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How does knowledge management enhance the decision making process?

by | Dec 9, 2019

A knowledge management platform not only saves time for employees and makes searching easier, but it also ensures that customers have access to the information they need. Using an AI platform such as Capacity, customers can easily find and retrieve the information they are searching for, helping them make more informed decisions that will improve their overall customer experience.

Capacity’s Guided Conversations, CoPilot Console, and AI-Powered Knowledge Base are the path of least resistance for employees and customers. Employees can say goodbye to feelings of overwhelm and drowning in documents; customers can easily find what they’re searching for with the power of automation.

Every organization has unique knowledge that can be leveraged to create a competitive advantage. This knowledge is the sum of information collected by an organization. Knowledge encompasses formal and informal communication and includes items like emails, video files, and product descriptions.

As companies grow, the volume of information does too. Without a way to organize the corporate knowledge, much of the data remains unused. Employees are not going to search through decades of information for an answer. It simply takes too much time. 

That’s where knowledge management comes in. Knowledge management is a way to capture, distribute, and use a company’s information so it is more accessible to everyone. When used properly, a knowledge management system represents the single source of truth within an enterprise, making it the go-to source for accurate information for decision-making.

So, how does knowledge management enhance the decision-making process? Let’s take a closer look at the impact it can make. 

Decision-making process.

It should come as no surprise that the art of decision-making has been studied since Ancient Greece. From philosophers to business consultants, humans have tried to define a process that results in good decisions. One area that everyone seems to agree on is the need for information in the decision-making process.

More information.

A company is ready to launch a new product line, and a training program needs to be created. The trainer finds the last new product training program to determine if it can be adapted for the upcoming launch. Next, the trainer searches for equivalent information on the new product and talks to a few department managers involved in product development. After data collection, the trainer decides to go with the old training program using the new product information. Unfortunately, the trainer didn’t find the information that said the program failed to meet its objectives.

With a knowledge management system (KMS), the outcome could have been different. When the trainer queries the KMS, the system returns more than prior new product training programs. It returns tacit and implicit information that lets the trainer know the programs were not well-received. After a few additional queries, the trainer knows what went wrong with the prior training and understands how to improve the programs. 

In this situation, knowledge management helped the training department make a better decision on its new product training. Rather than repeat the mistakes of the past, the trainers can adjust the process to address the limitations of prior training. As a result, the new training was more targeted using less text-based materials and more video and graphic content.

More agility.

Today’s business landscape requires agility. Companies no longer have months or even weeks to make decisions. Sometimes, they’re lucky to have days. Executives can’t wait for someone to collect data, analyze it, and provide a synthesized report before deciding. They need access to critical information immediately. 

Knowledge management delivers that agility. It can search multiple sources from across an enterprise. It doesn’t matter if the data is in a database, graphics files, or lengthy reports, KMS  solutions can return search results in seconds. For example, a business is having difficulties with its supply chain. Critical components are being delayed, which is slowing production.

The head of logistics learns that another supplier’s shipment is delayed. Rather than wait, the manager queries the knowledge management system looking for alternative carriers that the company has used before. Within minutes, a list of carriers that service the same route is displayed along with contact information. 

Without the knowledge management system, the manager would have to comb through different databases, or even old emails, to find possible carriers and their contact information. Finding an alternative within minutes of notification means shipments continue to arrive on-time with no impact on production schedules.

More confidence.

Disorganized information leads to employee confusion. When engineers look for product specifications and find multiple versions, how do they know which specification is correct? Using KMS best practices enables a system to function as a single source of truth for an organization. Multiple versions not only create confusion, but they waste time as employees struggle to determine which version is correct. 

Curated information can be used in knowledge bases and helpdesks to ensure that the most accurate information is available. Once employees learn to trust a KMS solution, they become more confident in answering customer questions. They are more comfortable using data for internal projects knowing they are working with the latest information. Being able to trust the information makes for a better employee experience.

Better decisions.

Knowledge management solutions can help the decision-making process by providing accurate and comprehensive information in a matter of minutes. They can also enhance the process by incorporating advanced technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI) and natural language processing (NLP) to better understand the intent of the request. 

For instance, AI can learn that individuals who ask about sick days often search for vacation time. Instead of making the end-user perform two queries, the system can recommend the second query when returning the first request results. An intelligent KMS can expand the body of information without human intervention. 

Experts in decision-making have identified seven steps in the process:

  • Determine the decision.
  • Collect pertinent information.
  • Identify possible options.
  • Evaluate the information.
  • Make a decision.
  • Execute decision.
  • Review decision outcomes.

Of these steps, four require information. People collect all available data and find options. They then evaluate the information, acquiring more information if needed. Once the decision is made, people document the outcomes for future reference.

With a KMS, decision-makers have better data for making decisions. It provides comprehensive and curated knowledge that enables individuals to make decisions quickly and with more confidence. When all relevant data is displayed in one place, decision-makers can quickly evaluate the content and focus on the pertinent information. 

If an organization wants to make better decisions, having access to information is crucial. Even in situations where people “go with their gut,” they rely on data to arrive at the decision point. Their gut decision is simply deciding among equally valid alternatives based on information.