Our Thoughts
Ruchika Mohite
19 October, 2021
7 MIN READ

What should your Knowledge Management System (KMS) have?

Today’s Work from Home (WFH) environment demands that companies keep looking for ways to enhance employee experience. Companies need to enable seamless communication and collaboration to help employees deliver efficiently. Organizations need to enhance employee engagement and help them in their career progression through remote learning and development.

Companies are now leveraging the modern Knowledge Management System (KMS) or Intranet to improve employee experience and workforce productivity. Emerging technologies in communication, collaboration, and analytics are helping companies evolve traditional KMS to meet the needs of today’s employees and customers.


What is a Knowledge Management System (KMS)?

A knowledge management system is an IT system that stores and retrieves knowledge to improve communication and collaboration and enhance employee and customer engagement. Knowledge management systems can be internal and also external.

Internal knowledge management systems refer to the systems within a company to share knowledge among employees. It also helps encourage learning and skills development, support team collaboration, and improve organization efficiency.

External knowledge management systems refer to a system for the dissemination of knowledge to customers about company products and services. It also includes knowledge sharing with prospects and future employees from a learning and branding perspective. 


What does KMS include?

There are different types of knowledge management systems, however, they have some common features, which are as follows:

  • Company policies: An internal KMS is a centralised repository for employee and organisational policies of the company.  
  • Self-help guides/tutorials: An internal KMS offers self-guides and tutorials to help employees understand company processes and systems. In an external KMS, tutorials help customers learn the functionality and product usage.
  • Training programs: A KMS hosts online training programs to help employees acquire new skills. In an external system, the training programs can be used to offer skill certification to customers and practitioners. 
  • Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ): A KMS includes FAQs on different subjects for quick access and doubt resolution in common areas.
  • Case studies/Presentation: The access to the company case studies and presentations hosted on internal KMS enables anytime access for internal marketing and sales teams.
  • Community features: Such features within a KMS helps employees to form groups around interests or skills areas which enhances employee engagement and organization capabilities. In an external system, the customer community acts as a self-help group to solve common issues while providing companies with feedback on products and services.
  • Webinars: KMS acts as a central repository for webinars for internal and external audiences.


Examples of KMS

Spartan Race is a global leader in obstacle races. Its customer-centric KMS has 40 help centres customized by country and user groups. Artificial Intelligence helps Spartan Race to recommend relevant knowledge to its customers. It analyzed the questions received over chat and integrated a bot to answer FAQs, along with live chat support. Spartan Race leverages data from the bot to improve the content in help centres.

Canva is a graphic design platform whose knowledge management makes it easy to find resources on getting started even for users who are not design-savvy. Canva’s KMS has organized information with simple category titles making it easier for its users to find answers. KMS includes a search bar and simple graphics for commonly asked questions.

Evernote’s KMS has a clear user interface and a simple structure to showcase knowledge. Their main page classifies trending topics and other help topics into two separate sections. The search bar is positioned front and centre to help users find precise help to meet their unique needs.


How to build an effective KMS?

  1. Define the objective of KMS: The first step is to identify the goals that the company wants to achieve with the KMS. The objectives will depend on whether the company is building an internal or external KMS.
  2. Decide on KMS platforms: The features and functionalities required in a KMS will depend on company objectives which will determine KMS software selection.
  3. Source and consolidate information: The knowledge that needs to be documented has to be identified. A company will identify the information that its employees are looking through analyzing support tickets and discussion with internal support teams. For an external KMS, the additional source can be web analytics data and social listening. 
  4. Organize information: This will help to categorize the information into relevant topic categories. It will also include inter-linking related content and providing links to supplementary resources.  
  5. Implement Knowledge Management System: The KMS platform is then implemented and tested before going live.  
  6. Analyse and optimise system performance: The performance of the KMS can be assessed using metrics such as bounce rate or average time on page. Additionally, the companies can conduct a satisfaction survey or ask users to rate the page.
  7. Continually update the system: The KMS needs to be continuously updated to remain relevant to users and provide value. With time, new issues and questions may come up which need to be incorporated into the KMS.


What are the benefits of KMS?

  • Better communication and collaboration: KMS helps employees communicate seamlessly across the organization. Better connectivity enables employees to collaborate and augment team capabilities.
  • Better and faster decision making: Users can easily find relevant information and resources, which speeds up decision making. Quick and accurate information retrieval also improves the quality of decisions.
  • Process optimization: KMS helps to reduce resources and time which improves productivity and saves cost. 
  • Employee growth and development: Online training enables employees to broaden their skill base. The internal job posting also helps employees to apply for new opportunities.
  • Building organization knowledge base: KMS helps to preserve organizational knowledge which can be reused, thereby avoiding redundant efforts. 
  • Stimulating innovation and growth: A collaborative work environment and access to company knowledge helps to stimulate innovation and growth.


What should your KMS/intranet have?

Defined business objective 

The corporate intranet should act as a single source of information for the employees. The key business objectives are as follows: 

  • Communication

The foremost objective of KMS is communication. It should allow employees to connect and exchange information easily. The system should help companies to communicate policy updates and important company announcements to all employees. 

  • Knowledge repository

KMS should be the central repository for storing organisational knowledge that is well categorized. It should also disseminate knowledge to employees based on their access rights.   

  • Improve remote work effectiveness

With WFH, a KMS has become an important means to share information on COVID-19 and health protocols for employees. This is important as companies need to ensure the health of employees and family members to ensure they do not face any resource issues. The KMS should be used to host troubleshooting videos to help employees solve issues that otherwise would have been attended to by the IT department. 

  • Employee engagement

The KMS can become an effective employee engagement tool by sharing employee success stories, achievements, and awards. The company can post internal job openings to enhance the engagement level. KMS can be leveraged to stream awareness and fun events to mitigate the negative effects of a lack of in-person meetings.


Key technology specifications

  • User Experience

The KMS should be as professional as the company website with an intuitive user interface to promote regular usage by your employees.

  • Accessibility

Employees may use multiple devices to access the KMS so it should be device agnostic. A cloud-hosted KMS offers fast access, scales quickly, and has a high adoption rate. 

  • Security

Companies host confidential information on the KMS that needs to be protected from hacking, security breaches, and malicious attacks. Companies should use cloud-based KMS for enhanced security.

  • Collaboration

The KMS creates a unified work environment by integrating with business suites. The company should also plan for third-party integrations such as messaging and survey tools based on their relevance to the business.

  • User-generated content

The KMS should include tools that enable employees to generate, publish, and share content. This will enhance employee participation and engagement with the system.  


Key features

  • Personalization

The KMS should create personalized news feeds that correspond to the needs and interests of individual employees.  

  • Search

The KMS should have a smart internal search to enable employees to find information effortlessly. The system should provide relevant categories and tags to enable creators to sort and classify content appropriately.  Well-planned metadata will generate relevant search results. 

  • Content recommendation

The KMS should include a content recommendation engine to suggest articles or content for further reading by employees. This will help to improve the utility and engagement rate of the system.

  • Employee directory

Employee directory includes information about employees’ qualifications, work experience, and contact details. The KMS should include functionality to let employees provide additional information such as interest, hobbies, and certifications.

  • Social capabilities

The addition of social features will facilitate the creation of professional and social communities built around common interests.


Conclusion

A Knowledge Management System (KMS) helps companies to improve employee experience and organization effectiveness. It helps to improve employee communication and collaboration leading to greater productivity and efficiency. KMS also helps companies keep employees engaged through online learning and community building. KMS is becoming critical in the company's digital workplace strategy. To learn more about how to create a modern Knowledge Management System or intranet, reach out to us at [email protected]

Ruchika Mohite