Knowledge Management ('KM') comprises a range of practices used by organisations to identify, create, represent, and distribute knowledge . It has been an established discipline since 1995  with a body of university courses and both professional and academic journals dedicated to it. Most large companies have resources dedicated to Knowledge Management, often as a part of 'Information Technology' or ' Human Resource Management' departments, and sometimes reporting directly to the head of the organisation. As effectively managing information is a must in any business,and knowledge and information are intertwined, Knowledge Management is a multi-billion dollar world wide market.
Knowledge Management programs are typically tied to organisational objectives and are intended to achieve specific outcomes, these can include, improved performance, competitive advantage innovation, lessons learnt transfer (for example between projects) and the general development of collaborative practices.
One aspect of Knowledge Management, knowledge transfer, has always existed in one form or another. Examples include on-the-job peer discussions, formal apprenticeship, discussion forums, corporate libraries, professional training and mentoring programs. However, with computers becoming more widespread in the second half of the 20th century, specific adaptations of technology such as knowledge bases, expert systems, and knowledge repositories have been introduced to further simplify the process.
Knowledge Management programs attempt to manage the process of creation (or identification), accumulation and application of knowledge across an organisation. As such Knowledge Management is frequently linked to the idea of the learning organisation although neither practice encompasses the other. Knowledge Management may be distinguished from Organisational Learning by a greater focus on specific knowledge assets and the development and cultivation of the channels through which knowledge flows
Frequent Knowledge Management practices include:
- enabling organisational practices, such as Communities of Practice and corporate Yellow Page directories for accessing key personnel and expertise
- enabling technologies such as knowledge bases and expert systems, help desks, corporate intranets and extranets, Content Management, wikis and Document Management