What is KMS (Knowledge Management Systems)?
Definition and Meaning of KMS: A method for the improvement of business process performance. A knowledge management system is most often used in business in applications such as information systems, business administration, computer science, public policy and general management. Common company departments for knowledge management systems include human resources, business strategy, and information technology.
The aim of every organization is to achieve its set goals and objectives as well as the secure competitive advantage over its competitors. However, these cannot be achieved or actualized if staff or workers act independently and do not share ideas. Today, prominent businesses are becoming more aware that the knowledge of their employees is one of their primary assets. Sometimes organizational decisions cannot be effectively made with information alone; there is a need for knowledge application. An effective knowledge management system can give a company the competitive edge it needs to be successful, and, for that reason, knowledge management projects should be a high priority.
Knowledge Management Systems (KMS) “developed to support and enhance the organizational knowledge processes of knowledge creation, storage, retrieval, transfer, and application (Alavi & Leidner, 2001) This means that for any organisation to be competitive in today’s global world there is a need for combination or pooling together of ideas by employees in order to achieve teamwork; this is in support of the saying that ‘two good heads are better than one’. Since organizational knowledge is one of the important assets of the organization, it needs to be managed like other assets, hence the need for Knowledge Management Systems (KMS).
Knowledge management systems ‘collect all relevant knowledge and experience in the firm and make it available whenever and wherever it is needed to support business processes and management decisions’. Knowledge here could be referred to as the understanding that a person has gained through education, experience, discovery, intuition, and insight or a combination of instincts, ideas, rules, and procedures that guide actions and decisions. It is an intangible asset that is unique and can be used to achieve long-term strategic benefits or advantage. This is because knowledge has more competitive significance than physical assets in a consulting organization like ours that relies on unique competencies and methods. Also, unlike other physical assets of an organization, knowledge is not subject to the law of diminishing returns as are physical assets, but increases in value as people share it.
Knowledge can in a form that can state, codified or written and understandable by everyone (explicit) or in a form that cannot express easily and unconsciously apply but understood by individuals (implicit or tacit). Therefore, what knowledge management systems do is to provide collaborative capabilities, using groupware to facilitate sharing of explicit and implicit knowledge among employees. It is also meant to change people’s behavior to make their experience and expertise available to others. These systems involve a process that helps organizations identify, select, organize, disseminate and transfer important information and expertise that are part of the organizational memory that typically resides within the organization in an unstructured manner.
The main objective of knowledge management systems is to identify knowledge and explicate it in a way that it can share in a formal manner, and thus re-use it. It helps in transferring the intellectual assets of the firm to value processes such as innovation and knowledge acquisition. It is meant to improve the organization’s ability to execute its core processes more efficiently by capturing intellectual assets for the tangible benefit of the organization. Knowledge Management Systems also aim at codifying knowledge (such as best practices), organizing it in repositories for later access, finding knowledge (using search engines and other schemes), and providing organized ways to find people who possess the required knowledge.
It is poised towards determining what knowledge the organization has, as well as acquiring the knowledge that is lacking for the purpose of providing collaborative capabilities and facilitates sharing of explicit and implicit knowledge among employees. Knowledge management systems enhance knowledge creation through learning, knowledge sharing, and communication through collaboration as well as knowledge capture and explication, use and reuse, access and archiving. It is meant to transform information and intellectual assets into enduring value for the organization and transform knowledge to add value to the process and operations of the business. It also aims at leveraging knowledge strategically to business to accelerate growth and innovation as well as using knowledge to provide a competitive advantage for the business.
These systems also capture knowledge about how problems can solve in order to promote organizational learning, leading to further knowledge creation. In doing this, intellects that are in the form of tacit knowledge in individuals, groups within the organization and other areas are transferred to value processes that lead to innovation, knowledge creation and replenishment of the organization’s core values. Knowledge management systems also capture knowledge in an external repository, identify needed knowledge and help in matching and exchanging knowledge. Some technologies that support this system are e-mail, document management, search engines, enterprise information portal, data warehouse, groupware, workflow management and web-based training. Knowledge management systems are also meant to provide collaborative capabilities, using groupware to facilitate sharing of explicit knowledge among employees; its activities or processes are supported by software such as Wincite, Grapevine, and Knowledge X.