The Advantages of Knowledge Management Systems

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Knowledge management, KM, systems improve information robustness by adding context and relationship data to stored documents. The six steps of knowledge management include creating, capturing, analyzing, indexing, storing and disseminating information. By adding information to documents, either through tags or semantic analysis and topic ontologies -- the terms used to describe and represent an area of knowledge — users can find complete answers more quickly.

Business Intelligence

Business intelligence professionals collect information from multiple sources to understand their company’s competitors, the marketplace and customers. Part of the business analyst’s job requires distributing timely information to decision makers. A KM system allows the analyst to produce meaningful reports quickly by extracting only relevant data and sources from stored documents based on keywords, context and relationship information added as tags to the stored data.

Project Management

Several aspects of project management benefit from experience and lessons learned on previous projects including cost estimating, risk management and problem solving. When organizations use formal knowledge management systems to capture project information, the knowledge available benefits new project managers as they learn their craft. The core components of KM systems facilitate communication of relevant information among project team members, especially when the team works in multiple geographic locations. NASA used KM tools on several programs and reported exponentially reduced time required to extract data for analysis and report creation.

Decision Support

People make better decisions when they use timely and relevant information. The advantage of a knowledge management system to decision support includes finding only relevant information because of the added context and relationship data. KM systems often offer intelligent search and display technologies that facilitate understanding patterns and relationships.

Customer Service

Help desks and customer service aids use of knowledge management systems that track similar problems and offer successful solutions based on feedback. By applying information-expansion technologies such as ontologies, KM systems adapt to user’s questioning style. NIH reports that patient help desks receive hundreds of emails per day. Using a KM-based employee expertise profile, help desk personnel route questions to the most appropriate expert. Other organizations have successfully expanded their help desk functionality by creating an automated knowledge management question answering system.


About the Author

Barbara Brown has been a freelance writer since 2006. She worked 10 years performing psychological testing before moving into information research. She worked as a knowledge management specialist and project manager in defense and health research. She is studying to be a master gardener and has a master's degree in psychology from Southern Methodist University.

Photo Credits

  • working help desk four image by Paul Moore from