Studies on business performance have identified a strong link between certain types of technological investments and increased business competitive edge.
The importance of knowledge management tools and procedures has increased, particularly in recent years, as they represent a network of shared principles and values throughout the organisation and make a fundamental contribution to the business enhanced profitability.
Thanks to IT technologies, it is now possible to access information easily and cost effectively. Therefore more information and data are accessible faster.
In addition, IT has allowed the elimination of constraints associated with space and time, facilitating formal and informal communication in any environment.
Knowledge represents an extraordinary source of competitive advantage that brings positive changes to individuals and the entire organisation.
Knowledge, supported by IT development, is a set of capabilities and expertise, notions and information that can be transferred from individuals to the entire structure and vice versa. The business must capture all this knowledge, as it is of intangible but extremely important value.
The term "Knowledge Management" describes an invisible, non-capitalised set of culture and know-how, which is fundamentally relevant to competitive edge. It includes databases, procedures, documents and unspoken expertise (mostly passed from generation to generation and sometimes more effective than any other written text).
Knowledge Management can help in many ways:
- Benefits the entire organisation by allowing the exchange of ideas and functions;
- Helps reduce costs by gathering and processing a multiplicity of heterogeneous sources;
- Encourages the free flow of ideas and competencies;
- Transforms knowledge into practices;
- Highlights best practices and helps achieve a high level of professionalism and capabilities across multiple sectors;
- Individual knowledge becomes group knowledge and an integrated part of intangible assets.
McAfee A. and Brynjolfsson, 2008. Investing in IT to gain Competitive Edge, Harvard Business Review, no. 9, Strategiqs editor, Milan.