Reasons Why Knowledge Management Fails and How to Avoid Them

by | Mar 17, 2022 | All, Knowledge Management

According to Boston Consulting Group data, 70% of digital transformation programs such as knowledge management fails to meet their objectives because of poor corporate wikis.

You don’t want to fall into that 70% if one of your digitalization objectives for the year is to introduce a new knowledge management system; but how do you beat the odds and make sure that whatever knowledge management tool you implement succeeds in the long run?

Why Knowledge Management Fails?

It’s critical to understand some of the most prevalent reasons why knowledge management fails before implementing new technology. One common thread running through all the explanations is that failure to adjust processes and culture can lead to the overall project failing.

Several reasons have been identified as being responsible when knowledge management fails. Here we take an in-depth look at a number of these reasons so that you can gain a better understanding of exactly what you need to look out for.

Reason 1: Ownership

Who is the legal owner of your knowledge management system? One of the most prominent reasons for knowledge management problems is a lack of defined ownership. When firms delegate responsibility to anyone and everyone, no one is held accountable, which is why having an owner is critical to the long-term success of knowledge management.

Reasons Why Knowledge Management Fails and How to Avoid Them

All new content should be monitored by the administrator (or owners, based on the scale of your business and program) and current content should be reviewed regularly to see what requires to be retained or modified. They should also collaborate with all department leaders to ensure that crucial details aren’t overlooked. 

If the application has analytics, it’s also useful for the owner to look at which users aren’t as engaged. Moreover, if necessary, the owner must ensure that those employees receive more coaching or are re-engaged.

Good read: 10 Best Practices To Implement On Your Corporate Wiki

Reason 2: Lackluster Onboarding

A mediocre implementation and a terrible onboarding experience are frequently linked. Providing staff with tools without direction sets the standard for a program that may not take off and surely cannot be sustainable in the long run.

Even though the technology is user-friendly, certain employees may require training and demonstrations before they are confident in their ability to utilize it.

Reasons Why Knowledge Management Fails and How to Avoid Them

Make sure to schedule workshops for your knowledge management platform’s debut and as new features become accessible. Choosing a knowledge base software provider who works with you through the orientation program and continuing training might be beneficial. 

They can ensure staff feel at ease with the platform and get the most value out of it as a specialist in knowledge management industry standards, as well as their product.

Reason 3: Implementation

Consider receiving an email encouraging you to try out a new platform when you check your mailbox one morning. You recall your supervisor or other members of your leadership team mentioning that they would be launching this platform shortly, but they haven’t provided any other details.

How likely are you to dive straight into this system and integrate it as a regular part of your routine? The answer, if you’re like most individuals, is not very likely. 

Reasons Why Knowledge Management Fails and How to Avoid Them

Furthermore, the failure of new technology is almost always due to a lack of efficient communication and execution. 63% of managers say their company’s technological transition is moving too slowly because of a lack of urgency and inadequate communication.

When planning to launch a fresh knowledge management system, it’s critical to have a plan in place for the launch and end-user engagement. 

Before the intended users can even utilize the system, the most successful companies making use of knowledge management systems focus on ensuring that 90% of the information is uploaded and categorized. They also devote time to educating staff about the system and ensuring that they understand how it can enhance their work.

Reason 4: Zero Cultural Interest

It’s no surprise that firms with a healthy knowledge-sharing culture are more likely to employ knowledge management systems. Businesses without a knowledge-sharing culture, on the other hand, may have a difficult time implementing modern knowledge management systems.

Reasons Why Knowledge Management Fails and How to Avoid Them

The use of a knowledge management software must be ingrained in the company’s culture. Employees must be accustomed to using your information management system as part of their everyday routine.

This begins with making knowledge sharing as simple as possible for employees. People feel more comfortable participating and cooperating inside and across teams if there is a sense of interpersonal trust where they feel they can share their knowledge and criticism without fear of potential repercussions. 

Good read: How to Conduct an Engaging Virtual Team Meeting

Providing positive incentives for essential data contributions, such as homages or small quarterly rewards, can also help create a culture of information sharing.

It’s also crucial to keep in mind that change is slow, and people may want reminders. If you introduce a knowledge management platform and team members continue to email or message you with one-off inquiries, urge them to post the question in the program (if it hasn’t been addressed yet) or provide a hyperlink to an article in the program that answers their query.

This could help to reinforce the idea that your knowledge management platform is the one source of facts for your organization.

Reason 5: Irrelevant Content

Employees may gradually lose trust in the material in your knowledge management platform as it gets old and no longer relevant and may begin to avoid it as a result. Without continuing maintenance of your base of knowledge, even a solid base built via your operations can quickly deteriorate.

Content maintenance can be aided by computerized content planning and review alerts. However, just as you need a general knowledge management platform owner, you also need owners of categories and material within the platform–and they need to know what they’re in charge of. 

Consider appointing subject matter experts (SMEs) to keep an eye on key categories and reply to questions related to their areas of expertise. You should also figure out how frequently these SMEs are expected to assess their own content. This assists your company in keeping content current, ensuring that the information program stays a reliable resource.

Good read: 6 Tips To Write Awesome Knowledge Base Articles

Reason 6: Key Performance Indicators

If you have not established what success looks like, it’s difficult to tell what you’re doing right or wrong. If you don’t set and monitor key performance indicators (KPIs) for your information management endeavor, you can miss out on opportunities to improve the platform, and engagement may suffer. Thus, your knowledge management fails as a result.

It’s critical to pick measurements that fit with your objectives and analyze your knowledge base performance over time so you can see if you’re on course or if you should implement modifications to fulfill your objectives. 

If one of your objectives is to reduce the average amount of time workers spend searching for answers, for example, you could conduct surveys before and after the debut of your knowledge management platform, asking staff members to approximate how much time they spend searching for data daily. To track change over time, you may ask this question at frequent intervals.

Reason 7: Company Usage

Why should employees be invested in a new knowledge management software if company executives aren’t? A ‘do as I preach, not as I do’ attitude won’t cut it in these circumstances. All group and department leaders must be advocates of the new system, encouraging staff to adopt it both during and after installation.

When analyzing, buying, and establishing your new knowledge base software, one good strategy to ensure executive buy-in immediately is to include an executive supporter. This advocate should understand the value of the system and be able to demonstrate it to other leaders as well as their own team.

You should also urge your executive advocate (and other members of your management team) to use your knowledge management platform just so other members of your team feel comfortable doing so. 

At launch, for example, you may ask a representative of the executive team to make and publish a quick clip expressing their aim for the program and have them update the framework at least once a month.

Key Takeaways: Why Knowledge Management Fails

Having a well-implemented knowledge management system can assist in empowering teams as well as allowing them to achieve more. There are numerous knowledge base tools for organizations to choose from, such as corporate wiki, team internal wiki, Slack wiki, and more.

The Klutch knowledge management system allows organizations to jumpstart your wiki for free. If you don’t have one yet, you can try Klutch today!

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