Knowledge management (KM) is about recognizing useful information that exists within a company and making it accessible to others so they can either use the existing information or add information of their own. Every organization creates and uses information that is specific to their own area of business, and creating a system that allows employees from all aspects of the organization to access that information can be incredibly beneficial.

Much of the information that exists within corporations has already been compiled into various formats such as supplier lists, contact information, operational guides, corporate and department policies, and procedure manuals. This information just needs to be consolidated in one place.

Building a KM system requires several key positions. There must be senior management representatives who keep the system in line with the company's business goals, learning professionals who help design the system, information technology (IT) representatives who assess what technological systems need to be put in place to support the needs of the system, and departmental representatives who find subject matter experts and determine how the subject matter should be presented.

There are five basic steps to implementing a knowledge management system:
Determine the organization's needs
Locate knowledge sources
Choose systems to gather and house information
Compile, confirm, and circulate knowledge
Maintain the knowledge system

Many companies are beginning to utilize KM systems because they want to retain the accumulated knowledge of their personnel, accelerate the comprehension and implementation of new regulations and information, and increase profits by reducing informational redundancies. Knowledge management also results in increased customer satisfaction because of the ease with which they can access necessary information themselves and the consistency of the information coming from customer service representatives.

Lastly, KM also allows corporations to look back on previous successes, failures, and precedents when making decisions, and to collaborate across long distances. Even though the benefits are numerous, there may still be some individuals within an organization who are resistant to change.

To gain organization-wide support for the system, the KM team can do the following:
Have a detailed project plan to present to executives to gain their support. The plan should include deadlines, necessary positions, resource requirements, a communication strategy, and maintenance and evaluation methods.
Select a group of key employees to be champions of the system.
Get information from the IT department about what the system requirements will be early on.
Start KM in an area where quick wins are likely.
Post questions that need answers early on to help discover subject experts.
Ask for voluntary participation, rather than mandatory.
Hold training sessions to familiarize staff with the system.
Publicize successes.

Author's Bio: 

Samantha Johnson is the marketing manager of Business Book Summaries. She is in-charge of social media and business development.

Business Book Summaries is one of the world's leading providers of business content for corporations and business book summaries for executives, managers and businesspersons. Cut down on reading time and still stay on top of the latest business trends and ideas from the business gurus. Visit the website at