AIAIKnowledge Management
Introduction | Definition | Difficulties | Approach| Techniques| IT Support | External Links


Enterprises are realising how important it is to "know what they know" and be able to make maximum use of the knowledge. This knowledge resides in many different places such as: databases, knowledge bases, filing cabinets and peoples' heads and are distributed right across the enterprise. All too often one part of an enterprise repeats work of another part simply because it is impossible to keep track of, and make use of, knowledge in other parts. Enterprises need to know:

Most traditional company policies and controls focus on the tangible assets of the company and leave unmanaged their important knowledge assets.

Success in an increasingly competitive marketplace depends critically on the quality of knowledge which organisations apply to their key business processes. For example the supply chain depends on knowledge of diverse areas including raw materials, planning, manufacturing and distribution. Likewise product development requires knowledge of consumer requirements, new science, new technology, marketing etc.

The challenge of deploying the knowledge assets of an organisation to create competitive advantage becomes more crucial as:


Knowledge assets are the knowledge regarding markets, products, technologies and organisations, that a business owns or needs to own and which enable its business processes to generate profits, add value, etc.

Knowledge management is not only about managing these knowledge assets but managing the processes that act upon the assets. These processes include: developing knowledge; preserving knowledge; using knowledge, and sharing knowledge.

Therefore, Knowledge management involves the identification and analysis of available and required knowledge assets and knowledge asset related processes, and the subsequent planning and control of actions to develop both the assets and the processes so as to fulfil organisational objectives.

Why is Knowledge Management Difficult

There are many problems associated with identifying these knowledge assets and being able to use them and manage them in an efficient and cost-effective manner. Enterprises need:

Knowledge engineering methods and tools have come a long way towards addressing the use of a company's knowledge assets. They provide disciplined approaches to designing and building knowledge-based applications. There are tools to support the capture, modelling, validation, verification and maintenance of the knowledge in these applications. However these tools do not extend to supporting the processes for managing knowledge at all levels within the organisation.

At the strategic level the organisation needs to be able to analyse and plan its business in terms of the knowledge it currently has and the knowledge it needs for future business processes. At the tactical level the organisation is concerned with identifying and formalising existing knowledge, acquiring new knowledge for future use, archiving it in organisational memories and creating systems that enable effective and efficient application of the knowledge within the organisation. At the operational level knowledge is used in everyday practice by professional personnel who need access to the right knowledge, at the right time, in the right location.

A Knowledge Management Framework

The knowledge management framework we use was originally based on work by van der Spek and de Hoog. It covers

Techniques to Manage Knowledge

We believe that the knowledge modelling techniques that exist to support the use of the knowledge, along with traditional business management techniques, provide a starting point to manage the knowledge assets within a company. Therefore the the techniques we employ for managing knowledge within the organisation are drawn from these two distinct areas:

Our recommended approach is a multi-perspective modelling approach.  Several models need to be developed, each of which represents a different perspective on the organisation which can be characterised as “How, What, Who, Where, When and Why” Knowledge Management Roadmaps

Knowledge Asset Road Maps highlight the critical knowledge assets required by an organisation to meet market needs five to ten years in the future. They are mechanisms enabling organisations to visualise their critical knowledge assets, the relationships between these and the skills, competencies and technologies required to meet future market demands. They allow:

The Road Map is a living document regularly updated and serves as a framework for the monitoring of the knowledge management programme. The document reflects the current state of the interrelationships between work in progress and proposed for the future and the overall milestones and aims of the programme. Our work on knowledge management road maps is more fully described (Macintosh, A., Filby, I. & Tate, A., 1998).

IT Support for Knowledge Management

AIAI, at the University of Edinburgh is concerned with how specific aspects of AI, namely modelling, ontologies and planning techniques can support knowledge management. These techniques allow an integrated support framework to be developed for knowledge management based on adaptive workflow techniques.

This short web-based presentation:

External Links
Websites | Applications | Tools | References | Mailing lists | Events


Below are sites that include many references and links to electronic KM resources:

Applications & Research Tools

There are very few tools providing a truly integrated set of functions to support the tasks associated with knowledge management. The following lists some tools that have been used to support various aspect of managing knowledge:

References Events
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Last updated 12th July 1999
by Ann Macintosh