Knowledge Management Forums

Knowledge management is the process by which organizations generate value from their knowledge-based assets. Most often, generating value from such assets involves documenting what employees, partners, and customers know and sharing that information with employees, departments, and even with other companies in order to devise the best practices.

Knowledge management forums are the best place for information exchange, discussion, and debates. Forums and bulletin boards are usually informal but are a good source of information. Emails and messages posted on bulletin boards are the primary source of knowledge for its users. Many organizations encourage the use of forums among their customers as one of the alternatives for accessing support services.

Customers post their messages describing their problems, and experts on the subject matter respond with solutions. Generally these messages are public so that they can be easily accessed by other customers with similar problems in the future.

However, such forums do not always represent free-for-all websites. The forums take various forms. One such form is ?communities of practice,? which represents a group of people working on similar projects or using similar tools. Forums may also represent people in a similar job function, who may or may not be located at the same physical location. Several organizations have developed community portals that allow employees or members to share resources in the form of posting emails, uploading files, conducting online chat sessions, and maintaining contact information.

Another kind of forum is corporate Intranet, which is an excellent option for a first time knowledge management initiative, as it provides easy access to quickly promote the system and encourage usage.

Yet another kind of forum is the Yellow Pages and other directories. These are great options for organizations with knowledge bases that primarily consist of tacit knowledge or that suffer from rapid obsolescence. The purpose of a knowledge management system in such cases is not only to facilitate creation and reuse knowledge, but also to provide a mechanism by which the source of knowledge can be easily located.

Consulting organizations are widely known to use directories and Yellow Pages as a means to find employees with suitable skills for given requirements. Knowledge management has thus proven to be a great source for generating value from knowledge-based assets.

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