The role of cloud computing in knowledge management for small and medium enterprises: a systematic literature review

Saratchandra, Minu ORCID: and Shrestha, Anup ORCID: (2022) The role of cloud computing in knowledge management for small and medium enterprises: a systematic literature review. Journal of Knowledge Management:JKM-06-2021-0421. ISSN 1367-3270


Purpose - Knowledge Management (KM) is widely adopted by organisations to improve their performance and make informed decisions. Prior research has confirmed that Information Systems (IS) play a critical role in effective KM. The purpose of this study is to examine the existing literature on the role of cloud-based knowledge management systems (C-KMS) in SMEs by understanding its impact on the five KM processes: knowledge acquisition, creation, storage, sharing, and usage.

Design/methodology/approach – This study conducted a systematic literature review by examining 133 journal articles and 24 conference papers from 2010 to 2021 on the role of cloud computing in knowledge management (KM) for small and medium-sized enterprise (SMEs).

Findings - This study revealed that there are numerous empirical analyses on KM processes and tools in SMEs, however, only few studies demonstrate how the whole gamut of KM processes can adopt cloud computing in SMEs. Therefore, SMEs are ineffective at KM with limited IS intervention. This paper offers a proposition on how C-KMS can impact all five KM process thereby increasing its effectiveness of KM in SMEs. We analysed the benefits of C-KMS that brings to SMEs in terms of availability, scalability, reliability, security and cost.

Research limitations/implications - This systematic review is restricted to certain databases (ScienceDirect, Sage journals, Scopus, and Emerald Insight) and specific IS conference proceedings to source articles. The selection of search criteria and time frame is based on our assessment and choice. This study adds value to our understanding of the role of KM in SMEs and it reinforces the role of cloud computing in effectively managing knowledge in SMEs. The proposal of C-KMS for the enhancement of KM has significant implications for SMEs to effectively utilise knowledge for their survival and superior performance.

Practical implications - This study suggests three practical implications. First, adopting and using C-KMS provides a strong foundation to manage knowledge for SMEs in a cost-effective way. Second, C-KMS improves the effectiveness of KM by increasing availability of knowledge artifacts, which in turn aids SMEs’ growth. Third, C-KMS is useful to codify SME’s knowledge, and accordingly supports employees to acquire and use knowledge based on their requirements.

Social implications – This study discussed C-KMS with contemporary social issues, such as the COVID-19 pandemic challenges for SMEs and demonstrated how C-KMS can support SMEs to handle such crises by managing knowledge effectively.

Originality/value - This research highlights the importance of the implementation of a C-KMS for the enhancement of KM in SMEs. The review provides empirical evidence on the challenges faced by SMEs regarding KM, since they often only have enough resources to focus on a single KM process, predominantly knowledge sharing. Consequently, a holistic approach to KM cannot be realised by SMEs. In this context, the findings of this study offer theoretical and practical insights into the role of cloud computing by addressing the challenges of KM in SMEs.

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Item Type: Article (Commonwealth Reporting Category C)
Refereed: Yes
Item Status: Live Archive
Additional Information: Published online: January 2022. Permanent restricted access to ArticleFirst version, in accordance with the copyright policy of the publisher.
Faculty/School / Institute/Centre: Current - Faculty of Business, Education, Law and Arts - School of Business (18 Jan 2021 -)
Faculty/School / Institute/Centre: Current - Faculty of Business, Education, Law and Arts - School of Business (18 Jan 2021 -)
Date Deposited: 02 Feb 2022 04:24
Last Modified: 28 Oct 2022 00:08
Uncontrolled Keywords: cloud computing, knowledge management, small and medium enterprises, information systems, ambidexterity
Fields of Research (2008): 15 Commerce, Management, Tourism and Services > 1503 Business and Management > 150301 Business Information Management (incl. Records, Knowledge and Information Management, and Intelligence)
08 Information and Computing Sciences > 0806 Information Systems > 080609 Information Systems Management
Fields of Research (2020): 46 INFORMATION AND COMPUTING SCIENCES > 4609 Information systems > 460912 Knowledge and information management
35 COMMERCE, MANAGEMENT, TOURISM AND SERVICES > 3503 Business systems in context > 350302 Business information management (incl. records, knowledge and intelligence)
Socio-Economic Objectives (2008): E Expanding Knowledge > 97 Expanding Knowledge > 970115 Expanding Knowledge in Commerce, Management, Tourism and Services
Socio-Economic Objectives (2020): 22 INFORMATION AND COMMUNICATION SERVICES > 2204 Information systems, technologies and services > 220408 Information systems
28 EXPANDING KNOWLEDGE > 2801 Expanding knowledge > 280106 Expanding knowledge in commerce, management, tourism and services
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