Wednesday, 23 April 2014

KM and agility - how to survive recession

In 2008 and 2009, the Economist Intelligence Unit surveyed 349 executives, on the topic of "Business agility" - How business can survive and thrive 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, and it becomes clear through the report that KM is closely behind process efficiency in driving agility.

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, while the third choice was "Improve collaboration".

Secondly, they point to KM as a key tool for innovation and agility.
"In acknowledging the interplay between organisational agility and superior innovation, executives expect several tools to take a central role. Topping the list are knowledge management and collaboration systems, something that 81% of those polled indicate will go furthest in spurring innovation".
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 (and knowledge) silos. Barriers to change include conflicting 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 (and KM) to advance an organisation’s ability to problem-solve, improve decision-making and convert information (and knowledge) into insight".
Italics are my addition - to move beyond the technology domain into the KM domain.

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