Perhaps the most underappreciated benefit of deploying a knowledge management system (KMS) is the way in which it can drive sales and reduce expenses. Though popularized for streamlining knowledge sharing, documenting lessons learned, and making collaboration easier, knowledge base software can and should increase your company’s revenue.
But if this is true, why aren’t more people talking about it? The reality is that even this far into the 21st century, most organizations haven’t realized the full potential of their knowledge assets. Even for the most tech-savvy teams, simply implementing a knowledge management strategy can feel like a big leap. While some benefits are implicit, it’s rarely understood that KM software can ultimately help move more widgets.
1. Your clients love autonomy.
According to a recent Gartner prediction, by the end of this year, nearly 90% of the customer relationship will take place without any human interaction. The take-away from that? The people you’re selling goods and services to are happy to find answers themselves. In fact, they prefer it!
Enabling your customers to easily answer their own questions via self-service portals means faster transactions and more importantly, a better customer experience. Your company will benefit as well, with an increase in customer retention and customer lifetime value (CLV).
With some estimates putting new customer acquisition at five times the cost of customer retention, keeping your current clients happy could not be more critical to increasing revenue.
2. Expedited onboarding.
It’s no secret that hiring and training new team members can be a slow, expensive process. Some research has calculated that it takes two years (that’s not a typo) for a new employee to become “fully productive”.
Implementing a knowledge sharing platform can dramatically decrease the time required for your newest co-workers to reach maximum velocity. Centralizing your team’s tacit knowledge, content, and data enables them to find the information they need when they need it. Not only does this reinforce their ability to produce, but it also minimizes the time your human resources team has to dedicate to training.
3. Sharing lessons learned.
We’ve all had a product launch or engineering project go over-budget or past-due. Some lessons are simply unavoidable and have to be chalked up to the price of innovation.
Sometimes you just have to go out and break something, right?
What is avoidable, is paying to learn the same lesson over and over again. Deploying a knowledge management strategy often coincides with significant savings in repeated mistakes. Documenting and sharing what you’ve learned (your wins AND your losses) ensures you and your teammates have every advantage for future projects.
Beyond readily available documents, knowledge management software can also save your team time and (and money) by connecting them to your organization’s subject matter experts. Gone are the days of sending out email blasts looking for answers to your questions. Instead, user-friendly KMS solutions are making organizational learning and knowledge sharing a nearly-instant process.
4. Fewer programs, more features.
One of the least appreciated aspects of knowledge management is the potential cost savings from eliminating duplicate software subscriptions. Even for small businesses, purchasing multiple user profiles for various applications can cost hundreds, sometimes thousands of dollars per month.
While not yet ubiquitous with knowledge management software, some solutions offer knowledge management, cloud storage, enterprise search, and more with one simple subscription. Again, this cost-saving advantage of knowledge management software doesn’t apply to every program but is certainly worth noting.
Consolidating functions normally distributed across multiple apps not only saves your company money on subscription payments but makes for a better employee experience. If this sounds idealistic, keep in mind that large firms utilize nearly 130 unique apps on average! So, even if your organization isn’t quite that hectic, it probably wouldn’t hurt to centralize a few tools.
The bottom line.
Facts and figures aside, can you imagine, just for a moment, how much time your customers and team would save if all of your organization’s knowledge and data were available with just a few keystrokes? While faster purchase decisions, reduced missteps, and expedited onboarding don’t guarantee increased profits, they certainly don’t impede them.
Ultimately, the impact that a knowledge management system has on a business’s bottom line will be determined by the software solution selected, organizational buy-in, and the ease of use for customers and internal teams alike.