The Knowledge Management (KM) is a recent discipline that was born under the idea of explicitly managing the whole existing knowledge of a given organisation (Wiig, 1995) (Wiig et al., 1997). More specifically, the KM involves providing the people concerned with the right information and knowledge at the most suitable level for them, when and how best suit them; in such way, these people will have all the necessary ingredients for choosing the best option when faced with a specific problem (Rodríguez, 2002). As the knowledge, together with the ability for its best management, has turned into the key factor for the organizations to stand out, it is desirable to determine and develop the support instruments for the generation of such value within the organisations. This situation has been commonly accepted by several authors as (Brooking, 1996) (Davenport & Prusak, 2000) (Huang et al., 1999) (Liebowitz & Beckman, 1998) (Nonaka & Takeuchi, 1995) and (Wiig, 1993) among others. Technological tools should be available for diminishing the communication distance and for providing a common environment where the knowledge might accessible for being stored or shared. As KM is a very recent discipline, there are few commercial software tools that deal with those aspects necessary for its approach. Most of the tools classified as KM-related are mere tools for managing documents, which is unsuitable for the correct management of the organisations knowledge. Bearing such problem in mind, the present work approaches the establishment of a KM support software tool based on the own definition of KM and on the existing tools. For achieving this, section 2 presents the market analysis that was performed for studying the existing KM tools, where not only their characteristics were analysed, but also the future needs of the knowledge workers. Following this study, the functionality that a KM support tool should have and the proposal for the best approach to that functionality were identified.
The first step for developing a complete KM support tool according to the present and future trade needs is the performance of a study of the existing market. After the initial identification of the characteristics that a KM support tool should have, a posterior work reveals how the studied tools provide support to every one of the previously identified characteristics. Lastly, an evaluation of the obtained results will be performed.
Key Terms in this Chapter
Knowledge Management: Discipline that intends to provide, at its most suitable level, the accurate information and knowledge for the right people, whenever they may needed and at their best convenience.
Knowledge Management Tool: Organisational system that connects people with the information and communication technologies, with the purpose of improving the share and distribution processes of the organisational knowledge.
Yellow Page: It storages information about a human or non-human source that has additional and/or specialized knowledge about a particular subject.
Communication & Collaboration Tool: Systems that enable collaboration and communication among members of an organisation (i.e. chat applications, whiteboards).
Document Management: It is the computerised management of electronic, as well as paper-based documents.
Lesson Learned: Specific experience, positive or negative, of a certain domain. It is obtained into a practical context and can be used during future activities of similar contexts.
Institutional Memory: It is the physical storage of the knowledge entered in an organization.
Knowledge: Pragmatic level of information that provides the capability of dealing with a problem or making a decision.