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Knowledge management - glossary

Like all professions, the world of Knowledge Management has its own cryptic terminology. Words like "taxonomy" and of course the consultant's timeless favourite, "paradigm". Rather than be confounded by such phrases in your quest to comprehend the incomprehensible, use our glossary for the enlightenment you seek.

Artificial intelligence
A broad term encompassing anything relating to making computers behave like humans.
Balanced Score-Card
Developed by Kaplan and Norton as a tool to measure intellectual capital. Designed to focus managers' attention to those factors that help the business strategy, it adds alongside financial measures, measures for customers, internal processes and innovation
Human capital
that which is in the minds of individuals: knowledge, competencies, experience, know-how etc.
Structural capital
"that which is left after employees go home for the night": processes, information systems, databases, patents etc.
Customer capital
The value of an organisation's relationships with its customers including the intangible loyalty of its customers to the company or a product, based on reputation, purchasing patterns, or the customers' ability to pay.
skills, usually through excessive downsizing and lay-offs
Intellectual capital
Knowledge that is of value to an organization - made up of human capital, structural capital, and customer capital. 
Community of Practice
Organisational groups of people that assume roles based on their abilities and skills, instead of titles and hierarchy. Also referred to as a community of interest
Content mapping
Identifying and organising a high-level description of the meaning contained in a collection of electronic document
Corporate amnesia
The loss of collective experience, embedded tacit knowledge, and accumulated
Data mining
A technique to analyse data in very large databases. Analysis can reveal trends and patterns and can be used to improve vital business processes.
Electronic collaboration
A process through which project partners can contribute jointly to works in progress via email, groupware, public networks, etc.
Economic Value Added (EVATM)
Developed by Stern Stewart. Another measurement tool related to the return on capital employed.
Expert system
The branch of artificial intelligence that develops computer programs to simulate human decisions in many fields.
External structure
refers to customer and supplier relationships and the organisation's image. That's assets such as image, relationships with customers, vendors, and also competitors and other associations. In short, external structure refers to assets that depend on relationships outside your organization
As an accounting term it refers to assets in a balance sheet that are not "tangible", such as copyrights, acquired goodwill, patents, brands. As used by Sveiby it is a synonym to intellectual capital and includes all assets that are not (yet) entered in the balance sheet. An approximation of the commercial value of intangible assets is the difference between market value and the net asset value of a company. External Structure + Internal Structure + Individuals' Competence = Intangible Assets.
Internal structure
...that's your organisation... and includes assets like patents and brand names, manuals, systems processes...everything that constitutes what we normally call "organisation", including very fuzzy areas called culture. Managers are also part of internal structure because it's their task to maintain and keep it viable over the long run, thereby ensuring the viability of the organization.
Individual competence
refers to the capacity of employees to act in a wide variety of situations. It's their education, skills, experience, energy and their attitudes that will make or break the relationships with the customers and the products or services that are provided. Sveiby uses it instead of Knowledge.
Invisible assets
sometimes used as a synonym to intangible assets.
Invisible equity
is the difference between the Market Value of a company and the Visible Equity.
Knowledge base
An organized structure of information which facilitates the storage of intelligence in order to be retrieved in support of a knowledge management process.
Knowledge management
The systematic process of finding, selecting, organizing, distilling and presenting information in a way that improves an employee's comprehension in a specific area of interest.
Knowledge-centric re-engineering - KCR:
The application of BPR and change enablement methodologies in support of enterprisewide KM, thereby effecting major cultural and process change that are fundamental to the management of the enterprise's competitive position.
Know-How:
The ability to cause a desired result. This may be the most valuable Knowledge element of all. It is forward looking and predictive and reflects the person or organizations ability to act and achieve its goals.
This is built on another key Knowledge element "understanding" -what is, what was and why - that deals with knowing historic cause and effect and determining the current state of things.
Neural network
A form of artificial intelligence in which a computer simulates the way a human brain processes information. 
Paradigm
an example, model, pattern or standard.
Taxonomy
A system of categorising information