Monday, 24 November 2014

Why does KM deliver more annual value the longer you do it?

Our 2014 global survey of Knowledge Management continues to throw up really interesting results. Shown here is a fascinating table - which is open to two possible interpretations.


Two of the questions in the survey were

  • How long has your organisation been doing KM?
  • How much value value has been delivered through KM to date?
These two are compared above, by showing the average delivered value for the companies in each Time category.

Now, you would expect a linear relationship between these two. Assuming on average KM delivers $X per year, then a company that has been doing KM for 4 years should have delivered double the value of a company that has been doing KM for 2 years.

This is not what the table shows. 

The table shows that doubling the length of time doing KM, results in a ten-fold increase in value. 

Why should this be? We can think of two possibilities.

First possibility; we know from the survey that KM value is closely linked with the degree of embeddedness of KM - organisations with KM fully report delivery of far more value than organisations where KM is treated as an add-on. Also we know from the survey that it takes a long time to embed KM. In fact, organisations where "KM is embedded in the way we work" had been doing KM, on average, for 11.8 years.  Therefore the non-linear relationship between value and time represents the progressive embedding of KM, and therefore an acceleration of value delivery.

Second possibility; we know from the survey that the bigger companies have been on average doing KM for longer, and naturally the bigger companies deliver more value just because they are bigger. Therefore the non-linear relationship between value and time represents the progressive inclusion of smaller companies delivering less value.

However when we look more deeply at the numbers, neither of these two effects seems large enough to account for the results in the table above, so the answer is probably a combination of the two.

This is something you may need to take into account in your KM business case - that the full value of embedded KM may take a decade or more to deliver.  If you want to find out how to accelerate this delivery, give us a call






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