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Knowledge Ware

Page history last edited by PBworks 17 years, 9 months ago

The Knowledge Continuum - Knowledgeware

Data + Context = = Information

Information + Experience = = Knowledge



Knowledge comes from people and their unique experiences. Technology by itself does not provide knowledge. Most technocrats would jump onto the knowledge bandwagon by claiming that their product is Knowledgeware. Consider the following scenarios ?


Vendors point at a threaded discussion and communications capabilities and say "viola ! this is Knowledge Management.

Document -Management Vendors look at the ability of the product to link queries and place them into a folder, which results in dynamic collection of information that meets specific criteria and can be shared horizontally across the Organization, they clam that this is knowledge management.

Workflow products get the right information to the right person at the right time as part of the business process . They claim these capabilities as Knowledge Management

Companies that make smart agents, search engines and profiling software also claim that such technology is knowledge management.

The convergence of knowledge management is that the system lays out information, so that people can see unexpected relationships between various elements /objects which seem to have nothing in common. This allows for continued refinement and the value of information increases. If one were to take out the human element of system, one has lost the spark which ignites the creation of knowledge.

Knowledge Management software should allows us to capture the human experience in the best manner and to quantify the experience in terms of documents, collaborations efforts, process and information elements. Good Knowledgeware precludes the time required for employees to find the right stuff ‘at that time’. This frees people from searching, processing and allows workers to spend more time analyzing and manipulating information. As a result creating further shareable Knowledgeware which provided for rich content in terms of experience and insight. The insight and experience which a client always keeps returning for.


In simple terms the deployed efforts would have;


Context : The right kind of linkage between workers and systems and that which gives meaningful relationships with control over the work that is being done.

Trust : Establishing with clarity and openness trust systems so that information, work flow and experience elements flow freely around the organization.

Structure : Designs such structures which allow the workers, people, customers to take advantage of such technologies and be able to tap onto such resources of information.

If one were to ask what is the most valuable asset in your organization, most answers may be the raw materials, inventories, corporate bank accounts or investment portfolios, or just simple land and building.

The one questions that pops up is, does any of the mentioned, bring about bringing back your customers to you ? give an advantage over your competitors ? do they give cutting edge advantages ?? Probably not.


From another prospective, today's most valuable assets in information- the knowledge assets of the company. Or otherwise known as intellectual capital.


Can Knowledgeware be define ? one of the most precise definitions of such systems comes form Gartner Group, which states "Knowledge management promotes an integrated approach to identify, capture, retrieve, share and evaluate the enterprises information assets. This information may include databases, documents, policies , procedures as well as expertise and experience stores in individual workers heads". Knowledge management is discipline.


Traditional IT thinking is process oriented, linear, sequential. Knowledge Management is lateral thinking and placing emphasis on relationships between information and people and between information and information.


Old saying like Knowledge is power holds very true in today's current rapidly advancing technology era. Gone are the olds days ,where raw materials, time and people were all put into a black box and out come a line of products and services. Rather the focus of Knowledgeware is about what goes on between the various functions and procedures internal to the organization plus the action or reaction of each individuals to such functions and procedures and methods. By looking at what goes on, one understand how the business reacts to external stimulus and as well as, internal process, developments, solving problem, business process or manufacturing processes solutions. This emanates or highlights the relationship between;


organizations and companies,

people and tasks,methods and procedures

people and information

information and information

information and task/methods/processes

A total matrix of knowledge can be learnt from such information, if it is approached and captured in a integrated manner for future use. In all this- the best news is that good sense goes a long way !!

A Paradigm Primer - Getting started !


The place to start is with high value knowledge.

Focus on pilot projects and let demand drive additional initiatives.

Work along multiple fronts at once (Technology, organization and culture)

Don't put off what gives you the most trouble until its too late.

Get help throughout the organization as quickly as possible.

Identify and link members of your knowledge community.

Build relationships through face to face meetings.

Use technology for communication and collaboration. Training emphasis the goals, not hardware and software.

Upper Management should be aware of and support training and new behaviors and resource allocations.

Set measures for quantifying and qualifying success. Hence evaluating the initiative.

Leave room for the unexpected.

Success measures

A Positive orientation to knowledge within the organization (people are willing to free to explore and suggest)

Workers are not resentful of the company and do not fear that sharing knowledge would cost them their jobs.

Clarity of vision and language.

Nontrivial motivational aids.

Multiple channels of knowledge transfer.

Common attributable success yardsticks

Growth in resources attached to the project. including staffing and budgets.

Growth in the volume of knowledge content and usage.

The project is becomes an organizational initiative rather then a project between a couple of individuals.

Some evidence of financial returns. The project becomes a profit center rather then a cost center. A turn around !


Copy left 1999, Peter Dawson. This document and translation of it may be copied and furnished to others, provided that this copyright notice, authors details and this paragraph be included on such copies and derivatives works.


Author's note : This brief is exclusively and heavily drawn from the book " Working Knowledge: How Organization manage what they know" by Thomas H Devenport and Laurene Prusak. Harvard Business School Press.

Dr.Thomas Deveport is the Curtis Mathes Fellowship Professor and Director of Information Management Program at the University of Texas, Austin. He has taught in Harvard Business School, University of Chicago and Boston University.

Laurence Prusak is a managing principle with the IBM Consulting Group, Boston and is also recognized as the worldwide competence leader in knowledge management for IBM.

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