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What is the knowledge management

Ana Canteli

Written by Ana Canteli on January 18, 2018

Knowledge management treats information from its creation to capture and sends it where it is needed for its use, development, valuation, and assimilation.

The fundamental pillars on which a knowledge management system is based are:

  • people
  • information
  • the set of programs in which this information is stored

The elements that make up this ecosystem can be classified into tangible and intangible knowledge, explicit knowledge and tacit knowledge.
The most important intangible element is the intellectual capital, composed of:

  • Human capital: the set of individual knowledge that is part of the organization's staff and that can produce value for the entity.
  • Structural capital: that is the knowledge that the company manages to explain, systematize and internalize: from the organization chart, through the software suite or the corporate culture of the company.
  • Relational capital: the links that the organization has managed to establish with customers, suppliers, public institutions and interest groups and the value that these relationships bring to it.

The tangible elements are those that can be measured, touched, manipulated or felt. It is not necessary for an element to fulfil all these characteristics to be tangible, especially in the subject that concerns us. Tangible knowledge is that information, captured by the organization that is part of a process, a database or just a list. It is information that can be used when necessary, and that does not need to be recreated. The tangible knowledge is also explicit knowledge, and can be articulated, encoded, stored in a medium and transmitted immediately.
Finally, tacit knowledge is information that is difficult or impossible to communicate verbally or visually, systematically or using traditional means; but belongs to the individuals who are part of the organization or relate to it. They are the existing ideas, experiences, customs, values, history or beliefs that are shared among the participants of the business context.

What needs to be done to address a knowledge management project?

In general, there is a mistaken idea that presumes that the implementation of a knowledge management system is solved with the acquisition of a computer program. And this is false. The software suite helps, but it's not the most important thing. The entire organization is involved in the construction of a knowledge management system.

So that all the elements that are part of the company work in a coordinated, productive and positive way with the software and the documentation, consulting services are necessary. The consultancy helps to identify the silo-departments; those environments within the organization in which information enters but never comes out or does not do it when it is needed, which hinders business cycles. It also helps determine where it will be best to start the implementation of the knowledge management system - integrating the company's ERP with the document manager? Are we starting the pilot project in the quality department?

This consultancy will lead to the recommendation of computer architecture and the definition of internal operating protocols, which will help the organization determine:

  • The actual situation
  • The elements with which it has: human, economic, financial resources, informational, organizational structure, etc.
  • The objectives or goals to be achieved

With these ingredients, you can design an action plan and build a knowledge management system that encompasses the entire organization; which the company can support not only to meet its objectives but also to strengthen its position in the sector, to become the market leader (benchmark).

Knowledge management implies the implementation of a model that links the learning processes and the capture and transfer of knowledge, with the usual activities. Document management software provides solutions to the challenges of the knowledge management of organizations.

In many companies, it happens that users work in isolation from the rest of the team, or delegations suffer the consequences of offshoring. Also, when an employee solves a problem, paradoxically that the learning is not reused. It is essential to amortize and exploit the milestones achieved by the company; not only to meet objectives but also to continue advancing at an organizational and human level.

With a document management system, we can identify what is best given to a user, within the set of tasks specific to their job, and see if that quality can be transmitted to other users.

Not surprisingly, information technologies in conjunction with appropriate attitudes and appropriate habits, contribute to creating an environment in which knowledge sharing is synonymous with growth, alongside professional and entrepreneurial consolidation.

What OpenKM brings to knowledge management

The OpenKM document management system allows the creation and maintenance of the intellectual capital of the company; What is created in the company, stays within the organization for the benefit of the entity. On the other hand, the acquired knowledge must be stored, so that it can be reused, organized and structured most conveniently.

It is also essential to break down the barriers that prevent information from being shared. The communication tools of OpenKM always allows users to be interconnected so that when a team member acquires new information or has any questions, the other users can be informed about the event in real time. Functionalities such as notes, relationships, forum or the wiki help keep communication up to date, among users who work on the same content, department or project.

The OpenKM task manager allows users to meet and discuss issues relevant to their interests. In addition to convening the meeting (physical or virtual), they can send individual or group invitations and attach the contents on which the conference will focus. On the other hand, they can manage the meeting calendar (date and exact time of the event, but also repeat it if necessary every day, week, month, etc.)

The OpenKM document management system can play the fundamental role of the company's knowledge management system. For this, it is necessary that the personnel know that they have the software architecture of the company as a platform, to sustain the organization of business processes and procedures, that with the detection of new data and knowledge; It will be easier to analyze them and incorporated into the know-how of the organization. This is one of the most notable symptoms of the strength of the entity. The knowledge management of the company will help strengthen its position in the face of external aggression and periods of instability or uncertainty; since the organization will be able to adapt better to the changes and even develop more effective strategies depending on the context.
The creation of intellectual capital is a fundamental ingredient for knowledge management, but to be useful, it is essential that the appropriate corporate culture accompanies it. Staff will need to be supported by the organization's suite of programs. In this sense, OpenKM allows the transparent integration of the document manager, in the suite of applications of the company thanks to the SDK's, since the combination of the IT structure is an essential element in knowledge management. Besides, the KCenter platform can be used to create new applications based on OpenKM's open source technology. And the entire platform must be designed to encourage collaborative and mutually supportive behaviour of the members of the company.

The knowledge management system helps to create a network of teamwork in which users who work on the same content or belong to the same group or department are guaranteed easy access to all the resources they need, thanks to the granular security management. With it, you can independently manage the group or individual access to the contents, and the rights they have over them: reading, writing, deleting, downloading, etc.

Through the task manager, the multidisciplinary analysis of the events that occurred with the information and documentation of the company can be promoted. For example, user X who works in the customer service department has negotiating skills and speaks English and French. We have a new client who will generate a new project in French. Our technical staff does not speak French; we can identify this employee as a candidate for the project manager. It is possible that the most active people in the Forum, the wiki, notes, establishing links between contents, convening meetings, requesting new reports; are the right people to lead new projects, address new objectives and thus take advantage of the competitive advantages that the exploitation of know-how has brought out.

OpenKM presents Machine Learning components that facilitate the capture of tacit knowledge. When new content is introduced in OpenKM, the document manager extracts the keywords through natural language processing, through KEA (in English Automatic Keyphrase Extraction). It serves to extract structured information from unstructured sources. The extraction of relevant phrases and terms that offer a concise description of the content is useful for indexing, searching, summarizing and categorizing the information or conceptualizing knowledge management of specific domains. Machine learning is an artificial intelligence application; an application that can perform tasks of varying complexity.

With OpenKM you can define and update the objectives of the organization based on the type of goals or achievements, the nature of the task, or the level within the entity.

The use of all the functionalities of the document manager and even the implementation of the software within the IT suite of the company must be conceived to:

  • facilitate the achievement of objectives
  • the update of the platform as needed
  • collaboration among staff
  • and ensure the elimination of barriers between the members of the company, when they arise.

The technical staff with a developer profile can create new applications based on OpenKM and connected to the document management software. Besides, the automation, the workflow engine, and the zonal OCR allow creating new, more efficient and effective business processes that amortize the intellectual capital of the organization.

The OpenKM Administration panel allows the department technician to adapt the platform to the needs of the organization easily.

The OpenKM subscription service can be an excellent tool. When we subscribe to content, every time there is a change, we will receive a notification. What's more, in OpenKM we can create search agents. It will not be necessary to search for something actively in OpenKM. The system will alert us to the appearance of events related to our interests.

The subscription service, the reports, the automatisms, workflow, OCR, are functionalities that can alert us whenever new information appears, which contributes to the establishment of processes to automatically identify the data.

The management of profiles and security management at a granular level, makes users at a group or individual level access the same functionalities and information, related to the content they need to work, thus contributing to the prevention of communication barriers. Identifying responsibilities and competencies are essential when designing user profiles and security management at the granular level. They can be created by an individual or by a group of users.

Any user who has a login and password can access the system. Also, if the organization uses the KCenter, it can create a platform for free access, in which the users do not count in the licensing system. For example, a knowledge base, in which the user, according to a series of selections, accesses the most pertinent information. Is it a technical question? Are you a customer? Are you a user of the free version? Depending on the answer, we will assist you according to the business process A or B.

Through the templates, you can create a channel of management requests to the department, or through the task manager to organize periodic meetings between departmental managers, who will collect the requests and suggestions of their professional staff.

OpenKM, apart from being a document management system, is also a records management software. The new knowledge acquired can be managed as records or files. OpenKM modules can also be used to identify, classify, categorize or code knowledge. The barcode module can be used to assign a code to each file; In this way, the information is identified and filed more easily.

Once new information has been identified and corroborated, it can be transmitted to the staff; through email and automatic notifications, promoting the subscription.

Example of the use of OpenKM as a knowledge management system

OpenKM has been installed in a teaching organization that uses the document manager as a prominent element of its knowledge management system.

The educational materials (books, maps, templates, exercises, works, videos, audios, tests, exams, etc.) have been the subject of a consultancy analysis that has created a classification table, of the types of documents with which the organization works which has resulted in the generation of documentary series. The identification of the documentary series has been a fundamental step to automate the documentary management of the educational centre and the implementation of the paperless office and the knowledge management system.
The OpenKM document management system was integrated with the centre's CRM system, which has a switchboard that acts as a central point of contact; they attend to the public online and by telephone and also take charge of receiving paper documentation.

Thanks to the table of documentary series, OpenKM included OCR templates of paper documents, which are introduced into the system through the scanner. The document manager checks the incoming document with the models. When the document matches a file type, it identifies it, indexes it, catalogues it, extracts the key values as metadata and stores them in the appropriate path within the directory. Depending on the type of document, the file can send an email notification, start an automatic process, a workflow or transfer the document to a third application. For example, if the teaching staff wishes to request a few days off, or a permit for a medical appointment registers the request through an application model available in OpenKM. But the demand is not managed in OpenKM if it is not sent to the SAP application through a custom-made connector; it was decided within the organization.

The teaching material is catalogued by subject, degree and year; it is analyzed about the final year project, and the practices carried out by the students in a professional environment.

After presenting their projects and completing their internships, the students fill out forms that are treated by OpenKM to extract the key contents in the form of metadata, while carrying out reports that highlight the materials, the subjects and the most significant subjects or valued by students.

This helps the school to improve training plans, and to disseminate informative documents internally, to help teachers to enhance their teaching material for the next course and to propose improvements in the teaching approach. And for the department of marketing and social networks, this material means new content with which to attract new students - recent graduates, people looking for new professional opportunities, companies in search of training recycling solutions, and more.

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