The nature of information and knowledge in the Business World


Based on Oxford English Dictionary, knowledge is information and skills acquired through experience or education. So to understand what knowledge is, we need to understand what information is. Today, the more modern of human being, the flatter of the world, hence, knowledge and information is more important than ever. Simply, beginning from data which is always existed in anywhere in any form in daily life, whatever it usable or not, it just be there as itself. Then information is the relational connection of data based on situation. "The goal is to transform data into information, and information into insight" - Carly Fiorina. Finally, these chains of information are organized and processed into knowledge. Knowledge is relevant information that can immediately be applied to a subject.

Information and data could be more visible than knowledge. "Information is not knowledge" - Albert Einstein. Hence, while information can be shared, stored or transported without many difficulties, knowledge is hard to communicate or share because knowledge intangible resource within every individual. Especially in researched studying, "In your thirst for knowledge, be sure not to drown in all the information" - Anthony J. D'Angelo. Knowledge cannot be found in tons of information because knowledge is depended on personal learn, integration, and experience. In brief, knowledge is about "know about" things and "know how" to deal with when familiar things changes based on the available information and researched information.

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The greater our knowledge increases the more our ignorance unfolds.

John F. Kennedy. Generally, knowledge is the understanding and skills that helps individual or group work more effectively. Knowledge is needed to be improved constantly by learning and exchanging with diversified environment. Thus, be knowledgeable and well-prepared information, currently, are the keys to success of each individual.

The knowledge life cycle [1] 

Knowledge life cycle has four stages and develops over time:

The first stage is creation. This is a messy step that no one can deeply understand, although who create it. People are going to make an idea based on what they think. After that, they will share it to their partners, who working with them, to improve, develop and extract value from this idea. However, they need to keep this idea hidden from outsiders. This stage is called mobilization. In third stage, staffs inside the company will use the information to create a new concept and send it to the public. The final stage is commoditization. Company will create a new product, or service and sell is. So the idea will be well understood by public. Although other companies, which are not the creator, have nothing to do with this idea, they also have an opportunity to extract value from this.

Explain knowledge management life cycle

In my opinion, KM life cycle is quite simple. Firstly, I will transfer information that I receive, or read, heard from internet, paper, TV to knowledge. Secondly, I capture it, save it, or write it down, or just remember it in my mind. Since it is too many knowledge, I need to organize it, more specific, I need to put it in systematic folder so that I can find it easily in future. After that my knowledge will be refined to collect what is need among them.

The skills required to effectively implement knowledge management processes in the workplace

In an organization, there are many employees who have separate knowledge that haven't share to the others yet. So to make each individual's knowledge become organization's knowledge and be used by every employee, managers must take all of their knowledge, hold it, keep it in company's database, or write it down, or more simply, encourage his/her workers share their knowledge through brainstorming meeting.

To do it, firstly, manager must have good communication skill. Knowledge is something that very complicated, also when people are sharing it, if they can't explain it well, other people can't understand. So, as a manager, he/she must deeply understand it, and try to share it in the way that every employee can get it. It's quite difficult, because an employee is not willing to talk with an unfriendly leader. So the leader should be friendly, have good listening, understanding skill to encourage worker share their mind to organization. This skill also uses to help worker keep their motivation and innovation in learning and thinking.

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The second skill that manager need to learn is the ability of determine and estimate which information is needed in organization. It will save time and cost for a company and workers. They will just focus on what they need to know to do their jobs. More effective in this skill will appear in HR area, helps manager to select right worker and put him/her in right position.

Appreciate the importance of knowledge management in the organization and how effective knowledge management can create competitive advantage.

Knowledge Management is essentially a process of knowledge creation, sharing knowledge and options to deliver on time, right place, and right person to make decisions quickly and accurately. The purpose of knowledge management is to improve IQ of companies, creating a dynamic staff, job responsibilities in a spirit of learning and never stop. The result of this process will create an organization, a business with adaptive and highly competitive marketplace. That process helps organizations operating in the economy may be self-directed, proactive and willing cooperation of innovation. Practice management is our knowledge comes to an organization to achieve success and sustainability before the changes of society constantly. For example: In a company, a vice president quits his job and opens his own company to compete with the old one. By applying knowledge management to share the habit, acquired, stored, evaluated knowledge and innovation, the company not affected when a person in high position quit his job. All the knowledge in all members' head and are sharing and storage, such as lectures, customer relationships, unfinished projects…

Microsoft is a good example in using information and transfers it to their knowledge. They put in their product, such as Windows, Microsoft Office… the feedback form to help customers provide their feeling what they want, what they need, what Microsoft did wrong and send all of these information back to MS easier. By doing this, MS can analyze and develop their products to satisfy their customers. In addition, Microsoft also collects data from their supplier, data about MS's competitions to understand what they are doing, their pricing, and their quality.

How does Microsoft use Knowledge Management inside their company?

Microsoft is a multinational company and the leader of IT industry of the world. This company has established braches in 102 countries around the world. The question is: how Microsoft can manage and control their workers to do the best jobs for the company? How their workers, for example, are working in USA, can obtain the knowledge of one worker that is working in China? The answer is, Microsoft has been creating a database that every employee can access except of distance. In my opinion, I think Microsoft is using Wiig Model to do their knowledge management. There are 4 major steps in Wiig model as table 1.1

Table 1.1: Wiig Model

Firstly, in build knowledge sector, Microsoft will train their new-workers with experiences employees, who are an expert in this each areas. The training will provide new-workers information about company's culture, data that company already obtained and how they can use and develop this information. Beside this, Microsoft also collect information of their customers though customers' feedback, surveys, Microsoft Advisor Systems, Microsoft technical forum. After that, they will analyze these knowledge and reconstruct this to use in second sector.

Secondly, Microsoft staffs will remember what they have learnt,