Information Knowledge Management

Information management focuses on organizing, analyzing, and retrieving information. Where knowledge management is often about know-how, information management is largely about know-what. It offers facts that can be used to create relevant and helpful knowledge. Since the information being shared is already in an easy-to-transform structure, it benefits greatly from technology. This glossary defines the terms most often associated with information knowledge management.

Knowledge Assets

Knowledge is a combination of information and data. When expert opinion, experience, and expertise (skills) are added to it, the result is knowledge assets. Often referred to as tacit, explicit, and individual or collective information, knowledge assets are a power aid in decision-making. Inherently linked to people, knowledge assets include know-how, good practices, and intellectual property.  They are categorized as structural (codified business process knowledge), human (people, teams, and networks), and technological (databases and intranets). Knowledge management software helps you understand the knowledge assets your organization possesses and allows you to better identify what gaps may exist.

Information Management vs. Knowledge Management

The difference between information management and knowledge management is that information knowledge management concerns managing an organization’s information resources while knowledge management covers the processes used to acquire, capture, share, and use knowledge to enable organizational learning. Put another way, people derive knowledge from information. The goal of information knowledge management is to improve performance.

Knowledge management and information systems, also called information technology, encompass the components of computing such as servers, networks, and cloud services which enable digital information to be identified, created, stored, shared, and used.

Business Knowledge Management Tools

The structural, technical, and human methods and techniques such as databases, portals, and networks, that support or deliver practical knowledge management. The tools are part of an overall knowledge management strategy that outlines how an organization will implement knowledge management principles and practices to achieve objectives.

Data Information

Distinct and objective facts, observations, or measurements which are analyzed to generate information. Information is data that has been sorted, analyzed, and put in context in way that has structure and meaning. It can be said that information is data with relevance and purpose. Painting a bigger picture than unconnected data points, information answers the questions who, what, when, where, and how.

Explicit Knowledge

Unlike tacit knowledge, which is more difficult to express, explicit knowledge can be codified in formal, orderly language and shared with others. Where tacit knowledge is often compared to learned wisdom, explicit knowledge is more fact-based; good examples include instruction manuals, research reports, and email directories.

By answering questions in real time, a knowledge management system decreases support costs, enhances the employee experience, and improves overall customer service success. Agent-based or self-service, a knowledge management system stores and retrieves knowledge so that understanding, collaboration, and process alignment are improved. Existing within organizations and teams alike, it can also be used to centralize the knowledge base used by customers. With a knowledge management system in place, repetitive and tactical tasks are reduced and employees can spend more time focusing on higher priority and revenue producing activities.

Intellectual Capital

Intellectual capital is the value of an organization’s employee knowledge, training, and skills. Combined with proprietary information, it can provide companies with a strong competitive advantage. Considered an asset, intellectual capital can be broadly defined as a centralized repository of all an organization’s information resources used to gain new customers, create new products and services, drive profits, or otherwise improve the business. From a financial or value standpoint, intellectual capital is seen as the combination of human, technological, and structural capital.


Also called procedural or practical knowledge, know-how is the skill or ability acquired from knowledge and experience. It encompasses how to accomplish something as opposed to why (science), what (information/facts), or who (communication).