Knowledge management is a prerequisite for eBusiness and its increasing client centric focus. To operate in an eBusiness environment, an organisation has to have a good command of knowledge on its markets, customers, products and services, methods and processes, competitors, employee skills and its regulatory environment. This is due to the fact that organisations can, with the advent of eBusiness, do business electronically, seamlessly across the globe, via the Internet and via intranets, which has caused an explosion of the richness and reach of information and knowledge. Knowledge management systems are now essential to ensure that value is extracted from knowledge internal and external to the organisation. eBusiness also broadens an organisation’s customer base due to the possibility of operating globally through electronic means. Customer relationship management in the global and digital economy has therefore forced organisations to rethink the ways in which they build relationships with a broadened customer base. Customer relationships cannot take place without knowledge management. To enable organisations to become more efficient and effective in delivering products and services to customers, knowledge on customers will have to be managed to ensure that the services organisations provide are those that will address customer needs. To date the role of knowledge management in eBusiness and customer relationship management has not been formally defined. It is critical for organisations to understand the role of knowledge management in eBusiness and customer relationship management to enable them to manage and leverage knowledge as a corporate asset that supports the organisation’s business strategy and operating model, and therefore the execution of the strategic intent of the business. This study defines the nature of the role of knowledge management in eBusiness and customer relationship management and secondly the value that knowledge management can add to eBusiness and customer relationship management. It tests the validity of this role and value proposition of knowledge management in eBusiness and customer relationship management, as defined by the researcher, in the South African context. Questionnaires were sent to large South African corporates where knowledge management has been implemented. The Diagnostic Management Application Profile (DMAP) tool was customized for this purpose. Respondents of the questionnaires cover a variety of South African Industries, including insurance, banking, telecommunications and professional services. This study makes a contribution to the understanding of the inherent nature of knowledge management, as concept in its own right, or as concept within a eBusiness or customer relationship environment. This study also contributes in understanding how knowledge management is perceived and applied in the South African market, given the advent of eBusiness and customer relationship management. The final contribution that this study makes is in understanding that knowledge management in South Africa has its own unique challenges, e.g. with reference to literacy levels and level of technology application, and that knowledge management programmes cannot be carbon copies from systems and programmes in Europe and the USA.
Thesis (DPhil (Information Science))--University of Pretoria, 2006.