Toward a technology for organizational memories
IEEE Intelligent Systems and their Applications
THE RECOGNITION THAT KNOWLedge is one of an enterprise's most important assets, decisively influencing its competitiveness, has fueled interest in comprehensive approaches to the basic activities of knowledge management: the identification, acquisition, development, dissemination, use, and preservation of the enterprise's knowledge. Traditionally, enterprises have addressed knowledge management from either a management or a technological point of view. Managers understand that the knowledge
... r employees possess is one of their company's most valuable assets. They are concerned with the effective use of personal knowledge and the qualitative and quantitative adaptation of this knowledge toward a changing environment. The technological approach, by contrast, deals with questions about what information technology should be provided to support knowledge management. 1 We find that effective knowledge management requires a hybrid solution, one that involves both people and technology. 2 As this article shows, our long-term vision is a corporate or organizational memory at the core of a learning organization, supporting sharing and reuse of individual and corporate knowledge and lessons learned. Arranged around such an OM, intelligent knowledgemanagement services actively provide the user working on a knowledge-intensive operational task with all the information necessary and useful for fulfilling this task (see Figure 1 ). Our view of an organizational memory grew out of our practical experiences and also conforms well with definitions suggested in the literature: an OM's main function is to enhance the organization's competitiveness by improving the way it manages its knowledge. To achieve this goal, short-term efforts should concentrate on knowledge preservation, 3 which is based largely on explication of tacit knowledge and which is supported by expert systems, issue-based information systems, best-practice databases, and lessonslearned archives. Gaële Simon introduces the term knowledge capitalization for nearly the same process, which "allows [us] to reuse, in a relevant way, the knowledge of a given domain previously stored and modeled, in order to perform new tasks." 4 However, Simon emphasizes the exploitation of existing documents, which are based primarily on (maybe structured) natural language. In the long run, we feel an OM should also support knowledge creation and organizational learning. 5 As this article shows, an OM must be more than an information system but must also help to transform information into action.