When it comes to knowledge-sharing systems, one size does not fit all! That is why we have formulated 8 core questions to help our clients define their knowledge-sharing needs, before implementing our solutions.

Why knowledge sharing matters

It is no secret that employee engagement, collaboration and dynamic interactions are magic ingredients for business success. According to Nielsen’s 2014 Consumer Packaged Goods Innovation report, two out of three consumer product professionals named collaboration among the top three most critical factors for innovation success. They even ranked it ahead of strong leadership and access to financial resources! But creating the right processes and environment for team alignment and knowledge-pooling is much easier said than done.

In fact, in another report, a staggering 74% of the professionals interviewed felt that their company was ineffective in their collaboration efforts.

The challenge

One reason that knowledge synergies are so difficult to achieve, is that collaboration is considered more time-intensive than independent work. Indeed, without a fit-for-purpose knowledge-sharing system, a lot of time can get lost on low-value interactive tasks, such as requesting files, collating, and clarifying information.

In addition to cutting down on email time, knowledge-sharing platforms can eliminate unnecessary meetings, and make it quicker and easier for employees to find the information they need.

That is why more and more businesses are now using online platforms to boost the performance of their teams. But a platform alone doesn’t constitute a strategy. Indeed, it takes more than pre-designed software to manage a successful knowledge-sharing project. That’s why we work closely with our clients to tailor a platform that will deliver.

The first step for designing a platform, is to define what your company story is and how this system is going to help you.

Defining your knowledge-sharing goals

For over a decade, Elium has been working closely with knowledge managers to create platforms that meet the needs and identities of their organizations. After working with hundreds of clients, we know that every company has its own culture and its own procedural requirements.

To get the most out of a service like ours, you should fine-tune your goals, describe your company culture, and clearly define your processes. Before setting up your new platform, it is important that you can clearly answer the following questions:

  1. What needs will your knowledge-sharing platform address?
  2. How will your new system address previous failures?
  3. Do your employees understand why a knowledge-sharing platform will help?
  4. What company story do you want to share with your employees?
  5. How should your new knowledge-sharing platform fit with existing solutions?
  6. What are the incoming, internal and outgoing information sources that your knowledge-sharing platform will share?
  7. Which target groups are affected by, produce and use these sources on a daily basis?
  8. What are the short-, middle- and long term-objectives of the project?

Knowledge-sharing needs, fears and failures

Questions 1-3

  • What needs will your knowledge-sharing platform address?
  • How will your new system address previous failures?
  • Do your employees understand why a knowledge-sharing platform will help?

Our first three questions are designed to help you set out your strategy, by defining what your knowledge-sharing needs are. Elium uses tailored templates to make it quicker and easier to share important information. The more specifically you can describe your needs, the more precise your system will be.

Articulate your needs

Do you need better communication between managers and teams? Between team members? Across departments? Is there a current knowledge-related problem? Or an unexploited opportunity?

It is essential to pay close attention to the untapped collaboration opportunities and the technical needs of your teams. Where is your knowledge-sharing failing? It could be as simple as disorganized communications systems.

A report by McKinsey shows that, on average, knowledge workers spend 19% of their time looking for information. They spend another 28% of their days reading and answering emails.

If this is representative of your organization, consider an alternative. Do workers need to trawl through all of those emails? Remember, after being interrupted, it takes nearly 25 minutes to regain focus and return to the task they were previously working on. Many communication-platforms have the ability to streamline communications and funnel information. This means that workers can stay focused on the tasks that put their real skills to use.

Team work from the start

Successful knowledge-sharing takes more than just shopping around for the right software. In fact, according to a Breakthrough Innovation Report from Nielsen, the success of the new system hinges on testing it effectively, communicating it correctly, and making the process a true team effort.

This is why it is essential to have all employees on board. Make sure that you understand their needs, and that they can see how the platform can address previous failures and help them to work more effectively.

The groundwork

If you have difficulty answering questions 1 to 3, consider running a needs and fears analysis of your organization. This is a really time-effective way to ensure that your are keeping your employees’ needs in sight!

One thing that has proven true for all our clients, is that a clear and mutual understanding of the context and goals is essential for the successful implementation of a project. In our experience, the most successful platform launches, are those where this understanding is mutually shared between your internal project team members and your Customer Success team.

The identity of your knowledge-sharing platform

Question 4

  • What company story do you want to share with your employees?

This question is a really important one for employee engagement and company ethos.

By providing a central, shared online space, intranets articulate and disseminate a company identity. That’s why we work hard to create a platform that fits with your organization’s character and helps draw all employees together into one story in which everyone has a role. So, it is important that clients have a good sense of what this is. Help us to guide you through the best way to embed your ethos into your Elium.

Technical considerations

Questions 5-7

  • How does your future knowledge-sharing platform fit with existing solutions?
  • What are the incoming, internal and outgoing information sources that your knowledge-sharing platform will share?
  • Which target groups are affected by, produce and use these sources on a daily basis?

There are lots of things to consider when choosing an intranet. For one thing, it is important to find one that can integrate your company’s technical needs.

Remember, if your teams are likely to work remotely, you need a platform with a desktop and mobile app. If your employees use digital work tools like Microsoft 365 and G Suite, make sure you choose a platform that can incorporate them. If in doubt, contact the software provider and ask them to go through the compatible tools with you. In fact, services like Elium will even provide a free demo so that you can clearly see whether the solution is right for your teams.

Over the years, Elium has built up a very diverse client base. Some use their Elium to share important updates about security and safety, while others exchange real-time snapshots of competitors, or use their smartphones to share best-practice photos of stacked produce.

When developing a platform with your chosen service, make sure they clearly understand the kind of information that each team will need to share, and which methods suit them best.

Change doesn’t happen overnight

Question 8

  • What are the short-, middle- and long term-objectives of the project?

It is very important that clients’ expectations are in line with the evolutionary process of an organization. And remember that your needs will adapt to changing markets and company directions. As time goes on, you may wish to revisit your goals and resource allocations. Make sure you are choosing a system that allows you to evolve.

Some improvements will be instant; others will be incremental. Discuss your expectations and hopes with your service team. They should be able to help you to clearly map out some realistic goals, and how to reach them!

To learn more about creating a knowledge-sharing strategy, contact Elium and ask for a free, bespoke demo to take you through the process!

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