It is imperative for today’s progressive organizations to integrate Knowledge Management (KM) in their routine operations. Incentive for this is the falling cost of hardware and availability of appropriate software tools to capture and manage corporate knowledge. Now the sources of knowledge are moving from paper to soft copy form and on to the web- thus- available to all, either freely or through payment of a nominal fee.
The importance of knowledge as a key source of competitive advantage is now well established in management studies, as suggested by the growing literature focusing on knowledge creation and transfer. Knowledge is undoubtedly an indispensable resource to create value for the next generation of society, industries, and companies. Yet, despite all the discussions and attentions in both the academic and business worlds, very few have articulated how organizations actually create and manage knowledge. Many companies still seem to remain locked in the phase of building efficient and effective information technology (IT) systems when they try to “manage knowledge”.
This soft copy form of information/knowledge lends itself to automatic collection, transformation and manipulation besides being amenable to fast distribution to all concerned- all these can be accomplished automatically without human intervention. KM progresses through four stages namely, create Knowledge Repository, improve knowledge access, create knowledge environment and manage knowledge as an asset.
Challenges in effective implementation of KM in organization stem from new forms of acquiring information, new tools to store and manipulate information, new tools for transformation of information, new ways of working over distance and time, and to shift from information access and sharing to knowledge networking. KM has been progressing from Groupware and Data warehousing to Business Intelligence thru usage of sophisticated software tools.
KM can give significant benefits to organizations by assisting them to improve quality of service delivery, avert disasters and reduce costs through early recognition patterns, alerts and probable actions.