Knowledge Management Intellectual Capital
In the information economy, intellectual capital is key to an organisation's competitive position and long term shareholder value.
At the heart of developing intellectual capital is the knowledge management challenge: how to go about capturing, storing, maintaining and leveraging the knowledge that exists inside the organisation.
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Knowledge Management Defined
The term 'Knowledge Management' (often abbreviated to 'KM') "designates an approach to improving organisational outcomes and learning by introducing into an organisation a range of specific processes and practices for identifying and capturing knowledge, know-how, expertise and other intellectual capital, and for making such knowledge assets available for transfer and reuse across the organization.
Intellectual capital can be thought of as 'the stored knowledge possessed by an organisation'. This knowledge may be tacit (personal knowledge possessed by an employee that may be difficult to express or communicate to others); in other cases it may be explicit knowledge, which is codified and stored by the organisation and available to all employees.
Most KM projects focus on collecting, storing and making this knowledge available. KM projects can involve a wide range of software tools and products, ranging from simple collaborative software to intranets, extranets, portals and sophisticated databases.
Knowledge Management, increasingly the responsibility of a Chief Knowledge Officer (CKO), is supported by a comprehensive body of knowledge that has developed over a relatively short time period. One of the challenges faced by anyone who wishes to derive business value from KM is the sheer volume of information that has been generated on the subject.
Much of the published material suggests that organisations can get immediate benefits from a KM project. Knowledge Management projects need to be approached constructively, and with a clear understanding of both the benefits and the challenges inherent in such projects.
Key to long term success with KM projects is the full understanding and involvement of everyone in the organisation. The better a KM project is structured, and the better an understanding everyone involved has, the more likely will the project deliver the real, long-term benefits expected of it.
The concept of Intellectual Capital, discussed in detail in Chapter 3 of IT Governance: Guidelines for Directors, is closely linked to Knowledge Management.