Knowledge Management and How to Use It

Brody Hall
By Brody Hall
Joel Taylor
Edited by Joel Taylor

Updated April 11, 2023.

Cartoon man sitting on comfortable chair with laptop

Knowledge management is the process of creating, capturing, organizing, and utilizing knowledge within an organization to uphold the integrity of data. This can be done in a variety of ways, including through the use of online tools and techniques, such as document management, data mining, knowledge-sharing platforms, and social networking.

Why is knowledge management important?

One of the major benefits of knowledge management is that it can help improve efficiency within a business. By making sure that employees have access to the right information in front of them when they need it, companies can improve productivity and task effectiveness.

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Types of Knowledge Management

There are 3 key types of knowledge management systems: Explicit, Implicit, and Tacit.

1. Explicit Knowledge

Explicit knowledge is information that can be communicated verbally, in writing, or through other forms of communication. It is also possible to codify explicit knowledge into manuals, rules, or other reference materials.

Explicit knowledge can be shared easily with others. When it is properly communicated, this type of knowledge helps to improve team collaboration and achieve common goals. Explicit knowledge can also help to reduce uncertainty and improve decision-making.

2. Implicit Knowledge

Implicit knowledge is a term used in knowledge management to describe information that is not explicitly stated or codified. Implicit knowledge can be found in the experience and intuition of individuals, and in the informal networks that exist within organizations.

Implicit knowledge can be extremely valuable for a business, as it can help employees make better decisions and solve problems.

3. Tacit Knowledge

Tacit knowledge is hard to transfer, but it's a critical part of a company's success and culture—often the key to innovation and reducing data siloes.

Managing tacit knowledge can be a challenge for organizations. One way to do this is through using tools like social media and wikis. These tools can help employees share information and experiences with each other. They can also help employees access information when they need it.

Another way to manage tacit knowledge is by creating a culture where employees are encouraged to share their ideas and experiences. This can be done through training programs and by giving employees the opportunity to work together on projects.

Knowledge Management Processes

There are several key processes that are involved in knowledge management: discovery, capture, organization, assessment, sharing, reuse, and creation.

To break this down further, specifically, what are the knowledge management processes?

  • Discovery The process of finding information and data that applies to the task at hand. The goal of discovery is to find all the relevant information, regardless of where it is stored. This can include both internal and external sources of data.
  • Capture The process of capturing information and data into a system where it can be accessed and used. The goal of capture is to ensure that all relevant information is stored in a single location.
  • Organization The process of organizing information and data so that it can easily be sorted through and utilized.
  • Assessment The process of assessing the value of information and data. The goal of assessment is to understand the value of the information so that it can be used effectively.
  • Reusing knowledge This helps organizations save time and money. There are several ways to reuse knowledge, including using templates, creating libraries of reusable components, and using tools like mind maps.
  • Sharing knowledge This helps employees learn from each other and increases productivity. There are several ways to share knowledge, including face-to-face meetings, email exchanges, training modules, and messaging or collaboration tools.
  • Creating knowledge This helps employees create new products and services and formulate ideas that can help the organization grow.

Knowledge Management Systems

Finally, what are the knowledge management systems?

A knowledge management system is a software application or set of applications that help an organization capture, store, and share knowledge, essentially managing its intellectual property, improving decision making, and identifying best practices.

There are many types of knowledge management applications, and the best one for an organization depends on its specific needs. Some common features of knowledge management system applications include document management systems, discussion forums, tagging, and enterprise search engines.