Knowledge management

Knowledge management

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Encyclopedia
Knowledge management comprises a range of strategies and practices used in an organization to identify, create, represent, distribute, and enable adoption of insight
Insight
Insight is the understanding of a specific cause and effect in a specific context. Insight can be used with several related meanings:*a piece of information...

s and experience
Experience
Experience as a general concept comprises knowledge of or skill in or observation of some thing or some event gained through involvement in or exposure to that thing or event....

s. Such insights and experiences comprise knowledge
Knowledge
Knowledge is a familiarity with someone or something unknown, which can include information, facts, descriptions, or skills acquired through experience or education. It can refer to the theoretical or practical understanding of a subject...

, either embodied in individuals or embedded in organizations as processes
Business process
A business process or business method is a collection of related, structured activities or tasks that produce a specific service or product for a particular customer or customers...

 or practices.

An established discipline since 1991 (see Nonaka 1991), KM includes courses taught in the fields of business administration, information systems
Information systems
Information Systems is an academic/professional discipline bridging the business field and the well-defined computer science field that is evolving toward a new scientific area of study...

, management, and library and information sciences . More recently, other fields have started contributing to KM research; these include information and media, computer science
Computer science
Computer science or computing science is the study of the theoretical foundations of information and computation and of practical techniques for their implementation and application in computer systems...

, public health
Public health
Public health is "the science and art of preventing disease, prolonging life and promoting health through the organized efforts and informed choices of society, organizations, public and private, communities and individuals" . It is concerned with threats to health based on population health...

, and public policy
Policy
A policy is typically described as a principle or rule to guide decisions and achieve rational outcome. The term is not normally used to denote what is actually done, this is normally referred to as either procedure or protocol...

.

Many large companies and non-profit organizations have resources dedicated to internal KM efforts, often as a part of their business strategy
Strategic management
Strategic management is a field that deals with the major intended and emergent initiatives taken by general managers on behalf of owners, involving utilization of resources, to enhance the performance of firms in their external environments...

, information technology, or human resource management
Human resource management
Human Resource Management is the management of an organization's employees. While human resource management is sometimes referred to as a "soft" management skill, effective practice within an organization requires a strategic focus to ensure that people resources can facilitate the achievement of...

 departments . Several consulting companies also exist that provide strategy and advice regarding KM to these organizations.

Knowledge management efforts typically focus on organizational objectives
Goal
A goal is an objective, or a projected computation of affairs, that a person or a system plans or intends to achieve.Goal, GOAL or G.O.A.L may also refer to:Sport...

 such as improved performance, competitive advantage, innovation, the sharing of lessons learned, integration and continuous improvement of the organization. KM efforts overlap with organizational learning
Organizational learning
Organizational learning is an area of knowledge within organizational theory that studies models and theories about the way an organization learns and adapts....

, and may be distinguished from that by a greater focus on the management of knowledge as a strategic asset and a focus on encouraging the sharing of knowledge.

History


KM efforts have a long history, to include on-the-job discussions, formal apprenticeship, discussion forums, corporate libraries, professional training and mentoring programs. More recently, with increased use of computers in the second half of the 20th century, specific adaptations of technologies such as knowledge base
Knowledge base
A knowledge base is a special kind of database for knowledge management. A Knowledge Base provides a means for information to be collected, organised, shared, searched and utilised.-Types:...

s, expert system
Expert system
In artificial intelligence, an expert system is a computer system that emulates the decision-making ability of a human expert. Expert systems are designed to solve complex problems by reasoning about knowledge, like an expert, and not by following the procedure of a developer as is the case in...

s, knowledge repositories
Information repository
An information repository is an easy way to deploy a secondary tier of data storage that can comprise multiple, networked data storage technologies running on diverse operating systems, where data that no longer needs to be in primary storage is protected, classified according to captured metadata,...

, group decision support systems
Group decision support systems
Group Decision Support Systems are a class of electronic meeting systems, a collaboration technology designed to support meetings and group work...

, intranets, and computer-supported cooperative work have been introduced to further enhance such efforts.

In 1999, the term personal knowledge management
Personal knowledge management
Personal knowledge management refers to a collection of processes that an individual carries out to gather, classify, store, search, retrieve, and share knowledge in his/her daily activities and how these processes support work activities...

 was introduced which refers to the management of knowledge at the individual level .

In terms of the enterprise, early collections of case studies recognized the importance of knowledge management dimensions of strategy, process, and measurement . Key lessons learned included: people and the cultural norms which influence their behaviors are the most critical resources for successful knowledge creation, dissemination, and application; cognitive, social, and organizational learning processes are essential to the success of a knowledge management strategy; and measurement, benchmarking, and incentives are essential to accelerate the learning process and to drive cultural change. In short, knowledge management programs can yield impressive benefits to individuals and organizations if they are purposeful, concrete, and action-oriented.

More recently with the advent of the Web 2.0
Web 2.0
The term Web 2.0 is associated with web applications that facilitate participatory information sharing, interoperability, user-centered design, and collaboration on the World Wide Web...

, the concept of Knowledge Management has evolved towards a vision more based on people participation and emergence
Emergence
In philosophy, systems theory, science, and art, emergence is the way complex systems and patterns arise out of a multiplicity of relatively simple interactions. Emergence is central to the theories of integrative levels and of complex systems....

. This line of evolution is termed Enterprise 2.0
Enterprise 2.0
Enterprise 2.0 is the use of "Web 2.0" technologies within an organization to enable or streamline business processes while enhancing collaboration - connecting people through the use of social-media tools. Enterprise 2.0 aims to help employees, customers and suppliers collaborate, share, and...

 . However, there is an ongoing debate and discussions as to whether Enterprise 2.0
Enterprise 2.0
Enterprise 2.0 is the use of "Web 2.0" technologies within an organization to enable or streamline business processes while enhancing collaboration - connecting people through the use of social-media tools. Enterprise 2.0 aims to help employees, customers and suppliers collaborate, share, and...

 is just a fad that does not bring anything new or useful or whether it is, indeed, the future of knowledge management .

Research


KM emerged as a scientific discipline in the earlier 1990s. It was initially supported solely by practitioners, when Skandia
Skandia
Skandia is a Swedish insurance company that was started in 1855. It has operations in Europe, Latin America, Asia and Australia. Skandia also operates an internet bank called Skandiabanken....

 hired Leif Edvinsson of Sweden as the world’s first Chief Knowledge Officer
Chief knowledge officer
A chief knowledge officer is an organizational leader, responsible for ensuring that the organization maximizes the value it achieves through "knowledge". The CKO is responsible for managing intellectual capital and the custodian of Knowledge Management practices in an organization...

 (CKO). Hubert Saint-Onge (formerly of CIBC, Canada), started investigating various sides of KM long before that. The objective of CKOs is to manage and maximize the intangible assets of their organizations. Gradually, CKOs became interested in not only practical but also theoretical aspects of KM, and the new research field was formed. The KM ideas taken up by academics, such as Ikujiro Nonaka
Ikujiro Nonaka
is an influential writer and Professor Emeritus at Hitotsubashi University Graduate School of International Corporate Strategy; the First Distinguished Drucker Scholar in Residence at the Drucker School and Institute, Claremont Graduate University; the Xerox Distinguished Faculty Scholar,...

 (Hitotsubashi University
Hitotsubashi University
is a national university specialised in the social sciences in Tokyo, Japan. The University has campuses in Kunitachi, Kodaira, and Kanda.Hitotsubashi is considered as one of the most prestigious universities in Japan. It is ranked 25th in the world in 2011 by École des Mines de Paris.Hitotsubashi...

), Hirotaka Takeuchi
Hirotaka Takeuchi
is dean of the Graduate School of International Corporate Strategy at Hitotsubashi University in Tokyo and was a visiting professor at Harvard Business School in 1989 and 1990....

 (Hitotsubashi University), Thomas H. Davenport
Thomas H. Davenport
Thomas H. Davenport is an American academic and author specializing in business process innovation and knowledge management...

 (Babson College
Babson College
Babson College is a private business school located in Wellesley, Massachusetts near Boston.- History :Babson College was founded by Roger Babson on September 3, 1919, as the Babson Institute. It was renamed "Babson College" in 1969...

) and Baruch Lev (New York University
New York University
New York University is a private, nonsectarian research university based in New York City. NYU's main campus is situated in the Greenwich Village section of Manhattan...

). In 2001, Thomas A. Stewart
Thomas A. Stewart
Thomas A. Stewart is the Chief Marketing and Knowledge Officer of Booz & Company, a global management consulting firm. Prior to joining Booz & Company, he was the editor and managing director of Harvard Business Review from 2002-2008...

, former editor at FORTUNE Magazine
Fortune (magazine)
Fortune is a global business magazine published by Time Inc. Founded by Henry Luce in 1930, the publishing business, consisting of Time, Life, Fortune, and Sports Illustrated, grew to become Time Warner. In turn, AOL grew as it acquired Time Warner in 2000 when Time Warner was the world's largest...

 and subsequently the editor of Harvard Business Review
Harvard Business Review
Harvard Business Review is a general management magazine published since 1922 by Harvard Business School Publishing, owned by the Harvard Business School. A monthly research-based magazine written for business practitioners, it claims a high ranking business readership among academics, executives,...

, published a cover story highlighting the importance of intellectual capital of organizations. Since its establishment, the KM discipline has been gradually moving towards academic maturity. First, there is a trend towards higher cooperation among academics; particularly, there has been a drop in single-authored publications. Second, the role of practitioners has changed. Their contribution to academic research has been dramatically declining from 30% of overall contributions up to 2002, to only 10% by 2009 .

A broad range of thoughts on the KM discipline exists with no unanimous agreement; approaches vary by author and school. As the discipline matures, academic debates have increased regarding both the theory
Theory
The English word theory was derived from a technical term in Ancient Greek philosophy. The word theoria, , meant "a looking at, viewing, beholding", and referring to contemplation or speculation, as opposed to action...

 and practice of KM, to include the following perspectives :
  • Techno-centric with a focus on technology, ideally those that enhance knowledge sharing
    Knowledge sharing
    Knowledge sharing is an activity through which knowledge is exchanged among people, friends, or members of a family, a community or an organization....

     and creation.
  • Organizational with a focus on how an organization can be designed to facilitate knowledge processes best.
  • Ecological
    Knowledge ecosystem
    The idea of a knowledge ecosystem is an approach to knowledge management which claims to foster the dynamic evolution of knowledge interactions between entities to improve decision-making and innovation through improved evolutionary networks of collaboration....

    with a focus on the interaction of people, identity
    Identity (social science)
    Identity is a term used to describe a person's conception and expression of their individuality or group affiliations . The term is used more specifically in psychology and sociology, and is given a great deal of attention in social psychology...

    , knowledge, and environmental factors as a complex adaptive system
    Complex adaptive system
    Complex adaptive systems are special cases of complex systems. They are complex in that they are dynamic networks of interactions and relationships not aggregations of static entities...

     akin to a natural ecosystem
    Ecosystem
    An ecosystem is a biological environment consisting of all the organisms living in a particular area, as well as all the nonliving , physical components of the environment with which the organisms interact, such as air, soil, water and sunlight....

    .


Regardless of the school of thought, core components of KM include people, processes, technology (or) culture, structure, technology, depending on the specific perspective
Perspective (cognitive)
Perspective in theory of cognition is the choice of a context or a reference from which to sense, categorize, measure or codify experience, cohesively forming a coherent belief, typically for comparing with another...

 . Different KM schools of thought include various lenses
Perspective (cognitive)
Perspective in theory of cognition is the choice of a context or a reference from which to sense, categorize, measure or codify experience, cohesively forming a coherent belief, typically for comparing with another...

 through which KM can be viewed and explained, to include:
  • community of practice
    Community of practice
    A community of practice is, according to cognitive anthropologists Jean Lave and Etienne Wenger, a group of people who share an interest, a craft, and/or a profession. The group can evolve naturally because of the members' common interest in a particular domain or area, or it can be created...

     
  • social network analysis
  • intellectual capital
  • information theory
    Information theory
    Information theory is a branch of applied mathematics and electrical engineering involving the quantification of information. Information theory was developed by Claude E. Shannon to find fundamental limits on signal processing operations such as compressing data and on reliably storing and...

     
  • complexity science
  • constructivism

The practical relevance of academic research in KM has been questioned with action research
Action research
Action research or participatory action research – is a reflective process of progressive problem solving led by individuals working with others in teams or as part of a "community of practice" to improve the way they address issues and solve problems. Action research is done simply by action,...

 suggested as having more relevance and the need to translate the findings presented in academic journals to a practice .

Dimensions


Different frameworks
Conceptual framework
A conceptual framework is used in research to outline possible courses of action or to present a preferred approach to an idea or thought. For example, the philosopher Isaiah Berlin used the "hedgehogs" versus "foxes" approach; a "hedgehog" might approach the world in terms of a single organizing...

 for distinguishing between different 'types of' knowledge exist. One proposed framework for categorizing the dimensions
Dimensions
Dimensions is a French project that makes educational movies about mathematics, focusing on spatial geometry. It uses POV-Ray to render some of the animations, and the films are release under a Creative Commons licence....

 of knowledge distinguishes between tacit knowledge
Tacit knowledge
Tacit knowledge is knowledge that is difficult to transfer to another person by means of writing it down or verbalising it. For example, stating to someone that London is in the United Kingdom is a piece of explicit knowledge that can be written down, transmitted, and understood by a recipient...

 and explicit knowledge
Explicit knowledge
Explicit knowledge is knowledge that has been or can be articulated, codified, and stored in certain media. It can be readily transmitted to others. The information contained in encyclopedias are good examples of explicit knowledge....

. Tacit knowledge represents internalized knowledge that an individual may not be consciously aware of, such as how he or she accomplishes particular tasks. At the opposite end of the spectrum, explicit knowledge represents knowledge that the individual holds consciously in mental focus, in a form that can easily be communicated to others. . Similarly, Hayes and Walsham (2003) describe content and relational perspectives of knowledge and knowledge management as two fundamentally different epistemological perspectives. The content perspective suggest that knowledge is easily stored because it may be codified, while the relational perspective recognizes the contextual and relational aspects of knowledge which can make knowledge difficult to share outside of the specific location where the knowledge is developed.
Early research suggested that a successful KM effort needs to convert internalized tacit knowledge into explicit knowledge in order to share it, but the same effort must also permit individuals to internalize and make personally meaningful any codified knowledge retrieved from the KM effort. Subsequent research into KM suggested that a distinction between tacit knowledge and explicit knowledge represented an oversimplification and that the notion of explicit knowledge is self-contradictory. Specifically, for knowledge to be made explicit, it must be translated into information (i.e., symbols outside of our heads) . Later on, Ikujiro Nonaka proposed a model (SECI for Socialization, Externalization, Combination, Internalization) which considers a spiraling knowledge process interaction between explicit knowledge
Explicit knowledge
Explicit knowledge is knowledge that has been or can be articulated, codified, and stored in certain media. It can be readily transmitted to others. The information contained in encyclopedias are good examples of explicit knowledge....

 and tacit knowledge . In this model, knowledge follows a cycle in which implicit knowledge is 'extracted' to become explicit knowledge, and explicit knowledge is 're-internalized' into implicit knowledge. More recently, together with Georg von Krogh, Nonaka returned to his earlier work in an attempt to move the debate about knowledge conversion forwards .

A second proposed framework for categorizing the dimensions of knowledge distinguishes between embedded knowledge of a system
System
System is a set of interacting or interdependent components forming an integrated whole....

 outside of a human individual (e.g., an information system may have knowledge embedded into its design) and embodied knowledge representing a learned capability of a human body’s nervous
Nervous system
The nervous system is an organ system containing a network of specialized cells called neurons that coordinate the actions of an animal and transmit signals between different parts of its body. In most animals the nervous system consists of two parts, central and peripheral. The central nervous...

 and endocrine systems .

A third proposed framework for categorizing the dimensions of knowledge distinguishes between the exploratory creation of "new knowledge" (i.e., innovation) vs. the transfer
Knowledge transfer
Knowledge transfer in the fields of organizational development and organizational learning is the practical problem of transferring knowledge from one part of the organization to another part of the organization. Like Knowledge Management, Knowledge transfer seeks to organize, create, capture or...

 or exploitation of "established knowledge" within a group, organization, or community. Collaborative environments such as communities of practice or the use of social computing
Social computing
Social computing is a general term for an area of computer science that is concerned with the intersection of social behavior and computational systems. It has become an important concept for use in business. It is used in two ways as detailed below....

 tools can be used for both knowledge creation and transfer.

Strategies


Knowledge may be accessed at three stages: before, during, or after KM-related activities. Different organizations have tried various knowledge capture incentives, including making content submission mandatory and incorporating rewards into performance measurement
Performance Measurement
Performance measurement with a process is the complement to process execution. Based on measured performance, the feedback control loop may be closed. The metrics to assess performance is set according to a determined econometric model...

 plans. Considerable controversy exists over whether incentives work or not in this field and no consensus has emerged.

One strategy to KM involves actively managing knowledge (push strategy). In such an instance, individuals strive to explicitly encode their knowledge into a shared knowledge repository, such as a database
Database
A database is an organized collection of data for one or more purposes, usually in digital form. The data are typically organized to model relevant aspects of reality , in a way that supports processes requiring this information...

, as well as retrieving knowledge they need that other individuals have provided to the repository. This is also commonly known as the Codification approach to KM.

Another strategy to KM involves individuals making knowledge requests of experts associated with a particular subject on an ad hoc basis (pull strategy). In such an instance, expert individual(s) can provide their insights to the particular person or people needing this . This is also commonly known as the Personalization approach to KM.

Other knowledge management strategies and instruments for companies include:
  • rewards (as a means of motivating for knowledge sharing)
  • storytelling
    Storytelling
    Storytelling is the conveying of events in words, images and sounds, often by improvisation or embellishment. Stories or narratives have been shared in every culture as a means of entertainment, education, cultural preservation and in order to instill moral values...

     (as a means of transferring tacit knowledge)
  • cross-project learning
  • after action reviews
    After Action Review
    An after action review is a structured review or de-brief process for analyzing what happened, why it happened, and how it can be done better, by the participants and those responsible for the project or event. After-action reviews in the formal sense were originally developed by the U.S...

  • knowledge mapping (a map of knowledge repositories within a company accessible by all)
  • communities of practice
  • expert directories (to enable knowledge seeker to reach to the experts)
  • best practice transfer
  • knowledge fairs
  • competence management (systematic evaluation and planning of competences of individual organization members)
  • proximity & architecture (the physical situation of employees can be either conducive or obstructive to knowledge sharing)
  • master-apprentice relationship
  • collaborative technologies (groupware, etc.)
  • knowledge repositories (databases, bookmarking engines
    Enterprise bookmarking
    Enterprise bookmarking is a method for Enterprise 2.0 users to tag, organize, store, and search bookmarks of both web pages on the Internet and data resources stored in a distributed database or fileserver...

    , etc.)
  • measuring and reporting intellectual capital (a way of making explicit knowledge for companies)
  • knowledge broker
    Knowledge broker
    A Knowledge broker is an intermediary , that aims to develop relationships and networks with, among, and between producers and users of knowledge by providing linkages, knowledge sources, and in some cases knowledge itself, A Knowledge broker is an intermediary (an organization or a person), that...

    s (some organizational members take on responsibility for a specific "field" and act as first reference on whom to talk about a specific subject)
  • social software
    Social software
    Social software applications include communication tools and interactive tools. Communication tools typically handle the capturing, storing and presentation of communication, usually written but increasingly including audio and video as well. Interactive tools handle mediated interactions between a...

     (wikis, social bookmarking, blogs, etc.)
  • Inter-project knowledge transfer

Motivations


A number of claims exist as to the motivation
Motivation
Motivation is the driving force by which humans achieve their goals. Motivation is said to be intrinsic or extrinsic. The term is generally used for humans but it can also be used to describe the causes for animal behavior as well. This article refers to human motivation...

s leading organizations to undertake a KM effort. Typical considerations driving a KM effort include:
  • Making available increased knowledge content in the development
    New product development
    In business and engineering, new product development is the term used to describe the complete process of bringing a new product to market. A product is a set of benefits offered for exchange and can be tangible or intangible...

     and provision of products
    Product (business)
    In general, the product is defined as a "thing produced by labor or effort" or the "result of an act or a process", and stems from the verb produce, from the Latin prōdūce ' lead or bring forth'. Since 1575, the word "product" has referred to anything produced...

     and services
  • Achieving shorter new product development
    New product development
    In business and engineering, new product development is the term used to describe the complete process of bringing a new product to market. A product is a set of benefits offered for exchange and can be tangible or intangible...

     cycles
  • Facilitating and managing innovation and organizational learning
  • Leveraging the expertise of people across the organization
  • Increasing network
    Social network
    A social network is a social structure made up of individuals called "nodes", which are tied by one or more specific types of interdependency, such as friendship, kinship, common interest, financial exchange, dislike, sexual relationships, or relationships of beliefs, knowledge or prestige.Social...

     connectivity between internal and external individuals
  • Managing business environments and allowing employees to obtain relevant insights and idea
    Idea
    In the most narrow sense, an idea is just whatever is before the mind when one thinks. Very often, ideas are construed as representational images; i.e. images of some object. In other contexts, ideas are taken to be concepts, although abstract concepts do not necessarily appear as images...

    s appropriate to their work
  • Solving intractable or wicked problems
  • Managing intellectual capital and intellectual assets in the workforce (such as the expertise and know-how
    Procedural knowledge
    Procedural knowledge, also known as imperative knowledge, is the knowledge exercised in the performance of some task. See below for the specific meaning of this term in cognitive psychology and intellectual property law....

     possessed by key individuals)


Debate exists whether KM is more than a passing fad
FAD
In biochemistry, flavin adenine dinucleotide is a redox cofactor involved in several important reactions in metabolism. FAD can exist in two different redox states, which it converts between by accepting or donating electrons. The molecule consists of a riboflavin moiety bound to the phosphate...

, though increasing amount of research in this field may hopefully help to answer this question, as well as create consensus on what elements of KM help determine the success or failure of such efforts .

Technologies


Early KM technologies included online
ONLINE
ONLINE is a magazine for information systems first published in 1977. The publisher Online, Inc. was founded the year before. In May 2002, Information Today, Inc. acquired the assets of Online Inc....

 corporate yellow pages
Yellow Pages
Yellow Pages refers to a telephone directory of businesses, organized by category, rather than alphabetically by business name and in which advertising is sold. As the name suggests, such directories were originally printed on yellow paper, as opposed to white pages for non-commercial listings...

 as expertise locators and document management system
Document management system
A document management system is a computer system used to track and store electronic documents and/or images of paper documents. It is usually also capable of keeping track of the different versions created by different users . The term has some overlap with the concepts of content management...

s. Combined with the early development of collaborative technologies (in particular Lotus Notes
Lotus Notes
Lotus Notes is the client of a collaborative platform originally created by Lotus Development Corp. in 1989. In 1995 Lotus was acquired by IBM and became known as the Lotus Development division of IBM and is now part of the IBM Software Group...

), KM technologies expanded in the mid-1990s. Subsequent KM efforts leveraged semantic technologies for search and retrieval and the development of e-learning
E-learning
E-learning comprises all forms of electronically supported learning and teaching. The information and communication systems, whether networked learning or not, serve as specific media to implement the learning process...

 tools for communities of practice . Knowledge management systems can thus be categorized as falling into one or more of the following groups: Groupware, document management systems, expert systems, semantic networks, relational and object oriented databases, simulation tools, and artificial intelligence
Artificial intelligence
Artificial intelligence is the intelligence of machines and the branch of computer science that aims to create it. AI textbooks define the field as "the study and design of intelligent agents" where an intelligent agent is a system that perceives its environment and takes actions that maximize its...

 

More recently, development of social computing tools (such as bookmarks
Enterprise bookmarking
Enterprise bookmarking is a method for Enterprise 2.0 users to tag, organize, store, and search bookmarks of both web pages on the Internet and data resources stored in a distributed database or fileserver...

, blogs, and wikis) have allowed more unstructured, self-governing or ecosystem approaches to the transfer, capture and creation of knowledge, including the development of new forms of communities, networks
Social network
A social network is a social structure made up of individuals called "nodes", which are tied by one or more specific types of interdependency, such as friendship, kinship, common interest, financial exchange, dislike, sexual relationships, or relationships of beliefs, knowledge or prestige.Social...

, or matrixed organizations
Matrix management
Matrix management is a type of organizational management in which people with similar skills are pooled for work assignments. For example, all engineers may be in one engineering department and report to an engineering manager, but these same engineers may be assigned to different projects and...

. However such tools for the most part are still based on text and code
Code
A code is a rule for converting a piece of information into another form or representation , not necessarily of the same type....

, and thus represent explicit knowledge transfer. These tools face challenges in distilling meaningful re-usable knowledge and ensuring that their content is transmissible through diverse channels
Channel (communications)
In telecommunications and computer networking, a communication channel, or channel, refers either to a physical transmission medium such as a wire, or to a logical connection over a multiplexed medium such as a radio channel...

.

Software tools in knowledge management are a collection of technologies and are not necessarily acquired as a single software solution. Furthermore, these knowledge management software tools have the advantage of using the organization existing information technology infrastructure. Organizations and business decision makers spend a great deal of resources and make significant investments in the latest technology, systems and infrastructure to support knowledge management. It is imperative that these investments are validated properly, made wisely and that the most appropriate technologies and software tools are selected or combined to facilitate knowledge management.

Knowledge management has also become a cornerstone in emerging business strategies such as Service Lifecycle Management
Service lifecycle management
Service lifecycle management is defined by industry analyst firm AMR Research and described as a holistic approach which helps service organizations better understand the revenue potential by looking at service opportunities proactively as a lifecycle rather than a single event or series of...

 (SLM) with companies increasingly turning to software vendors to enhance their efficiency in industries including, but not limited to, the aviation industry.

Knowledge Managers



"Knowledge manager" is a role and designation that has gained popularity over the past decade. The role has evolved drastically from that of one involving the creation and maintenance of knowledge repositories to one that involves influencing the culture of an organization toward improved knowledge sharing, reuse, learning, collaboration and innovation. Knowledge management functions are associated with different departments in different organizations. It may be combined with Quality, Sales, HR, Innovation, Operations etc. and is likely to be determined by the KM motivation of that particular organization.

Knowledge managers have varied backgrounds ranging from Information Sciences to Business Management. An effective knowledge manager is likely to be someone who has a versatile skills portfolio and is comfortable with the concepts of organizational behavior/culture, processes, branding & marketing and collaborative technology.

Knowledge Management System


Knowledge Management System (KM System) refers to a (generally generated via or through to an IT
Information technology
Information technology is the acquisition, processing, storage and dissemination of vocal, pictorial, textual and numerical information by a microelectronics-based combination of computing and telecommunications...

 based program/department or section) system for managing knowledge in organizations for supporting creation, capture, storage and dissemination of information. It can comprise a part (neither necessary nor sufficient) of a Knowledge Management
Knowledge management
Knowledge management comprises a range of strategies and practices used in an organization to identify, create, represent, distribute, and enable adoption of insights and experiences...

 initiative.

The idea of a KM system is to enable employees to have ready access to the organization's documented base of facts, sources of information, and solutions. For example a typical claim justifying the creation of a KM system might run something like this: an engineer could know the metallurgical composition of an alloy that reduces sound in gear systems. Sharing this information organization wide can lead to more effective engine design and it could also lead to ideas for new or improved equipment.
A KM system could be any of the following:
  1. Document based i.e. any technology that permits creation/management/sharing of formatted documents such as Lotus Notes
    Lotus Notes
    Lotus Notes is the client of a collaborative platform originally created by Lotus Development Corp. in 1989. In 1995 Lotus was acquired by IBM and became known as the Lotus Development division of IBM and is now part of the IBM Software Group...

    , SharePoint, web, distributed databases etc.
  2. Ontology
    Ontology
    Ontology is the philosophical study of the nature of being, existence or reality as such, as well as the basic categories of being and their relations...

    /Taxonomy
    Taxonomy
    Taxonomy is the science of identifying and naming species, and arranging them into a classification. The field of taxonomy, sometimes referred to as "biological taxonomy", revolves around the description and use of taxonomic units, known as taxa...

     based: these are similar to document technologies in the sense that a system of terminologies (i.e. ontology) are used to summarize the document e.g. Author, Subj, Organization etc. as in DAML & other XML based ontologies
  3. Based on AI
    Ai
    AI, A.I., Ai, or ai may refer to:- Computers :* Artificial intelligence, a branch of computer science* Ad impression, in online advertising* .ai, the ISO Internet 2-letter country code for Anguilla...

     technologies which use a customized representation scheme to represent the problem domain.
  4. Provide network maps of the organization showing the flow of communication between entities and individuals
  5. Increasingly social computing
    Social computing
    Social computing is a general term for an area of computer science that is concerned with the intersection of social behavior and computational systems. It has become an important concept for use in business. It is used in two ways as detailed below....

     tools are being deployed to provide a more organic approach to creation of a KM system.


KMS systems deal with information (although Knowledge Management as a discipline may extend beyond the information centric aspect of any system) so they are a class of information system and may build on, or utilize other information sources. Distinguishing features of a KMS can include:
  1. Purpose: a KMS will have an explicit Knowledge Management objective of some type such as collaboration, sharing good practice or the like.
  2. Context: One perspective on KMS would see knowledge is information that is meaningfully organized, accumulated and embedded in a context of creation and application.
  3. Processes: KMS are developed to support and enhance knowledge-intensive processes, tasks or projects of e.g., creation, construction, identification, capturing, acquisition, selection, valuation, organization, linking, structuring, formalization, visualization, transfer, distribution, retention, maintenance, refinement, revision, evolution, accessing, retrieval and last but not least the application of knowledge, also called the knowledge life cycle.
  4. Participants: Users can play the roles of active, involved participants in knowledge networks and communities fostered by KMS, although this is not necessarily the case. KMS designs are held to reflect that knowledge is developed collectively and that the “distribution” of knowledge leads to its continuous change, reconstruction and application in different contexts, by different participants with differing backgrounds and experiences.
  5. Instruments: KMS support KM instruments, e.g., the capture, creation and sharing of the codifiable aspects of experience, the creation of corporate knowledge directories, taxonomies or ontologies, expertise locators, skill management systems, collaborative filtering and handling of interests used to connect people, the creation and fostering of communities or knowledge networks.


A KMS offers integrated services to deploy KM instruments for networks of participants, i.e. active knowledge workers, in knowledge-intensive business processes along the entire knowledge life cycle. KMS can be used for a wide range of cooperative, collaborative, adhocracy
Adhocracy
Adhocracy is a type of organization that operates in opposite fashion to a bureaucracy. The term was first popularized in 1970 by Alvin Toffler, and has since become often used in the theory of management of organizations , further developed by academics such as Henry Mintzberg.- Etymology :The...

 and hierarchy communities, virtual organizations, societies and other virtual networks, to manage media contents; activities, interactions and work-flows purposes; projects; works, networks, departments, privileges, roles, participants and other active users in order to extract and generate new knowledge and to enhance, leverage and transfer in new outcomes of knowledge providing new services using new formats and interfaces and different communication channels.

The term KMS can be associated to Open Source Software, and Open Standards, Open Protocols and Open Knowledge licenses, initiatives and policies.

Benefits & Issues of knowledge management


Some of the advantages claimed for KM systems are:
  1. Sharing of valuable organizational information throughout organizational hierarchy.
  2. Can avoid re-inventing the wheel, reducing redundant work.
  3. May reduce training time for new employees
  4. Retention of Intellectual Property after the employee leaves if such knowledge can be codified.
  5. time management


Knowledge Sharing
Knowledge sharing
Knowledge sharing is an activity through which knowledge is exchanged among people, friends, or members of a family, a community or an organization....

 remains a challenging issue for knowledge management, and while there is no clear agreement barriers may include time issues for knowledge works, the level of trust, lack of effective support technologies and culture .

See also

  • Knowledge community
    Knowledge community
    A knowledge community is community construct, stemming from the convergence of knowledge management as a field of study and social exchange theory. Formerly known as a discourse community and having evolved from forums and web forums, knowledge communities are now often referred to as a community...

  • Knowledge ecosystem
    Knowledge ecosystem
    The idea of a knowledge ecosystem is an approach to knowledge management which claims to foster the dynamic evolution of knowledge interactions between entities to improve decision-making and innovation through improved evolutionary networks of collaboration....

  • Knowledge engineering
    Knowledge engineering
    Knowledge engineering was defined in 1983 by Edward Feigenbaum, and Pamela McCorduck as follows:At present, it refers to the building, maintaining and development of knowledge-based systems...

  • Knowledge management software
    Knowledge management software
    Knowledge management software is a subset of Enterprise content management software and which contains a range of software that specializes in the way information is collected, stored and/or accessed...

  • Knowledge transfer
    Knowledge transfer
    Knowledge transfer in the fields of organizational development and organizational learning is the practical problem of transferring knowledge from one part of the organization to another part of the organization. Like Knowledge Management, Knowledge transfer seeks to organize, create, capture or...

  • Legal case management
    Legal case management
    The terms Legal case management or matter management refer to a subset of law practice management and cover a range of approaches and technologies used by law firms and courts to leverage knowledge and methodologies for managing the life cycle of a case or matter more effectively...



Journals:
  • Electronic Journal of Knowledge Management
    Electronic Journal of Knowledge Management
    The Electronic Journal of Knowledge Management provides perspectives on topics relevant to the study, implementation, and management of knowledge management....

  • Journal of Knowledge Management
    Journal of Knowledge Management
    The Journal of Knowledge Management is an interdisciplinary peer-reviewed quarterly academic journal publishing original research, technical discussions, and case studies on knowledge management. It is indexed in Information Sciences Abstracts, Inspec, and Scopus...

  • Journal of Knowledge Management Practice
    Journal of Knowledge Management Practice
    The Journal of Knowledge Management Practice is an interdisciplinary peer-reviewed quarterly academic journal covering knowledge management and its practical applications. It is published online in electronic format only....


External links