Monday, May 21, 2007

What is Knowledge Management?

There is no universal definition of Knowledge Management, and there isn't an specification which says what constitutes Knowledge Management (KM). It is important to understand KM in a broader context. KM is a process by which companies organize themselves to generate value from their intellectual and knowledge based assets. The intellect and knowledge that has been acquired, created and consolidated by its employees, customers and partners over the years working in the organization. Knowledge Management does not say anything about Technology. Technology only facilitates the KM Practice but does not restrict it by any means.

KM has gained momentum in last few years as millions of baby boomers are going to retire in coming years and decade. The millions of baby boomers are going to turn retiring age and soon will packing their bags for long awaited vacations. They will take along in their bags, occean of knowledge that they have acquired over their long careers. The companies need to take measures to learn from their knowledge and wisdom before they get their final paychecks.

In addition to baby boomers, outsourcing has also gained momentum to reduce cost of operations in last 5 years. The companies are re-organizing their work departments to accomodate for the outsourcing. Thousands of full-time staff are loosing jobs due to these new outsourcing agreements. There is a need to transfer the knowledge of these staff members for smooth transition to restructuring, otherwise companies will tend to loose more than gaining from outsourcing.

Knowledge Management is not technology that can solve some of the problems listed above. KM is a process, a methodology through which many such problems can be solved. The key to the KM success is ability understand needs (business), context (processes) and culture (people) of the organizations.

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