Knowledge management system: Definition and examples13 min read

Knowledge management system

How is knowledge management related to innovation?

In the world of innovation, asking this question is important since unused knowledge can’t be used to solve problems. People in the company may spur useful ideas and share relevant experiences all the time.

However, many organizations fail to collect and store these pieces of information. Hence, letting potential ideas get away once no direct benefit is observed.

This situation often happens in companies without knowing how some of these ideas can be useful in the future.

Hence, businesses must establish a systematic process to thoroughly document, store, and organize this knowledge in a way that’s useful to them.

With it, they can easily retrieve information and turn them into valuable innovation projects that can benefit the organization.

This is where knowledge management systems come in. And in this article, we will discuss what a knowledge management system is, what its benefits are, and what examples you can adapt in your company.

Let’s start.

What is a knowledge management system?

A knowledge management system is any tool or software that helps in storing and retrieving knowledge for quick access and distribution. These systems are used both inside the organization as well as outside.

Most companies use a knowledge management system to help their members utilize the knowledge they’ve gathered and achieve better results. To do this, the tool must be capable of gathering all knowledge and ideas into one place.

What are the benefits of using a knowledge management system?

In general, a knowledge management system is important for an organization to effectively share all relevant information with its members.

In terms of innovation, these systems will help make the overall process smoother. With it, ideas can be easily collected, stored, and enriched.

Furthermore, as more people with common knowledge build on these ideas, they become even better and more useful with time.

That said, here are some of the advantages of using a knowledge management system:

1. Better Decision-making

Knowledge and information have an important role in decision-making. In fact, they play a role in each of the four stages of decision-making, namely:

Identification and structuring of the problem or opportunity

Identifying, categorizing, and interplaying a problem or an opportunity is essential in deciding whether the situation calls for immediate attention and a solution.

In addition, its details and other elements are crucial to understanding what the situation is all about. And whether or not it affects the company in any way.

As this process leads to an increased awareness of the situation, the company becomes more conscious of what it can do to solve it.

Placing the problem or opportunity in the context

Having a knowledge management system in place allows companies to study a problem or an opportunity in-depth whenever necessary.

This information will guide them to understand anything in its entirety — causes, effects, and all.

Plus, studying them at a deeper level will determine which problem or opportunity should the company solve or take for the benefit of the organization.

Generation of alternatives

A full understanding of what the problem or opportunity is all about can help you generate the options that you can use to venture into it or address it.

You can begin by discussing the gravity of the situation and brainstorming how you can proceed with it. Remember to be open to different ideas as you deal with the situation ahead.

You can use an ideation tool to make this process a lot easier.

Choosing the best alternative

Using a knowledge management system, you can review every piece of information that you’ve got on the problem or situation at hand.

Then, you can place it side-by-side with the ideas that you’ve gathered on the previous aspect of decision-making to see which alternatives fit these circumstances best and discuss the pros and cons of each approach.

For example, let’s say that your organization wants to innovate how your products are being delivered to your customers. You have already gathered a lot of ideas by asking your members to brainstorm.

Better Decision Making

The next step is to select which ideas are worth pursuing and which have the highest chance of solving the problem. It will then be beneficial for the managers and decision-makers to know about:

  • How each idea will impact the organization’s bottom line
  • How long the development of each idea will take once you place them in the innovation roadmap

The answer to these questions may then be found in the knowledge management system.

Simply, the more information available, the better the decisions will be.

2. Quick Access to Information

Innovation is important in terms of competitive advantage and survival. You can only reap the benefits of innovation if you streamline your innovation process, which is hard to implement without a process or a system that will enable everyone to acquire or retrieve information easily.

As stated in the earlier section, information management is important for better decision-making. Decision-making could be improved if it is done faster, which can greatly make a huge difference in terms of addressing issues and opportunities.

That is why knowledge management systems nowadays can be accessed online easily on any device. That knowledge may be needed on the go, with the employee not being in the office at that exact time.

3. Increased Collaboration and Idea Generation

In innovation, better collaboration and idea generation boils down to a single thing: productivity.

Innovation tools and techniques

Let’s say a team is in charge of an innovation opportunity. These members would be able to easily work together if there were a way for them to communicate and share knowledge with each other.

That is one reason why Accept Mission has a “boards” feature, a collaboration tool that will enable teams to work together in real-time and share knowledge with each other. It can also be used to generate ideas centered around a theme or a problem.

4. Improved Quality of Information and Data

Imagine how much iota of knowledge is lost simply because it is not recorded. The same may happen in an organization. Better ideas and solutions will always come from people who are more knowledgeable about that certain subject.

For example, the team looking for a solution on how to innovate product delivery will be able to make use of information coming from people who:

  • Know the product really well
  • Has knowledge of how the current product delivery
  • Has experience of how the current delivery affects them

This will then loop back over how information is important in decision-making. In this sense, better ideas are generated when there is high-quality information coming from the right sources.

5. Security of Intellectual Property

According to a web security website, 2,244 hacking attacks per day take place globally, with an attack every 39 seconds on average. This is a 67% increase over the last five years, with around 30,000 new websites being hacked a day.

Although the usual purpose of these attacks is mostly to gain usernames and passwords, which can be used for plenty of malicious activities, it is still possible to steal intellectual property by simply using those credentials to log in to certain websites.

In fact, recent information showed that hackers are not always after banking details or personal information. These “millennial hackers” steal information and ideas that may lead to legal and easily explainable profit.

This is why using a more secure knowledge management system is important, rather than simply leaving your profitable ideas behind simple notepads and online document processors.

By the way, we published an ebook about how to engage employees, which goes really well with a knowledge management system. Feel free to download and read it.

What are some examples of knowledge management systems?

1. Document Management Systems

As the name suggests, document management is about filing digital documents. What you get is an online, centralized, digital filing that will make it easy to retrieve documents and enhance workflow.

Once your files are organized, you can easily locate and access them without having to spend valuable time sorting through innumerable pointless files.

This way, you can help set up the entire team for greater efficiency and enhanced productivity.

Document Management Systems

To buff the security, document management systems have passwords and backup processes that protect them from outside threats. Unfortunately, most document management systems only have basic capabilities, and upgrading the system may increase the associated cost.

Examples of document management systems include:

  • HubSpot
  • LogicalDOC
  • OpenText

2. Content Management Systems

Content Management Systems (CMS) are similar to document management but in a more advanced manner. Aside from documents, content management systems store audio, video, and other media files that are not usually supported by document management systems.

There are three types of content management systems:

  • Open-source CMS
  • Proprietary CMS
  • Software as a Service (SaaS) CMS

An open-source CMS has no initial cost. You do not need to pay for any license or upgrade fees. It is all good on paper, but most of the functionalities you get from the free core offering can be considered basic. Upgrades and further customization are what you need to pay for.

Content Management Systems

Examples of open-source CMS include:

  • WordPress
  • Joomla
  • Drupal

As opposed to open-source CMS, proprietary CMS tools are managed only by a single company. All you need to do is buy a license fee or subscribe on a monthly basis and pay additional for customization and upgrades.

Proprietary CMS may seem costly, but they usually pack more features out of the box. They are also more complicated than open-source CMS and may require extensive development work. Examples of proprietary CMS include:

  • Microsoft SharePoint
  • IBM Enterprise Content Management
  • Pulse CMS

SaaS CMS are virtual solutions that are hosted in the cloud. Services can be bought either through a subscription model or a per-user/per-site basis. With a SaaS CMS, you get a combination of web content management software, web hosting, and tech support.

Most open-source and proprietary CMS offer SaaS CMS for significantly higher prices compared to their basic offerings.

3. Databases

Databases can be considered more advanced than the previous types of knowledge management systems. For one, they are computer software that capture, store, analyze, and interact with data.

Databases

Robust databases allow multiple users (in the thousands) to not only access the information but also to interact with it and perform calculations. Knowledge stored in databases can be very secure as these systems prohibit manipulation.

Examples of databases include:

  • Microsoft Access
  • SQL Server
  • IBM DB2

4. Innovation Software

Innovation software can also be considered a knowledge management system. Most of these tools have some way to enable members to collect and organize ideas and knowledge related to a certain theme.

They can also discuss every idea gathered within the software. They can score it based on predetermined criteria, leave comments and suggestions, and keep themselves updated with its progress.

This is exactly what accelerates the decision-making process, while at the same time, making it an inclusive activity for everyone to participate and voice out their opinions.

idea inbox

What is even better is that knowledge entered into these systems may inspire more ideas from others. The best ideas may then be placed in the innovation roadmap and progressed into innovation projects.

Examples of innovation software include:

  • Accept Mission
  • Viima
  • Hype

In Accept Mission, there is an inbox feature for themes and topics where users can drop their ideas and information related to the topic.

Let’s say there is a “VR” inbox.

Members of your organization may then be able to contribute ideas related to VR that might be beneficial for the organization. Those who are knowledgeable in VR may also drop what they know to further inspire more ideas.

Once you have all of your needed concepts in place, you may then run the selection process and assess all those ideas using the metrics and criteria that you designed and agreed upon.

Accept Mission is the most complete innovation management platform out there. One of its use cases is knowledge management, where your members may share ideas on certain subjects of interest.

How about you check it out yourself and see how it serves well when it comes to knowledge management. Book a demo today and see for yourself how the platform could help your needs and goals.

Published On: February 25th, 2021Categories: Innovation management, Innovation strategy, Portfolio Management

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