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Knowledge Management System

Knowledge Management System (KM System) refers to a (generally IT based) system for managing knowledge in organizations for supporting creation, capture, storage and dissemination of information. It can comprise a part (neither necessary nor sufficient) of a Knowledge Management initiative. The idea of a KM system is to enable employees to have ready access to the organization's documented base of facts, sources of information, and solutions. For example a typical claim justifying the creation of a KM system might run something like this: an engineer could know the metallurgical composition of an alloy that reduces sound in gear systems. Sharing this information organization wide can lead to more effective engine design and it could also lead to ideas for new or improved equipment. A KM system could be any of the following: 1. Document based i.e. any technology that permits creation/management/sharing of formatted documents such as Lotus Notes, web, distributed databases etc. 2. Ontology/Taxonomy based: these are similar to document technologies in the sense that a system of terminologies (i.e. ontology) are used to summarize the document e.g. Author, Subj, Organization etc. as in DAML & other XML based ontologies 3. Based on AI technologies which use a customized representation scheme to represent the problem domain. 4. Provide network maps of the organization showing the flow of communication between entities and individuals 5. Increasingly social computing tools are being deployed to provide a more organic approach to creation of a KM system. KMS systems deal with information (although Knowledge Management as a discipline may extend beyond the information centric aspect of any system) so they are a class of information system and may build on, or utilize other information sources. Distinguishing features of a KMS can include: 1. Purpose: a KMS will have an explicit Knowledge Management objective of some type such as collaboration, sharing good practice or the like. 2. Context: One perspective on KMS would see knowledge is information that is meaningfully organized, accumulated and embedded in a context of creation and application. 3. Processes: KMS are developed to support and enhance knowledge-intensive processes, tasks or projects of e.g., creation, construction, identification, capturing, acquisition, selection, valuation, organization, linking, structuring, formalization, visualization, transfer, distribution, retention, maintenance, refinement, revision, evolution, accessing, retrieval and last but not least the application of knowledge, also called the knowledge life cycle. 4. Participants: Users can play the roles of active, involved participants in knowledge networks and communities fostered by KMS, although this is not necessarily the case. KMS designs are held to reflect that knowledge is developed collectively and that the distribution of knowledge leads to its continuous change, reconstruction and application in different contexts, by different participants with differing backgrounds and experiences. 5. Instruments: KMS support KM instruments, e.g., the capture, creation and sharing of the codifiable aspects of experience, the creation of corporate knowledge directories, taxonomies or ontologies, expertise locators, skill management systems, collaborative filtering and handling of interests used to connect people, the creation and fostering of communities or knowledge networks.

A KMS offers integrated services to deploy KM instruments for networks of participants, i.e. active knowledge workers, in knowledge-intensive business processes along the entire knowledge life cycle. KMS can be used for a wide range of cooperative, collaborative, adhocracy and hierarchy communities, virtual organizations, societies and other virtual networks, to manage media contents; activities, interactions and work-flows purposes; projects; works, networks, departments, privileges, roles, participants and other active users in order to extract and generate new knowledge and to enhance, leverage and transfer in new outcomes of knowledge providing new services using new formats and interfaces and different communication channels. The term KMS can be associated to Open Source Software, and Open Standards, Open Protocols and Open Knowledge licenses, initiatives and policies.

Benefits of KM Systems
Some of the advantages claimed for KM systems are: 1. Sharing of valuable organizational information throughout organisational hierarchy. 2. Can avoid re-inventing the wheel, reducing redundant work. 3. May reduce training time for new employees 4. Retention of Intellectual Property after the employee leaves if such knowledge can be codified. Knowledge-management systems are used to improve the performance of business processes. The fields that most often use knowledge management include: computer science, public health, information systems, business administration, public policy, and library and information sciences, as well as general management. The departments in which knowledge management is used are typically called "Business Strategy," "Human Resource Management" or "Information Technology."

Definition
1. Knowledge-management systems are use to capture, organize and create business processes that are innovative and/or efficient.

Techno-centric Method
2. The techno-centric method utilizes knowledge management by focusing on technology to help with the capture, organization and implementation of new or improved business processes.

Building a Knowledge Management System


What Is Knowledge Management?
1. Businesses profit from knowledge and so knowledge, and data, are considered an asset. Assets need to be managed and protected in order to sustain and grow a business. Knowledge is managed to make sure everyone is working from the same, accurate set of parameters, sharing information and learning and documenting their experience. There is not

one way to build a knowledge management system. Each business must delve into the process of building its own knowledge management system.

Knowledge Management System Structures


2. An organization's overall objectives are what steer the building of a management system--innovation, performance, the desire for improvement and the need to document. Business processes, training personnel in those processes and initiatives surrounding processes should also be examined and incorporated. There are several management perspectives that are being used when designing these systems. Structures can center around technology (hardware, databases and particular software needs), organizational charts (departmental structures and how they might relate and assist one another), or what is being called an ecological approach (examines how employees interact instead of departments).

Core Components
3. Although perspectives or philosophies about structure are important to examine, there are core components that anchor the building of a knowledge management system. Those include people (employees, vendors, customers), processes (accounting, procurement, sales, fulfillment), culture (attitudes, goals, values, practices), structure (entity relationships), and technology (machines, computers, transmission of data). A knowledge management philosophy might emphasize each component differently.

Mapping Knowledge Management


4. Some components may outweigh others in the data they require and generate. Some may actually overlap. By mapping businesses processes, the interaction of core components will be better understood. Mapping involves diagramming a business (from what comes in the door of the business, what happens while it is there, and what form it is in when it leaves) and thereby creating an overall map of daily, weekly, monthly and even yearly processes.

What Tools Are Required?


5. Knowledge management systems must be available at all times. Databases are often at the core of many knowledge systems. Large companies incorporate products from Oracle, IBM, Microsoft and other companies that design integrated software for data management. Software applications that interact with the databases can be custom designed or purchased off the shelf and modified to reflect a set of business processes. But the development of a knowledge management system goes far deeper than the software tools used to facilitate it. A commitment to understanding how the business works and what best benefits that business must be understood before choosing software. Knowledge Management (KM) is typically defined as identifying, creating and distributing data representing the experience and skills of an organization. Activities associated with Knowledge Management include documenting both explicit knowledge (that is easily documented and communicated) and tacit knowledge (that may only be understood by one person and therefore not easily documented or communicated.) Knowledge management processes involve capture, reuse and measurement. Popular KM strategies aspire to improve operational performance to gain competitive advantages.

How to Start a Knowledge Management System


By Grammar, eHow Member User-Submitted Article Knowledge Management (KM) is becoming an important part of many organization's strategies. Knowledge Management is the collection of the knowledge that makes the business run successfully. It asks employees to share what they know for the benefit of the organization. It is estimated that a huge percentage of knowledge is lost due to employee attrition as well as forgetfulness on the part of employees.Here's a basic outline on how to get a Knowledge Management system up and running.

Purpose
1. Companies use knowledge management systems as important tools for organizing their information. Historically, information about things like processes, customers, inventory and products was either kept written down, or simply remembered by key employees. That system, however, is inefficient at best and disastrous at worst. Knowledge management systems ensure that every employee has access to the same knowledge, which improves redundancy.

Process
2. A knowledge management system is typically created by a collaboration between the programmers and the future users of the software. The future users express their needs, the information that they will need access to, as well as the order in which the information should appear. The programmers design the software based on those requirements, and work with the users to ensure that it meets their needs. Once the software has been designed, it is populated with all the available data.

Applications
3. Knowledge management systems for use in customer service provide operators with a great deal of information about each customer. They can be designed to immediately pull up customer information based on the phone number the customer is calling from. Customer service systems can display open orders, billing information, previous inquiries, and any other pertinent information. Technical support personnel use knowledge management systems to assist in troubleshooting various types of problems. This type of knowledge management system can be programmed to work like a flowchart. With each question asked by the technician, and answered by the customer, the knowledge management system comes closer to a conclusion. Eventually, it displays not only the cause of the problem, but the steps to take to fix it.

Considerations
4. Knowledge management systems have created an information technology (IT) environment in which most information is stored in databases, and accessed by computer. While this improves efficiency for common and predictable situations, and provides answers for everyday questions, there will always be times when human intervention is necessary.

Role of Management Information Systems

Management Information Systems (MIS) provide regular information to managers to allow them to make decisions based on data rather than guesses. Certain data and analysis can play a very useful role in making good decisions about where and when to use human and other resources to achieve the mission of an organization. Managers with quality MIS are able to make decisions from an informed stance rather than a haphazard one. MIS can answer questions such as: Would it be better to add staff at the beginning or end of a manufacturing process? How do we choose the most efficient way to use our space? Do we need more patient exam rooms or a bigger lab? How much inventory should I store and when do I order more stock? What hours have the most customers, so I'll have an adequate staff to serve them?

Types of Management Information Systems


An MIS provides the information necessary to manage an organization effectively. A management information system (MIS) is a computer-based system that provides the information necessary to manage an organization effectively. An MIS should be designed to enhance communication among employees, provide an objective system for recording information and support the organization's strategic goals and direction.

Transaction-Processing Systems
1. Transaction-processing systems are designed to handle a large volume of routine, recurring transactions. They were first introduced in the 1960s with the advent of mainframe computers. Transaction-processing systems are used widely today. Banks use them to record deposits and payments into accounts. Supermarkets use them to record sales and track inventory. Managers often use these systems to deal with such tasks as payroll, customer billing and payments to suppliers.

Operations Information Systems


2. Operations information systems were introduced after transaction-processing systems. An operations information system gathers comprehensive data, organizes it and summarizes it in a form that is useful for managers. These types of systems access data from a transactionprocessing system and organize it into a usable form. Managers use operations information systems to obtain sales, inventory, accounting and other performance-related information.

Decision Support Systems (DSS)


3. A DSS is an interactive computer system that can be used by managers without help from computer specialists. A DSS provides managers with the necessary information to make informed decisions. A DSS has three fundamental components: database management system (DBMS), which stores large amounts of data relevant to problems the DSS has been designed to tackle; model-based management system (MBMS), which transforms data from the DBMS into information that is useful in decision-making; and dialog generation and management system (DGMS), which provides a user-friendly interface between the system and the managers who do not have extensive computer training.

Expert Systems and Artificial Intelligence

4. Expert systems and artificial intelligence use human knowledge captured in a computer to solve problems that ordinarily need human expertise. Mimicking human expertise and intelligence requires the computer to do the following: recognize, formulate and solve a problem; explain solutions; and learn from experience. These systems explain the logic of their advice to the user; hence, in addition to solving problems they also can serve as a teacher. They use flexible thinking processes and can accommodate new knowledge.

Considerations
5. A potential problem with relying on electronic communication and processing of information is the loss of the vital human element. Sometimes, because of the complexity of information, an MIS report cannot effectively summarize it. Very rich information is needed to coordinate and run an enterprise, and certain classes of information cannot be quantified. For example, it might be wrong to evaluate an employee's performance solely based on numbers generated by an MIS. Numbers can indicate a performance problem, but a face-toface meeting is necessary to discuss the nature of the problem.

Principles of Management Information Systems


By Osmond Vitez, eHow Contributor Management information systems (MIS) are a valuable tool that executives use to measure the effectiveness of their business operations. MIS can provide valuable insight into a company's financial health, and assist managers with making critical business decisions. The style and format of MIS have changed throughout the years, but managers still rely on these systems to perform their day-to-day activities.

The Facts
A management information system focuses on how and what information should be retrieved so managers can make effective decisions. MIS reporting also provides information regarding a company's major processes, such as internal controls, operating procedures and audit preparation. With these systems in place, managers can improve workplace safety, decreasing expenses and maintain client relationships.

Internal Controls
Internal controls are specific guidelines that direct the operation of a division or department. Employee responsibilities and work flow management are integral components of a company's internal controls. Additional internal controls also are in effect in accounting departments, ensuring that all financial information is properly analyzed and recorded. Publicly held corporations must have strong financial internal controls in place to meet Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) requirements. Failure to adhere to these financial guidelines may result in fines being issued by the SEC.

Operating Procedures
Operating procedures are the daily activities that involve company personnel and resources. MIS provides guidelines, or standard operating procedures, for personnel to follow when dealing with vendors, clients and government agencies. MIS help protect a company from any legal actions that

can arise from daily operations. Department managers usually analyze and review the MIS to ensure the company's mission is fulfilled and department goals are being met.

Audit Preparation
There are two types of workplace audits: financial and operational. Financial audits verify that companies are recording all financial information according to Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP). This enables them to assure investors and regulators of their financial stability. Operational audits test the effectiveness of division guidelines on a company's operations. Management must ensure that employees are following policy when conducting business and that no safety violations are occurring. Some operational audits are required for government certifications.

Computerized MIS
Technology has greatly increased the functionality of traditional management information systems. Companies now have access to all major divisions and their reports in a shorter time span. This improves overall operations. In addition, with a companywide MIS, managers have the capability of creating reports quickly when a new division or process begins business operations. What Is ERP/CRM? Enterprise Resource Management (ERP) and Customer Relationship Management (CRM) are two business management systems that often integrate policies, processes, procedures and computerized documentation and tracking to improve business flows and productivity. By integrating the two, an organization can manage all aspects of its operation by monitoring and modifying repeatable processes with documentable metrics.

What Is ERP?
1. ERP systems often integrate engineering, planning, materials management, finance and human resources. ERP systems integrate data systems with manufacturing processes to help speed raw material supplies and work with every aspect of an organization to ensure efficient operation. In the past, hardware costs limited ERP systems to very large organizations. However, advances in both hardware and software systems have brought ERP systems down in cost to the point where they can be implemented in most organizations.

What Is CRM?
2. CRM helps track and manage customer relationships. In the past, CRM was a term used only to describe a software application used by customer service representatives to manage customer interactions. However, in recent years, CRM has come to describe the software system, the documented customer service processes, and a customer-centric philosophy and methodology.

ERP Systems
3. There are a number of ERP systems available for organizations ranging from small offices to large manufacturing and engineering organizations. Baan is an ERP system optimized for

custom engineering to build organizations like Boeing and other large manufacturers. Other ERP systems are offered by Microsoft, Oracle, PeopleSoft, SAP and Siebel. The system that is appropriate for your organization will depend on the size of your organization and the business functions to be standardized through an ERP system.

CRM Systems
4. There are many vendors of CRM software and systems. These systems differ in their optimization related to organization size, price per user, automation features and other features, like service, support, and marketing features. Well-known CRM packages are Act!, Co-ordimax, GoldMine, Legrand CRM Pro, Maximizer Enterprise, and Salesforce.com. Some of these products are off-the-shelf solutions and others require customization to meet specific business needs.

ERP Systems With CRM


5. Integrating ERP with CRM is an ideal solution for companies that perform both manufacturing tasks and deal heavily with customer service issues. By integrating CRM with ERP, customer orders can be automatically integrated into a manufacturing flow and supplier chain management system. For companies engaging in custom builds, the time to deliver can be lower and problems with component delivery can be solved by initiating supplier orders as customer orders come in. ERP Systems are software-based systems that integrate business data and processes across different parts of the company's value chain. ERP systems are customized to the business and can contain information on the company's finances, human resources, distribution, inventory and manufacturing processes. Companies typically question whether their investment into an ERP system was worth it. Audits are used to determine ERP system benefits. It can be difficult to quantify the exact benefits of different aspects of the ERP system because some of the benefits can be intangible. Enterprise resource planning (ERP) describes a suite of computer programs designed for managing a business. An ERP application is one part of a program suite, and may fulfill one of many management functions.

Varieties
1. Common ERP applications assist with budgets and financial statements, supply chain tracking, manufacturing, human resources and employee management, and customer relationship management.

Connectivity
2. Though an ERP application may only have one primary function, it connects to other programs in the same suite for an integrated business environment. The usefulness of a program for managing manufacturing is limited without a complementary financial program.

Options

3. Most ERP systems do not sell ERP applications individually, but rather as one part of an entire suite, which is often sold with volume licenses for use on multiple systems. Microsoft Dynamics and Oracle e-Business are popular commercial options, but free ERP systems such as Adampiere and OpenERP also include common applications.

Knowledge Management Systems Lecture Notes Outline


This unit provides a detailed coverage of knowledge management concepts and methodologies which includes knowledge creation, knowledge architecture, and knowledge codification. The knowledge management tools and knowledge portals as well as the notions of knowledge transfer in the E-world are discussed.

Aims
The aims of this unit includes the broad understanding of the following areas of Knowledge Management Systems:

Knowledge Management Systems Life Cycle. Knowledge Creation and Knowledge Architecture. Capturing Tacit Knowledge Knowledge Codification System Testing and Development Knowledge Transfer and Knowledge Sharing Knowledge Transfer in the E-World Learning from Data Knowledge Management Tools and Knowledge Portals Managing Knowledge Workers