The knowledge management process deals with two specific attributes: sharing existing knowledge and creating new knowledge. The information age makes this business activity crucial to a company’s survival. Information flows from business to business, business to consumer, and other methods. Three main practices in the knowledge management process include creating and discovering, sharing and learning, and organizing and managing. Each company can create its own specific method for knowledge management.
Creating and discovering new data involves the process of data mining, which is a fancy term for gathering information. Companies can use any number of mining methods to create or discover new knowledge. For example, a company may send out customer surveys to inquire about individual buying habits. The information gleaned flows into a company’s knowledge management process using any number of technical tasks or individuals who pass information through a company’s work flow system. The creation of new information leads to discovery as companies find out information and data from any number of new sources.
Sharing and learning involves the use of business networks to send and receive information. Sharing means taking information gleaned from a survey or other source and disseminating the information among one or more groups. A knowledge management process often involves numerous departments within a single organization. In other cases, a company may share information with other businesses. This allows multiple companies to learn how to achieve increases in market share or complete other processes better with the hopes of an improved output.
Organizing and managing is an ongoing activity of the knowledge management process. Organizing is necessary to compare new information against old. Additionally, organization is necessary so a company can refer back to information gathered for specific purposes. Managing information is a similar task associated with the organization of gathered data. Managers must protect information and make it readily available for use at specific times. Multiple individuals in various departments may have the task of managing a company’s information.
A knowledge management process often makes heavy use of technology. Current technology allows a company to gather and transmit data extremely fast, often in real time. Increasing use of technology in these processes often results in new business positions or activities a company must complete. For example, a company must protect sensitive information gathered from customers. The knowledge management processes requires this protection as a company may be liable for damages if a customer’s data is used illegally.