Knowledge management (KM) is a term that is used to define the processes of acquiring, creating, sharing, capturing, and applying knowledge to enhance performance and learning in organizations. Many sectors in the economy are recognizing the transition and usefulness of knowledge management in varying degrees, especially in retail, manufacturing, financial industry, telecommunications and many more. Consequently, corporate spending on knowledge management is projected to increase significantly over the next decade as corporations start to invest in KM strategies seriously. Analyzing the benefits of knowledge management is imperative in finding how to utilize it in helping organizations solve business problems.
Companies require both intangible and tangible assets. While the latter is important for organizations, the former, including knowledge, are perceived to be a significant source of competitive advantage because they represent fundamental dimensions of the market value in various organizations (Dayan et al. 308). Therefore, knowledge management systems serve to disseminate and manage explicit knowledge that is used to facilitate essential contact between those in need of the tacit knowledge and the experts who provide the insight. However, knowledge management is quite challenging because it requires considerable investment resources, effort, and time and an adjustment of the organizational culture. Consequently, it does not just happen. On the contrary, it must be incentivized and encouraged to improve the delivery of goods and services to the customers, enhance internal business performance, and improve relations among the business units and the employees.
Knowledge management processes focus foremost on people rather than data and the harnessing of the organization’s intellectual property (IP). The intellectual property comes in two forms, including explicit or recorded knowledge and tacit or the knowledge carried around in the minds of employees. Consequently, KM systems facilitate access to the artifacts of explicit knowledge such as books, articles, drawings, memos, reports, blogs, wikis, discussion forum contributions, e-mails, and instant messages, and the connections between those who know such as internal experts, lead practitioners, and those who need to know.
Though the management of explicit knowledge poses challenges, these pale in comparison to the difficulties associated with the identification and sharing of tacit knowledge. In the first place, the body of tacit knowledge within an enterprise is vast. It is not practical to think that all critical knowledge in such a setting can or should be captured in a tangible form. Indeed, most seekers prefer an interview with the source of the knowledge so that the process of sharing is tailored to the inquirer’s specific requirements and time and resource constraints. As such, the disbursed, often-global nature of the 21st Century enterprise makes it extremely difficult for an individual to identify, let alone obtain timely and ready access to the right person to address a particular knowledge need (Wang et al. 978). And even if one finds the right person, the expert may not have the time at that moment or perhaps even the inclination to share what he/she has so carefully garnered and nurtured over the years. Therefore,
knowledge management processes focus less on IT as compared with DSS and more on the corporate culture, mechanisms for human interaction, and the need for flexible communication platforms for the exchange of ideas. For those accustomed to the structure and rigor of DSS, KMS may appear to be somewhat vague and undefined. Nevertheless, as a sister discipline, knowledge management plays a critical role in today’s enterprise (Wang et al. 979). Leveraging enterprise IP and embracing a culture of continuous improvement and innovation are the hallmarks of the successful global 21st Century organization. Intranets serve as a vehicle of communicating the vision, culture, goals, performances measures, and best practices across the enterprise. Social networking tools allow those with common assignments, business responsibilities, skills, and interests to interact, exchange ideas, and improve their individual and collective efforts Multi-media libraries of content allow for the reuse and repurposing of ideas, inventions, and business practices. All in all, knowledge management can and should impact the day-to-day delivery of the enterprise’s customer-focused output of goods and services. Its processes also facilitate the exchange of ideas and expertise among the various internal players within the organization.
In terms of the use of IT, knowledge management process employs different tools than DSS (Hislop, Rachelle and Remko n.d). Here, the flow of activities is a much less rigidly controlled process of steps and rules. An employee in search of guidance may resort to any number of paths in no particular order of preference. If that worker has local access to an expert, he or she may meet face-to-face for knowledge exchange. If the expert is known but resides at a distance, the employee may resort to the phone or e-mail for that exchange. If these informal paths are not open to the employee or if the employer does not know where to turn, he or she may consult the organization’s KMS that will either direct the employee to explicit knowledge.
The system may employ a social networking environment to suggest an appropriate community of experts to whom the employee may address their inquiry. Many information systems and even general purpose and system software may afford collaboration and knowledge sharing. Organizations have become larger, more complex, and global; hence the effective management of corporate data and the cultivation and dissemination of corporate knowledge have become increasingly important factors in their success. While internal business processes generate growing and endless volumes of data to be analyzed, an organization’s knowledge stems from the specific intellectual property created by its employees combined with that even a more substantial body of tacit knowledge residing within the employees. Consequently, the use of Knowledge management based strategies in an organization can lead to substantial benefits, especially with the management of information technology and human resources.
The corporate sector is quite competitive, which necessitates taking advantage of all the available opportunities to increase market share and profits. Knowledge management is one of these avenues. Knowledge management regards making use of knowledge systematically in the organization and applying it in the business processes to help deliver quality and achieve the goals and objectives of an organization. Subsequently, it is the way leaders and managers organize and manage their organizations through the management framework of processes, roles and responsibilities, resources governance, and utilizing technologies. Additionally, knowledge management is a term used to define the methods of acquiring, creating, sharing, capturing and applying knowledge to enhance performance and learning in organizations. Several industries in the economy are have realized the change and practicality of knowledge management in different degrees particularly in the retail, manufacturing, financial, and telecommunications sector and many more.
Dayan, Rony, Peter Heisig, and Florinda Matos. “Knowledge management as a factor for the formulation and implementation of organizational strategy.” Journal of Knowledge Management 21.2 (2017): 308-329.
Hislop, Donald, Rachelle Bosua, and Remko Helms. Knowledge management in organizations: A critical introduction. Oxford University Press, 2018.
Wang, Sheng, Raymond A. Noe, and Zhong-Ming Wang. “Motivating knowledge sharing in knowledge management systems: A quasi–field experiment.” Journal of Management40.4 (2014): 978-1009.