A knowledge management system (KMS) is an IT system that keeps and provides knowledge. It aims to improve understanding, collaboration, and process alignment. Any organization or team that wishes to have a central repository that all members can access to enhance their know-how and skills can use a KMS.

You can compare a KMS to a physical library. You can use all the books in it to learn more about practically anything under the sun. And anyone with a library card can visit it anytime. In this case, the books are the virtual resources stored in a database, and the library card indicates the level of access each user has.

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KMSs can differ based on their target audiences and content. Before we tackle KMSs in greater detail, let’s discuss what knowledge management is first.

What Is Knowledge Management?

Knowledge management refers to identifying, gathering, storing, evaluating, and sharing valuable information necessary for an organization’s daily operations.

Unfortunately, creating a single document containing all knowledge won’t work. Information won’t be easy to find or update. In that sense, knowledge management serves as a cataloging system to help users find the correct data.

What Kinds of Knowledge Can a Knowledge Management System Contain?

Three types of knowledge can be stored and retrieved from a KMS. These are:

  • Explicit knowledge
  • Implicit knowledge
  • Tacit knowledge

Explicit knowledge

This know-how requires documentation. An example would be a description of the process or a set of steps to help users achieve something. This kind of knowledge can be obtained via fact-finding from subject matter experts.

Implicit knowledge 

This information tells users what they can infer from explicit knowledge. It requires interpreting existing explicit or general knowledge to create desired outcomes. You can gain implicit knowledge by documenting customer use cases and then explaining how these can be combined with other knowledge to achieve a specific goal.

Tacit knowledge

This knowledge comes from experience. It requires a lot of context and practice. An example would be knowing which of your products addresses a specific issue. Tacit knowledge is precise and requires individual testing. To obtain it, organizations can start by asking specialists or senior team members to share complex ideas via training content.

What Are Examples of Knowledge Management System Content?

Frequently asked questions (FAQs), forums, and how-to guides and tutorials are some of the most popular KMS content. And their users can range from employees, customers, and trainees, among others. The image below provides more detailed information.

Knowledge Management System

What Are the Benefits of a Knowledge Management System?

Here’s a list of the benefits of using a KMS.

  • Single data source: A KMS can help organize and share knowledge with customers and employees in easily accessible formats from a centralized repository. With the help of a good search algorithm, users can find what they need when they need it.
  • Up-to-date information: A KMS can help identify outdated resources so the right people can update them.
  • Self-service: Using a KMS allows you to create self-help portals and artificial intelligence (AI)-powered chatbots so customers can help themselves. It’s cost-effective and won’t make your customers wait that long. Community forums can also provide more information from the actual product or service users.
  • Knowledge sharing and reuse: Customer support teams don’t need to spend much time writing support emails. An advanced KMS can capture knowledge and convert the support email into a knowledge base article that anyone can access.
  • Less overhead: Automating self-service options rather than employing agents to answer calls 24 x 7 is less expensive.

Who Can Benefit from a Knowledge Management System?

All kinds of organizations and even individuals can benefit from a KMS. How? Read on to find out.

  • Small businesses can give their customers a way to help themselves, especially since most of them don’t have dedicated customer support teams.
  • Large enterprises can get the same benefits as small businesses. And since they have a more extensive knowledge base, that’s harder to maintain. Global companies with multiple locations can also share information more easily.
  • Companies that need to separate internal from external content could also benefit a lot from advanced KMSs. They don’t have to create multiple repositories just to limit access to specific content.

KMSs are helpful for just about any organization or team that wishes to make information readily accessible, hasten workflow processes, and reduce overhead costs.

Key Takeaways

  • A knowledge management system (KMS) is a centralized IT system that stores and provides knowledge to anyone with access to it.
  • Knowledge management refers to identifying, gathering, storing, evaluating, and sharing valuable information necessary for an organization’s daily operations.
  • A KMS can contain explicit, implicit, and tacit knowledge.
  • A KMS provides a single data source, updated information, self-service options, and a means for easy knowledge sharing and reuse at less cost.

Other interesting terms…