Knowledge assets: know how to manage information

By : |May 30, 2002 0

In the previous couple of articles, we discussed about the concept of
knowledge management and the need for the same in enterprises. However, all
available information is not valuable and organizations have to determine what
information can be qualified as knowledge-based assets.

According Purple Yogi’s vice president (engineering) Ramesh Subramanian,
"Although the concepts of knowledge, information and data are closely
related, they are in fact, different in their own manner."

"Data is often defined as the carrier of knowledge and information – a
means through which knowledge and information can be stored. This can be stored
as structured information in a database or as unstructured information in Purple
Yogi’s Discovery System," he said.

Generally, intellectual and knowledge-based assets fall into one of two
categories: Explicit or Tacit. Explicit knowledge includes assets such as
patents, trademarks, business plans, marketing research and customer lists.
Often explicit knowledge consists of anything that can be documented, archived
and codified.

Tacit knowledge pertains to the information each individual can contribute
that may help in the growth of the company. Most enterprises face inherent
challenge in finding means to recognize, generate, share and tap these

While technology in the form of e-mail, group ware, instant messaging and
related technologies can help facilitate dissemination of tacit knowledge
organizations often find difficulty in identifying them.

Knowledge management framework
The knowledge management (KM) framework originally based on work by R.Van Der
Spek and De Hoog. It covers some of the major issues:

  • Identifying what knowledge assets a company possesses

    • Where is the knowledge asset?

    • What does it contain?

    • What is its use?

    • What form is it in?

    • How accessible is it?

  • Analyzing how the knowledge can add value

  • What are the opportunities for using the knowledge asset?

  • What would be the effect of its use?

  • What are the current obstacles facing its use?

  • What would be its increased value to the company?

  • Specifying what actions are necessary to achieve better usability &
    added value.

    • How to plan the actions to use the knowledge asset?

    • How to enact actions?

    • How to monitor actions?

  • Reviewing the use of the knowledge to ensure added value

  • Did the use of it produce the desired added value?

  • How can the knowledge asset be maintained for this use?

  • Did the use create new opportunities?

Agnitio Management Systems’ CEO Zulfikar Deen said, "Knowledge
management is an integrated, systematic approach to identify, manage and sharing
enterprise’s information assets, including database, documents, policies and
procedures, as well as previously unarticulated expertise and experience of the
employees". "In this context, any suite of tools comprising the set of
components identified by those approach can be classified as a Knowledge
Framework," he said.

Tools for effective KM
According to the opinion articulated by experts, there are no specific
technologies that support knowledge management and one can find a gamut of tools
from the standard, off-the-shelf e-mail packages to sophisticated collaboration
tools designed specifically to support community building and identity.

Generally, tools fall into one or more of the following categories: knowledge
repositories, expertise access tools, e-learning applications, discussion and
chat technologies, synchronous interaction tools, and search and data mining
tools. According to Zulfikar Deen, some of the tools that supports KM and
roughly classified are:

  • Collaborative Tools

  • Content Management Tools

  • Document Management

  • Data Mining Tools

  • Decision Support Systems (DSS)

  • Knowledge Modeling Tools

  • Indexing & Search engine Tools

  • Intelligent Agents

  • Connectors

Concurs Purple Yogi’s Ramesh, "Though, there are many different
methods and tools available in the knowledge management industry, but all the
tools do not allow for a combination of automatic classification and human
intervention. They do not support processes for managing knowledge at all levels
within an organization."

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