As we know, knowledge management systems are crucial to an organizations success in today’s world, but not everyone fully understands exactly what knowledge management means. Quite often people use words like “data”, “information”, and “knowledge” interchangeably when in fact they have different meanings. An article on Articlebase.com suggests that separating the definitions of those three words could be the first step to successfully deploying a knowledge management system:
The obvious question in this regard is what exactly is knowledge and how is it different from information or data available to an organization. Data sometimes referred to as “raw data” are the building blocks, which when systematically organized by various techniques yield actionable intelligence, which is known as information. Such information is valuable but it requires validation from past experience or additional information before this information is classified as knowledge. Knowledge thus may be defined as “Information in context” or as “understanding based on experience”. In either case unlike data or information which may be sorted, catalogued or analyzed by software tools, knowledge requires human involvement and may be shared at least in part from one generation of managers to the next.
According to the article, if we follow the definitions above for knowledge as seen above, then we can assume that knowledge management deals with why we need knowledge as well as how we should strategically use the knowledge we have. If your organization hopes to smoothly transition through expected and unexpected changes, knowledge management is a must.
There are also a good number of cultural barriers to knowledge management that make implementation more difficult. It requires communication between multiple departments, which is often easier said than done. Also, technology may very well be a concern. Even if an organization is in favor of using a new knowledge management system, they may not be fully technologically ready to do so. The key to properly dealing with these issues is to make sure you have the committed involvement of management. Even if you cannot make all knowledge management changes is one single day, making each possible small change will prove beneficial.