Knowledge management first steps

Economics is driven by capital, labor and technology. What is often not realized is that knowledge is a capital and it is needed to build both labor and technology. Companies all over the world have the problem of person-dependency where only few people in the company can execute the specialized tasks. Companies cannnot afford to rely on the specialists to execute the tasks instead generalists must be able to work on any task.

What is knowledge and what are its types?

Knowledge is both a possession and a process of acquiring skills through education or experience. Knowledge is broadly classified into two types tacit and explicit. Tacit knowledge is more of an art where only very few people can get really good at it and needs lot of indigenous thinking. Few examples are music composing, dance choreographer, and others.

Explicit knowledge is a democratized knowledge where anyone can acquire it and execute tasks using this. These type of knowledge is duplicated inside the organization to bring about the expected standards and quality.

Explicit knowledge

Most of the tasks performed in the companies outside of their R&D department rely on explicit knowledge. Explicit knowledge is mostly passed to other people in industrial revolution era mode like word-of-mouth, direct supervision, classroom training. Companies should now plan to modernize in capturing explicit knowledge and create a system that disseminates the knowledge to the people in need of it within the organization. This democratization of explicit knowledge will empower people in the organization to be in self-learning mode and drive them to take responsibilities progressively.

First steps

Companies should realize that capturing the knowledge that their employees possess is a process that adds value to the companies present and future. The first step is to capture the know-how of tasks performed by each individual in the organization. This can be captured via audio recording or video recording or text input whichever is productive for the user to share the information and must not be cumbersome for the user. These inputs may be binary and not searchable and that is fine. There are lot of machine learning tools that will transcribe the audio and video and even prepare a structured document out of it. Natural language generation is one such technology that can be used for this.


Companies want to scale their human resource with least strain on their systems and processes. The only way to do this is to capture the knowledge and disseminate it with a strategy translated into set of processes and practices and tools. Human dependency will be minimized and friction in the relationship between the people will be minimized. The goal of knowledge managment initiatives is not to capture knowledge and disseminate it rather it should be as stated below.

Convert specialists tasks into generalists routine and mature the company from routine is crisis to crisis is routine.

Capturing the specialist’s knowledge and translating it to a generalists routine is needed if companies need to build their products in R&D at scale and transfer the work from creators to the farmers. When I worked for a startup at the beginning of the company I felt that everyday we were fighting the fire and when I joined Infosys I realized what maturity in daily work meant. The things that used to be a crisis were automated and well-defined in Infosys there by every crisis was made to look like a routine task that anyone can tackle.

Next steps

To transform your organization to a knowledge power house contact us. We are working on developing knowledge base solutions for companies around the world without writing even a single line of code and disseminating the knowledge to right people at right time via right tools.


Founder & CEO

H.Thirukkumaran has over 20 years of experience in the IT industry. He worked in US for over 13 years for leading companies in various sectors like retail and ecommerce, investment banking, stock market, automobile and real estate He is the author of the book Learning Google BigQuery which explains how to build big data systems using Google BigQuery. He holds a masters in blockchain from Zigurat Innovation and Technology Business School from Barcelona Spain. He is also the India chapter lead for the Global Blockchain Initiative a non-profit from Germany that provides free education on blockchain. He currently lives in Chennai India.

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