What is Knowledge Management
Knowledge Management as a term can be confusing for a layman. KM in simple terms would mean creating, storing and sharing of data, text, scenarios, situation management, and behavior patterns etc. within an organization. A KM system stores information and experiences within an organization making it available to others and ensuring that the intellectual capabilities of an organization are shared. This results in enhancement of an organization’s efficiency, productivity and profitability. To successfully implement a KM, a company needs to analyze its goals and scrutinize the tools that are required for addressing its needs. In the words of Glaxosmithkline “KM is the capabilities by which communities within an organization capture the knowledge that is critical to them , constantly improve it and make it available in the most effective manner to those who need it so that they can exploit it creatively and add value as a normal part of their work”
The fact of the matter is that it does not matter how much knowledge a company has that makes a company grow. It is what they do with that knowledge is that what makes them grow.
A Brief History
KM emerged as a discipline in 1990’s . Leif Edvisson was hired as the world’s first Chief Knowledge officer,by Scandia. In 2001 Thomas A Stewart the Editor of Harvard Business Review published a cover story highlighting the the importance of KM in an organization. Since then KM has evolved as a concept and more and more companies are recognizing the importance of having a KM.
Why KM is imperative to an organization
An organization is not confined to one location. In an organization spread across various locations and with multiple divisons and hierarchies there are volumes of unorganized, unsearchable data. Transfer of this data is very time consuming without a proper channel for doing so. Knowledge transfer in most companies is done in a traditional way through emails leading to email overload. This is also not one of the secure way of sharing knowledge.There is also a possibility of loss of knowledge when people leave or hardware devices fail. These are scenarios where the vital role of a KM comes into play not to undermine the importance of KM for single location and small organizations.
Benefits of KM
A KM allows secure and instant access to important information, streamlining processes of institutionalizing and distribution of knowledge thereby significantly reducing costs associated with various business processes. We believe that Knowledge should be “not just Information and not just Data!” and should be available from wherever it is needed, to all those authorized to receive it. It should only be entered once - and then kept up-to-date and relevant to the enterprise. More and more companies opting for a KM are discovering an improvement in their training costs and time. A KM practice in an organization is the “demand” of the day. The sooner companies realize and implement a KM practice; the quicker will be their growth and ability to overcome competition.