5.1. After reading this chapter you will be able to

  • Appreciate the range of available technologies that can support a Knowledge Management initiative

  • Understand the significance of selecting or developing a controlled vocabulary as part of a Knowledge Management initiative

  • Understand what differentiates traditional tools and applications from so-called Knowledge Management tools

  • Appreciate the technological infrastructure needed to support a successful Knowledge Management initiative

  • Recognize the potential of disruptive information technologies to change the future of Knowledge Management

Knowledge Management (KM) can be adopted as a strategy with little or no dependence on what's considered high tech today. The earliest knowledge workers did just fine with clay tablets of various shapes to archive and retrieve information for the local government. Similarly, communities of practice need little more than a physical space so that members can meet to discuss ideas. On a personal level, a chief executive officer (CEO) can do just fine without a personal digital assistant (PDA), relying, instead, on a notebook maintained by his or her assistant. Similarly, physicians, lawyers, and other knowledge workers don't need computer-based systems to do their work.

That said, Knowledge Management, like most other business strategies, can have more powerful results—as measured by the bottom line—with the appropriate use of information technology. As illustrated in Exhibit 5.1, the organic or unassisted ...

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