Knowledge Management Tools

A few weeks ago we have delved into what knowledge management means, especially in terms of personal knowledge management. This week we will be delving into what knowledge management can be utilised for.

Organisational Learning, Business Intelligence, Information Management, Analytics and Big Data

Before analysing the usefulness of these tools with real-life examples, I will specify what these different items are used for.

Organisational Learning

Organisational learning is stated by King to be concerned with how organisations create a process of revitalising and creating new knowledge whereas knowledge management is concerned with content. Of particular importance is the process of the intra-organisational transference of knowledge.

Business Intelligence

Business Intelligence (BI) has been described as a broad term for information technology software with the purpose of enabling users to better use the ‘information assets’ a.k.a. knowledge at their disposal. Specifically, it is intended to ‘optimise decisions‘ for improved performance.

Information Management

Information Management (IM) simply put, is the collection, categorisation, dissemination, storage and removal of information. Management Information Systems (MIS) is of particular importance with the use of technology, people and data for IM use.


Analytics uses technologies, methodologies and ‘human’ capital to analyse and interpret data for information. Big Data is merely an aspect of what businesses use for analytics though there are other analytical options such as detective and predictive analytics.

Big Data

Big Data is related to the volume of data available to businesses as a result of both internal and external factors. Data mining has become a specialised technique needed to avoid information overload with people specialised in this area being called ‘data scientists‘.

Real Life Examples

Spark New Zealand Ltd.

As outlined by this website, organisational learning can either occur through ‘cognitive process’ or by using community of practice (COP). I have previously mentioned COPs in a blog post but now we are analysing businesses who have created ones of their own volition.

A key concept of learning organisations is the constant seeking and utilisation of new knowledge and a major benefit of COPs include the fact that employees are willfully transferring knowledge between each other.

Spark Ltd. as a learning organisation, devised continuous improvement teams. Seeking employees to build up their own individual and organisational knowledge they formalised COPs for their own benefit.

In terms of knowledge management, COPs tend to have more tacit knowledge though it can be codified to form explicit knowledge.


As previously mentioned, Business Intelligence is related to the IT a business uses to ultimately make better decisions.

Walmart is considered a premier business who uses business intelligence, by their ability to exploit the information they receive from the software they use to make operational, tactical and strategic choices. Business analytics is a subset of BI and helps form these decisions.

A common issue of BI is who controls and uses these technologies and in extension the information they provide. This can be further troublesome when it comes to information sensitive sectors such as security, health and politics.

Project Management

Similar to BI, Information Management is more focused on providing a way to create, categorise and store the information that is created by the business.

A use for information management, especially for MIS is the use of it for project management. Project Management Information Systems (PIMS), is precisely used for it while also being a subset of IM.

A project is hugely impacted by the company’s ability or inability to manage their information systems to ensure it meets their information needs and its users can use it correctly.

From Amazon to Google

Proposed by Davenport, there have been different ‘eras’ of analytic tools companies have used over the history of its use.

Analytics 1.0. is directly labelled as business intelligence, using specific examples, such as Online Analytical Processing (OLAP) and database querying. These ‘simpler’ tools were used by companies to aggregate and analyse data.

In comparison, 2.0. is directly related to Big Data. Amazon has been touted as an expert in Big Data.  Their vast amounts of analytics are used explicitly for the purposes of providing a more personalised approach for its customers and maintaining a tracking system in their vast product selection.

Finally 3.0. is described as ‘data-enriched’. Every facet of a business has been theorised to be directly influenced by analytics. The best example for this would be Google, with its highly targeted approach to information and the enormity of the information it holds, it’s only natural to assume they are the leaders of this era of analytic technology. Services that support this hypothesis is Google’s search suggestions, AdSense and other ventures.















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