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7 Essential Knowledge Management Tools

        posted by , March 26, 2013

The more things change, the more they stay the same.

Knowledge management tools have changed over the years. However, they still address the same basic needs.

The following 7 categories of tools are essential for any knowledge management practice.

1. Content Repository

Tools that allow users to manage and share knowledge content.

For many years the dominant tool for knowledge management repositories was document management software.

Today, most firms prefer tools that can manage diverse content (e.g. documents, web content, social content). For example, Content Management Systems (CMS), Enterprise Content Management (ECM) and Cloud Content Management (CCM).

2. Knowledge Search

A text search tool is often part of your content repository. For example, ECM usually has a search tool.

Search is a critical function that improves the value of your knowledge. All search tools are not created equally. There's a big difference in the performance of search solutions.

Some firms invest in a search tool that can search across multiple sources of data (e.g. your ECM and CRM).

3. Communication Tool

Tools that communicate knowledge and capture the knowledge generated by communication.

This may include a variety of tools such as email, chat, instant messaging, telephone services (include VOIP), speech recognition, video conferencing and collaboration tools (e.g. whiteboards).

Unified communications (UC) tools integrate communications into a single user experience.

4. Social Software

Tools that facilitate the socialization of knowledge.

Social features are now commonly included in core enterprise software such as customer relationship management (CRM) and ERP.

5. Knowledge Visualization

Tools that are used to visually communicate knowledge.

The vast majority of business knowledge is communicated with static 2D representations such as web pages and powerpoint slides. There is great interest in dynamic, explorable, 3D representations of knowledge.

A plethora of knowledge visualization tools have hit the market in recent years. The knowledge visualization market is still in its infancy but tools are maturing rapidly.

6. Decision Support

Tools that seek knowledge in large volumes of data. For example, analytics and reporting software that allows users to discover patterns of knowledge in data.

7. Big Data

Big data are a class of tools that store, manage and explore high velocity, variety and volume data.

Firms use big data technologies to find knowledge in high volumes of structured (e.g. database tables) and unstructured data (e.g. documents, conversations).

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