Knowledge management (KM) is defined as the process of capturing, storing, sharing and effectively managing the knowledge and experience of employees to increase the workforce’s overall knowledge. Its primary goal is to improve efficiency, productivity and retain critical information within the company.
A Knowledge Management System (KMS) is an IT platform which facilitates the Knowledge Management process. It should provide content capture and control, search, workflow, collaboration and data analysis functionality. A KMS can range from a simple FAQ system to an enterprise level tool, which will allow all the company’s information assets to be stored and searched.
A Taxonomy is commonly used by a KMS to provide a framework for organising, securing and searching information. It provides the basic design for a knowledge base and information can be added to taxonomy categories, with the rights and roles and document publishing workflow defined at taxonomy level.
Tacit Knowledge is the information, knowledge and experience which has not evolved into reusable, documented knowledge, in basic terms it is the valuable knowledge in people’s heads. The role of a KMS is to provide effective mechanisms to turn tacit knowledge into explicit knowledge, through the use of ‘Ask the Expert’ functionality , feedback mechanisms and collaboration tools.
Explicit Knowledge is formalised, standardised and documented knowledge. A KMS system should provide functionality such as configurable content templates to provide consistency of style and structure to content.
To maximise the benefits of a KM system through measurable outcomes, periodic review and knowledge ownership. The KM process should be underpinned by technology, which will automate content workflow and revalidation and provide analysis of the knowledge demand.
Users who are responsible for the upkeep of the content in the KMS for their area of expertise. Typically a number of users are defined as ‘expert users’ and their rights and roles will include the ability to create, edit, review and approve content, in addition to responding in a timely manner to any rework requests or requests for new knowledge.
An external location, such as a fileshare, website or online repository such as SharePoint365 or Google Docs, which contains valuable knowledge to be available to be searched via the KMS. This information should be leveraged by a KMS but remain in its original location.
Metadata can range from the properties of a knowledge asset, for example, when it was created/modified, the author, category etc to the indexed words which are used by the search mechanisms to retrieve knowledge. A KMS will automatically capture metadata and additional meta data can be added, such as additional meta search keywords and custom properties.
The ability of a KMS to understand the context of a user’s question, using algorithms, machine learning and AI (Artificial Intelligence).