What is Knowledge Management?

Definition: Knowledge Management

Knowledge management refers to the ongoing process of effectively managing your knowledge resources. It generally includes the strategies and methods for recording, organizing, and using knowledge. Technologies and systems simplify the sharing and storage of knowledge.
Within an organization, knowledge management aims to facilitate access to information and knowledge. Effective implementation creates a unified corporate culture that promotes the sharing and use of knowledge.

Types of knowledge management

Strategic knowledge management

Crucial to the effective management of knowledge is its strategic alignment. Strategic knowledge management means consciously managing and using knowledge resources methodically. In this way, you can also achieve long-term goals and increase the success of your company.

Through the far-sighted approach, the existing knowledge can be used purposefully and also continuously developed and adapted - thus achieving a sustainable competitive advantage for your company.

Strategic knowledge management takes into account the entire lifecycle of knowledge and its impact on the long-term development of your company. This also includes close links with the higher-level corporate goals. Your company's vision and mission play an important role here, as internal knowledge management should help to support and implement these strategic guidelines.

Digital knowledge management

Knowledge management should be designed to be as effective and flexible as possible. To this end, you should take advantage of the opportunities offered by digital technologies. This is what digital knowledge management is all about. The goal here is to record, store, share and use information faster and more purposefully. The knowledge database should therefore be easily accessible to all employees of the company.

Digital knowledge databases have the advantage of enabling structured and systematic storage of information and documents. Clear categorization and indexing make it much easier to find relevant knowledge.

Digital knowledge management makes knowledge sharing a lot more effective. For example, this is also due to the fact that not only text documents, but also photos, screenshots and videos can be consulted.

Benefits of knowledge management

From improving customer service to optimizing work processes, knowledge management offers a variety of options to make your company's overall operations smoother and more effective. Implementation at your company offers many direct and indirect benefits. These include:

Higher first call resolution rate

Faster search, centralized data and decision trees mean more calls are solved first time around.

Shorter handling times

With predictive search, interactive troubleshooting and one place to look, agents can resolve issues faster.

Shorter training & onboarding

Built-in e-learning means agents can train where they work, learning both the tool and content simultaneously reducing onboarding by days and even weeks.

Providing easy international support

Multilingual and multi-market support make international service a breeze.

Simpler channel management

With all your service channels connected to a single source of truth, you can manage them in one place with no duplicate effort.

Continual service improvement

Advanced analytics help identify search and issue trends, find content gaps and ensure self-service for the most frequent issues.

However, knowledge management also offers numerous advantages for various stakeholders in the company:


  • Consistent, quality customer support in every channel
  • Problems resolved faster
  • Accurate and current information
  • Fewer transferred calls

Service agents

  • Find information as easily as a Google search
  • One source of information
  • Guided chats for easy and consistent service
  • Built-in e-learning for better training


  • Create custom workflows
  • Custom-built approval processes
  • Create guided chats and scripts
  • Tackle complex topics easily like a flowchart in Powerpoint


  • Ensure consistent service from all agents
  • Centrally manage scripts and guides
  • Faster onboarding for new agents
  • Custom Reports

The modular model for knowledge management

The modular model for knowledge management according to Probst, Raub and Romhardt from 1999 is a comprehensive framework for the management of knowledge within organizations. It consists of two interconnected loops - one for strategy and one for implementation - with a total of eight different modules.

Effective implementation of all modules is critical to realizing the full potential of existing knowledge at a company and deriving sustainable competitive advantages.

Knowledge management lifecycle

A knowledge management lifecycle can be derived from the modular model. The is because knowledge management encompasses the entire life cycle of information in your company:

Knowledge Management Process and Lifecycle
  1. Capturing: the process starts with recording knowledge and processes, both from existing resources and from the expertise of your employees.
  2. Structuring: the data is then structured and processed.
  3. Reviewing: afterwards, the data is checked and, if necessary, revised or supplemented again.
  4. Publication: once all data is quality assured, it is made available through various communication channels.
  5. Optimization: feedback obtained on a regular basis enables ongoing optimizations to be made.

The modular model and the lifecycle for knowledge management show that knowledge management is a holistic process that encompasses a wide variety of components. Knowledge management is not a one-time project with a fixed end date or a final solution. Rather, it is a continuous process that is always evolving and adapting to changing requirements.

Knowledge management strategies: personalization and codification

Zwei der wichtigsten Strategien im Wissensmanagement sind die Personalisierung und die Kodifizierung. Sie

Two of the most important strategies in knowledge management are personalization and codification. They represent different but complementary approaches to handling and disseminating knowledge.


The personalization of knowledge refers to the fact that knowledge is created on an individual level and is shaped by practical experiential knowledge and the expertise of an employee. This implicit knowledge is difficult to formally document and pass on.

Interpersonal communication is often crucial, as informal conversations between colleagues and teams can also play an important role in knowledge sharing. Employees can share the challenges they have faced as well as their successes achieved to learn from each other and develop imaginative solutions. A positive and open communication culture within the company is essential as a framework condition for knowledge management to enable the free flow of ideas and experiences.


In contrast to personalization, codification refers to transforming implicit knowledge into explicit knowledge so that it becomes accessible and usable by others. Codification makes it easier to share knowledge and apply it to different workflows.

Codification fundamentally facilitates systematic access to knowledge and enables broader distribution. The difficulty lies in fully capturing implicit knowledge and converting it into explicit formats.

Knowledge management methods: Structuring knowledge

One of the central challenges in knowledge management is to efficiently structure and organize the collected knowledge in order to be able to access it quickly and in a targeted manner. While a database enables structured storage and targeted searching, a visual representation with mindmaps can create a good overview and show connections in a more understandable way.

Knowledge Management with mindmaps

Mindmaps are a pictorial representation of information. Due to the tree-like structure, they are particularly well suited to representing complex relationships, ideas and knowledge in a hierarchical way. In a mindmap, central themes or concepts are presented in the center of the diagram, and then branches are created from there with sub-themes, associations, and connections.

  • Mindmaps provide a vivid representation of knowledge. They are presented in an understandable and easy to follow manner.
  • They help to organize information and knowledge in a hierarchical way, which makes it easier to grasp complex relationships.
  • Through the flexible and associative structure of mindmaps, new ideas and connections can emerge.
  • They can serve as collaborative tools to structure knowledge together as a team.

Knowledge Management database

A knowledge management database is a structured collection of knowledge resources that are available in electronic form. The database allows knowledge to be organized into clear categories and tagged (i.e. keywords) for easy search and navigation.

  • The database provides a central and secure repository for knowledge that is easily accessible to all employees.
  • The structuring and categorization of knowledge enables a quick and targeted search for relevant information.
  • A knowledge management database facilitates the updating and versioning of documents so that the latest information is always available.
  • By sharing the database, employees can benefit from the experience and knowledge of others.

How knowledge management relieves challenges for service centers and companies

Handling information is one of the biggest challenges facing companies today. The main problem is the ever-increasing amount of data, followed by redundant and inaccurate information stored in different locations. Knowledge management can solve these problems by centralizing information, implementing editorial and quality assurance processes, providing information through multiple communication channels, and doing it all from a single reliable source.

Challenges for companies and service centers

Common challenges for companies include:

  1. Information overload
  2. Inconsistent information from different employees
  3. Information silos, both physical and in the minds of employees
  4. Standalone solutions that are not connected to each other

Common challenges for service centers:

  • Complex internal procedures and processes that are specific to markets, products, customers or different languages.
  • Information overload due to the sheer volume of information available.
  • Inconsistent information between agents and on different channels.
  • Existence of information silos, both physical and in the minds of employees.
  • Standalone platform solutions that are not connected to each other.
  • Requirement to make information quickly retrievable and understandable.
  • High turnover and long training period for new employees.
  • High churn rate or willingness of customers and employees to switch.

Goals of knowledge management

Use knowledge management to solve the challenges facing modern businesses.

Goals of knowledge management software in customer service:

1. Single Source of Truth

Centralize your data in one place by consolidating your information into knowledge management software and eliminating unnecessary storage locations such as wikis, shared folders, local files, paper copies and Word documents. This provides you with a structured platform that enables efficient access to relevant information and expertise.

2. Reduce standard queries (first-level support)

Answers to first-level queries are usually already included in the FAQs or an external knowledge database. However they often make up a disproportionate share, resulting in higher costs, call or ticket volumes, and low agent satisfaction when answering simple and monotonous queries.

3. Consistent service across all channels and from all agents

Mobile carriers, for example, offer a variety of different rates. How quickly do your employees adopt the information when prices change and how quickly is it available on all channels? For support requests concerning return policies and pricing, it is especially important that all information is stringent and up-to-date across all channels.

Knowledge management, document management, content management and CRM: Differences

Knowledge management provides the right support information to customers and employees in a phone call or other channel. It maps the entire life cycle of information - from recording, structuring and review to publication and optimization. Above a certain amount of data, there is no way around a knowledge management system. The more data you accumulate, the less useful it becomes if it is disorganized.

Document management focuses on the systematic recording, storage and organization of documents and files. It enables efficient management of information, such as contracts, reports, and other business documents, to facilitate access and collaboration.

Content management, on the other hand, goes beyond this and refers to the management of digital content, such as websites, multimedia elements and marketing materials. It aims to create, organize, manage and publish content. This improves communication with the customers of the exact target groups.

CRM (Customer Relationship Management) is a strategy aimed at maintaining and improving customer relationships. CRM systems help to collect, analyze and use customer information. The goal is to optimize customer service and sales and marketing processes.

Knowledge Management vs. Document Management vs. Content Management

The first steps in your knowledge management project

Beratung aus einer Hand

Make knowledge management a higher priority in your organization.

Many companies have recognized that they have problems with knowledge management, but do nothing about it. Even the first steps, however, can make a crucial difference.

These are the four main reasons to give top priority to a knowledge management project:

1. Ensuring competitiveness in the future as well
2. Creating a foundation for all service channels
3. Increasing employee and customer satisfaction
4. Lower employee turnover and higher customer loyalty

How to implement a knowledge management solution

If you want to introduce knowledge management software at your company, the Knowledge Management Smart Guide could help you, as it gives you several options to choose from. One of them is the decision between an on-site solution and a cloud-based solution. Each of these approaches has its own advantages and is designed to meet the specific needs and requirements of the business.


An on-site solution refers to software that is installed and operated locally on the company's own servers or data centers. In this case, the company has complete control over the hardware, software and security of the application. The company is also responsible for maintaining, updating and backing up the data.

  • Easy to install and customize
  • Single logon via LDAP
  • One-time cost for the software license, based on the number of users
  • Your IT team takes care of security, integration and all software updates
  • Full access to technical support, product upgrades, new versions or bug fixes.


A cloud-based knowledge management solution is a software application provided over the Internet on an external platform. The application and data are hosted and maintained on the provider's servers. Companies using a cloud-based solution access the application over the Internet instead of installing it locally.

  • No installation work
  • Single logon via SAML
  • Monthly subscription fee - the cost is based on the number of users
  • Your provider takes care of security, integration and software updates
  • Access to technical support, upgrades, new versions or bug fixes

A comparison of knowledge management software and providers

Man Headset

Knowledge management software plays a critical role in covering today's complex business needs and effective use of knowledge. By using software, you can increase efficiency and productivity in your business by minimizing repetitive workflows and giving employees access to relevant information faster. In addition, the software supports the development of a common knowledge base and enables seamless collaboration - even across geographical borders.

To successfully implement knowledge management into your company's workflows, there are numerous knowledge management solutions available. Since there are a lot of providers on the market, it is a good idea to compare the different solutions before you make a final decision.


What is the difference between information management and knowledge management?

Information management tends to focus on managing and organizing information as a resource, while knowledge management focuses on the effective use and development of existing knowledge to create value for the organization.

What constitutes good knowledge management?

Good knowledge management is characterized by the targeted recording and structuring of knowledge, a culture of knowledge sharing, clear goals and strategies, and the use of appropriate technologies to effectively use and develop knowledge.

What does explicit and implicit knowledge mean?

Explicit knowledge is documented knowledge that can be easily shared and communicated. Implicit knowledge, on the other hand, is individual and informal knowledge that is difficult to record formally and is characterized by personal experience, skills, and expertise.

How does knowledge management succeed at a company?

Knowledge management succeeds at a company through a clear strategy, the targeted use of technologies, the identification and use of knowledge sources, and open and constructive communication.

How do you build a knowledge database?

A knowledge database can be built by collecting and structuring relevant information, using appropriate software or platforms, and maintaining and updating the content. The knowledge can be generated directly from the company employees, for example.

What are examples of knowledge management?

Examples of knowledge management include the creation and use of knowledge databases, the implementation of e-learning programs, mentoring programs for knowledge sharing, expert networks for the exchange of expertise, and the sharing of best practices through the exchange of experiences between colleagues.

How do I find the right knowledge database for my company?

Finding the right knowledge database for your business can be a challenging task, as there are a variety of vendors on the market. However, a careful comparison of knowledge databases is worthwhile in order to make the right choice for the individual use case and the company-specific requirements.

​​​Why is knowledge management useful in customer service?

Knowledge management in customer service makes sense because it enables more efficient customer care, provides quick, consistent answers and, above all, takes the burden off employees. It promotes knowledge transfer within the company and improves customer service.

How can knowledge management help customer centers?

Knowledge management supports customer centers by providing customers with access to standalone solutions, standardizing processes, accelerating access to information, and enabling data-driven decisions.

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