Data is everywhere in business, and it's impossible to believe that any manager is able to process and utilize that data in any consistent or useful way. As explained in this article by Lisa Quast, the amount of data sent to a person over a year is “equivalent to every person in the world reading 174 newspapers every single day”. This makes knowledge management a paramount concern: actively engaging in knowledge management helps companies succeed in decision making, creating learning organizations, and innovation. The article goes through each of these factors, starting with decision making. Data is one of the key factors in understanding what next steps a company needs to make, but managers are bombarded with data all day, every day. Providing a process to disseminate the important information from the unimportant information can help managers more rapidly see the data they need to make intelligent decisions, reducing time and increasing positive outcomes. The next key is building a learning organization, which Quast addresses through a book by David Garvin:
In his book, Learning in Action: A Guide to Putting the Learning Organization to Work, author David Garvin (2000) notes, “To move ahead, one must often first look behind” (p. 106). The U.S. Army's After Action Reviews (AARs) are an example of a knowledge management system that has helped build the Army into a learning organization by making learning routine. This has created a culture where everyone continuously assesses themselves, their units, and their organization, looking for ways to improve. After every important activity or event, Army teams review assignments, identify successes and failures, and seek ways to perform better the next time (Garvin, 2000, p. 106). This approach to capturing learning from experience builds knowledge that can then be used to streamline operations and improve processes.
The final of the three, innovation, explains how good knowledge management allows for new managers and employees to rapidly gain company best practice knowledge. If your new managers are able to be up-to-speed rapidly, it creates the potential for a new voice to suggest changes or innovations. These helpful tips point to one truth: knowledge management is only becoming more and more important as the availability, sources, and quantity of data sharing expands.