Knowledge Management Systems (KMS) refers to a class of systems developed to support the processes of knowledge creation, storage/retrieval, transfer and application (Alavi and Leidner, 2001). Knowledge Management idea in organisation is becoming important and firms are making significant IT investments in deploying knowledge management systems.
There are several authors and there are several standpoints on there classification of KMS. In 2004, Becerra- Fernandez, et al. KM systems can be classified into four kinds they are,
- Knowledge Discovery Systems
It supports the development of new tacit or explicit knowledge from data and information or from the mixture of prior knowledge. Knowledge discovery systems rely on mechanisms and technologies that can support the combination and the socialization processes.
- Knowledge Capture Systems
It supports the process of retrieving either explicit or tacit knowledge that resides within people, artefacts, or organisational entities. Knowledge capture systems rely on Mechanisms and Technologies that support Externalization and Internalization.
- Knowledge Sharing Systems
It supports the process through which explicit or implicit knowledge is communicated to other individuals. Knowledge sharing systems rely on Mechanisms and Technologies that support socialisation.
- Knowledge Applications Systems
It supports the process through which some individuals utilize knowledge possessed by other individuals without actually acquiring or learning that knowledge. Mechanisms and Technologies support knowledge application systems by facilitation routines and direction
According to Alavi and Leidner (2001) there are three common applications of IT to organisational knowledge management initiatives:
- Knowledge Creation
This model views organizational knowledge creation as continuous interaction between the tacit and explicit dimensions of knowledge and the flow of knowledge passes through individual, group, and organizational levels.
- Knowledge Storage / Retrieval
This organisational memory resides in various forms, including written documentation, structured information stored in electronic databases.
- Knowledge Transfer
Its being an important process in knowledge management where transfer occurs at various levels, transfer of knowledge between individuals, from individuals to explicit sources, from individuals to groups, between groups, across groups and from the group to the organisation.
- Knowledge Application
Technology can support knowledge application by embedding knowledge into organizational routines. Procedures that are culture-bound can be embedded into IT
After comparing both the author's views, it seems that they both have similar classification but moulded differently, lets consider Knowledge Discovery systems and Knowledge Creation which to an extend have a similar meaning of newly knowledge creation. In knowledge capture systems and knowledge storage /retrieval process have the same objective of capturing knowledge and storing it for further process. In knowledge sharing systems and Knowledge Transfer there is one disparity where in knowledge sharing systems, knowledge is shared with one another whereas in knowledge transfer knowledge is passed from one person to another. Last but not least knowledge applications systems and knowledge application have similar understanding
A knowledge management system captures a view of the person's knowledge representation. Then further knowledge representation is passed onto others by means of a verbal view or In case of a computer program, it resides in a database that may be utilized by others. It is only a view as further experiences and learning's within the creator may change the knowledge representation, while the views remain the same. Others may make use of the knowledge representation views by using into the KM system and then combining it with their prior knowledge. This in turn forms a new or modified knowledge representation. This knowledge representation is then applied to solve a personal or business need, or explain a phenomenon. [Clark, D (2004)]
Alavi, Maryam and Dorothy Leidner, "Review: Knowledge management and knowledge management systems: Conceptual foundations and research issues" In MIS Quarterly, March 2001. Volume 25 (3)
Becerra-Fernandez, I., Gonzalez, A., and Sabherwal, R. 2004. Knowledge Management – Challenges, Solutions and Technologies. Pearson/Prentice Hall.
Clark, D., 2004, Knowledge Management, Available at [http://www.skagitwatershed.org/~donclark/knowledge/km.html, 27/03/09, 2009]