Today’s workplace is very dynamic, requiring companies to up their knowledge management game in order to drive efficiency, productivity and compete effectively within their respective markets, writes Lionel Moyal, office business group lead at Microsoft South Africa.
Among other benefits, an effective knowledge management system enables a business to reduce time to decisions, retain knowledge as staff leaves or retires, and increase business performance.
Organisations need to use the right systems that will enable them to capture, share, retain, and leverage organisational knowledge, as this will allow them to maximise the value of their workforce through modern, mobile, and social knowledge collaboration.
This, as innovation, insights and breakthrough ideas can come from anywhere within your company. It is therefore crucial for systems to be in place that allow employees from geographically dispersed office locations to be able to communicate and collaborate with teammates, partners, suppliers and customers, regardless of location, platform, or device type.

One platform offering versatility in its tools and solutions
Although people are more reliant on their peers to help them get things done, using a “one size fits all” approach in terms of the solution through which to do this, does not work when it comes to group collaboration.
Different teams and groups require different tools that appeals to them and adequately addresses their unique needs. For instance, enterprise social networks are great tools for cross-organisation communication, while an IM tool enables colleagues to quickly obtain answers to questions or a video conference solution allows group members to discuss progress or issues around a project.
Today, businesses are collecting more data than ever before. But data without insight is meaningless, and insight without action is pointless. The biggest question companies face is how to make sense of it all or phrased differently, how do they sift through big data to find meaningful information that helps to tell a story about customers, product insights or industry trends that can help drive a business forward.
To do this, companies need to use the right tools to convert big data into digestible and actionable insights that is visually represented for the presentation thereof to be more easily understood and applied.

Keeping organisational knowledge and corporate data secure
Further complicating matters is the tug of war between the demands of users within the organisation and IT. Employees crave a great user experience, whilst IT want to prioritise security and manageability of the systems.
Through Advanced Threat Protection, a platform such as Office 365 addresses the latest attacks that can invade a network through email attachments or embedded links, while delivering a familiar user experience that is consistent across device types and platforms.
The security of sharing documents within a secure platform results in companies being able to effectively collaborate and maximise the productivity of staff, without worrying about inappropriate access to files.
Moreover, identity management solutions such as Azure Active Directory simplifies how IT can manage user identity as well as access policies, while employees benefit from having all of their documents available on a smartphone, tablet or laptop.
When a company provides employees with a state-of-the-art business productivity platform that helps foster knowledge management, the staff will have the tools they need to more easily gain a competitive edge, and work leaner as well as more efficiently in order to preserve higher profit margins.