Implementing a knowledge base in your organization can bring far-reaching benefits for employee productivity and customer service KPIs. But any project can be time-consuming and complicated.
Many companies avoid implementing a knowledge base because they have had a negative experience with their homegrown solutions or feel like they're getting by ok. That's a huge mistake.
Getting started with a knowledge base Series
- Part I: 7 Step Checklist for Choosing a Knowledge Base
- Part II: 4 Challenges of Implementing a Knowledge Base
- Part III: 5 Best Practices for Implementing a Knowledge Base
Accepting the status-quo to avoid a new project not only kicks the can down the road, but make future change even harder as your technical debt increases. As your homegrown system falls further behind or your knowledge grows out of control in multiple places, the size, scope and cost of a future fix increases dramatically.
Below are the 5 Best Practices on how to implement a Knowledge Base and avoid others' mistakes:
1. Start Small- Begin with One Department
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 achieve quick wins.
2. Keep it simple - Avoid Overly Complex Processes
Working with a professional knowledge base can become complicated when companies discuss topics such as users roles and rights, approval processes and editorial workflows.
Try to keep it simple: Even if your internal approval process is complex, take the opportunity to simplify and avoid having more than three workflow steps for it. Any more, and the added time and complexity will offset efficiency gains by the new tool
3. Don’t Be Afraid of Change
Knowledge management is an on-going process. 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. You may want to start small and do nothing more than centralize your documents.
4. Not All Content is Relevant
Not every document, article or content from a file share, personal desktop or SharePoint is relevant for your knowledge base.
Audit and review your existing content before migrating your data to a knew KM system.
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 a single project, long-term success requires ongoing vigilance. This includes for example setting up regular editorial processes to ensure your support data is regularly reviewed, edited and republished. Never be afraid to invest in your resources as it can significantly change the productivity of your employees.