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How Can Knowledge Management Help a Corporation?

written by: Bruce Tyson•edited by: Ronda Bowen•updated: 12/10/2010

Knowledge management might seem to be a load on time and a drain on money to many companies, but the question of how can knowledge management help a corporation should be answered from the perspective of time when significant rewards in customer service, operations, and profits can be realized.

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    Wealth Unaccounted For

    How can knowledge management help a corporation? Every corporation generates a wealth of information that often goesKNowledge Management Diagram  unrecognized for its value. Every sale, every technical support call, every customer service interaction, and every inquiry has value because they together paint a picture that represents the performance of the company and its products.

    By failing to collect, manage and utilize knowledge assets, corporations lose important information that would otherwise help them improve their products and resolve customer service and technical support issues faster and with better customer satisfaction.

    Internally, corporations have a vast amount of knowledge that - if managed properly - could lead to greater efficiencies in procedures, projects, and production.

    Knowledge management helps convert all the knowledge assets of a company into profits by directing the company toward the provision of better products, better services, and better profits. Here we take a look at how knowledge management can help a corporation.

    Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons/TKarseka

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    Knowledge Management and Corporate Management

    How can knowledge management help a corporation? Knowledge is an intangible asset that can be leveraged if it is actively applied to business operations. For many corporations, the question is not just one of collecting knowledge properly in useable formats, but how to analyze and control that knowledge in ways that will give management better control over the company so it can become more efficient and profitable. Without effective leadership in knowledge management, precious and vital corporate resources go to waste.

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    Knowledge Management and Human Resources

    Knowledge management has more to deal with than just data: personnel are the backbone of any information and knowledge workers are the ones who collect, interpret, and apply knowledge data on a daily basis. Knowledge management recognizes that knowledge workers know what is going on with important customer and vendor relationships, and that knowledge workers are the ones who know the intricacies of issues with products and services. Knowledge management can help corporations by managing knowledge workers in ways that encourage them to transform their personal knowledge into a corporate asset.

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    Information Systems Management

    Another answer to the question, "How can knowledge management help a corporation?" lies in the management of information systems. The simple possession of networked computer resources and a software program is insufficient to support a knowledge-driven organization. Knowledge systems must be easily accessible, intuitive, and seamless in flow with the rest of knowledge worker activity. Several knowledge management system models exist that are readily supported by IT infrastructure.

    Effective knowledge management will therefore create a flow of knowledge into the corporate memory, reliving the bottlenecks created by ineffective workflows and disjuncted knowledge gathering systems.

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    Basic Knowledge Management Techniques and Tools

    The process that transforms the tacit knowledge of workers into a corporate asset can consist of several basic techniques and tools. Basic knowledge management techniques require that knowledge be created, collected, and rated for importance so efforts can focus only on information that is relevant to the organization using tools such as SAP Business Objects.

    The dissemination and sharing of knowledge is also an essential technique in knowledge management so the information that is available can reach those who can use it in mission support. Techniques for monitoring and defining the expiration of knowledge helps corporation avoid the potentially uncomfortable situations that can result from relying on obsolete and outdated information. Tools such as Autonomy Interwoven can simplify document management, and knowledge categorization and codification.

    Techniques for the distribution of knowledge via knowledge portals and the tracking of knowledge through email and data mining can be supported by tools from IBM. Knowledge personalization techniques involving collaboration, communication, and skills based routing can be implemented using tools similar to those available from Tacit.

    A knowledge management plan designed for a specific organization should be created before attempting to implement a knowledge management program that uses these and other techniques and tools.

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    How can knowledge management help a corporation?

    Simply put, knowledge management helps a corporation by converting the ultra-valuable intangible asset of employee knowledge into a competitive advantage that drives business development and fuels profits.