Wednesday 3 December 2014

Survey of KM technology use and value

Another interesting result from our 2014 Global Survey of Knowledge management is this plot of KM Technology usage and value.

We asked the survey participants to rate these different types of technology by the value they have added to their KM program, including in the question the option to choose "we do not use this technology" or "it's too early to tell".

The chart above shows these technologies in order of usage, as a stacked bar chart, with the weighted value shown as a line (this line would be at 100% if all the participants that used this technology claimed it had "high value" and at 0 they all claimed it had no value).

275 people answered this question.

The technology types are listed below in order of usage, and in order of value.

Technology type in order of usage 
(most common at the top)
Technology type in order of value delivered  when used (most valuable at the top)
1. Document collaboration
2. Best practice repository
3. People and expertise search
4. Portals (non-wiki)
5. Enterprise content management
6. eLearning
7. Enterprise search
8. Lessons Management
9. Question and answer forums
10. Blogs
11. Wikis
12. Social media other than microblogs
13. Brainstorming/ideation/crowdsourcing
14. Video publication
15. Expert systems
16. Data mining
17. Microblogs
18. Innovation funnel
19. Semantic search
1. Enterprise search
2. Document collaboration
3. Enterprise content management
4. Best practice repository
5. Portals (non-wiki)
6. People and expertise search
7.Question and answer forums
8. eLearning
9. Expert systems
10. Brainstorming/ideation/crowdsourcing
11. Lessons Management
12. Social media other than microblogs
13. Wikis
14. Innovation funnel
15. Data mining
16. Video publication
17. Blogs
18. Semantic search
19. Microblogs

What does this tell us?

We could take these results at face value, and say that the chart and the lists above represent the usage of the various technology types and (independently) the value of the various technology types.  The strong correlation between usage and value that we see in the chart and lists could represent a tendency for the more valuable technologies to get the greatest use. This is a perfectly valid interpretation.

An alternative argument would be to say that technologies deliver more value the more they are used. Technologies at the top of the list are mainstream technologies, used frequently, and delivering high value. Technologies at the bottom of the list are less mainstream, and deliver less value to the companies that use them, because those companies make less use of these technologies. This is also a plausible interpretation. Even with this interpretation, we could still look for "Good performing" technologies which deliver more value than their popularity would imply, and "Poor performing technologies" which deliver less value than their popularity would imply.

Under this interpretation, the best performing technologies are Enterprise Search and Expert Systems (both of them 6 places higher in the Value list than the Usage list) and the worst performing technologies would be Blogs.

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