Knowledge Management is quite often confused with tools and methodologies related to knowledge management.
Anyway, almost any system works according to the “Garbage In-Garbage Out” (GIGO) principle.
GIGO? Usually, any transformation process does not improve the quality of its inputs- at best, it can minimize the additional “background noise” introduced by the transformation process.
Any tool that tries to build a general description of activities across the functional divide assumes a specific reference set of accepted processes, results, and ways to manage change: we will define this set of assumptions the “Embedded Corporate Identity” (eCI).
ERP, CRM, and Knowledge Management tools share the same pitfall: unless you know already where you are, you risk that the tools will insert into your organization their own “Embedded Corporate Identity”.
The reality will then be discovered “on-the-job”, and changing both the tools and your own Corporate Identity will start; few million dollars, you will discover what happened (at an official ERP conference sponsored by a supplier, a customer reported that the overall cost of a botched ERP transition had been on the tune of more than 40 million EUR).
We suggest that Knowledge Management is introduced once you have already a working policy for collecting, structuring, distributing, maintaining knowledge: what we call “Knowledge Retention” (KR) policy.
Knowledge Management cannot work without Knowledge Retention, and it is greatly enhanced by the use of tools to manage the processing of knowledge.