Enhance Collaboration with a Common Knowledge Platform

September 6, 2018

Enhance Collaboration with a Common Knowledge Platform

Most companies understand that collaboration is the lifeblood of any organization. Being able to work well in teams and across platforms is crucial for success. In fact, a study by Deloitte shows that collaborative employees work 15 percent faster and do 70 percent better work. 

A major component of successful collaboration, however, relies on a company’s ability to share information quickly and easily. Sometimes large teams even have to collaborate virtually or internationally and being able to rely on fast knowledge is paramount. To pull off complex tasks, teams can enhance their efforts by using internal knowledge base software, which makes vital information within your company accessible.  

After all, knowledge is a source of power that can solve problems, streamline productivity, and improve work quality. Utilizing a common knowledge platform such as online documentation software or an internal knowledge base is the key to ensuring that the knowledge essential to your team’s success, such as historicals, budgeting costs, statistics, marketing strategies, and organizational departments, is shared instantaneously within a group.

All these objectives can be achieved by incorporating a knowledge management system.

Below are five ways knowledge base helps organizations collaborate, enhance their efforts, and ultimately deliver a better product by using a common knowledge platform:

1. It serves as a starting point for collaboration.
Your online knowledgebase or online documentation software can be the starting place where teams go to begin research, find a tutorial, share knowledge, or anything else project-centric. An online platform is a great hosting spot for videos, recordings, documents, and any other documented process that your collaborative team needs to get going.

By using a knowledge base as a convenient entry point, employees are not stuck on long email threads or waiting for access--everything they need can be right at their fingertips, and they can begin researching, planning, or working on the project immediately. 

Every team member will be able to begin on the same foot with the same common knowledge as a basis for understanding, eliminating any bias or misconceptions that can hinder your project.  

2. It circulates information quickly.
According to a study by McKinsey & Company, employees spend 20 percent of their time at work looking for information they need. Usually, our information is hidden by filled inboxes, unorganized repositories, or from other employees that may be too busy to provide an extensive explanation. A knowledge base centralizes information, allowing any employee to access and share it with ease. Forgetting to forward an email or upload a document costs precious time and creates confusion.

Using an internal knowledge base eliminates this by making information readily accessible. This central pool of knowledge enhances the speed in which your collaborative team can get work done.

It can also prevent knowledge hoarding, which may even happen accidentally, as employees work on pieces of a project separately and save newly learned information on their desktop, instead of working in a shared, online documentation software. Instead, circulating knowledge as soon as it is learned can lead to a rise in creative problem solving and speed up response times. 

3. It can help define roles and clarify goals. 
Every member of a team contributes specific strengths, and true collaboration brings these strengths together to make something better than one employee could do alone. This works best when each contributor knows how he or she is needed on the team. 

Cooperation increases when the roles of individual team members are sharply defined and documented. Perhaps your online knowledge base includes details on project specifics such as team member roles, overall goals, a timeline for completion, and tasks assigned out to specific employees. 

This sort of landing page for all workers on the project to see eliminates project confusion and increases accountability--not only do you know the piece of the project you are responsible for, but so does everyone else on the team. There are no excuses for this sort of visibility. 

Team members can also use an internal knowledge base to become aware of overall department goals and responsibilities, company mission and ethics, and workplace policies that will ensure the team has an understanding of the company culture first. This helps align everyone right from the start and leads to more effective team collaboration.

4. It can eliminate repeat mistakes.
A knowledge base can diminish repeat mistakes by providing information related to each project/task completed in the past. An internal knowledge base uses systematic processes to organize data from past projects, lessons learned, timelines, and organizational activities. Using these historicals can reduce mistakes and streamline efficiency.

An internal knowledge base lets your employees focus more on building up great project ideas in the present instead of spending weeks digging up old ideas or processes that may be lost in emails and folders. Hosting past project data in an online documentation software essentially provides a startling line for your current project to build from.

5. It allows teams to work together virtually.
In the virtual world, many teams are often spread across multiple locations. Sometimes, the increase in virtual teams can mean a decline in cooperation, unless an organization makes an effort to fully establish a collaborative culture. 

Research conducted by the University of Central Florida shows that having shared leadership duties in a virtual team is the key to success, and a common knowledge platform provides the shared space needed to facilitate this success.

If employees share the responsibility to contribute to an online space where everyone has access to the information, accountability increases and employees become more trustworthy to continue collaborating from their virtual space. 

Using a common knowledge platform can become a driver for the way your organization approaches collaboration. An internal knowledge base provides a joint repository for research and guidance, a portal for information and collaboration, a virtual meeting place, and a way to circulate data and maintain accountability and work integrity.

Having a common knowledge platform facilitates collaboration that progressively boosts the team’s morale and can lead to a stronger, more unified team that works together in harmony. Shared knowledge is the key to project success and eliminating confusion or mistakes. Building an online knowledge platform from which this collaboration can thrive can be just the boost your next project needs to ensure success. 

The Authors: 

Robin Singh is a Technical Support Executive. He is an expert in knowledge management and various knowledge base tools. Currently, he is a resident knowledge management expert at ProProfs. He can be reached at robin@proprofs.com.