Causes of Failure in Knowledge Management
Many companies have come to the understanding that Knowledge management is important to their organisations success. However they fail to understand that there are many obstacles that can cripple their success, including:
- No knowledge sharing culture: This has been singled out as one of the key drivers of knowledge management failure globally. Human beings have a tendency to hoard information because they feel powerful. Your organisation should begin to reward people for sharing information because any 2 brains are better than 1 and it also spurs success. The stronger the knowledge sharing culture is in the organisation, the better the implementation and the greater the success of the process and the organisation as a whole. So, how do you promote this culture? It must first be a top down initiative where the necessary steps are taken from management down to junior staff. If management shares, employees will share as well.
- No motivation towards using the system: knowledge management is rather boring for most employees and they would in fact rather hoard it and become seemingly more resourceful and get a promotion. Many companies have taken to giving rewards to motivate employees to contribute to what the organisation knows. They incentivise content creation based on the quantity of articles as opposed to the quality of the content in them. This has only helped to create lots of useless articles that contain nothing more than a lot of junk in the name of new information. The best way to reward would be to tie in the knowledge management outcomes with the employee performance and customer feedback. Reward quality and not quantity to get the best and motivate your employees to share what they know.
- Failing to capture knowledge from professional consultants: Consultants come in and out of organisations to solve one problem or the other and all the while gathering information that is key to growth. However, they only report on their core business and will never offer information unless asked. Allowing them to leave without asking is to deprive the company from vital information that could make or break the organisation. They can help you capture best practices and guide you to learn more meaningful lessons from situations that can further grow your knowledge base.
- Not having a dedicated knowledge management team: Knowledge management requires an all hands on deck approach. Content capturing requires lots of precision and structure to lay the foundation right. If you mess this stage up, you will never achieve the objectives of the process. Next is maintenance. You need less people here but there must be a management team to oversee the process and ensure it is executed right. Working together in maintaining the program is great, but everybody’s business soon becomes no one’s business and the program could fail to achieve its set goals. Companies that do not have dedicated knowledge management teams suffer this in just a few years of implementation.
- Outdated content: Everyone is excited about a new project but this fever never lasts long especially where knowledge management is concerned. At first the system gets by the minute updates, then daily updates and finally an annual update is scheduled and sometimes not seen through. This results into stale knowledge, duplicated content and lots of junk piling up in a once spick & span system. Organisations are required to dedicate resources to this process or risk implementing new systems every 3 years which is a costly affair.
- Unfilled gaps in the Knowledge data base: Keeping an updated knowledge base is good for internal use but also for your customers. The worst thing would be to have your customers looking elsewhere for information about your products and actually finding it. This makes their second source more valuable to them which could be the start of your downfall as a company.