Have you ever thought about what your employees bring to your business? What do they do that makes your business unique? What do they offer that is critical to your success?
Application knowledge is a business asset. If it disappears, it can be the difference between normal business operations and complete chaos. Which is why it’s important to have an application knowledge capture process in place.
Application knowledge is the collective wisdom, insight, expertise, judgment, and awareness gained from working in the field. It’s the unique knowledge that comes from the people inside your business, working together to set your business apart from the rest. It’s the raw knowledge that exists in the minds of every member of the staff.
Protecting your information involves developing, managing and maintaining an application knowledge database. It’s important to have it in a location that is accessible to anyone who needs it, anywhere in the world. Without this investment of capturing critical knowledge, your organization may face situations where customer service levels drop, business systems cease to work, and expensive retraining programs are required to bring new hires up to speed. It can also be costly to recreate information, both in time and financially.
Whenever you have a plan put into action, complete a project, or have a new system installed, this application knowledge is the natural by-product that is created. From an IT perspective, it’s also made up of technology information, operational procedures, organizational awareness, work initiatives, lessons learned, and the beliefs and perceptions of every member of the team.
How do you ensure all of this knowledge stays in-house? It can be derived in three phases.
Identify Your Application Knowledge
A business is made up of a series of experiences that move them from day to day. These experiences can be in the form of projects, problems, plans, actions, decisions, etc. With every experience you have, a series of investigative questions can help you identify your approach.
What did we do?
Why did we do it?
What tools did we need to get there?
What were the results?
Did it go as planned?
What problems existed?
What did we learn?
What do we want to repeat?
What do we want to change?
Archive Your Application Knowledge
As you identify each task and experience in your business, it’s time to capture the process as it happens. Archiving it ensures it will be a part of your business process each time you face the situation again. This is something that should be a part of the process, not an afterthought down the road. Have deadlines in place. Have an archiving system identified with specific tasks in place for how to get it all down. Also, have approved decision makers, editors, and reviewers to ensure everything is archived efficiently.
Integrate Your Application Knowledge
This process should never be a standalone event. Instead, documentation should be a part of the process. It should be continually updated and applied at every level of the organization.
What is your application knowledge strategy?