How to Take a Change Management Approach to Knowledge Centralization
When it comes to creating a centralized knowledge base, the tool you pick is just one piece of the puzzle. It’s important to take time (aka: go slow to go fast) to understand how knowledge centralization fits into your organization’s culture, processes, and people in order to find the change management best practices you need to leverage to ensure successful knowledge centralization.
Naturally, going through this process is going to raise a lot of important questions you’ll need to answer to move forward.
In terms of culture, is there a broader understanding of the need for centralized knowledge? Is there buy-in from leadership? Does knowledge centralization tie to company goals/values? For processes, what governance standards need to be defined so this can be repeatable and scalable? How does knowledge get disseminated? For people, are there clear owners defined who have time and budget? Are knowledge creation and sharing rewarded?
Let’s break down a few ways your organization can put a change management spin on your knowledge centralization work.
Identify your current and ideal state
You can’t move forward until you understand where you’re at and where you want to be. In order to create a comprehensive plan to centralize your knowledge, we recommend taking the time to define the current state of your knowledge base and give some thought to what it looks like in its future, idealized state.
This exercise can help you define the phases of your project in terms of short-term and long-term goals. It can also help you determine your must-haves vs. nice-to-haves when you determine your knowledge base’s features and capabilities. When you have a specific vision for the future, it will be easier to inspire others to join you as you move forward with your knowledge centralization strategy.
As a part of the exercise, it’s helpful to define what successful knowledge centralization looks like and how you’ll measure that success. Having defined metrics along with a solid change management-focused plan makes it easier to create the business case for centralizing knowledge. This can be very helpful for creating buy-in, showcasing urgency, and getting critical support from leadership. Learn more about the change management process.
Define your team
It takes plenty of work and dedication to centralize knowledge, that’s why defining your core team for the project is critical. Assigning roles and responsibilities gives people a sense of ownership and personal accountability. It also ensures that all of the necessary tasks can be completed and that crucial knowledge owners are engaged in the knowledge centralization process. Without a core definition of roles, it’s very easy for individual teams to start spinning up their own knowledge solutions. That leads to tool proliferation and the dreaded uncontrolled versioning that can happen without verified knowledge.
We recommend creating a Knowledge Council for our customers. A Knowledge Council is a group of representatives from each of the teams that are using Guru that meet regularly to maintain Guru at the highest level and ensure it's serving the needs of each department.
At Guru, we leverage the RACI model to support our Knowledge Governance. Our Internal Comms team lead is the Responsible Individual, with designated team leads/subject matter experts as Accountable. Our entire company has the opportunity to be consulted and informed through our Guru-on-Guru Slack channel where we discuss all things related to Guru Governance. We also have an Executive Sponsor to ensure there is leadership buy-in and to create ease in providing top-down messaging at our internal Town Halls.
Create opportunities for growth
An important piece of the change management process is providing opportunities for feedback. That can be related to the process of creating centralized knowledge and/or to the knowledge within your centralized knowledge base.
There are a lot of ways to accomplish this. At Guru, we have created a Knowledge Submissions Collection where new knowledge can be created by anyone; it is then reviewed, curated, and verified by SMEs. We also have our #guru-on-guru Slack channel where we have a built-in workflow for knowledge ideas and actions and share new best practices that individual teams have defined so that others can adopt them.
Get everyone up to speed
Once you have all of your processes in place for knowledge centralization it’s time to get everyone up to speed on why you're making these changes. We’ve had customers create amazing hype videos to get everyone excited about their new centralized knowledge base. We also have our beautiful Guru Academy that supports getting stakeholders up to speed in a scalable way.
You can leverage our announcements feature to push processes and best practices to your teams. At Guru, we use our Knewsletters to share new information and best practices and we supplement that with short videos from key stakeholders and leadership to give background on why we are taking action.
Finally, building this into your onboarding process allows your new hires to buy in to your centralized knowledge plan early. Guru Cards can be embedded and linked into LMS systems. Guru is then the textbook for how employees support your knowledge base.
Are you ready to take the first steps towards centralizing company knowledge? Start using Guru so you can handle centralizing the right way!