Access to knowledge and information are crucial for us office workers today. But how to enable finding knowledge right when it is needed and making it accessible?
In my previous article I outlined what I consider the key obstacles to team productivity. I also covered ways dealing with one of them: excessive administrative work. Let us look at now on two other topics related of information: how to overcome knowledge gaps and make information accessible to those, who need it.
We all need knowledge – from many sources
To succeed in our jobs, we all need knowledge, in one form or another. We need know-how on feasible practices, up-to-date market awareness or understanding how our product is designed so that we can propose a winning offer to our client.
Only, there is usually no single source for such knowledge. Information is scattered around in different teams, in varying forms and formats. No-one knows everything, and finding the right source for just a small piece of knowledge can take time and effort. As Bill Nye has pointed out, everyone you will ever meet knows something you don’t.
So it certainly pays off to think of ways to reduce the time spent searching for the right sources of information, both in terms of increasing efficiency and achieving a better customer experiences.
Bridging knowledge gaps: creating a knowledge management strategy
Active management of knowledge helps companies in decision making, supports employees in their work and increases organization’s productivity. It is a building block of success.
Centralizing all content and making it properly accessible speeds up learning new things and helps teams work better. Ensuring that knowledge can be easily updated and reused will also save time and reduce operational costs. The best way to make knowledge available is documenting it and making it an integral part of workflows. There will be fewer misunderstandings and mistakes, and, crucially individual knowledge can be transferred into organizational asset for maximized utilization.
When information cannot be accessed
Sometimes we know where the information is, but cannot find or access it. Yet, to be efficient, we need to have the relevant information for accomplishing a task accessible at any time, from anywhere. Indeed, the AtTask survey we quoted before found 82% of office workers agreeing that ubiquitous access to vital information is a key to productivity.
Today, there certainly are ways for us to send that updated offer a customer is anxious to get, even when on the go.
Overcoming obstacles to instant access
Fortunately, the solutions for instant accessibility of data are widely available today with cloud and mobile technologies such as online data storages, document management and document automation solutions – provided that these are integrated so they work properly together. While cloud and mobile technologies make it possible for workers to retrieve and share information at any time and from anywhere, document automation solutions allow fetching data from different sources instantly.