Wednesday, 13 April 2016

Where are the growing sectors for Knowledge Management?

To counter the constantly resurfacing idea that "KM is dead", here are two Knowledge Management sectors that are alive and kicking.

Results from the Knoco 2104 KM survey
The idea that "KM is dead" is a meme that has been with us for at least a decade (2004, 200820112012, 2015 to choose but a few) and which resurfaces several times a year; usually when a software vendor has something to sell (example). Very seldom are these assertions of the demise of KM accompanied by any data or analysis of trends, other than the Googletrends plot, which as we have seen, would also  point to the demise of project management, risk management, financial management, and so on. 

I see indicators from two segments which show that in these areas, KM is very much on the rise.

The Legal KM sector

A recent blog post by Ron Friedman entitled The Rise of Legal Knowledge Management describes some indicators of KM interest in the Legal industry, citing

  • Three surveys (including one which says that "law department spending on KM technology will grow at 18% for the next few years. That is one of the highest growth rates in some 10 categories of software";
  • A new Legal KM book after a drought of 10 years, 
  • The start of a Knowledge Strategy Interest Group by the Law Practice Division of the American Bar Association
  • Attendance at the 11th annual Ark KM conference in October 2015 breaking all prior attendance records, requiring a move to a larger venue to accommodate some 150 people from a range of large law firms
  • Renewed interest in Ron's consulting offer.

The Customer Support sector

Here I don't have statistics to show you, but I monitor KM jobs closely, in order to spot trends in the market, and the number of jobs related to Customer Support KM is growing rapidly. This is a segments that is also on the rise.

General KM

The following indicators also suggest that KM is far from dead:
  • The graph shown above, from the Knoco 2014 KM survey
  • A survey in South Africa, just completed, which shows similar figures (57% for "increasing in importance", 39% for "static" and 4% for "decreasing)
  • Also the South African survey showed similar trends in KM budget, with far more budgets increasing or remaining static than decreasing
  • Visits to my blog are the highest they have been in the 7 years the blog has been published
  • Art Schussel, in his reply to this blog post from 4 years ago, provided some statistics in terms of US KM jobs. In 2012 there were 4306 KM jobs and 95 "knowledge manager" jobs, while running the same search again in 2016 finds 4,463 and 152 in 2016 (although jobs with the term "Chief Knowledge Officer" and "Director Knowledge Management" have fallen).
From all of this I conclude that KM is alive and well, and in at least two sectors is growing.

Rumours of its death are greatly exaggerated.

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