Thursday 4 September 2014

The 7 most important business drivers for Knowledge management

As part of our Global Knowledge Management Survey earlier this year, we asked our respondents about the business imperatives which drove them to invest in Knowledge Management.

We recognised 7 main business drivers, and these are listed below, together with the weighting assigned to this driver by the survey respondents. High numbers equal high weighting.

It's important to realise that the actual KM framework may be independent of the business driver, and that there will be framework elements which are common to all approaches. However the your KM strategy, that determines how and where the Framework is applied, should be fundamentally based on the key business drivers for your own organisation.

Operational effectiveness - weighting 4.1

Here Knowledge Management is deployed to ensure that the business delivers better outcomes. Through aspects such as Learning from Experience, and the development of Communities of Practice which look after Best Practices or Doctrines, the organisation will build a knowledge base of "what works", enabling it to improve its products and processes and deliver better results.

Operational effectiveness is the primary business driver for the Military sector, for Oil and Gas, for Aid and Development, and for Manufacturing.

Operational Efficiency - weighting 4.0

Here Knowledge Management is deployed to reduce cost and time. Again Lessons Learned are useful to avoid repeat costly mistakes, and Communities of Practice can exchange knowledge of individual savings and short-cuts.  Through continuous improvement of internal process, the organisation can work faster, shaper and smarter while still delivering the same results.

Operational effectiveness is the primary business driver for the Financial sector, for Mining, for Construction and for Information and Media.

Delivering a better customer service - weighting 3.5

Here your Knowledge Management strategy will be focused on the needs of the customer. Communities of practice will be needed to support customer facing staff, and may need to be extended to include the customers themselves. Delivering a better customer service is the primary business driver for the Legal and the Professional Services sectors, and for many of the not-for-profits.

Retaining knowledge at risk of loss - weighting 3.1 

Here you need a Knowledge Retention and Transfer strategy, in order to protect against the loss of knowledge through staff retirement. This is a very specific KM approach, targeted at a short term need, which should over time be replaced by an ongoing Knowledge Management Framework. There is no one sector where Knowledge Retention is the priority; instead it reflects country demographics, seeming to be a particular issue in India and Australia.

Improved Innovation - weighting 2.9

Here your Knowledge Management Implementation will focus on developing and deploying innovation processes and techniques, to enable you to create new products, new processes and new business models. Improved innovation seems from the survey results to be a driver in the health-care sector.

Improved company growth - weighting 2.8

Knowledge Management supports company growth by allowing the development of reproducible and reusable knowledge that can be deployed to help each new sector of the business to grow as rapidly as the market allows, as well as the deployment of effective learning techniques in new areas of business.

Impacting health, safety and the environment - weighting 1.4

Here KM is deployed not to help you work faster and cheaper, but to help you work safer and cleaner. The tools of KM are the same as above, but the focus is on safety and health. This business driver is a secondary driver  in many industries, and a primary driver in the Electricity, Gas and other utilities sector.

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