Developing an evaluation framework for knowledge management systems in SMEs

Andrew Bratton, Avril Thomson

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperpeer-review


This paper develops an evaluation framework for knowledge management systems (KMS) in small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). An embedded research approach was used to develop an evaluation framework for KMS in a small, UK-based, information technology (IT) consultancy. The research develops Nevo, Furneaux and Wand’s (2008) framework which builds on the theoretical foundations underpinning organizational knowledge management. The framework is evaluated through its application in the case study company. The paper presents evidence of the effectiveness of the framework. First, it provides an overview of KM activities and a software specification for the KMS. This involved an investigation of existing KM activities within the company’s project lifecycle to facilitate the identification of user requirements. The next stage of the evaluation process identified key KMS capabilities required to support the company’s project lifecycle KM activities. The four data collection approaches used were: (1) mapping of the essential information used in the company’s project lifecycle process, (2) questionnaire, (3) semi-structured interview, and (4) informal discussion. Second, it examines the application of the framework through the case study. This involved evaluating three KMS providers and three KMS already used within the company. A key contribution of this research is building on Nevo, Furneaux and Wand’s (2008) framework by assigning relative weights of importance to each of the KMS capabilities. For example, knowledge importation, search and retrieval, and metaknowledge were identified as key KM capabilities. This weighted importance approach potentially improves both the decision-making and evaluation process when undertaking a KM initiative. The approach used builds on an existing framework and through application demonstrates the practical utility of a theory-based evaluation framework.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 20 Jun 2018
EventInternational Institute for Applied KM 2018 : Knowledge Management: Research, Organization, and Applied Innovation - University of Pisa, Pisa, Italy
Duration: 20 Jun 201823 Jun 2018


ConferenceInternational Institute for Applied KM 2018
Abbreviated titleIIAKM KM 2018
Internet address


  • knowledge management systems
  • evaluation framework
  • small and medium-sized enterprises


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