A taxonomy of knowledge management software tools: origins and applications

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1 Evalation and Program Planning ) 183±190 A taxonomy of knowledge management software tools: origins and applications Peter Tyndale* Kingston University Bsiness School and EDS, Rondwood Avene, Stockley Park, Uxbridge, Middlesex UB11 1BQ, UK Received in revised form 10 Janary 2002 Abstract A large nmber of tools have been deemed to be knowledge management tools. In this paper we examine, evalate and organize a wide variety of sch tools, as we look at their origins and their opportnities in the knowledge management arena, by examining the literatre related to the selection and evalation of the knowledge management tools available on the software market. q 2002 Elsevier Science Ltd. All rights reserved. Keywords: Knowledge management tools; Information technology; Fnctionality 1. Introdction This paper has restricted the discssion of knowledge management tools, to only look at the knowledge management tools are either: 1. Established information technology based tools borrowed from other disciplines that have entered into or knowledge management arena as information technology tools with extended fnctionality, or 2. Information technology based tools that have been designed as knowledge management tools from their inception. Becase both styles of tools are becoming increasingly important in many of the stages of knowledge management, the paper will investigate whether the `Established information technology based tools' are being sccessflly tilized in the apparently `new' eld of knowledge management and how they compare and contrast with the tools in the knowledge management arena that have been designed as knowledge management tools from their inception. The organization of the paper is as follows. Knowledge management tools are de ned in Section 2 along with a review of technology, evalating knowledge management tools, and the attribtes associated with knowledge management tools. * Tel.: ; fax: addresses: P. Tyndale), newhose.demon.co.k P. Tyndale). Section 3 looks at the `Classi cation of knowledge management tools', as a reslt of the analysis of the available literatre on knowledge management. The paper has classi ed and sb-classi ed the reqirements of knowledge management with a view of mapping the tools with this classi cation, according to the tools primary fnction. The paper will divide the knowledge management tools into taxonomies. Section 4 concldes the paper. De to space limitations, the Appendix containing 200 technology prodct descriptions is not shown in this paper. This appendix may be obtained by ing the athor at either or 2. What are knowledge management tools? 2.1. Knowledge management tool de nition Knowledge management tools can be de ned as tools, which spport the performance of applications, activities or actions sch as knowledge generation, knowledge codi cation or knowledge transfer Rggles, 1997). They also promote and enable the knowledge process in order to improve decision-making. Not all tools are compter based bt mch emphasis is placed on these electronic tools de to their dynamic capabilities, qick evoltion, and organizational impacts Grantham & Nichols, 1993). Areas sch as data access, on-line analytical processing, and the se of the Internet and GropWare systems for /02/$ - see front matter q 2002 Elsevier Science Ltd. All rights reserved. PII: S )

2 184 P. Tyndale / Evalation and Program Planning ) 183±190 decision spport and knowledge management are becoming the cornerstones of modern management Technology Technology is a powerfl enabler of knowledge management objectives. It can be said that the goal of a knowledge management tool is not to manage knowledge by itself bt to facilitate the implementation of the knowledge process. Sch tools can facilitate the process of generating, strctring, and sharing knowledge throgh the se of information technology. They can also be sed to clarify assmptions, speed p commnications, elicit tacit knowledge, and constrct histories of insights and cataloge them Grantham & Nichols, 1993). In some cases they may be able to atomate certain kinds of knowledge work in these areas. Bt in general, the role of the tool is prely an enabler with the ons on hmans to condct knowledge activities. They are designed to ease the brden of work and to allow resorces to be applied effectively on tasks for which they are most sited. Despite this, Malhorta 1998) cites examples where it was fond that there is no direct correlation between information technology investments and knowledge management or bsiness performance. He adds that this failre can be attribted to organizations' ignorance of ways in which knowledge workers commnicate and operate throgh social processes of collaborating, sharing knowledge and bilding on each other's ideas. A KPMG report on Knowledge Management also fond that while many organizations have the necessary technological infrastrctre in place to spport knowledge management its application has not been entirely focsed Parlby, 1997). In other words, companies are not exploiting the fll potential of the technology they already possess. Frthermore, many of the knowledge management systems today seem to provide elaborate docment management rather than actal knowledge management. Knowledge focsed organizations reqire information systems that maximize knowledge, not jst manage data Mellor, 1997). This sggests that organizations need the focs of a well-de ned bsiness strategy in order to establish the appropriate priorities. With this in mind, it is important to consider a nmber of critical isses or design goals when developing or selecting a set of technologies for knowledge management. It is important to remember that the knowledge management indstry and sbseqently knowledge management technologies are still in their infancy. Knowledge management soltions of the ftre are likely to contine to combine existing technologies with signi cant enhancements. Technology that seems embryonic today will matre and most likely become obsolete within the next 5 years Knowledge management tools Knowledge management tools have to take into accont that knowledge is a id mix of framed experience, vales, contextal information, and expert insight, that provides a framework for evalating and incorporating new experiences and information. Knowledge originates and is applied in the minds of individals and it often becomes embedded in docments or repositories, rotines, processes, and practices of organizations. In essence, no knowledge management tool stands alone, knowledge management tools can only be nderstood in the context in which they are sed and the methodologies that spport them. If the focs is too mch on the tools of knowledge management then we may misrepresent knowledge itself, as there are many different types of knowledge within individals or organizations and this richness of knowledge may be lost if we place too mch emphasis on one particlar type of knowledge or knowledge cltre, as this is likely to `hollow ot' the knowledge of the individal or organization and leave them competitively vlnerable knowledge has a nite shelf life). Knowledge management tools can potentially be sed to create `Gatekeepers of knowledge', who will only allow access to a privileged few, as Sir Francis Bacon said, ªKnowledge itself is powerº, in his `Religios Meditations, Of Heresies' 1597). Ths, knowledge may be jealosly garded, and if this is the case, then it may not be possible to tilize knowledge management tools, as this cltre or environment will not be receptive to knowledge sharing. Indeed, Alavi and Leidner 1999) stated that stdies on sch technologies as Lots Notes have not shown a change in information sharing and commnication patterns. Rather, organizational members who tended to commnicate reglarly and freqently withot Lots Notes commnicated reglarly and freqently with Lots Notes, whereas members who commnicated less reglarly and less freqently before the implementation of Notes contined to commnicate less reglarly and less freqently Vandenbosch & Ginzberg, 1996) Evalation of knowledge management tools Althogh some work has already been ndertaken with regards to Knowledge Management tool evalation and classi cation Angs, Patel, & Harty, 1998; Jackson, 1999; Rggles, 1997; Wensley, 2000) it appears to be in its infancy. Jackson 1999) and Rggles 1997) have taken each of the Knowledge Management activities and sb-divided them frther. For instance, Rggles 1997) claims that Knowledge Generation reqires tools that enable the acqisition, synthesis, and creation of knowledge. Anything that pshes individals to think beyond their crrent bondaries can be considered sch a tool.) Jackson 1999) divides commnication into sharing, collaboration, and grop decisions. Angs et al. 1998) have also sb-divided the for Knowledge Management activities identi ed by Angs and Patel 1998) and sed them to evalate ve Knowledge Management tools. Rggles 1997) claims that Knowledge Codi cation is the

3 P. Tyndale / Evalation and Program Planning ) 183± Table 1 Knowledge management models Rggles 1997) Angs et al. 1998) Jackson 1999) Wensley 2000) Knowledge development life cycle model Tyndale 2000) Generation Gathering Gathering Generation Creation X Acqisition X Pll X Pll X Commnication X Captre X Synthesis X Searching X Searching X Cltre X Generation X Creation X Data entry X Data entry/optical X Barriers X Gathering character recognition OCR) X Fsion X Absorption X Adaptation X Assimilation Codi cation Organizing Storage Codi cation Organization X Aditing X Cataloging X Filtering X Conceptal analysis X Interpretation X Categorization X Filtering X Linking X Rles X Filtering X Linking X Indexing X Codi cation X Indexing X Categorization X Amalgamation Transfer Re ning Commnication Re nement Distribtion X Face-to-face X Contextalizing X Sharing X Rle dedction X Pblishing X Collaboration X Mining X Collaboration X Filtering X Face-to-face X Dissemination X Projecting X Grop discssion X Classi cation X Dissemination X Compacting X Transmission X Collaborating Disseminating Synthesis Transmission Application X Flow X Analysis X Assimilation X Process X Psh X Creation X Face-to-face X Change X Sharing X Contextalization X Revise X Notify X Amendment X Review Dissemination X Psh X Pblishing X Noti cation captre and representation of knowledge, sch that it can be accessed and re-sed, either by an individal or by an organization and transferred. Whereas Angs et al. 1998) believe that after knowledge is `gathered', the process of organizing and re nement take place, which incldes sch activities as Cataloging, Filtering, Linking, Indexing, Contextalizing, Mining, Projecting, Compacting and Collaborating and that Knowledge transfer involves the movement of knowledge from one location to another and its sbseqent absorption. Rggles 1997) has simply classi ed a nmber of Knowledge Management tools according to the primary Knowledge Management activities withot describing the techniqe sed to achieve these reslts. Jackson 1999) investigated 59 Knowledge Management tools over a 12 month period. He examined both the software and technology approaches for knowledge management. This reslted in a qalitative investigation of prodcts ranging from small component technologies sch as search engines to large commercial gropware systems. This reslted in the following tool categorization: 1. Docment Management Systems. 2. Information Management Systems. 3. Searching and Indexing Systems. 4. Expert Systems. 5. Commnications and Collaboration Systems. 6. Intellectal Asset Systems. Angs et al. 1998) take this a step frther by evalating ve Knowledge Management tools sing the categories and respective actions. Each tool is investigated to identify which of the actions it is capable of performing, nder each category. Wensley 2000) simply disconts any tool that is not webbased, believing that knowledge management tools will only be tilized in an Intranet or Internet environment. This may be tre in the ftre, bt this may actally preclde approximately 95% of the bsinesses in the UK i.e. the small or medim enterprises SMEs) that do not necessarily se the Internet or have networked PCs

4 186 P. Tyndale / Evalation and Program Planning ) 183±190 for an Intranet, bt still reqire knowledge management facilities Attribtes of knowledge management tools From the review of the literatre available, a classi cation of knowledge management tools reqirements can be created as listed in Table 1. From this table it will be possible to identify which tools can satisfy which attribtes sccessflly. Table 1 smmarizes the different models of knowledge management. Each model has groped the actions reqired for knowledge management, and then broke them down into fnctional areas, which have to be satis ed by the available tools if knowledge management is to be sccessflly handled electronically. From this compartmentalization of knowledge management, it will now be possible to associate the `actions' with the technologies available. 3. Classi cation of knowledge management tools For the prposes of this paper the de nition of a `New Tool' is ªan information technology tool, that has been developed for a speci c fnction, that is not a derivative of another tool or prodct i.e. there is no predecessor tool or prodctº and the converse is tre for an `Old Tool'. The tools age may be established by viewing the prodct history, fnctionality or even the date stamps and names of the exectable binary les from the software manfactrer. Using the existing literatre Angs et al., 1998; Jackson, 1999; Rggles, 1997; Wensley, 2000) there are a nmber of technologies commonly associated with the term `knowledge management', of which some of these technologies are newer than others. Each technology type has tools associated with it; most of these technologies will be either web based, thick or thin client based or a combination of all three. The following categories of technology types listed below are most freqently tilized within knowledge management Intranets An Intranet is a company-wide information distribtion system that ses Internet tools and technology. It cold be a simple HTML le linked on a LAN, a fll-blown system with dedicated server hardware, or anything in between. Typical Intranet ses are, to give employees access to company docments, distribte software, enable grop schedling, provide an easy front end to company databases, and let individals and departments pblish information they need to commnicate with the rest of the company. Typical Intranet content incldes, the corporate directory, calendar of events, policies and procedre manals, and the company newsletter. The most important information will be indstry-speci c, sch as spplier information and databases of prodcts. An Intranet is a way of thinking abot and organizing the way people work with other people. It is a method for leveraging the people, and the tools they all se, to make something new and better than merely the sm of the parts within that grop Web portals Portals can be seen from several perspectives. `Portal' means `large door' or `gateway', indicating that the portal itself is not the nal destination bt a way to reach many other places. A Webportal is a website, sally with little content, providing links to many other sites that can either be accessed directly by clicking on a designated part of a browser screen, or can be fond by following an organized seqence of related categories. Portals can provide links to all the enterprise relevant sites internal content providers) and also to some external, relevant information can be fond throgh extended search facilities or by following a enterprise de ned taxonomy, which is sally created by sbject matter experts or competency commnities, and organized by professional librarians. The extension of the search is limited by sability and technology considerations Content management Content Management sally incldes not only internal weband or) external websites bt also databases, le servers, and docment management systems. Becase of the increasing load of information, WebPortals or Content Management provides some personalization facilities that are sally set manally by the sers. These basically de ne a set of information categories to which the sers want easy access, as well as news or changes in webpages they want to be alerted abot Docment management systems According to InformationWeek, a docment management system tilizes the following activities; ² Store les in a central library. ² Control access to les both for secrity prposes and collaboration needs. ² Keeping an adit of activity and changes in the managed docments. ² Search docments on either content or index terms. Until recently, docment-management systems were designed arond expensive, highly fnctional client software reserved for critical, high-retrn applications. Bt with the advent of the Internet, docment management can be deployed more easily and more affordably. Now, in addition to traditional client/server systems,

5 P. Tyndale / Evalation and Program Planning ) 183± docment management can inclde browser-based clients, for sers who might need only basic fnctions. Moreover, companies are bying into docment management in all its forms rapidly, from wide deployment of general bsiness applications to narrower installation of critical ones InformationWeek, October 20, 1997). These systems are primarily sed in the collection, storage, and distribtion of the artifacts of knowledge contained in an organization. Many of these systems emlated the paper and library systems. Advanced featres of docment management systems provide version control, athentication, and translation Information retrieval engines Information retrieval engines are sed for indexing, searching, and recalling data, particlarly text or other nstrctred forms. Finding docments, or the information contained in them, in a library or other collection, selectively recalling recorded information. Methods of retrieval vary from a simple index or cataloge to the docments, to a compter-based system. Classi cation, indexing and machine searching are all systems of information retrieval. Prytherch 1990) Relational and object databases A database is a store of information. The data are stored in tables and categorized by elds. Each grop of information is a record. Relational databases are designed to bild links or relationships between two or more different tables of information. The relational model is one of the most sccessfl and widely sed, bt for complex corporate applications there may be more sitable approaches. Object database management systems' ODBMS') offer simpler soltions to applications that involve objects and the relationships among them. Now, with native database spport for new types of data sch as spatial, adio and video, and improvements that make it faster to get new ODBMS applications p and rnning, ODBMS' are becoming even more valable to the enterprise Electronic pblishing systems Electronic Pblishing is the distribtion of information and entertainment in digital format, sally inclding software that allows sers to interact with text and images. Most forms of information can be pblished electronically, bt sers normally reqire a personal compter and sometimes a connection to a network or the Internet to access the information. The advent of graphical ser interfaces GUIs) in the late 1980s made electronically pblished information mch more marketable than it had been previosly. This, along with more widespread availability of CD-ROM drives and intense interest in the potential of the Internet, has trned electronic pblishing into a massmarket indstry after years of being limited to specialist information Gropware and work ow systems Gropware is a technology designed to facilitate the work of grops. This technology may be sed to commnicate, cooperate, coordinate, solve problems, compete, or negotiate. While traditional technologies like the telephone qalify as gropware, the term is ordinarily sed to refer to a speci c class of technologies relying on modern compter networks, sch as , newsgrops, videophones, or chat. The general de nition of work ow according to the work ow management coalition WfMC) is: ªThe compterized facilitation or atomation of a bsiness process, in whole or partº. Work ow technology allows an organization to atomate its bsiness processes to better manage those processes, and therefore better manage their otcomes, be they prodcts or services. Work ow technology will deliver work items things to do) to appropriate sers, and help the sers by invoking appropriate applications and tilities how to accomplish the task). Frther, it will allow management and employees to track the progress of the work item throgh the process and generate statistics on how well the different steps of the process are doing Psh technologies The technology of psh±pll is deceptively simple, this technology facilitates relevant information to be sent to the clients atomatically withot the clients having to make an effort to retrieve information. Psh technology, eliminates the need for browsing by pshing Internet content to the desktop, was introdced when PointCast Inc. transformed a PC's screen saver into a news feed. Since then, scores of vendors have attempted to establish niches in the potentially lcrative psh market Agents Intelligent Software Agents are programs that act on behalf of their hman sers in order to perform laborios information gathering tasks, sch as locating and accessing information from varios on-line information sorces, resolving inconsistencies in the retrieved information, ltering away irrelevant or nwanted information, integrating information from heterogeneos information sorces and adapting over time to their hman sers' information needs and the shape of the information delivery or presentation. Agents are an atonomos, preferably) intelligent, collaborative, adaptive comptational entity. Here, intelligence is the ability to infer and execte needed actions, and seek and incorporate relevant information, given certain goals.

6 Help-desk applications P. Tyndale / Evalation and Program Planning ) 183± Data mining Help-desk applications allows organizations to effectively manage internal and external client spport, they provide a single, shared database for logging helpdesk isses, notifying spport personnel and tracking problem resoltion. This is typically achieved sing, Call tracking, Problem Resoltion, Knowledge Base, Call History, Action Log, Progress Notes, Asset Management, Cstom elds, Job Templates, Drill-down management reports, spport, Ato- noti cation and escalation Cstomer relationship management Cstomer relationship management CRM) is a strategy for delivering sperior cstomer service in order to effectively acqire, develop, and retain a company's most important assetsðits cstomers. In particlar, it demands acqiring an nderstanding of the kinds of things that are important to each and every individal cstomer and developing programs that consistently satisfy those needs dring every cstomer interaction. It is important to note that `cstomers' are no longer jst traditional end sers or consmers, bt potentially they can be partners or resellers or any grop that reqires information or services from an organization. CRM technology has been traditionally sed in the `Call Centre'/cstomer service type environments. CRM allows a seamless front of ce to back of ce integration, allowing a `Closed-loop' problem resoltion scenario i.e. atomating everything from taking the call, to providing the service, to xing the problem/answering the qery. CRM also allows the ability to maximize cross-selling or p-selling opportnities, made possible by leveraging all of the information abot any given cstomer. It can provide a method of collaboration throgh every part of the organization, ensring that cstomer needs are thoroghly met, throgh a consistency of access, providing cstomers with the option of reaching an organization by a variety of self-service vehicles, sch as and the Internet, and obtaining immediate resltsð24 h a day, 7 days a week Data warehosing Data warehose is a central store of data common to the organization. It is a central repository of information drawn from disparate and physically distribted operational sorce systems of an enterprise, as well as external data. Bsiness managers and specialists se it as a data sorce for decision spport applications. Creating an enterprise data warehose is an investment. Enterprise data warehoses are sally not designed for direct bsiness ser access bt rather as a sorce for dependent data marts. Implementing an enterprise data warehose reqires greater attention to highlevel bsiness reqirements as well as to the metadata. Data mining can be de ned as the process of selecting, exploring, and modeling large amonts of data to ncover previosly nknown patterns. In the insrance indstry, data mining can help rms gain bsiness advantage. For example, by applying data mining techniqes, companies can flly exploit data abot cstomers' bying patterns and behavior and gain a greater nderstanding of cstomer motivations to help redce frad, anticipate resorce demand, increase acqisition, and crbcstomer attrition Bsiness process re-engineering Bsiness process re-engineering BPR) is ªthe analysis and design of work ows and processes within and between organizationsº according to Davenport and Short 1990). Whereas, Teng, Grover, Jeong, and Kettinger 1995) de ne BPR as the critical analysis and radical redesign of existing bsiness processes to achieve breakthrogh improvements in performance measres Knowledge creation applications Knowledge creation applications incldeðbrainstorming Applications, concept mapping, mind mapping, decision spport applications From the earlier list of technology types and the knowledge management models of Section 3 The knowledge development life cycle in particlar), a mapping of technology type to knowledge management philosophical action may be created. This mapping will inclde an indication of whether the technology type may be described as New Tool or Old Tool. By analyzing theses tools and comparing their properties with the following fnctionality knowledge creation, knowledge storage, knowledge distribtion, and knowledge application) then a pro le may be established linking the technology type `Old or New' against the knowledge management tool and the knowledge management fnctionality, hence the comparison that will be achieved will identify which knowledge management tools are in fact `Old tools with New badges'. Using the categorizations of Knowledge Creation, Knowledge Organization, Knowledge Distribtion and Knowledge Application, we can now create a consolidated table identifying where the majority of the technology tools available, sit within these categories and whether they are either New Tool technology or Old Tool technology. The contents of Table 2, grops the technologies commonly associated with the term knowledge management, according to their prodct characteristics, and as the reslts of the analysis of the 200 prodcts identi ed not shown in this paper for the sake of brevity), there were 87 New tools and 113 Old tools. From the prodct descriptions and prodct positioning, it was possible to generalize the

7 Table 2 Technology types, knowledge phase and tool type P. Tyndale / Evalation and Program Planning ) 183± Item Technology Creation Organization Distribtion Application New tools Old tools New tools Old tools New tools Old tools New tools Old tools 1 Intranets 1/5) 5/5) 3/5) 1/5) 2 Psh technologies 2/2) 2/2) 3 Agents 4/4) 4/4) 4/4) 2/4) 4 Webportals 4/4) 4/4) 4/4) 4/4) 5 Content management 2/4) 2/4) 4/7) 3/6) 3/6) 3/5) 6 Docment management systems 10/14) 11/17) 9/14) 6/9) 7 Gropware 8/11) 9/12) 9/12) 6/9) 8 Work ow 48/75) 48/75) 48/75) 48/75) 9 BPR 26/34) 26/34) 26/34) 26/34) 10 Information retrieval engines 9/12) 4/7) 3/5) 3/4) 11 Relational and object databases 4/5) 4/5) 4/5) 4/5) 12 Electronic pblishing systems 2/4) 4/4) 4/4) 1/1) 13 Help-desk applications 1/1) 1/1) 14 CRM 4/4) 5/5) 6/6) 4/4) 15 Data warehosing 4/4) 3/3) 4/4) 1/1) 16 Data mining 2/2) 2/2) 1/1) 17 Knowledge creation applications 5/5) 5/5) 4/4) 3/3) technology backgrond of the knowledge management tools. Items 1±5 in Table 2 are regarded as `New technologies' even thogh item 5 ses prodcts from item 6 which is an `Old technology'). Items 6±11 in Table 2 are regarded as `Old technologies' even thogh item 7 appears to be predominantly `New technology'). The Athoring element of Electronic Pblishing can now be seen as part of Content Management, CRM and Helpdesk technology are allied technologies as are Data Mining and Data Warehosing. Knowledge Creation tools are the tacit acqisition tools nlike the explicit acqisition tools sch as docment scanners, OCR, Barcode reading, le and data transfers. Hence from Table 2 it can be seen that a nmber of `New Tools' have been developed to accommodate the niqe elements of knowledge management and the arrival of technologies sch as the Internet which started life as the advanced research projects agency networkðarpanet in 1969) into mainstream bsiness often as e-bsiness), which is the backbone or network hb at a global/organization level of e-bsiness along with the world wide web WWW) which is the interface or portal have the widest coverage available which allows the knowledge distribtion at a global/organization level. 4. Conclsion Hence from Table 2 it can be seen that the majority of certain knowledge management tool technologies can be categorized as either New or Old Tools. Knowledge Management ToolsÐOld tools new badges? Is it important whether or not, a tool from an IT vendor has been reinvented as a `Knowledge Management Prodct' or is it more important that old tools are being sccessflly tilized in the apparently new eld of knowledge management. I believe that the answer to these qestions may be derived from a modi ed version of Table 2. It is then possible to identify the most common tool technology for any category, and this describes whether the tool in qestion is either a New Tool or an Old Tool which is the basis for Table 3 highlights the fact that knowledge management incorporates so many aspects of technology, that these technologies have been previosly regarded as specialist technologies in their own right, and it has not been obvios that these tools need to be combined with other tools to achieve their greatest potential i.e. `The whole is greater than the sm of the parts'. Knowledge management is the Table 3 New tools or old tools Intranets Psh technologies Agents Webportals Content management Docment management systems Gropware Work ow BPR Information retrieval engines Relational and object databases Electronic pblishing systems Help-desk applications CRM Data warehosing Data mining Knowledge creation applications New tools Old tools

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