Knowledge is becoming more and more important in organizations


Motivation of systematic review

In today's economy, knowledge is becoming more and more important in organizations and as a key differentiating factor on business. Knowledge Management (KM) is nothing new. The root of KM concept has been found in the management theories of the 1950s particularly in the work of Professor Drucker [Drucker] who believed that the most important asset of any organization is its people. He was amongst the first to predict the growing importance of information and knowledge as a valuable asset of organizations. In early landmark of its history, KM was concentrated on theories and frameworks which emphasised the importance of learning processes and knowledge workers [Drucker, Forrester, Sveiby, Matsuda]. By the late 1980s, technology solutions started to discuss in KM due to the growing importance of information and explicit knowledge including the lack of the strategies and methods for managing knowledge [Strassman]. Likewise, the idea of artificial intelligence and expert system had been introduced and developed together with KM systems leading to several new concepts such as knowledge engineering, knowledge representation and knowledge-based systems []. By 1990s, KM was flourishing when a number of academics and consultants had widely discussed it as the new business practice. Several well-known consulting firms among U.S., Europe, and Japan began committing major resources to implement KM practices and technologies in order to develop innovative way to leverage the diffused knowledge in vast organizations [Nonaka, Stewart, Davenport….].

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KM has never been stopped developing. Currently, KM is steadily becoming as integral business activity for organizations and then it is a real challenge for managers, leading to a considerable change, and new visions of firms. Many innovative enterprises

Competitive advantage

Performance optimization

Operational effectiveness and efficiency


What are knowledge management?

Over several decades, Knowledge Management has increasingly been a topic of interest among professionals in business and academic areas. (Grant, K. And Grant, C.) Theorists and experts have attempted to define the term in various ways, focusing on specific aspects of the topic including collaborative works, information and communication technology, economics, sociology and management, for instance. (Almashari, Venters) However, it could be problematic to have precise, clear definitions of this term. A great number of meanings of knowledge management have been widely debated. They, for example, deal with the difference in terms of 'information' and 'knowledge' in management context. A number of academics and theorists continue to reflect on the subject, information management that has influenced to develop into knowledge management. (Uriarte) In short, it has no particular definitions universally accepted, depending on individual purposes. This systematic review has summarized knowledge management definitions sorted by authors and years together with adding constructive comments for analysis which have been showed in Table 1.

Table 1 Definitions of Knowledge Management




Nonaka (1991)

KM is the way to transfer individual's personal knowledge into organization knowledge and drive innovation through organizational learning.

The author recommends that leveraging implicit knowledge from expertise's experience and putting it together into explicit knowledge could play important role for creating new knowledge.

Wiig (1993)

KM is capable of transforming, organizing, deploying and using knowledge assets effectively to make the firms act as intelligently and realize the best value of its knowledge resources.

The definition mainly focuses on the goal of organization to maximize the enterprise's knowledge effectively by using the effective knowledge process.

Demarest (1997)

KM is a set of process and system (technical or human) that help creating value for organizations by shared, distributed and maintained the knowledge.

Both information technology and organizational activities are used to manage knowledge asset for performance improvement and value creation at various point within the firms.

Davenport (1998)

KM is an essential part of business activities for specific purposes to improve the performance of organization and also considered as technology for creating competitive advantages.

The author considers the business activities including using technique for capturing, storing and disseminating the knowledge assets of organization to get organization performance.

KPMG Management Consulting


KM is a systematic and organized attempt to store and apply knowledge in an organization to improve its performance.

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The definition emphasizes an effective approach of knowledge that can provide knowledge repository and application to achieve business performance.

Alavi and Leidner (1999)

KM refers to specific methodologies to disseminate both implicit and explicit knowledge of employees to others in order to improve effectiveness and productivity in their firms.

Clearly, a series of knowledge process such as creation, storage, retrieval, transfer, and application are defined to help organization transmit knowledge from one person to others.

Rowley (1999)

KM relates to organizational activities that help organization create the knowledge repositories, improve the knowledge acquisition, enhance the knowledge environment, and manage the knowledge assets for the purpose of adding value and benefiting all stakeholders.

The author promotes an integrated and collaborative approach to manage the organization's knowledge assets in order to recognize the value of knowledge and return benefits to all involved people in organization.

Gupta, et al. (2000)

KM is a series of process to manage information and expertise within a company to support and improve its business performance.

The definition highlights all processes required for KM. In addition, organizations have paid attention to developing of KM that can provide the basis for future sustainability and competence.

Earl (2001)

KM is considered to be product and process innovation and achievement to be better decision-making and organizational adaptation and renewal.

The author believes that KM has emerged as a potential power for effective decision making where supports the core tasks of business management.

Holm (2001)

KM can clearly act for firms which provide information that is more consistent, accurate and timely including fast and easier access in ways that will improve the performance and concrete benefits of the companies and its partners.

This differing emerging points of view is influenced by the right way to incorporate among information, time and people. It aims to improve the organization's processes, perceptions and profits

Hameed (2004)

KM is the way to manage information for finding, selecting, organizing, disseminating, and applying information in a ways that improve an employee's effectiveness in their works.

The author promotes the development of processes to manage the organization's know-how. This KM will help employees to improve their performance and make more intelligent decisions in their works.

Gartner Group (2005)

KM is an integrated method to identifying, developing, managing, maintaining and sharing of all of an organization's information assets including experience individual worker, policies procedures and database documents.

KM has involved an integrated and collaborative method in the process of knowledge that resides within organizations and within the minds of knowledge workers.

The definitions as mentioned above, they have been a consensus point of view within three different aspects. In the first one, authors illustrate in multi-functions of method, process, system or some kinds of activities - including finding, identifying, creating, selecting, organizing, sharing, disseminating, maintaining, or applying - to manage knowledge. Further to the second, both tacit and explicit knowledge mentioned in definitions are not limited only individual and group inside organizations but external knowledge such as customers, suppliers and competitors also have cited in their definitions. As regards the last aspect, most of definitions have been attempt to present the goal of organization or business in the way of organizational performance, return of investment, competitive advantage and effectiveness in works. There is no universal definition of knowledge management. It is very important to agree on one definition. In this survey paper, we put very simply, knowledge management is a collection of activities regarding business, cultural and technological approaches, which enable organizations to apply knowledge assets to improve innovation, performance optimization and competitive advantage. This definition is simple and precise. It implies that KM is more than a system or a tool to help organization interact with personal knowledge and corporate knowledge either inside or outside organizations in order to gain benefits through employees and organizations performance.

The role of Knowledge Management in Business Intelligence

In this section, we have introduced the benefits of knowledge management in the views of business intelligence. Successful organizations are basically required making better decisions to achieve in competitive advantage and hence business performance. Enterprises have been searching for solutions in a great effort to manage information. In fact, business intelligence (BI) seems as an umbrella term for the applications, infrastructure, platforms, tools and best practices that gather and analyze data to improve decision-making [18]. Likewise, KM uses knowledge to improve decision-making [15]. There have been some relationships between BI and KM. Both of them are considered as important in achieving firms' strategic goals and have become a top priority concern among business and organizations in the coming years [11]. Many researchers argue that KM is helping hand of BI and sharing the intelligence among employees about how effectively to perform the variety of functions requires making the organization go [8, 12, 15, 16]. Moreover, KM techniques can enhance BI. As organizations continue to develop their enterprise-wide BI strategies, KM should be an integral part of their plans. In this systematic survey, the benefits of KM that has impacted on BI can be categorized into four perspectives including technologies, processes, people/teamwork and organizations/cultures. Those advantages are summarized in Table 2, 3, 4 and 5.

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Table 2 KM benefits in Technologies Perspective

Technologies Perspective




Knowledge discovery technologies

Knowledge discovery focuses on a potential process of seeking useful patterns in a large and complex database. Knowledge discovery process can help business intelligence to analyse historical data of business process and improve future decision making. Moreover, business intelligence gains benefits from knowledge discovery technologies which allow the organizations finding new knowledge that is either internal or external to firms.

[22], Chung, Cody, Gold,

Intelligent text analysis

Intelligent text analysis referred to text data mining which is a process of extracting meaningful information from unstructured text such as documents, dialogue, web page and email. Text mining seems to be a powerful tool to expand a valuable component into existing business intelligence system.

Herschel, Gao, GuptaV

Searchable knowledge

The strongest component of any knowledge management system is search and retrieval capabilities. With structured searches, KM can easily determine related data requirements. As a result, BI application can aid an enterprise to increase its business agility, decrease operating costs, and improve its customer loyalty and acquisition.

Herschel, Atre,

Effective creating reports and capturing information accuracy

The best BI application will be worthless if driven by dirty data and created inaccuracies in reports. By providing KM create reports with clean data, BI will serve the business most effectively.


Table 3 KM benefits in Processes Perspective

Processes Perspective




New Knowledge Creation

Knowledge creation involves the interplay of tacit and explicit knowledge which flows within the firms through individual, group and organization levels. Business intelligence applying knowledge creation method can create better condition for innovative work to the development new products and fast services especially making better decision.

Herscher, Bolloju

Knowledge Transfer

Knowledge transfer seems as the process of moving knowledge from one part to other/all parts of the organizations in order to capture, organize or distribute intellectual capital, finally leading to an easy and rapid process of BI in terms of analysis, reporting and visualization.

[2],[4], [14],[16], [23],[24], [29]

Knowledge Storage and Retrieval

The storage and retrieval of organization knowledge refer to organizational memory such as learning histories, best practices, records of experiences, documented organizational procedures and processes. It is also a potential aspect to be used in a modified format within BI's data warehouse.

Table 4 KM benefits in People/Teamwork Perspective

People/Teamwork Perspective




Cross-organizational collaboration

KM support teams which can work across multiple organizations. Moreover, KM provides a collaborative environment for internal and external participants to work together. To succeed at BI, a cross-organizational collaborative culture is an important role.

[3],[5],[6], [8],[28]

Knowledge sharing

Leveraging tacit knowledge and providing knowledge worker

Ability of employees to make better decisions

To make better decisions on BI projects, it is more likely to have both tacit and explicit knowledge. KM will help people capture and share the knowledge which is not only hidden in people's brain but also shown in reports or structure data.

Teams strengthen relationships and communication

Many BI projects were failed because of lack of communication and good relationship between developers and users. KM is able to help teams' strength relationship throughout the relationship-building process.

Table 5 KM benefits in Organizations/Cultures Perspective

Organizations/Cultures Perspective




Improving effectiveness and efficiency of an organization

Improving organization agility

KM is essential to organizations because it deals directly with the creation and transfer of company information. It provides BI with understanding of business context and evaluation of results to improve the effectiveness and efficiency organization.

[3],[21], [23],[25], [31],[32]

Promoting organization learning / Knowledge-sharing

Culture does play a critical role in organizational activities. KM tends to knowledge sharing and pursues the creation of new knowledge. Putting knowledge sharing and fostering a culture of continuous learning will engage workers' relationship to enable successful BI.