What is Knowledge Operations in Business?
You heard terms like knowledge management and knowledge base, but knowledge ops is a new one.
That may partially be because ScreenSteps — a knowledge base software and training solution company — coined the term for knowledge ops in business.
Working for ScreenSteps, I’ve had a front row seat to how knowledge ops stands out from knowledge management, document management, and information tracking plans. It is amazing to see the results — like improved employee performance, decreased training times, more — by implementing a knowledge ops strategy.
Now, I’m pulling back the curtain on knowledge ops. Consider this your knowledge ops 101. In this blog, you’ll learn the ins and outs of knowledge ops.
Knowledge ops definition
Knowledge operations (knowledge ops) in business is a collection of technologies and habits that allow employees to work without needing assistance from supervisors or subject matter experts (SMEs).
It is the strategy you use to manage all the knowledge in your business. This includes how it is recorded AND distributed.
Your knowledge ops — like knowledge management — helps provide clear communication across the company on policies and procedures. Knowledge ops takes knowledge management and makes it easier to follow.
The main difference between knowledge managment and knowledge ops is that knowledge management is information-focused while knowledge ops is end-user focused. Knowledge ops is about employee enablement and performance outcomes.
With knowledge ops, you tie your knowledge materials to employee performance. You create a clear path for learning from new hire onboarding to the resources your employees use on the job. You provide consistency throughout the job experience.
Who manages knowledge ops
Your knowledge ops is managed by (don’t be surprised) a knowledge ops manager. This person (or department) is responsible for your knowledge base and it’s overall health. That includes creating digital guides and ensuring that they are up to date at all times.
Basically, a knowledge ops managers job is to make sure that end-users have the resources they need to handle tasks on their own without needing to ask for additional assistance.
They help align your training and operations team so that new hires can come out of training ready to do their jobs.
While your knowledge ops manager doesn’t do the training, they work with the training team to incorporate practice using the knowledge base and digital guides during training.
It’s possible to hire someone internally for your knowledge ops manager. People in these existing positions often have some of the skill sets required of a knowledge ops manager:
- IT manager
- Learning and development managers
- Operations managers
- Enablement managers
- Program managers
For a more detailed description on the responsibilities of a knowledge ops manager, read this knowledge ops manager job description.
Resources to include in knowledge ops
With knowledge operations, you create a variety of digital guides and training materials. These resources are to help prepare your end-users on how to handle different tasks.
The digital guides are meant to support your end-users. They help your end-users to handle different tasks and access information without needing to ask for assistance.
It is not limited to a job aid. It could be:
- Job aid
- Not limited to a specific type of resource
The key is that these digital guides needs to be quick to access. I’m talking seconds. They should require as few clicks as possible. That’s because if it isn’t easy for end-users to find and follow the guides, then they will resort back to asking supervisors for answers.
How mature are your knowledge ops?
Not all knowledge ops strategies are created equal. Knowledge ops takes a lot of work, which makes it a never-ending job. Sometimes pieces are missing in your knowledge ops plan.
How do you know if your knowledge ops is working for your business?
Use the Knowledge Ops Maturity Model to evaluate the state of your current knowledge ops. This model breaks down knowledge ops into six stages of maturity.
ScreenSteps has the plan to help you advance to a more mature knowledge ops level. And you can do it on your own (or with a little help from your friends … us). But first, you have to figure out where you’re at. Check out the Knowledge Ops Maturity Model here.