Knowledge management systems

Knowledge management has been widely recognised as an important approach for the organizations to mainly achieve continuous improvement, competitive advantage, and retaining intellectual capital. Knowledge management for an organisation is to indentify, represent, store, create, transfer, distribute and to enable adoption of insights and experience. The organisations can achieve the above set of benefits by transforming knowledge into action rather depending on knowledge itself (1). Knowledge management focus on sharing the knowledge, experiences, and insights due to there is always a ready substitute for each and everyone in the organisation. This saves time, avoids duplication of work and also avoids reinvention of wheel per se. Integration of the knowledge either explicitly or implicitly of different departments in the organisations should be the principal task of the organisations to facilitate the knowledge application.

Although other factors like social factor influence the application of knowledge management in an organisation, information systems in these days is expected to influence the application of knowledge management heavily. The research shows that the presently used systems for knowledge management are not successful (2). There is an urge for new and innovative knowledge management systems as the critical problems like managing the knowledge and additional work load rises with the growth of the organisation. Due to various limitations of the systems used for knowledge management the usage of the same has decreased. Markus et al. suggests that a new and innovative knowledge management systems theory should be designed which can help the technical people who designs a knowledge management systems, to create an effective and much needed knowledge management systems.

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Presently in most of the organisations knowledge is maintained through motivational aspects. Organisations give monetary reimbursements to reduce the employee turnover; they focus on incentives, norms and social issues rather than focusing on designing technical approaches in managing knowledge. As the size of the data has increased enormously in the organisation, it is much required by the organisations of today's world to give importance to design appropriate technical systems for knowledge management along with motivational, cultural and social factors. It is also not possible for all the employees to spare time daily for feeding a knowledge database or maintaining a knowledge system.

Part 2

It is evident that only when all the factors like technical, social and cultural will be integrated knowledge management process will be a success.

As the organisations have realised that they have already lost many of their important information and expertise in the past due to absence of the process- maintaining and preserving the knowledge and expertise, the organisations are coming up with new and innovative systems and theories. Yet there is a lot of scope for innovation and improvement of knowledge management systems.

Innovative idea/ added value/ innovative KM system.

Problems faced by the organisations in developing and implementing a new system or process for knowledge management in its company:

Employees and other members of the organisations do not get a proper place to interact and share their knowledge.(refe).

Also people in the organisations do not spare time to maintain a knowledge database if created.(refe).

The solutions to situations for example an export manager handling and looking after the situation like talking to the airline manager incase of a offload of tonnes of goods, cannot be shared amongst others as it is a tacit knowledge.

Companies develop knowledge management process not in support of what they really wish to accomplish, but ends in themselves because they don't know what they are trying to accomplish, hence the companies needs to introduce a knowledge management process, which is not complex and can be easily followed and implemented by the members of the organisations. (Csikszentmihalyi's model of evolving complexity).

Bearing in mind the above problems and urgent need of a simple but effective process for knowledge management as stated by Csikszentmihalyi, an effective process addressing the present needs of the organisations can be designed.

Knowledge management is not only about managing the knowledge internally. The process should also consider customer service. As according to the survey conducted by Dr Jon Anton for his book ebusiness customer service revealed that customers who buy a product with problems but receive "world-class" customer service while resolving the problem are more than twice as likely to repurchase from the company than customers who buy a perfect product with no problems at all.

The Process

A website of the company is the base of the interaction both for internal and external purpose.

Though telephone calls are still the most popular channel of interaction for customers, accounting for 75% of all interactions, Internet-based interactions (email, web self-service, live web sessions and voice-over-IP) already account for the other 25% and are growing in importance. Serving customers through web is also cheap compared to other means like telephone (call centres). Any queries that customers ask through the website of the company can be addressed quickly and efficiently. Thus customer service can be provided effectively through web. But as far as the rising problem of the organisations of managing internal knowledge and expertise is concern a new and innovative process is much required.


For the same, the model of innovation given by Slappendel and Wolfe (appendix) can be taken into consideration.

Typical components in stage model of innovation ( Slappendel 1996; Wolfe 1994).

The main aim of the process should be converting tacit knowledge into explicit knowledge.

Thus a company will be organising a meeting for any two of its department in any combination (for example: production-sales department; HR-IS department) every six months.

The main agenda of the meeting will be 'WHAT IF' sessions. In these sessions, the chair person conducting the meeting will be prepared with set of what ifs to be asked in the meeting.

Example: Meeting organised for sales and production department of a fruit and vegetables exporting company. A situation like 'what if on a particular day when there is an order for 30 tonnes of mix fruits and due to some problem the cargo (goods) is offloaded'. This question is particularly addressed to the manager/employee who handles loading part of sales department.

As the manger handling sales would have been encountered with such situations before, he will in a position to give an appropriate solution to such situation. Like he may suggest how and what to talk to the airline's manager to get the work done on the basis of his experience. The person in-charge of the 'Knowledge Database' will be recording and feeding in the final solutions of the particular situations in a 'Knowledge Database System'. Also these situations will be categorised on the basis of departments. For example the above situation and its solution will be in sales category. Thus all the important information, knowledge and expertise will be captured in a knowledge database system. Also in this process the knowledge of one department is shared with another department.

A personalised 'Search engine' like (Docco Based onApache'sindexing and Lucene search engine), be created in a knowledge database system. Thus if a new employee has to replace any other senior employee in a crises or in a difficult situation, all it has to do is go to the knowledge database system, type the category of the situation and type the question. The search engine will give out the relevant results. The employee can get the knowledge and handle the situation efficiently though being inexperienced in the field.


  1. Grant, R.M., "Towards a Knowledge-Based Theory of the Firm", Strategic Management Journal, 17 (Winter Special Issue), 1996, pp. 109-122.
  2. Schultze, U. and Boland, R.J., "Knowledge Management Technology and the Reproduction of Knowledge Work Practices", Journal of Strategic Information Systems, 9, 2000, pp. 193-212.

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