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What Is Knowledge Management?

What Is Knowledge Management?

Knowledge management (KM) is crucial to streamline your organization. Access to knowledge makes employees more effective, efficient, and innovative. Organizational cultures use content managing software to store and access knowledge and information.

This article will cover definitions of KM, types of knowledge management, and the tools and technology needed. Enterprise-wide knowledge management is vital to be competitive. 

What is a knowledge management system?

Knowledge management is storing, sharing, identifying, and organizing information and knowledge within an organization. Effective knowledge management ensures that everyone across the company can easily access collective knowledge.

Personal knowledge management refers to the individual's control of knowledge, allowing employees to improve themselves. Productive organizational knowledge sharing is beneficial in most business structures such as IT and human resources departments.

Modern knowledge management takes the form of a digital content management system. In the last years of the 20th century, companies began to digitalize and use the internet. They realized they needed an internal storage system. Therefore, organizations created the knowledge management platform. 

Since the 1990s, technology has adapted to include knowledge-based systems, expert systems, information repositories, intranets, group support systems, and more.

Many organizations implement knowledge management into their business strategy. Some reach out to third-party management consulting firms to construct a system to organize and distribute knowledge. 

Knowledge management systems are now such integral parts of modern businesses that many colleges offer educational courses on knowledge information science. Online training programs also teach you to become knowledge workers and improve customer relationships.

What are the different types of knowledge management?

The different types of knowledge are essential features of the definition and purpose of knowledge management. Examples of knowledge management types include:

Tacit knowledge

Types of KMs include tacit knowledge, which we learn by experience — for example, language, facial recognition, or soft skills. Sharing knowledge of this kind can be difficult as it is hard to articulate or teach another. 

Implicit knowledge

Implicit knowledge is similar to tacit knowledge. It is something that exists within processes. Except, where tacit knowledge tends to be skills learned through life, implicit knowledge is "know-how." For example, some people are implicitly knowledgeable about computer programs.

Explicit knowledge

Explicit knowledge is perhaps what comes to mind most when we think of "expert knowledge." It includes tangible information, such as data, case studies, or white papers. This kind of intellectual capital is crucial knowledge retention for business management solutions. 

For example, retaining market research and customer data will make change management smoother when transferring to new employees. 

What is the purpose of a knowledge management system?

Knowledge management goals are to create a space for knowledge sharing, hoping to improve innovation, creativity, efficiency, productivity, and decision-making. All relevant research and insights stored in one accessible place save employees from rediscovering learning and knowledge.

Organizational learning happens every second of the working day. By accumulating that knowledge, the company saves each employee going through the same process and wasting time. With practical knowledge management, each worker should have a better situational awareness of their company. 

For example, if a sales company doesn't store information gathered about the customer after each interaction, they might repeat conversations. The customer could feel their time is wasted being asked the same questions. 

If the knowledge management platforms do not correctly store data, the next person to call the customer will not know the preceding information. Of course, the knowledge management process runs far more deeply through an organization than simply storing customer data.

Plus, it could get frustrating to the employees if they continually look up existing knowledge. Ineffective learning and knowledge and information management could cost a business more than $30 billion a year.

What are the benefits of knowledge management?

There are many advantages when companies organize knowledge effectively.

Identify skill gaps

One benefit of knowledge management is to identify skill gaps. When teams pool together their knowledge in a collective document, it might reveal gaps in skills or competencies. In addition, this helps management practices restructure employee onboarding and training programs. 

Competitive advantage

By effectively using knowledge to run the business, you'll have a competitive advantage over those that have not streamlined their processes.

Make informed decisions

Management and employees can make information-based decisions. A data-driven company is more likely to succeed. Using consumer insights and market research, the organization can make better decisions. 

Maintains enterprise knowledge

How would your company continue if your best, most knowledgeable, and expert employees left tomorrow? One of the dangers that many companies face is relying on the expertise of one or several individuals. Encouraging the experts to organize information on the knowledge management system enables the company's future to continue. 

Efficiency and saving time

Efficiency saves time and reduces costs. Not only does this improve employee and investor relations, but also customer experiences. 

Collaboration and communication

The transparency of a knowledge management system can improve internal communications between upper project managers and employees. Plus, the organization can encourage increased collaboration among its workers, leading to innovation. 

Data security and increase customer satisfaction

Companies can protect data with all research and consumer insights stored in one secure system.

Knowledge management processes 

Knowledge management consists of three steps: knowledge creation, storage, and sharing.

Knowledge creation is where the organization identifies and records any new or existing information and data. This part of organizing knowledge typically only includes relevant details that the company wishes to share with all employees. Irrelevant data could slow down the knowledge management framework.

The next step is storing knowledge, and this usually requires an IT system or digital asset management strategy. The data might have to be reformatted to suit the system during knowledge transfer.

The final stage in a knowledge management strategy is to distribute the information broadly across the organization. Each organization completes this step differently, depending on the structure and need for information. Companies that encourage and reward sharing knowledge do better than those that do not.

Knowledge management tools

The knowledge management process is a relatively easy concept to understand. To implement these steps, you need the right tools. Some examples of knowledge management tools include:

Document management systems (DMS)

This knowledge management software is a centralized storage system for all kinds of documents, e.g., PDFs. These systems improve employee productivity by enabling easy access to several important documents, for example, lessons learned. 

Content management systems (CMS)

Also known as CMS, enterprise content management systems are spaces to upload, edit, and manage web content. CMS can support various media, including audio and video.


Intranets are internal networks that allow employees to access important information quickly. They might be costly and time-consuming to maintain, but they can be individualized for the needs of the business. 

They enable employees to share tools and processes within the enclosed network. They might also include internal directories. 


Wikis are like encyclopedias where all employees can upload, edit, or remove information. While this amplifies knowledge sharing, it also risks that not all data might be strictly accurate. 

Data warehouse

A data warehouse collects data from various sources and organizes it into a single system to support data mining and machine learning. Data is derived from these systems to analyze and make informed decisions.

Social networking

Social networking allows employees to communicate within the business and share ideas immediately. Teams can discuss challenges and share knowledge without interrupting the flow of work.

How to improve knowledge management systems?

There are several ways to improve knowledge management solutions. The business's organizational culture will impact the effectiveness of your knowledge management strategies. 

Encouraging sharing knowledge and information within the workplace will ensure a successful knowledge management system. This framework inspires a community of trust and sharing. 

Another way to implement knowledge management best practices is by communities of practice. These organizations provide employees with the opportunity to ask questions and learn. Therefore, the business increases the number of subject matter experts within the workplace.

Finally, an online knowledge management training course will help you improve your information systems. Organizations are continuously improving how they run their knowledge systems. Staying up to date with a comprehensive training course will ensure employee and customer success.

At Courses for Success, we offer the ultimate guide to knowledge management. This certificate course teaches you everything you need to know about the fundamentals of knowledge management and advanced tips. 

Why Courses for Success? 

Courses for Success offers over 10,000 online courses, all of which aim to help you in your personal development and career progression. Not only that, but you can also study them anywhere and at any time, and take them at your own pace, too.

You don't need career diplomas or specific experience to get started. From our coding courses and trading courses to design courses and developer courses, every course we offer will help boost your prospects, no matter who you are.

Beyond just the education itself, students will be issued a certificate online after completing each of the learning courses they do. Our online knowledge management courses are no exception and are recognized by industry leaders. You could make a name for yourself by signing up for a Courses for Success short course today.

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