Knowledge management in business is all about identifying and developing critical technical and management knowledge and deploying it across the firm in a way that adds value.
Most businesses will have considered the risk of losing valuable knowledge to the extent that when talent walks out the door, the prime concern is losing the technical know-how which those people possess. Exit interviews are reactive, somewhat ineffective and instead managers should adopt more proactive practices.
Collaboration systems such as internal forums can be useful in encouraging teams to share know-how across the firm. Some firms even create wiki sites which can be searched by staff who need to access important knowledge or information quickly and easily.
The firm should have a central repository, with policies and procedures as well as relevant know-how documents and guides. The majority of this knowledge will be internal and the focus should be on documenting and sharing know-how around operational efficiency and effectiveness.
Your knowledge management strategy can also be customer focused. The key here is to create and share know-how that helps to ensure that customer relationships are maintained, service levels are high and sales volumes are increased. The crucial knowledge is centred around the products or services that the business offers, as well as knowledge about the customers themselves, the market, competitors and other firms in the sector. The majority of this knowledge will be internal with some external knowledge (such as market information) being needed to fully understand the client, your competitors and the sector in which you operate.
Your knowledge management strategy could also have an innovation focus. This involves the creation and utilisation of new and existing knowledge in order to create new products and services. Much of this knowledge will be external and may include market research, analysing client data, etc.
A successful management strategy must identify the key needs and issues within the firm, and provide a framework for addressing these.