What is knowledge management?

Before we turn to the question of what knowledge management is and how it is used, let’s first develop an idea of ​​what knowledge actually is.

What is knowledge?

Sometimes knowledge is used as a synonym for information. However, this is not correct in terms of knowledge management. Here, knowledge is seen as the interpretation of data and information based on experience.

Knowledge can be divided into two categories: explicit and tacit knowledge.

Explicit knowledge is the conscious knowledge that is collected and documented. This includes things like policies, procedures and manuals.

Tacit knowledge is the unspoken knowledge that is present in the mind. This includes experience, knowledge and intuition.

In contrast to tacit knowledge, explicit knowledge can be shared easily. With some effort, parts of the implicit knowledge can be converted into explicit knowledge. In order to use explicit knowledge, however, it must then be converted back into implicit knowledge. Nonanka and Takeuchi’s SECI model describes this process of knowledge sharing.

Graphic of the SECI model

Knowledge is the crucial factor to learn practical skills, to develop competences and especially to make good decisions. However, it is not only a concept for individuals: organizations also have knowledge.

Knowledge as a competitive advantage

Just like individual knowledge, organizational knowledge aims to make good decisions. Great knowledge is therefore a clear competitive advantage. It is reasonable to think that the knowledge of a company is the sum of the knowledge of its employees. But it’s even more.

chess pieces

Company knowledge includes:

  • explicit knowledge of employees
  • explicit knowledge of former employees
  • tacit knowledge of employees
  • tacit knowledge in employee networks
  • Process knowledge — can include workflows and documented processes
  • corporate culture
  • metaknowledge

In addition to the ability to make good decisions, long-term corporate success requires being perceived by customers as unique. In most cases, a marketing trick is not enough to achieve this. Companies are perceived as unique because they do one thing particularly well. This is the core competency of this company and the knowledge and skills required to do so are its most precious asset. IT companies also face the challenge that their knowledge is particularly short-lived and, of course, the competition never sleeps. So companies have to do their homework and keep learning.

What is knowledge management?

Let’s get back to the question of what knowledge management actually is. The following definition can be found on Wikipedia: “Knowledge management (KM) is the collection of methods relating to creating, sharing, using and managing the knowledge and information of an organization. ” That’s true, but a little too abstract. As mentioned earlier, knowledge is a competitive advantage because it maximizes the number of good decisions and helps companies differentiate themselves from their competition.

Strategic knowledge management identifies the knowledge that enables this (potential) competitive advantage and defines knowledge objectives that help to establish or expand this advantage.

Operational knowledge management develops concrete concepts for networking, transfer and preservation of strategically valuable knowledge and introduces these into the company.

The knowledge manager

Some companies employ knowledge managers. Depending on the size of the company and the attitude towards knowledge as a resource, this is a separate position or an additional role. Other companies also spread the tasks of a knowledge manager across several shoulders.

These tasks include:

Strategic Operational
  • Creating awareness that knowledge is an important production factor
  • Creating an environment where knowledge is taken into account when shaping the company
  • Develop strategic knowledge objectives
  • Comparison of existing knowledge and knowledge required in the future → identify gaps in knowledge
  • Definition of how knowledge is maintained and expanded in the company
  • Development of actions to close the knowledge gaps, measurements of their success
  • Promotion of formats for knowledge exchange (e.g. communities of practice, lunch & learn events)
  • Documentation for compliance (ISO9001, 27001, ITIL)
  • Development of guidelines for the onboarding process
  • Development of guidelines for the offboarding process
  • Selection of the tools used company-wide to promote knowledge sharing

There is a misconception that the main task of a knowledge manager is to maintain the company wiki. That’s wrong. The main task for a functioning knowledge management system is: building networks.

Engineers share their knowledge

Via knowledge or competence networks, employees can not only exchange explicit, i.e. documented knowledge, but also learn directly from the experiences of other colleagues and build up meta-knowledge about who knows what.

Our survey revealed that the vast majority of IT professionals are willing to help colleagues with questions. And according to the Stack Overflow Developer Survey 2022, 46% of respondents spend more than 30 minutes a day answering questions.

These are not isolated cases. Employees now even expect colleagues to support them with questions, because the exchange with experts means that a solution can be found more quickly together. This also has great value for the company.

8Buddy promotes this exchange between colleagues and helps to find exactly the right “buddy” for a question or problem. This is how knowledge is shared and further developed together. Questions and solutions remain in 8Buddy so that other colleagues can later access them and learn from them. In this way we enable knowledge management on several levels.


Knowledge management is crucial for the success of organizations. By capturing, organizing and using the existing knowledge, an effective management of the knowledge database is possible. In this way, employees can access the information they need at any time and record and disseminate new knowledge more quickly.

However, knowledge management should not be limited to knowledge stored in a database. In order to benefit from the personal experience, knowledge and skills of the employees, an exchange between colleagues and mutual support is crucial. 8Buddy brings the right experts together and supports active knowledge management. you have questions We’re here for you!