KM Software Term Paper

Pages: 4 (1527 words)  ·  Bibliography Sources: ≈ 8  ·  File: .docx  ·  Level: College Senior  ·  Topic: Business - Management

Knowledge Management

The specific benefit the Knowledge Management adds to a global organization is to transform individual knowledge into enterprise knowledge. It facilitates this sharing of information and expertise throughout the organization. Knowledge and information have become the medium in which business problems occur. As a result, managing knowledge represents the primary opportunity for achieving substantial savings, significant improvements in human performance, and competitive advantage.

Knowledge Management seeks to make the best use of the knowledge that is available to an organization, creating new knowledge, increasing awareness and understanding in the process. The goal of commercial knowledge is not truth, but effective performance: not what is right but what works or even what works better where better is defined in a competitive and financial context. Personal knowledge management pays attention to the organization of information, thoughts and beliefs. In this approach, the responsibility for knowledge creation lies with the individual who is charged to learn, connect and share personal insights.

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Enterprise knowledge management is concerned with strategy, process and technologies to acquire, store, share and secure organizational understanding, insights and core distinctions. KM at this level is closely tied to competitive advantage, innovation and agility. According to Proctor & Gamble's (P&G) Knowledge Management project, Mike Telljohann, Associate Director for P&G's technical center in Cincinnati, "The quality of conversations going on was very high and could be tied to people moving projects forward. It was clear this would be a pretty good investment,' he says.

Another benefit that users appreciated was the efficiency that resulted from establishing a single knowledge base in the company."

Term Paper on KM Software Assignment

Information can be considered as a message. It typically has a sender and a receiver. Information is the sort of stuff that can, at least potentially, be saved onto a computer. Data is a type of information that is structured, but has not been interpreted. Knowledge might be described as information that has a use or purpose. Whereas information can be placed onto a computer, knowledge is emergent and socially constructed. It exists in the heads of people. Knowledge is information to which intent has been attached. "The idea is that information, knowledge, and wisdom are more than simply collections. Rather, the whole represents more than the sum of its parts and has a synergy of its own."

It's not just a Fortune 500 business problem. Small companies need formal approaches to Knowledge Management even more, because they don't have the market leverage, inertia, and resources that big companies do. They have to be much more flexible, more responsive, and more "right" (make better decisions) - because even small mistakes can be fatal to them.

You can't solve the problems of Information Age business or gain a competitive advantage simply by throwing more information and people at the problems. And you can't solve knowledge-based problems with approaches borrowed from the product-oriented, print-based economy. Those solutions are reactive and inappropriate. Applying technology blindly to knowledge-related business problems is a mistake, too, but the computerized business environment provides opportunities and new methods for representing "knowledge" and leveraging its value. it's not an issue of finding the right computer interface - although that would help, too. We simply have not defined in a rigorous, clear, widely accepted way the fundamental characteristics of "knowledge" in the computing environment.

First generation Knowledge Management involves the capture of information and experience so that it is easily accessible in a corporate environment. An alternate term is "knowledge capture or harvesting." Managing this capture allows the system to grow into a powerful information asset and corporate memory. This has led to organizations investing heavily in technological fixes that had either little impact or a negative impact on the way in which knowledge was used. A typical scenario might have seen an organization install a sophisticated intranet in order to categorize and disseminate information, only to find that the extra work involved in setting up the metadata meant that few within the organization actually used the intranet. This occasionally led to management mandating the use of the intranet, resulting in resentment amongst staff, and undermining their trust in the organization. Thus first generation solutions are often counterproductive.

Knowledge is not a commodity but a process. Its failure to provide any theoretical understanding of how organizations learn new things and how they act on this information meant that first generation Knowledge Management was incapable of managing knowledge creation.

The value of Knowledge Management relates directly to the effectiveness with which the managed knowledge enables the members of the organization to deal with today's situations and effectively envision and create their future. Without on-demand access to managed knowledge, every situation is addressed based on what the individual or group brings to the situation with them. With on-demand access to managed knowledge, every situation is addressed with the sum total of everything anyone in the organization has ever learned about a situation of a similar nature.

Second generation Knowledge Management gives priority to the way in which people construct and use knowledge. It derives its ideas from complex systems, often making use of organic metaphors to describe knowledge growth. It is closely related to organizational learning. It recognizes that learning and doing are more important to organizational success than dissemination and imitation.

Mechanistic approaches to knowledge management are characterized by the application of technology and resources to do more of the same better. The main assumptions of the mechanistic approach are that better accessibility to information is key, including enhanced methods of access and reuse of documents (hypertext linking, databases, full-text search, etc.) and that networking technology in general (especially intranets), and groupware in particular, are key solutions. It is thought that technology and sheer volume of information will make it work. "The dream of knowledge management, or getting the right information to the right people at the right time, is perhaps the ultimate goal of it. The more successful a company is at building a huge repository of knowledge, the harder it is for people to slosh through it all to find exactly what they need-let alone hit upon that gem they didn't know they needed."

Such approaches are relatively easy to implement for corporate "political" reasons, because the technologies and techniques, although sometimes advanced in particular areas, are familiar and easily understood. There is a bit of good sense here, because enhanced access to corporate intellectual assets is vital. But it's simply not clear whether access itself will have a substantial impact on business performance, especially as mountains of new information are placed online. Unless the Knowledge Management approach incorporates methods of leveraging cumulative experience, the net result may not be positive, and the impact of implementation may be no more measurable than in traditional paper models.

Cultural/behavioristic approaches, with substantial roots in process re-engineering and change management, tend to view the "knowledge problem" as a management issue. Technology, although ultimately essential for managing explicit knowledge resources, is not the solution. These approaches tend to focus more on innovation and creativity (the "learning organization") than on leveraging existing explicit resources or making working knowledge explicit. Assumptions of cultural/behavioristic approaches are that organizational behaviors and culture need to be changed dramatically. In our information-intensive environments, organizations become dysfunctional relative to business objectives.

There is also the belief that organizational behaviors and culture can be changed, but traditional technology and methods of attempting to solve the "knowledge problem" have reached their limits of effectiveness. A "holistic" view is required. Theories of behavior of large-scale systems are often invoked.

It's the processes that matter, not the technology.

There are important ways to improve productivity that don't involve it. One is to ensure that there are measures of productivity and effectiveness in place (easy in call centers, harder with more autonomous knowledge workers). Another is to develop business process standards such… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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