Knowledge Management (KM) is the process of critically managing knowledge to meet existing needs, identify and exploit existing and acquired knowledge assets and develop new opportunities (Quintas et al, 1997). With the emergence of knowledge-intensive industries, where organisations rely on knowledge of their staff for competitive advantage (Lustri et al., 2007), KM has become key for business success (Mu-jung et al., 2007). KM is now an integral business function (Zhou and Fink, 2003) in both traditional and internet-based businesses (Borges Tiago et al., 2007) to the extent that KM is now viewed essential for profit (Yang, 2008). It is widely acknowledged today that new technologies, in particular access to the Internet, tend to modify communication between stakeholders in the business world, such as relationships between the organisation and its clients, the internal functioning of the organisation, including enterprise-employee relationships and the relationship of the organisation with partners and suppliers. This integration to improve the functioning of the organisation to create value for all parties involved is referred to as Electronic Commerce (e-commerce, EC) (Turban et al, 2006).
Much confusion exists around the practical implementation of knowledge-orientated programmes, this is especially true from a technological viewpoint. KM seeks to develop a strategy for the capture, use and transfer of knowledge across the organisation, to improve efficiency and increase competitive edge (Demerest, 1997). KM is concerned with embracing a diversity of knowledge sources, cultivating knowledge wherever it resides. Technology can be viewed as both a key contributor and enabler to the field of KM (Davenport and Prusak, 1998). This perspective is related to technological ability in capturing data, information, and knowledge that surpasses human capacity in absorbing and analysing these, in a focused manner (Shenk, 1997). As technological developments become more advanced in application and utilisation, it is emerging those employees who have access to technologies that detect and manage business opportunities, will have the distinct advantage of exploiting market shifts.
While KM technologies may incorporate characteristics of traditional data and information technologies, they also extend these capabilities. Knowledge technologies attempt to push users to think beyond their current boundaries, thus facilitating organisational activity, promoting continuous improvement and growth through innovation. In today’s knowledge-intensive organisations the primary objective of ICT is to lead users to the information they need. This includes creating, gathering, storing, accessing and making available the right information that will result in insight for the organisations’ users (Davenport and Prusak, 1998). Thus, the pervasive use of information technology in organisations, qualifies it as a natural medium for information flow (Borghoff and Pareschi, 1999).
Key Terms in this Chapter
Business Intelligence (BI): Using organisation data and knowledge resources for better informed decision making to enhance customer relations.
Knowledge Management (KM): The merging of human activity, process improvement and technological application for more efficient business practices.
E-commerce (Electronic-Commerce, EC): Selling goods and services over the Internet.
Content Management: Organizing components and subject matter of an application so it meet the needs of users.
Tagging: Labeling data to create a catalogue of descriptions.
Collaboration: Getting people to work together closer for more effective decision making and knowledge sharing.
Semantic Web: An extension of the current Internet where information and services are better defined to enable more efficient use in terms of content creation, sharing, searching and development.