These days, organizations are often faced with challenges of circulating and retaining knowledge. Staff training has become costly than ever before and existing information sharing techniques are not as effective as expected. Organizations have encountered the need to harness knowledge not only to stay competitive but also to become innovative (Babita et al. 2000).
In my other post, Smarter Businesses, I discussed how businesses and organizations use business intelligence and analytics to retain and mostly gain organizational knowledge from big data collection and manipulation processes. Business intelligence is often confused with knowledge management systems as they both focus on acquiring data for business decision making. However, they do have several differences.
Instead of further investigating such differences, this post will focus on identifying the key aspects of knowledge management systems within organizations and how it relates to information and communications technology (ICT).
Knowledge Management Systems (KMS)
A knowledge management system is defined as an information system used to capture, organize, and create knowledge to improve organizational processes. Ruggles (2009), described that knowledge management systems are technologies that support knowledge management (KM) in organizations, specifically knowledge generation, codification, and transfer. Think of KMS as an information system that is dedicated to improving organizational knowledge. Its purpose is to facilitate knowledge flow within an organization, enabling employees to have access to the right information for the right need. With employees learning and sharing their knowledge, it leads to more effective problem-solving techniques and development opportunities.
But do not take this the wrong way. A knowledge management system is different from an information management system (Figure 1).
Importance of KMS
So, should someone ask why knowledge management system is an important asset to an organization, here are several reasons why:
Organizations can (Jain, 2014)
- sustain knowledge regarding their products and services
- provide accessible knowledge to employees
- encourage innovation
- perform better decision making
Relation to ICT
According to Maier and Hadrich (2011), a knowledge management system is an information and communication technology (ICT) system which combines and integrates functions for handling both explicit and tacit knowledge throughout an organization that is targeted by a knowledge management initiative. An ICT system refers to any device or system which allows storage, retrieval, manipulation, transmission, and receipt of digital information. It is where the outputs from a system go directly to a human being or into another ICT system. ICT systems are usually composed of 6 components which include hardware, software, people, data, procedures, and information. Organizations use ICT systems to assist with collating and analyzing data from other systems.
Tacit AvticeNet is an example of how organizations seek out effective solutions for knowledge management systems.
Tacit ActiveNet, an enterprise software solution that proactively drives interactions among employees across other divisions, was developed to solve the problem organizations were facing due to a lack of knowledge sharing and collaboration. Employees were duplicating tasks, making mistakes, or simply missing opportunities to develop due to a huge collaboration gap within organizations. Even with other collaboration tools in place, employees are simply not drawn to use them. Tacit ActiveNet took a different approach by automatically selecting who should be working with who to ensure that quality training and knowledge exchange is achieved through interactions. It is the new technology for any organization that depends on collaboration for success.
So, through effective KMS, an organization can bring its entire organizational learning and knowledge to bear on any problem.
Babita Gupta, Lakshmi S. Iyer, Jay E. Aronson, (2000) “Knowledge management: practices and challenges”, Industrial Management & Data Systems, Vol. 100 Issue: 1, pp.17-21, doi: 10.1108/02635570010273018
Ezendu, E. (2014). Knowledge Management System and Technology. [Powerpoint slides]. Retrieved from https://www.slideshare.net/ezendu/knowledge-management-system-technology
Jain, P. (2014). Knowledge Management Systems. [Powerpoint slides]. Retrieved from https://www.slideshare.net/PRIYANKJAIN23/knowledge-management-system
Maier, R., & Hädrich, T. (2011). Knowledge Management Systems.
Ruggles, R. (2009). Knowledge management tools. Routledge.