Business leaders know that information holds incredible value for the organization. Data-driven decision-making drives innovation. On the other hand, when knowledge remains stuck in silos and unavailable, efficiency suffers. Understanding the differences and similarities between knowledge management vs information governance will help unlock information value.

The first step to understanding knowledge management vs information governance involves defining data, information, and knowledge. The term “data” refers to facts and figures, while “information” describes data that has been organized and put into context. “Knowledge” involves understanding, gained by combining information with experience or education.

For example, business data might include a list of sales figures. When those sales figures are organized into a report comparing website sales with brick-and-mortar sales, they become information. Knowledge involves recognizing patterns in the data and predicting what will happen next.

Knowledge Management

Knowledge management focuses on collecting or creating information and insights. It also covers the process of sharing or retrieving information and then using or enhancing it. This knowledge can live in files or documents, but it might also live in people’s heads or in conversations.

For instance, a customer service team creates knowledge in the form of best practices for solving critical issues with a product. With effective knowledge management, a new employee can easily find, retrieve, and understand those best practices. But if experts do not share their knowledge with other people and departments, the knowledge has little value.

Effective knowledge management involves creating systems for capturing and documenting critical knowledge from experts. It also facilitates sharing and applying that knowledge appropriately to promote better decision making, problem solving and innovation. This requires a combination of organizational processes, technological infrastructure, and training.

An example of effective knowledge management might involve creating a knowledge base to store and organize policies, best practices and FAQs related to a product’s implementation. Employees access the knowledge base through a web portal, using it to find answers, solve problems or share feedback.

Knowledge Management vs Information Governance

Information Governance

Information governance, on the other hand, encompasses the processes, policies, responsibilities, and roles involved in the storage and securing of information. For many organizations, information governance efforts begin with the need to achieve regulatory compliance.

An effective information governance framework will ensure that information throughout the organization is located, classified, and secured. And it will include policies for governing the information lifecycle in accordance with legislative and industry requirements.

For instance, an effective information governance program might include a dynamic data map, powered by AI. Automated monitoring will follow sensitive data throughout the organization, alerting data stewards to any anomalies. And policy-based encryption will help protect data from unauthorized access.

Information Access Critical

Knowledge management and information governance overlap in the area of information access. Both disciplines aim to make sure that the right people have smooth and timely access to the information they need.

In the knowledge base example above, for instance, implementation team members need access to best practice documents and customer data. Knowledge management will focus on the accuracy and findability of the documents.

Information governance will support those goals by making sure metadata accurately describes and classifies the information. It will also put protections in place to guard sensitive customer data while making sure that users have just the right amount of access according to their job description.

Knowledge Management vs Information Governance

Unlocking the Benefits of Knowledge Management vs Information Governance

Knowledge management and information governance deliver clear business benefits. For instance:

  • Eliminating information silos improves business processes and decision making.
  • Sharing information more effectively supports collaboration and increases innovation.
  • Appropriate access management saves time by providing people with ready access to the information they need. When they can find relevant information quickly, they spend less time re-creating information and more time applying knowledge.
  • Clear information security controls protect sensitive information and support compliance.
  • Ensuring access to critical knowledge means employees make less mistakes. It also streamlines the onboarding process for new team members.

Messaging Architects consultants bring many years of experience assisting organizations with their knowledge management and information governance programs. Contact us now to begin harnessing the power of your organization’s information assets.

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