Most traditional company policies and controls focus on the tangible assets of the company and leave unmanaged their important knowledge assets.
Success, in an increasingly competitive marketplace, depends critically on the quality of knowledge which organizations apply to their key business processes.
For example, the supply chain depends on knowledge of diverse areas including raw materials, planning, manufacturing and distribution. Likewise, product development requires knowledge of consumer requirements, new science, new technology, marketing etc.
Knowledge assets refers to the knowledge regarding markets, products, technologies and organizations, that a business owns or needs to own and which enable its business processes to generate profits, add value, etc.
KM, is not only about managing these knowledge assets, but also managing the processes that act upon the assets.
These processes include: developing knowledge; preserving knowledge; using knowledge, and sharing knowledge.
Therefore, KM involves the identification and analysis of available and required knowledge assets and knowledge asset related processes, and the subsequent planning and control of actions, to develop both the assets and the processes so as to fulfill organizational objectives and in the process bringing about tangible benefits.
KM has multiple faces depending upon the various prevalent theories and disciplines as well as generous contributions from management, information technology, science, educational theory and communication practices and techniques.
In general, there exists a synergy among these various disciplines and any single one cannot claim the ownership of knowledge management. Generally, KM initiatives within an organization have the following four basic objectives:
1. Effective harnessing or leveraging of the IC of an organization in the best possible fashion.
2. Promoting enhanced knowledge dissemination within the organization with the help of internal as well as external learning processes and systems.
3. Transforming individual knowledge into the structural capital of the enterprise.
4. Aligning business strategy with the existing core competencies of the organization and its capabilities.