Knowledge management technology is either interactive or integrative. It is a way to digitally store information that may need to be pulled by groups of people at various times. Interactive knowledge management technology allows individuals to virtually discuss and modify data with each other. Some of the different forms of knowledge management include document libraries, knowledge bases, online communities, portals and profiles.
The information technology (IT) industry relies on knowledge management technology, specifically that of document libraries and knowledge bases. Computer support professionals often have access to several document libraries. A document library allows co-workers to share knowledge with each other, without having to communicate face-to-face.
Knowledge bases usually contain procedures on how to solve specific problems that computer users may run into. They typically allow users to search by keywords, instead of having to navigate through hundreds of documents to locate a potential answer. Knowledge bases may also be sorted by category. For example, for call center agents who support wireless phones, the knowledge base may be sorted into sections on billing, troubleshooting, equipment and rate plans.
Interactive knowledge management technology gives multiple users the ability to collaborate. Online universities often employ this type of interactive virtual environment. Class members may upload data and information that peers can modify and discuss together.
Many websites dedicated to certain topics, such as physical fitness and nutrition, are based in an interactive platform. Individuals sign up for membership access to information that helps them achieve goals, such as weight loss. Within the community, different users can share dieting tips and workout regimen techniques for accomplishing that goal, usually via a discussion board. Community members may also comment about what results they achieved when they followed specific advice.
Large organizations often use portals, which is a type of knowledge management technology that may contain both integrative and interactive components. Human resource departments that must manage payroll and benefits for employees in numerous departments or divisions may disseminate information through a central database. With a unique login, employees can access pay, job classification, and benefits information. Depending upon the organization, employees may also be able to submit questions and make changes to their information through the portal.
Portal systems often contain knowledge bases with answers to frequently answered questions and procedures on how to obtain certain benefits, such as tuition reimbursement. This type of technology reduces the dependence on face-to-face communication with a human resource representative, while providing employees with instant access to common information. It also reduces paperwork and processing time for simple modifications, such as address changes.