Components of Knowledge Systems

Topics: Knowledge management, Management, Knowledge Pages: 10 (1611 words) Published: March 27, 2013
Components of a Knowledge Management System
A Knowledge Management System (KMS) refers to either a technology-based or non-technical interconnected group of functions that have behaviour that enables or facilitates either (or a combination of) the discovery, capture, integration, sharing or delivery of the knowledge required by an organisation to meet its objectives. It can comprise a part of a Knowledge Management initiative or strategy to improve the utility of an organisation’s intellectual capital. A knowledge management system is inherently a soft open system. This means that boundaries are permeable and difficult to position. What may be useful to one person in one part of an organisation may be useless to someone else in another department. Any knowledge management initiative must therefore establish clear achievable goals that deliver benefits to the organisation, or a sub-set of the organisation, and take into account user and stakeholder requirements. The key principle is that it must be useful and solve a problem.

A successful knowledge management system is founded on a clear understanding of: 

what the organisation considers to be organisational knowledge; what the organisation’s knowledge goals are;
where knowledge resides in an organisation, and its form;
what knowledge components must be managed; and finally
the absolutely central role of people in any system.

The essential components of a Knowledge Management System can be seen in the model at Figure 1.

Figure 1.

Components of a Knowledge Management System

The following table describes the components of a KMS.



1. Strategy

A KMS should be part of a strategy that identifies the key needs and issues within the organisation, and provide a framework for addressing these.

1.1. Problem

A problem or opportunity facing the organisation needs to exist. W hat particular worldview justifies the existence of a KM system? (What point of view makes this system meaningful?)

1.2. Purpose / objective

A KMS should have an explicit Knowledge Management objective of some type such as collaboration, sharing good practice or the like.

1.3. Policy

Any KMS should be linked to an organisational policy

1.4. Governance

Any KMS must be managed properly and a governance framework that articulates roles and responsibilities is a necessary part of a KMS.

1.5. Culture

The culture, values and beliefs of the people within an organisation affects the way in which they may be receptive to a KMS.

1.6. Risk

W hat are the risks within an organisation to the success of a KMS?

2. Actors

People are central to any KMS and there are different participants with differing backgrounds and experiences.
There are a number of roles to carry out a range of activities involved in an effective KMS.

2.1. Owner

W ho owns the business process and has the authority to abolish this system or change its measures of performance?

2.2. Source

W ho/what currently holds the knowledge and where does it reside?

2.3. Clients

W ho are the beneficiaries of this particular system? (Who would benefit or suffer from its operations?)

2.4. Managers

W ho is responsible for implementing this system? (Who would carry out the activities which make this system work?)

2.5. Enablers

W ho else needs to be involved to make the knowledge system work such as IT administrators or HR support staff

2.6. Boundary Spanners

Those people who connect workgroups in the organisaiton

3. Infrastructure

Most KMSs will require some form of infrastructure to enable the system to function.

3.1. Facilities

W hat facilities are required to support the KMS function?

3.2. Equipment

W hat equipment is required to enable the KMS to function effectively?

3.3. Repositories

W here will the KMS store any information or knowledge?

3.4. Instruments

There may be a series of instruments, tools or...

References: Maier, R (2007): Knowledge Management Systems: Information And Communication Technologies
for Knowledge Management
Tiwana, A., 1999. Knowledge Management Toolkit, The: Practical Techniques for Building a
Knowledge Management System, Pearson Education.
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