can be very broad and overwhelming. In addition, an initial Knowledge Base implementation needs to be defined for a certain setup of users. Each department that you on-board in the beginning has its own requirements, input, content and users. A company-wide rollout of a Knowledge Base is the overall goal, but due to the intricacies of each department it makes for a complex implementation.
We recommend to start with the knowledge base in a single department to get productive more quickly. Once the department is productive, the knowledge manager can rework the Knowledge Base to achieve quick wins and promote it to other departments. Try to avoid gathering all of your relevant knowledge in the first step rather than starting with the most relevant knowledge articles to –
again – achieve quick wins.
2. Keep it simple
Working with a professional Knowledge Base can become complicated when companies discuss topics such as role- and rights, user groups, approval processes and workflow.
Try to keep it simple: Even if your internal approval process is complex, try to avoid more than three workflow steps for it.
3. Don’t Be Afraid of Change
Knowledge Management is an on-going process, which never comes to an end. The only way to be successful is through practice. Meaning you should look for a solution that can adapt, scale and grow along with your company over time.
4. Not All Existing Content is Relevant
Not every document, article or content from a file share, personal desktop or SharePoint is relevant for your Knowledge Base. Yes, relevant knowledge needs to be provided in the first implementation steps to ensure a high user acceptance but not every piece of existing content is necessarily needed for the future.
Audit and review your existing content before you decide to implement it into your new Knowledge Base. Also consider technologies that haven’t been in place before, some of them might be helpful in providing useful or current knowledge in a more efficient manor.
5. Knowledge Management is a Process, Not an Activity
Think of Knowledge Management as a continuously evolving process throughout your organization. While the initial implementation of the Knowledge Base is technically a single project, to see success it requires frequent attention. Never be afraid to invest in your resources as it can significantly change the productivity of your employees.
Interested in reading more? Here are four challenges encountered when implementing a knowledge base.