As an I.T professional, you are responsible for your organization’s most valuable asset — It’s Information and Data. Unlike assets such as cash, data doesn’t always grow in value as it expands in volume, it costs the company more financially to store the data. The value that data can bring comes from the way it is obtained, stored, secured, accessed and shared amongst the organisation to improve productivity, Knowledge and awareness. When it comes to managing this data you will often hear the terms Information Management and Knowledge Management systems. Both of these terms are often used interchangeably but there are some differences which we will discuss in this article.
To fully understand the differences between information management (IM) and knowledge management (KM), it’s important to understand the definitions of “information” and “knowledge” as they pertain to management.
Information focuses on organizing, analyzing, and retrieving data that deals with facts and figures. It is relevant data that holds a purpose and is crucial to the organisation but does not carry or communicate knowledge.
Knowledge is a term that is more difficult to define. The main difference between knowledge and information is that knowledge cannot be truly be handled or “managed,” because it resides in the minds of people who possess it.
What is Information Management?
Information management is an umbrella term that encompasses all the systems and processes within an organisation that covers how information is captured, processed, distributed and managed. Information is typically classified as facts and figures that are important to the organisation and can be used in decision making and problem-solving. Information should be stored securely and protected by access levels and should only be accessed by authorised employees. Strong information governance is essential to effective information management.
What Is Knowledge Management?
Knowledge management is a practice that revolves around how the information is processed and goes beyond merely extracting facts from collected data. Knowledge management focuses more on how the information is captured, shared, analysed and understood by the organisation. The creation of knowledge is what happens when people take the information and process it into something useful that benefits the organisation
The Difference Between Knowledge Management and Information Management
Information and knowledge management systems are both important to your organization’s operations. The difference between information and knowledge is information is a factual asset and knowledge is one’s output from ingesting information. Information transfer is about moving factual assets between people. Knowledge transfer is about moving the collected output of knowledge between people. You could also say that information management focuses on hard facts while knowledge management incorporates opinions and intuitions as well.
- Focuses on facts, figures and other hard data
- Can be easily measured quantitatively
- Information is easy to replicate, or copy
- Is technology-based
- Information and facts do not convey an opinion or a course of action.
- Focuses more on how the information is captured, shared, analysed and understood by the organisation.
- Incorporates all aspects of an enterprise, including communication, management frameworks, organizational culture and organizational structures
- Is measured by the changes in the behavior and the work of individuals and teams over time
- Knowledge management leads to innovations unique to the company
- Is more people and process based
- Knowledge is passed from person to person, through interaction, collaboration, mentoring, etc.
- Focus on locating, understanding, enabling, and encouraging – by creating environments, cultures, processes, etc. where knowledge is shared and created.
- Is hard to copy – The connection to experience and context makes knowledge extremely difficult to copy.
Knowledge Management and Information Management are commonly treated as the same thing and there can be confusion between the two. There are many differences and they are two be separated. Information management is only the starting point when it comes to your organisation’s data. Knowledge creation within the organisation is the intellectual capital that advances your organization’s competitive advantage. Knowledge management and information management are both essential for modern organizations.