Knowledge Management Systems for Business

By Robert J. Thierauf | Go to book overview

organize, and access information as well as knowledge. The bottom line is that effective knowledge management, like effective management of any kind, starts with a strategy. The focus of that strategy is on making knowledge available to company employees in the right format and at the right time and place to make even better decisions than was possible in the past.

An important theme of knowledge management systems found in this text is that knowledge is power. This translates into satisfied customers, improved marketing efforts, effective production methods, just-in-time inventory control, and more profitable operations. Knowledge that is developed constantly, renewed where necessary, and applied where applicable is an important source of competitive advantage. The more a company’s employees use knowledge, the more they contribute to a company’s overall well-being. Companies that really succeed have greater expertise than their competition. Utilizing some form of internal and external computer networks, a company can enhance the knowledge of its personnel and support them with software that encapsulates knowledge. Thus, for knowledge management systems to be successful, there is a need to create an infrastructure to capture and create knowledge, store it, improve it, clarify it, disseminate it to all employees, and put it to use on a daily basis.

Not only is this book designed for company managers, it is also written for information systems professionals and end users. Company managers (i.e., decision makers) will be particularly interested in installing their own systems or assisting in their installation somewhere in their companies. End users in the various functional areas of a typical company can also benefit from the text. Information systems professionals will find the text helpful for understanding one of the most important developments in systems for decision makers and how to build knowledge management systems. Furthermore, it should be noted that the book is quite suitable in an academic environment—that is, an undergraduate or graduate-level course covering the fundamentals of knowledge management systems.

The structure of this text follows a logical order for a complete treatment of knowledge management systems. The topical areas that are illustrated by real-world applications where appropriate are as follows:

Part I: Knowledge Management Systems for Business in the 21st Century. In Chapter 1, the emergence of knowledge management systems, which are an outgrowth of data processing and management information systems, is explored in some depth. In addition, the utilization of knowledge to help gain competitive advantage for a typical company is discussed. Chapter 2 sets forth a framework that underlies knowledge management systems found in business. The tie-in of knowledge with problem finding (which includes uncovering future opportunities) along with a company’s critical success factors is also covered.

Part II: The Essentials of Knowledge Management Systems for Business. The types of databases, along with data marts and data warehouses, are explored in Chapter 3, with emphasis on building an effective data warehouse. This material is complemented by the use of data mining to discover new knowledge about

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