What are Knowledge Management Systems?

What are Knowledge Management Systems?

In this digital age, the amount of information that is out there seems to be endless. The knowledge created and shared from this information however, can be limited, or indeed wasted in the business world. This is what KMS (knowledge management systems) address. Knowledge management systems are often talked about in the industry, but one cannot explore the KMS before first understanding what exactly we mean by both knowledge and knowledge management.

To put as simply as possible, knowledge management refers to the system used in the management of an organization’s knowledge assets in order to create value and improve the business’ strategic tactics. It allows companies to sustain and improve the way in which they store, share, refine, assess and of course create knowledge.

When it comes to knowledge in Business, it can mean know-how, information or even a general understanding. This could be understanding of your customers, clients, competitors or even your business itself. However, when it comes to how complex knowledge actually is and can be, it is important to consider other aspects or focuses of knowledge. Critical knowledge, as suggested by José Carlos Tenorio, is knowledge derived from analyzing a series of elements related to an organization´s strategy such as its value preposition, market segments, new product development, balanced scorecard and any other relevant information which the organization applies in order to steer forward it´s strategy. Knowledge management is the process of identifying and developing critical knowledge.

What are Knowledge Management Systems?

Knowledge management can be utilized in business in a number of ways. For example, via a knowledge management system, an organization can encourage the distribution of knowledge among its employees. Knowledge management can also help to use proper metrics to measure business value. Businesses have the opportunity to align the power behind knowledge management plans and encourage a culture that fosters and encourages knowledge. This can only help a company, as it can then adopt new processes more quickly, employees will be happier in general and there will be less time spent trying to understand something that could be easily addressed.

Companies such as Expert System use a knowledge management system to help businesses utilize as much information as possible. Software modules and a central user interface makes up the actual knowledge management system. Depending on how the system is set up, input and histories can be tracked, while also offering a space where employees can share documents and ‘knowledge’.

Overall, a knowledge management system can help create a much more efficient environment. When there is an improved distribution of knowledge, the employees benefit by feeling supported, encouraged and on the same page while in turn, the business unit operates more efficiently. Not to mention, business tasks such as training, sales meetings and critical decision making meetings can run much more effectively when supported with a knowledge management system. However, there is an entire culture shift needed in order to make a KMS completely worth it. A KMS best supports a knowledge culture in which teams share best practices with one another and people are driven to continue to learn, communicate and support one another.

The knowledge management system is just one example of the artificial intelligence that is becoming the norm in business (and everyday life). For the businesses that use it and take the time to ensure the knowledge and knowledge management is being carefully prioritized and selected, the KMS can have a significant impact on business as usual.

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