Knowledge is at the core of innovation, and having a culture that encourages knowledge sharing within your business can create stronger teams, streamline operations, and improve customer relationships.
This is something we often hear these days. But what does it really mean? What is knowledge sharing, exactly, and what can businesses gain from having streamlined sharing efforts? Most importantly – if knowledge sharing is as important as it is made out to be – how does one go about getting started?
We aim to answer all these questions and more with our comprehensive guide to knowledge sharing.
What is digital knowledge sharing?
Digital knowledge sharing in organisations is the process of exchanging critical information across the workforce, through internal and external teams. This knowledge can be technical, such as shared information on a new product or service, or it can be tacit, which is knowledge gained and developed from experience.
Some knowledge sharing methods include proprietary online training, onboarding workshops, on-demand recordings, meetings and conferences, and project management and documentation.
It is no secret that businesses that have a culture where employees are encouraged to share what they know do better than those that do not. In fact, shared knowledge resources are a key driver in overcoming challenges and pioneering innovation.
Studies on business management have stated that knowledge sharing is an organisation’s most necessary leverage and reliable source to maintain competitive. Having an efficient knowledge sharing network is critical for executing long-term strategies and for developing trust between employees. It can also improve overall workplace satisfaction and reduce operational inefficiencies.
Applications of knowledge sharing
Knowledge sharing comes in many forms, and it largely depends on what the nature and objectives of a business are. To put things more concretely, below are four examples of how businesses utilise knowledge sharing to meet their goals.
Partner enablement is the practice of providing business partners with the materials and training needed to effectively promote and sell your products and services. With a streamlined knowledge sharing process, businesses can extend their sales team and potentially increase their revenue.
Employee onboarding is one of the most common applications of knowledge sharing. HR Managers distribute important documents such as employee handbooks, holiday policies, and other resources, so that new joiners can better understand their organisation’s mission and culture.
Knowledge sharing is a big component in product marketing. When a new product is brought to market, different teams within a business must work together to promote it and optimise revenue streams. This includes specialised training and support, thorough evaluation of customer feedback, and continuous improvement of marketing strategies.
Cascading content is the practice of distributing information, materials, and resources to the appropriate audiences. For an efficient cascading process, it is essential to streamline communication, offer targeted training and support, and continuously refine content strategies.
Just as product marketing strategies are subject to iteration, so are channel sales strategies. The collaborative nature of channel sales training means that feedback from partners drives continuous improvement. By leveraging data on partner performance, sales growth, and customer satisfaction, companies can fine-tune strategies and adapt to evolving market demands.
What can businesses gain from efficient digital knowledge sharing efforts?
Running an organisation that encourages knowledge sharing can bring plenty of added value to your teams and your business.
Lowered costs and increased efficiency
One of the most substantial advantages of efficient knowledge sharing efforts is that it can help businesses reduce costs and increase operational efficiency.
For existing employees, having a strong knowledge of their business goals and services can lead to better decision-making in less time. It can also help them spot business gaps in product offering and service delivery, and how they can bridge those gaps.
For new employees that are just joining a company, they can easily familiarise themselves with company culture, values, and expectations. This can lead to increased satisfaction and higher productivity in the workplace.
Stronger brand growth and innovation
When it comes to getting employees, partners, and clients up to speed with new products or complex services, efficient knowledge sharing efforts can be a great help.
Not only can individuals participate in sessions hosted by experts, but they can learn at their own pace and take the time they need to review their knowledge.
Great ideas come from everywhere. When employees and partners are empowered, they can contribute to wider discussions concerning brand growth and innovation.
Enhanced customer centricity
Hearing from customers often is a helpful start. Processing their feedback and responding appropriately takes a business from good to great.
With an efficient knowledge sharing space, businesses can enhance their employees’ collective ability to understand customer perceptions and expectations. This can lead to better business decisions that focus on what their customers want, improving customer satisfaction and company revenue in the long run.
A competitive edge in the market
Regardless of the market your business operates in, there are bound to be changes and challenges.
With efficient knowledge sharing, you can keep your teams and partners up to date with changing regulations and new trends. This allows you to detect and navigate any obstacles coming your way. When you continually scan market demand and sentiment, you stay one step ahead of the competition.
Main concerns and challenges organisations face with digital knowledge sharing
The benefits of efficient knowledge sharing are evident. But it’s not always smooth sailing – especially for businesses that want to promote complex products and services while following stringent regulations or employees that prefer to stick to the status quo.
Organisations face several main concerns and challenges in their digital knowledge sharing efforts.
1. Content creation and content cascading
Producing high-quality, branded content and sharing the content efficiently are two key challenges organisations face.
Types of content may include training materials and product catalogues, webinars, and templates. Often, organisations find it difficult to create engaging content from the lack of resources and technological barriers.
When they do create the content they want, they fall behind in updating it, which leads to users abandoning the knowledge sharing system.
Finding a suitable platform for organisations to host knowledge sharing events is also a challenge that many decision-makers face.
Product Managers, HR Specialists, and Partners all have different expectations and requirements of the kind of sharing session they want to host. An on-demand handbook detailing company policies may be a good idea for employee onboarding, while product managers may prefer showing a video demo of the latest product launch.
Finding a platform that can host different types of content, provide different levels of access, and offer knowledge sharing anytime can be a real headache.
3. Security and privacy
Concerns regarding data privacy is more relevant than ever in our digital age. Many online meeting spaces lack the robust security needed for organisations to keep their data protected.
Security is a particular pain point for businesses in highly regulated industries, such as banks, medical organisations, and pharmaceutical companies. These organisations have strict privacy policies and are obligated by law to keep client information secure. Data leaks can lead to a complete loss of trust the public has in the organisation.
4. Engagement rates
Low engagement rates continue to plague many organisations in their knowledge sharing efforts. When in-house training is not compulsory, few employees may join. When business partners and clients struggle to search for and interact with information, they may forgo participating completely.
5. Integration with existing technology
When organisations introduce a new knowledge sharing platform to employees, partners, and clients, there is always the worry that it may clash with existing systems and technology. This holds organisations back from introducing new platforms at all, preferring to stick with what is already in place.
6. Success measurement
Organisations may be unsure how success can be measured on a new platform to justify its implementation. There may be difficulties identifying metrics to track, how to track them, and ways to report them in a format that can move the business forward.
A virtual platform: the solution to maximise digital knowledge sharing
Nowadays, geographic distance is unavoidable.
Teams span continents, and employees and partners come from all over the world. Diversity of thought and knowledge can add value to an organisation – when it is shared. And what better place is there than online, where most of us are already conducting our businesses and discussing great ideas?
This is where virtual knowledge sharing platforms come in, boosting workplace productivity, employee morale and expertise, and potentially increase business revenue.
Virtual platforms can be used to widen the reach of organisations that are planning to host large-scale activities. They can also be the tool to bridge the distance between geographically remote employees. They can be used as a collaborative space for business-critical stakeholders to meet and discuss ideas, and they can be a digital checkpoint in the buying process for companies with long sales cycles.
Set up your own knowledge-sharing universe today
Knowledge is at the core of innovation, and effective knowledge sharing can lead to better ideas from stronger teams. With the rise of remote work and global partnerships, it is more important than ever for organisations to embrace digital solutions that can streamline their operations and enhance decision making.
Businesses that embrace the use of virtual platforms may find success in the form of stronger teams, better relationships with customers, and higher operational efficiency.