Software vendors are poised for battle over who will dominate the lucrative knowledge management (KM) market, analysts Ovum claim in a new study released yesterday. London-based Ovum said the groupware, information retrieval, and document management vendors will dominate the market in the short term, but support for KM will also become an important differentiator for database, data warehousing and ERP vendors. Ovum defines knowledge management as the task of developing and exploiting an organization’s tangible and intangible knowledge resources. It covers organizational as well as technological issues. Ovum predicts the value of the worldwide market for KM software will reach $1.6bn by 2002, up from $285m in 1998. When implemented properly, companies will be able to improve their internal knowledge management and forge new knowledge-based relationships with their customers, suppliers and distributors, said Eric Woods, the report’s chief author. Woods said the widespread recognition of the importance of emails and documents as repositories of information is driving much of the innovation in the emerging market for KM software. Vendors of products for managing unstructured information, groupware, information retrieval and document management vendors, will dominate over the next few years. But other suppliers including database, data warehousing and ERP vendors, will inevitably jump on the bandwagon, he said. Woods warned businesses against those vendors who simply hijack the term knowledge management for marketing purposes. He said the successful vendors will be those who really understand the changes in business and technical environments that KM involves.