Smaller organizations with less than 50 employees are small enough to permit effective exchange of knowledge without IT assistance. However larger firms need a means of effectively communicating experiential problems and knowledge across various departments. The critical role of knowledge management in sustained competitive advantage is clear from the expense that numerous companies incur to develop, catalogue, and 'own' information.
The systematization of knowledge management may involve creating directories of staff who may be contacted on various issues or highlighting each staff member's experiences outside typical daily operations. To avoid instances of reinventing the wheel, these directories can describe particular tasks that have been performed in the firm's recent history. Alternatively, if possible, this information could be made explicit in the form of frequently-
asked questions or best practice guides accessible on a firm's intranet. This allows contributors to update the material on a regular basis allowing for a snapshot of competencies to be identified at any point in time. Updating is also important as technological change can allow for tacit knowledge to be applied in a new context.
More complicated knowledge management systems will use a firm's IT infrastructure to integrate its e-commerce, customer relationship, knowledge and supply chain processes with its operational value chain processes. This way the information obtained from purchasing and deliveries, and so on, can all be processed and used by all staff to make business decisions.
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