Tools for the Trade
In some ways, Knowledge Management is a child of technology. It was the arrival of new enabling technologies that brought KM to the foreground, even though it was quickly understood that these technologies would never be more than that – enablers.
The first way you could slice and dice KM technology is along the great divide of Knowledge Management itself. There are tools to increase access to explicit knowledge (by building repositories of one kind or another) and there are tools to increase access to tacit knowledge (by improving communications and collaboration). KM World publishes an annual Buyers’ Guide, which is also available on the web. They’re currently breaking the tool set down into 18 categories, which is twice as many as they had four years ago.
The edges of these categories are unfortunately (and perhaps unavoidably) pretty soft. You’ll find that some folks consider Content Management a subset of Document Management, while other folks feel it’s the other way around.
If you’re looking into KM Technology, the a good first step is to consider what you already have, and see if you’re getting the full value. Even a cork board over the coffee pot can be a pretty good knowledge tool, if you use it the right way.
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