How to Start Knowledge Management in an SME, Taking Advantage of Internal Knowledge and Knowledge that is Possible to Find on the Internet

Estimated Reading Time: 5 minutes

Note from the Editor: Today we welcome to our blog a new author. Sergio Ríos is a Consultant, Trainer and Director at Biable, a consulting firm specialized in innovation in management. He begins a series of articles talking about how to construct effective knowledge management processes in businesses. Welcome Sergio!

Knowledge management as an element within organizations diluted between a multitude of ideas, processes and concepts. Normally, it gets confused with innovation, creativity, document management, and even it can be inferred as merely a software tool.

Managing the knowledge of an organization is a complex and delicate task, full of interactions and interpretations between internal processes. However it can be summarized into three phases: 

  1. Manage human capital talent: which is contained in the people who make the organization. It is necessary to know them, organize them, extract their talent and communicate with them.
  2. Manage the capital of the organization: this is the organization’s own knowledge, how they can be processed, work guidelines, documentation, libraries, good practices, etc.
  3. Manage relational capital: shared knowledge with other organizations, such as clients, suppliers and other interest groups. For example: conferences, current events or benchmarking activities.

In this post, we will focus on what concepts are there to take account for and know, and how do you take advantage of technological means to give a push to knowledge management. In the next post, I will explain how the initial use of knowledge is coordinated, for a services start-up business, and how to supervise human capital from the beginning.

Essential concepts to know and differentiate 

  1. Knowledge management 
  2. Knowledge management system: manner under which the company conducts management, this is: processes that make up the recognition system, procurement, extraction, analysis, diffusion and adoption.
  3. Tool for knowledge management: usefulness under what will be stored, ordered, diffused and disseminate knowledge.
  4. Document management: an essential part in knowledge management. Structure under which will be indexed for quick location.

Taking account of these concepts, we can define an  initial flowchart to start knowledge management at a level or, based in knowledge detection, treatment, adoption and diffusion. 

A beginning and valid process for any SME could be: 

In this process we have focused on two initial actions:

  1. Utilize and extract talent from the individuals who make up the organization who already have or have acquired in their daily work or in their prior professional training. 
  2. Utilize and cure valuable content that can be integrated into the valid knowledge of the company, to integrate in any of the three phases (human capital, organization and relational) or in all three at the same time.

In this way we are constantly modernizing, not only the business’ shared knowledge, but also improving the form of work, by the inclusion of internal/external knowledge in the system.

A knowledge management system that functions must be capable of clarifying those activities that have been shown in this figure, for example:

  • How and why people are going to agree to contribute their knowledge to other colleagues
  • How analysis and decisions to modify, expand or improve both work processes, as any other documentation, that is used for both customers and internal use, etc.

We will look into this more in the next posts about knowledge management systems.

Sergio Ríos (@Sergio_Biable) is a consultant, trainer and Director at Biable, a consultancy specialized in management innovation, currently developing strategic and operational consulting advanced in 1.0 and 2.0 environments. Currently, he is a professor at universities, business schools and chambers of commerce, specializing in: management, integral 1.0/2.0 strategy, business 2.0, tools 2.0 and benchmarking. He also has extensive experience as a consultant and licensee of the EFQM Model, Innovation, Business Strategy and Social Media applications.