In today’s business scenario where there is lot of competition, only source of lasting is Knowledge. It is argued that knowledge management is a necessity due to changes in the environment such as increasing globalization of competition, speed of information and knowledge aging, dynamics of both product and process innovations, and competition through buyer markets. Knowledge management promises to help companies to be faster, more efficient, or more innovative than the competition. Also, the term ‘‘management” implies that knowledge management deals with the interactions between the organization and the environment and the ability of the organization to react and act
Various researchers then gave the various definitions on Knowledge Management and still it’s the buzzword today. Knowledge management is the process through which we can manage human centered assets efficiently and effectively. The function of knowledge management is to guard and grow knowledge owned by individuals, and where possible, transfer the asset into a form where it can be more readily shared by other employees in the company. KM refers to activities aimed at enhancing knowledge processing. These activities are interventions designed to affect how knowledge processing is done. The tools, techniques, and strategies to retain, analyze, organize, improve, and share business expertise. Knowledge management promotes an integrated approach to identifying, capturing, retrieving, sharing and evaluating enterprise information assets. These information assets may include database, policies, procedures and documents and as well as uncaptured tacit expertise and experience stored in the heads of individual workers.
Knowledge management is the information having some intent that can be interpreted and made available. Knowledge management is the concept rather than a technology as commonly misunderstood by the top management of most of the companies. KM addresses the need for information that is used for making effective decisions. For example, comments posted over discussion boards that can be converted into useful FAQs. Knowledge Management gives us the ability to leverage and combine the collective abilities of knowledge workers. KM helps share knowledge amongst employees irrespective of their geographical locations and helps build competitive advantage by improving productivity and capability to innovate. KM is nothing but having customized information tailored to the needs of each user. As a KM practice provides a structured way of capturing knowledge that exists within the organization, it gives an organization the ability to improve the productivity and knowledge of its employees by means of knowledge sharing. Thus knowledge management can be defined as something which can be shared by the people acting as the organizational assets that can be used to define the best practices in the business environment and used to enhance productivity and efficiency of the organization by making the best use of knowledge available in the organization. Knowledge Management (KM) involves aligning processes, people, and information technology to continuously capture, maintain, and reuse the key information and judgments that improve business performance. In simple term it is said Knowledge management seeks to make best use of knowledge available in the organization and helps in creating a new knowledge in the process. Thus benefits of well designed Knowledge management systems are: Awareness, Accessibility, Availability and Timeliness.
Main Objective of implementing the Knowledge Management is value creation. The ease to access the information and using it to improve business processes and to achieve competitive advantage are the major challenges faced by the modern day organizations. In order to create, develop and extract value from knowledge and information, the right operational and strategic processes are needed to put into place. Knowledge management leads to structure and management methods based upon idea sharing thus giving voice to customers, workers and partners. From the organizational perspective, the objectives of exploiting information and knowledge resources should aim to support the effective utilization of knowledge in every company. Generate new knowledge, access valuable knowledge from outside sources, use knowledge in decision making, embed knowledge in processes, products, and services; represent knowledge in documents, databases, and software; facilitate knowledge growth through culture and intensives, transfer existing knowledge into other parts of the organization, and measure the value of knowledge assets and/or the impact of knowledge management. The aim that organizations should support knowing – the generation of meaning – amongst their employees. Knowledge creation, knowledge discovery, knowledge acquisition, knowledge storing, and identification of knowledge needs.
Knowledge Management Cycle
Knowledge management system follows a six steps process in a cycle. The reason the system is cyclical is that knowledge is dynamically refined over time. The knowledge in a good KM system is never finished because over time, the environment changes and the knowledge must be updated to reflect the changes. Today’s knowledge may become obsolete if the organization fails to update the knowledge. The knowledge management cycle works as follows:
- Create knowledge: Knowledge is created as people determine new ways of doing things or develop the ‘know-how’. Sometimes external knowledge is introduced. For example, using the old tacit knowledge cases in order to solve new cases by comparing the cases that they have with the old cases in order to make the right diagnose of a particular patient.
- Capture knowledge: New knowledge must be valued and represented in a reasonable way. For example, when a medical professional i.e doctors, sergeants, nurses, etc. solves a new medical case, so he/she has captured new knowledge. Therefore, when the professional wants to represents the solution of that diseases, the newly found knowledge should be presented in a reasonable way to ease understanding among the audience or related professionals.
- Refine knowledge: New knowledge must be placed in proper context so that appropriate actions can be made. This is where human insights (tacit qualities) must be captured along with explicit facts. For example, when someone has new knowledge to present, the presentation should depend on explicit facts or knowledge available.
- Store knowledge: Useful knowledge must then be stored in a reasonable format in a knowledge repository so that others in the organization can access it. For example, storing the knowledge in electronic medical records will help other medical professionals to access that information at any time.
- Manage knowledge: Like a library, the knowledge must be kept current. It must be reviewed to verify that it is relevant and accurate. When a nurse create knowledge, that knowledge must be reasonable and not reflecting other irrelevant facts.
- Disseminate knowledge: Knowledge must be made available in a useful format to anyone in the organization who needs it, anywhere and anytime. For example, when a nurse introduces new knowledge, it should be clear and easy to understand for others to view and use it accordingly.
In summation, knowledge management is useful and can be employed in almost all areas of business.