What is a Knowledge Base?

[frame type=”center” width=”500″ src=”http://34.204.51.146/wp-content/uploads/2011/05/The_How_They_Do_Dat_Manual_Small02.jpg” alt=”Photo of handwritten manual by John Keith.”]

Photo by John Keith from www.hp9825.com.

Sometimes life runs on autopilot

You know when you get up in the morning and make breakfast or school lunches and you go through the motions without having to think too much about it? What about driving somewhere? You were so busy enjoying the music or getting riled up over talkback that you hardly noticed those proficient driving skills that got you to your destination. You’re on autopilot. Your reflexes are doing what you’ve trained them to do and your mind is free to dwell on your fishing boat or Fijian holiday.

Autopilot is defined as a manufactured system used to guide a vehicle without assistance from a human being.

Now think about your business

A knowledge base is a manufactured system of procedures that is relevant to the processes in your business or profession.

If you examine a normal day at the office, you’ll notice there are patterns. Maybe it’s as obvious as getting the same sort of query over and over. Maybe you feel frustration over needing to rethink how to handle each issue for each customer every. single. time. Have you ever heard yourself say: “Haven’t we dealt with this problem before? How did we do that?” or “Clients keep asking the same questions”?

Why you need knowledge management

By taking a step back and looking down on the way your work gets done, you’ll start seeing the need for systems in your work environment. The two biggest issues for any business without a system of knowledge management is repetition and omission.

In process terms, when you find yourself repeating the same task, that’s a case for automation. In knowledge terms, when you are answering the same questions again and again, that’s a case for documentation.

If you don’t have a knowledge base, you’re probably not just repeating yourself, you’re also at risk of mistakes of omission—something gets left out, someone hasn’t been informed. The next thing you find yourself doing is putting out fires instead of those other, more productive activities like creating, building, or selling.

The eBook: A Simple Guide to Creating a Knowledge BaseOverwhelmed by the thought of building a knowledge base from scratch? A Simple Guide to Creating a Knowledge Base has tips and advice on starting one and keeping it going.

  • Hey there just wanted to give you a quick heads up. The text in your post seem to be running off the screen in Opera. I'm not sure if this is a formatting issue or something to do with web browser compatibility but I thought I'd post to let you know. The design look great though! Hope you get the issue fixed soon. Kudos

    • Aprill Allen

      People still use Opera? 😉
      Thanks for the tip. I'll have to check it out.

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