Knowledge Management Systems (KMS) are information systems used by businesses to share, store, regulate and maintain organisational knowledge. They are used to assist employees in retrieving, understanding and implementing the stored information. Users can also input their own knowledge to enable colleagues in the organisation to benefit from it. This helps in building effective work teams and creating more productive and efficient organisations.
A KMS is an extremely valuable asset for businesses because it:
Maintains organisational knowledge
A KMS preserves a business's trade secrets and knowledge and allows users to leverage it to the organisation's advantage. Having a well-maintained KMS increases the competitive edge of an organisation.
Promotes never-ending learning
A KMS encourages employees to search for the solutions to problems or issues rather than referring to a help desk or supervisor. This creates a continuous learning environment and develops analytical and creative thinking in employers. Also, the information age we live in makes having continuous access to information necessary.
As previously mentioned, a KMS provides users with immediate access to information, hence the improved productivity. If an organisation's KMS is well-maintained and employees are well trained in its use, the business's overall performance will improve. KMS users will no longer be forced to wait for assistance from an overburdened help desk or supervisor. Rather they will be able to resolve their own issues efficiently and in a timely manner.
KMS creates a mutually beneficial relationship between employees. Two employees might input the limited knowledge they each have and discover that the two pieces of information complement each other. This provides more comprehensive and inclusive content from which the organisation can benefit.
Encouraging organisational communication
The above example does not only connect organisational knowledge, but also employees of the organisation. Users can communicate with knowledge providers in the organisation for more information or further clarification on an issue. Interorganisational collaboration and networking creates strong and healthy relationships and promotes team work.
Provides standardised approaches
In the same way newspapers and magazines follow certain style books, a business can leverage a KMS to enforce a standard paradigm for all employees to follow. This eliminates inconsistencies, misunderstandings and the unnecessary repetition of instructions in the workplace.
In the end, a KMS can benefit not only individual departments in a company, but employees themselves, and it can promote the success of the business as a whole.