Contemporary organizations face the challenge of growing and advancing in a complex and changing environment (Johannessen, Olaisen, & Olsen, 2001; Malhotra, 2000). In order to accomplish this objective, private organizations continuously innovate to attract customers (Johannessen et al.). Competition has been accelerated by information technology, which allows the appearance of new business models, introducing new competitors in the business arena (Rayport, 2001). Under these circumstances, it appears that innovation is one of the most valuable activities for any organization (Nonaka, 1996). Furthermore, the management of intangible assets such as knowledge is one of the critical factors to promote innovation and sustainable competitive advantage (Davenport, 2001; De Long & Fahey, 2000; Malhotra; Nonaka).
Key Terms in this Chapter
Knowledge Portal: A knowledge portal is an Internet-based computer program that constitutes a single point of access to organizational knowledge, integrating knowledge repositories, expert directories, collaboration tools, and other knowledge-intensive applications.
Customer Relationship Management (CRM): CRM is an IT-supported process that has as its objective to increase value to customers or citizens. There are two common ways in which public organizations are approaching CRM. The first of them involves improving customer support and service through one-step shopping through the Internet, toll-free numbers, or in some countries through service kiosks. The second approach consists of mining data to better understand citizens’ needs in areas such as health or education.
Knowledge Management (KM): KM is a professional field committed to innovation and improved organizational performance by identifying, eliciting, disseminating, and using knowledge and other intangible assets within an organization.
Expert Systems: These are computer programs that codify expert knowledge associated with a specific problem domain. An expert system is formed by a set of rules and an inference engine with the capability to reach a conclusion by combining and applying the rules to a set of facts or statements.
Decision Conferences: These are computer-supported meetings where a group negotiates a shared meaning about a policy problem and alternative solutions to it.
Groupware: Groupware is a computer program that offers services to support group collaboration such as e-mail, meeting scheduling, shared libraries, forums, and chat rooms.
E-Learning: E-learning is a process to improve knowledge dissemination and sharing through the application of information technologies to learning programs such as mentoring or on-the-job training. The concept is also used to refer to formal distance education programs offered through the Internet or other electronic means.