The use of knowledge management systems (KMS) is gaining traction among enterprises, especially when it comes to customer service and human resource management. Still, not many regard KMS as an essential application for their organizations. It is nowhere as popular as accounting, enterprise resource planning (ERP), customer relations management (CRM), or project management software.

More Than Managing Knowledge

Knowledge management magazine KMWorld notes that the classic definition of the term is attributed to Tom Davenport who said “Knowledge management (KM) is the process of capturing, distributing, and effectively using knowledge.” In the modern context, however, a new definition has emerged: “Knowledge management is a discipline that promotes an integrated approach to identifying, capturing, evaluating, retrieving, and sharing all of an enterprise’s information assets.”

Gartner offers a similar definition, describing KM as “a discipline that formalizes the management of intellectual assets, enabling effective action through their use.” Gartner says that KM promotes collaboration and integration in creating, capturing, organizing, and using intellectual assets — including what is known but not necessarily documented.”

The value of KM is not limited to organizing information. As explained by KMWorld, it helps achieve rich and open communication and information access. It also promotes situational awareness, which allows businesses to become more dynamic and responsive to changes, challenges, and opportunities.

The KMS Industry And Its Role In The Time Of A Pandemic

Knowledge management systems have become more relevant to businesses over the past decade. According to a Market Research Future (MRFR) study, the global KMS software market will have grown by 12 percent CAGR for the 2017-2023 period. The market is set to be worth more than $33 billion by 2023. These numbers already take the COVID-19 problem into account.

According to MRFR, the top KMS users will include manufacturing, banking, financial service, pharmaceutical, and IT and telecommunications industries. Government agencies, particularly defense departments, are also expected to take advantage of knowledge management solutions.

It is understandable for some to be skeptical about the idea of growth in the KMS market, given that it is not as popular as other critical business platforms. However, as MRFR explained in its report, the health and economic crises stimulate the need for more data gathering and analysis across verticals, something that falls in the ambit of KMS’ functions and objectives.

“Accelerated demand for target-specific information to expand a business is expected to spur the growth of the knowledge management software market. The increasing need for customer satisfaction and retention can also benefit the market in the coming years,” the report writes.

In other words, two of the biggest reasons why KMS is ascending to popularity are the need to improve customer experiences in light of the changes in the ways of doing business and the necessity for businesses to become more efficient to achieve growth. These are discussed briefly below.

Boosting Customer Experiences With KMS

A case study involving the Arab Bank in Amman City, Jordan demonstrates the positive impact of knowledge management in attracting customers. The study introduced a theoretical framework of customer knowledge management (CKM) into 38 branches of the Arab Bank. “Results show that there is a positive relation between CKM and the Customer Attraction process, and CKM works successfully to attract and gain customers in Arab Bank,” the study concluded.

Better data management results in improved customer support and engagement. KMS serves as a tool for enhancing customer experiences, a way to address the questions, complaints, and other concerns of prospective and current customers. Satisfied customers are most likely to become repeat customers who will also likely spread good word of mouth that can benefit a brand or business.

A report by customer centricity expert Steven Van Belleghem highlights how customers are becoming more demanding. Based on the global survey included in the report, customers say they want their issues to be addressed speedily and transparently, with 9 out of 10 seeking to have first call resolution. “The old rule that ‘if we react within 24 hours, we are doing an amazing job’ is officially history,” the study notes.

To avoid creating a negative impression by failing to address inquiries in a timely manner, enterprises are compelled to turn to automation and smart information presentation. Belleghem’s study points to the need for a self-service economy to meet changing customer expectations. Accordingly, 70 percent of customers expect websites to include a self-service application, while 40 percent say they prefer self-service over human contact.

KMS is the key to achieve effective customer service automation, as it guides which details are relevant and how they should be presented. Also, it assists potential customers with their product research or inquiries.

Improving Organizational Efficiency With KMS

One of the leaders in the knowledge management sector, KMS Lighthouse, conducted a study that presents many interesting findings relevant to knowledge management. The data gathered reveals that barely 10 percent of executives and managers are satisfied with the availability of relevant information to their customer contact personnel.

The study also says that it takes between 30 minutes to two hours to find the information employees need. Many companies admit to having long call wait times, with 23 percent saying that their customers wait for up to 30 seconds. Meanwhile, 27 percent say that their wait times are as high as three minutes.

These details paint an opportunity to significantly improve efficiency. With so much customer and business time wasted, it is important to devise strategies or approaches to enable more efficient operations. To do this, it is essential to collect and analyze data involving both internal and external activities. Note that the study shows that companies use knowledge management systems as their primary source of information followed by CRM and workforce management systems.

In conclusion

The primary reason why businesses need KMS is not only for the ability to manage information per se. The benefits go beyond the organization and enhanced the accessibility of knowledge. Businesses should care about KMS because it can help employees adapt and perform their functions better. Additionally, knowledge management systems are excellent tools in enhancing customer experiences.

KMS solutions are not only useful in managing overwhelming amounts of business data. These also serve as tools even small startups can harness to improve employee onboarding and efficiency as well as to draw in more customers and ensure their satisfaction.