In short, knowledge management entails keeping training and policies for businesses updated. Knowledge management consultants are expected to guide companies on how to best organize and operate their information and knowledge. According to the Harvard Review’s article “What’s Your Strategy for Managing Knowledge?,” knowledge management became mainstream in the 1990s. From there, knowledge management’s popularity was supplemented by increasingly advanced computers and networking capabilities. Sharing knowledge quickly and effectively has only become more necessary in businesses today. However, there are many ways to manage knowledge. This article will cover two major strategies, codification and personalization.
For the codification strategy, knowledge is stored in computers that are accessible to anyone in the company. Knowledge can be reused and repurposed in different ways and in different projects because it is not tied to one person. Once it is entered in the company’s computer system, it can be used by all. This is helpful for larger companies or for multiple teams who need to share information with one another. Even teams that work on completely different projects may benefit from one another’s knowledge.
The Harvard Review gives an example of how the codification strategy is used at Ernst & Young: “Specialists write reports and analyses that many teams can use … Each of Ernst & Young’s more than 40 practice areas has a staff member who helps codify and store documents. The resulting area databases are linked through a network.” In summary, the company hires experts to write material that can be shared on company-wide databases which are organized by designated staff members.
The personalization strategy emphasizes what the Harvard Review calls “person to person” knowledge sharing. Computers simply serve as a place to store information, while the bulk of knowledge management is done on a personal level. This is ideal for information that is not suited for databases, such as concepts that must be explained personally by experts or by the author.
The personalization strategy is a great way to utilize your company’s network, especially for projects that require direct communication and collaboration to generate creative solutions. This can be done through in-person meetings, online meetings, emails, phone calls, or any other means of communication. “What’s Your Strategy for Managing Knowledge?” notes that companies who use the personalization strategy usually have directories and “consulting directors” to help facilitate the connections needed to efficiently share knowledge.
The codification and personalization strategies are two common ways that companies can run their knowledge management. Codification emphasizes sharing information on company-wide databases, while personalization highlights the importance of a person-to-person knowledge exchange. The Harvard Review states that it is important not to juggle both strategies. Instead, pick one and use the other to periodically support and expand your primary strategy.