Knowledge Management Software

An increasing number of large companies have achieved cost savings by using content management software. Most content management software is designed to help companies manage information that, until recently, was stored in paper reports, schedules, analyses, and memos. 

Knowledge management software 

(KM software) is a subset of Enterprise content management software and which contains a range of software that specializes in the way information is collected, stored and/or accessed. The concept of knowledge management is based on a range of practices used by an individual, a business, or a large corporation to identify, create, represent and redistribute information for a range of purposes.  
Software that enables an information practice or range of practices at any part of the processes of information management can be deemed to be called information management software. A subset of information management software that emphasizes an approach to build knowledge out of information that is managed or contained is often called knowledge management software.

Although the cost reductions that can be obtained by moving mountains of paper into an electronic format are significant, some companies have begun to understand that the true value of those documents is in the information contained in them. 

Thus, they began the search for systems that would help them manage the knowledge itself, rather than the documentary representations of that knowledge. The software that has been developed to meet that goal is called knowledge management (KM) software.

KM software helps companies do four main things: 

  1. collect and organize information,
  2. share the information among users, 
  3. enhance the ability of users to collaborate, 
  4. preserve the knowledge gained through the use of information 

so that future users can benefit from the learning of current users. 

KM software includes tools that read electronic documents (in formats such as Microsoft Word or Adobe PDF), scanned paper documents, e-mail messages, and Web pages. 

KM software often includes powerful search tools that use proprietary semantic and statistical algorithms to help users find the content, human experts, and other resources that can aid them in their research and decision making tasks.

Most early KM software required companies to build a centralized knowledge repository before the software could provide users any real benefits. The building of these repositories required major investments of time and money, and often disrupted the regular flow of work. 

More recently developed KM systems are less obtrusive and allow the collection of knowledge elements to flow as a natural by-product of the normal interactions users have with information.

The major software vendors have KM software offerings, including IBM Lotus Discovery Server and Microsoft SharePoint Technologies. Smaller companies have also entered the market with innovative KM software and technologies. Two of the more interesting products are Entopia Quantum and Mirror Worlds Technologies Scopeware. 

Total costs for a KM software implementation, including hardware, software licenses, and consultant fees, typically range from $50,000 to $1 million or more.


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