We asked Chat GPT if AI could replace knowledge managers and it said ‘no’

Artificial intelligence is everywhere these days, even in sales enablement. While this technology shows promise in speeding up and simplifying some aspects of the sales process, there may be more suitable solutions to manage knowledge in an organization. Unlocking expert knowledge in a B2B organization equips the sales team with everything they need to engage with customers effectively, close deals faster, and achieve sales targets.

Knowledge management needs context and cadence to be effective

Whether you’re looking to improve performance, onboard a new hire, or augment your current sales staff, enhancing the skills and knowledge of your sales team requires expertise. Sales enablement practitioners must understand how to collect corporate knowledge, how to package it as content for sales reps, and when to deliver it. The knowledge that exists within organizations can be divided into five types: institutional, product, selling, situational, and tribal. However, without nuance and curation, managing knowledge based solely on category data could water down valuable empirical information from employees:

“Firstly, AI-driven knowledge management systems often struggle with context and nuance. These systems rely heavily on data patterns and algorithms to process and categorize information, potentially leading to misinterpretations or oversimplifications of intricate corporate knowledge. Important tacit knowledge, which resides within employees’ experiences and insights, may be overlooked by AI, as it cannot fully comprehend the subtle intricacies that contribute to decision-making and problem-solving.”

Tribal knowledge is the most valuable insight to unlock in an organization

Seller experiences and interactions cannot be overlooked when managing knowledge. Corporate knowledge doesn’t only live on paper or a computer. Tribal knowledge is the collective wisdom, insights, and best practices that exist within various sales team members’ heads that are acquired through experience. Tribal knowledge is typically shared verbally, through anecdotes, stories, and interactions between colleagues, and contains shortcuts, tips, and tricks that can significantly improve a salesperson’s efficiency and effectiveness.

“Furthermore, the human element of knowledge management cannot be replaced entirely by AI. Effective knowledge management relies on collaboration, communication, and the ability to build relationships among employees. AI may hinder the natural exchange of ideas and interpersonal interactions that lead to the organic growth of knowledge-sharing cultures within organizations. Relying solely on AI could result in a sterile and mechanistic approach that fails to capture the richness of human interactions that foster innovation and creativity.”

Replacing knowledge managers with AI technologies could increase costs

Despite automatization, costs associated with AI technology implementation, maintenance, and updates can weigh on the knowledge management budget, as the systems require specialized professionals: 

“Secondly, the implementation and maintenance of AI-based knowledge management systems require substantial resources and ongoing efforts. Integrating AI technologies involves significant upfront costs, including infrastructure, training data, and specialized personnel. Moreover, AI systems demand continuous updates and adjustments to remain accurate and effective, adding to the overall cost and complexity. This financial and resource commitment may not be feasible for all organizations, particularly smaller ones with limited budgets.”

AI-powered knowledge management can raise security and compliance risks

Organizations in highly competitive sectors that handle personal data, like banking, technology, or health sciences, must comply with strict data protection regulations. Having artificial intelligence manage sensitive or confidential information could expose organizations to additional security risks:

“Lastly, concerns around data privacy and security are amplified when AI is used for knowledge management. Sensitive corporate information, proprietary data, and intellectual property must be safeguarded at all times. AI systems, though designed to enhance efficiency, can inadvertently expose organizations to vulnerabilities and breaches if not appropriately protected. Balancing the benefits of AI-driven knowledge management with the potential risks to data security requires careful consideration and robust measures.”

Why companies need a knowledge manager

Artificial intelligence alone is not an adequate nor recommended solution for corporate knowledge management. The nuanced nature of organizational knowledge, coupled with the resource-intensive implementation and maintenance of AI systems, underscores the importance of a human-centric approach to knowledge management, supported by technology.

TEG’s sales readiness managed services are a cost-effective solution for your knowledge management efforts. You can benefit from our readiness advisory, enablement program management, and technology delivery at an annual cost that’s less than hiring a single FTE. We couple all that with a SaaS-based sales readiness platform, a centralized repository where salespeople can quickly find and access the best expert knowledge, content, and sales tools that are delivered to them in the right timeframe to make them more effective in every customer engagement.

Learn more at theenablementgroup.com