Friday, 24 April 2009


Economist survey on agility - KM and downturn again?





I came across this report recently which has some implications for KM in a downturn. The Economist Intelligence Unit surveyed 349 executives between Dec 08 and Jan 09, on the topic of "Business agility" - a very important asset in turbulent times. Although the focus of their questions was on Technology, and many of the people they talked to seem to be CIOs or the like, there were some interesting conclusions with regard to Knowledge management*

Firstly, when asked to rank what they will do to increase agility, and the ability to make fast, correct decisions, the action of "Improving knowledge management and information sharing processes" was ranked the second highest, chosen by 38% of those interviewed**.

The report concludes as follows -
"For most companies, the path to organisational agility involves transformation, the ability to whittle away at inefficiency and regroup around what is truly core to the business. While the task may appear daunting, there are a number of steps that management can consider to lighten the burden of change:
  • Optimise core processes.

  • Minimise information silos***. Barriers to change include confl icting departmental goals and priorities, a culture of risk aversion and silo-based information. By reducing silos, business leaders can improve collaboration inside and outside their enterprise and better align departmental goals and performance measures with overall strategy.

  • Integrate and automate fundamental knowledge-sharing processes. Such integration will enable IT to advance an organisation’s ability to problem-solve, improve decision-making and convert information into insight".


I very much agree with the last point, although I don't see this as something IT can solve on its own. I would rewrite it as "Integrate and systematise fundamental knowledge-sharing processes. Such integration will enable an organisation to advance an ability to problem-solve, improve decision-making and convert information into insight".

*which as you know encapsulates far more than technology**It is interesting that the graph shows this as "Improving knowledge management and information sharing processes" but by the time it gets to the text, it has morphed to "
seek to make better use of knowledge management and information-sharing
systems" - an example of the IT bias creeping in?***You will see from the text, that this is "silos in general" and not just Information silos

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