Knowledge management is essentially about getting the right knowledge to the right person at the right time.
This in itself may not seem so complex, but it implies a strong tie to corporate strategy, understanding of where and in what forms knowledge exists, creating processes that span organizational functions, and ensuring that initiatives are accepted and supported by organizational members.
Knowledge management may also include new knowledge creation, or it may solely focus on knowledge sharing, storage, and refinement.
For a more comprehensive discussion and definition, see my knowledge management definition.
It is important to remember that knowledge management is not about managing knowledge for knowledge's sake.
The overall objective is to create value and to leverage, improve, and refine the firm's competences and knowledge assets to meet organizational goals and targets. Implementing knowledge management thus has several dimensions including:
Knowledge management strategy must be dependent on corporate strategy. The objective is to manage, share, and create relevant knowledge assets that will help meet tactical and strategic requirements.
The organizational culture influences the way people interact, the context within which knowledge is created, the resistance they will have towards certain changes, and ultimately the way they share (or the way they do not share) knowledge.
The right processes, environments, and systems that enable KM to be implemented in the organization.
Management & Leadership:
KM requires competent and experienced leadership at all levels. There are a wide variety of KM-related roles that an organization may or may not need to implement, including a CKO, knowledge managers, knowledge brokers and so on. More on this in the section on KM positions and roles
The systems, tools, and technologies that fit the organization's requirements - properly designed and implemented.
The long-term support to implement and sustain initiatives that involve virtually all organizational functions, which may be costly to implement (both from the perspective of time and money), and which often do not have a directly visible return on investment.