Knowledge Management

What is knowledge management?

Definitions of knowledge management vary from company to company and from market to market, which is one of the challenges of this discipline. But basically, knowledge management is an organisation’s process for efficiently creating, using, managing, and sharing its knowledge, information, and resources for the benefit of the business. These benefits include such business objectives as improving efficiency and performance, gaining competitive advantage and innovating products and services. Ultimately, knowledge management is about getting the most value from the knowledge your organisation has.

In our information-rich digital age, many organisations now have dedicated resources and roles for knowledge management as part of their business strategy; these knowledge managers may fall under the umbrella of human resources, IT, business or other teams.

Knowledge versus information

As we know, with Big Data, there’s no shortage of information available to us. Knowledge, however, is about understanding what to do with all that information to extract value from it. In other words, knowledge takes information to the next level. And knowledge management – and knowledge managers – makes that happen.

Knowledge managers

Knowledge managers play a pivotal role in ensuring the success of knowledge management. They:

  • promote awareness of an organisation’s knowledge management strategy
  • align knowledge-based activities with the company’s overall business strategy
  • encourage a company culture that values and fosters knowledge sharing
  • engage stakeholders
  • gather (and help others gather) knowledge and information using different tools to support business intelligence
  • oversee the knowledge management framework and processes
  • manage the sharing of information across different internal teams and stakeholders
  • support other knowledge staff

What’s more, knowledge managers have their finger on the pulse of all things knowledge – they grasp the importance of knowledge, are familiar with knowledge management tools and how to use them effectively, know how and where to direct information, and understand how the organisation can benefit from information. These knowledge champions ensure that knowledge-based activities, staff, and technologies work cohesively – and effectively – together.

A new standard

The International Organization for Standardization (ISO) is introducing a new knowledge management standard – ISO 30401 for knowledge management systems. The new standard seeks to not only solidify internationally accepted definitions of both knowledge and knowledge management, but also offer sound guiding principles for businesses seeking to develop, sustain, and improve the management systems they use to benefit from knowledge. ISO 30401 also intends to provide a basis for assessing and recognising organisations for their knowledge management competency by appropriate audit bodies.

The draft standard draws on a number of overarching principles, such as:

  • the nature of knowledge
  • how knowledge management creates value by helping businesses achieve goals and enhance performance by optimising and capitalising on knowledge
  • how to manage work environments, given that you can’t directly manage knowledge

The standard suits businesses of all sizes and markets, as well as knowledge managers across all disciplines. Because every business is different, the ISO 30401 doesn’t dictate how to handle knowledge management but instead provides guidelines for determining what’s best for your organisation. It includes definitions and sections on the context of a business as well as on planning and leadership. It’s an opportunity for these businesses and knowledge managers to improve their knowledge management understanding, practices, and performance.

The ISO 30401 also includes three appendices to address misconceptions and to help users further understand knowledge management and avoid common problems. The appendices explain the differences between knowledge management and information management, different forms of knowledge and how to analyse and promote a knowledge management culture.

The new standard is set for approval in October 2018 and will go into effect on 17 January 2019.


Nexis is an essential tool for your knowledge management toolkit – a must-have support for knowledge managers. Nexis curates a comprehensive collection of relevant, reliable news sources, industry insights, company information, social media and more from an archive that dates back more than 40 years. With Nexis, you can collect and cull the information that matters most to your organisation, garner insights to transform that information into critical knowledge, and use that knowledge for the ultimate benefit of your business – whether it’s boosting company performance, gaining that competitive edge or launching a bold new product. Plus, Nexis enables you to set up and share alerts to keep all key departments and stakeholders up to date on relevant news, information and knowledge that could affect the business.

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