Knowledge Management for small businesses

Cash in with KM — without spending 6-figure budgets, with a new way to organize knowledge

Knowledge keeps an organization alive. We want to help you build a living knowledge culture, so you can make your knowledge valuable. This article aims at giving you insight into how sustainable knowledge management can help you build a better company for everyone in it.

So you know by now: Knowledge management is the new hype. All the big players are already doing it, because they know they can only cash in on it — more efficient process, happier and more productive employees, solid documentation to use and re-use — well-done knowledge management can turn experience into solid cash. But let’s not talk about them now. Let’s talk about you and us. Because you know you need a good way to record and profit from your organizational knowledge and you know you need a great tool to do it. Of course, we’re biased, but do you care to know how Matterial is different (and superior) to all other systems so far?

The old way

The classic approach to knowledge management is: pour all the files, word documents, emails, everything you have into an ecosystem, a platform, a software, a wiki. The result is that, without context, no one — not even the person who assembled the files — will find anything ever again. It’s a perfect void. The solution to this used to be to make an elaborate hierarchy of folder constructs to structure the chaos.

The problem with chaos is: no one can find anything.

The problem with structures is: no one can find anything.

Because everyone has their own way to structure information according to how their brain works, how they associate one bit of data with another, how they mentally connect them. Usually, that doesn’t work for anyone else.

What current knowledge management platforms, systems and intranets are trying to do is represent, replicate and enforce process on users. In doing so, they force a structure upon the users that doesn’t work for them. A side effect of this is that structure becomes incredibly complex and detailed very fast, and then resembles chaos again.

Very quickly, you need a manual on how to use a manual. You need a management to manage the management. So what to do?

Living knowledge

Knowledge is one of the few things in the universe that becomes greater when it’s shared. But to able to share it, it needs to be accessible so it can be built upon. We call this “Living Knowledge”.

Living Knowledge is the precisely the lack of process and hierarchy. Every individual has their own process, their own structure, their own way of working, their own manner of traversing, picking up, and connecting information.

Knowledge is above all one thing: chaos.

If you can’t fight it, embrace it.

Because knowledge consists of connected information and is tied to individuals, it is always chaotic. So a new form of knowledge management embraces this chaos of variety, individuality, unstructuredness. All the same, knowledge needs to be simple, clear, obvious, definite, and accessible.

The Matterial solution is to let powerful automatic tools do the work. All you get to work with is a simple text editor and a very fast search. No matter how chaotic knowledge wants to be, it can be recorded fast and substantially, and it can be found just the same.

By having only one type of document and limited formatting options, you spent less time organizing and more time interacting and collaborating with knowledge. By not browsing, you start finding before you search around. It’s that simple.
But what about …

Categories?

Yes. You can add and edit categories, if a bunch of documents belong to a certain overarching complex.

Rights & Permissions?

Yes. Not everything is important for everyone, and some data needs to be restricted to just a few people.

Reviews?

Yes. Because despite being chaotic, information needs to be reliable, correct, and up-to-date.

Collaboration?

Of course. Knowledge thrives on collaboration. So you need to be able to comment, assign tasks, and collectively work on information to turn it into knowledge.

Notifications?

Yup. Everyone needs to know what’s going on, what has changed, if someone needs you to do something. You’ll know in the software and by email.

Attachments?

Yeah. You can attach any file you like, because sometimes just text isn’t enough and you might want to collect all the material relevant for a context. The search also traverses the content of your attachments.

Multi-language?

Even that. Every document can exist in many different language versions, because language barriers are so two-thousand-and-late.


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