Thursday 15 May 2014

Technology is not the main problem in KM

Technology is not the main issue in Knowledge Management today, according to available data, as I explain below.

Here in Knoco we have been taking the pulse of Knowledge Management for many years, through a number of mechanisms;
I posted a few weeks ago about the results of the free survey, and how the 67 people who have contributed to date voted Technology as being the strongest and most mature of all the enabling factors of KM, as shown below in Figure 1.

 Figure 1 - high level results from the online survey

This finding is reinforced by the results of our assessment service, and an overall average score for the four enablers of KM across all our 50+ assessments is shown below in Figure 2. Again, technology is the strongest of the four.

 Figure 2 - high level results from the assessment - the four KM enablers

The survey and the assessment gather data in very different ways - the survey is ten simple questions, self-scored by the respondent, and the assessment is based on multiple detailed interviews, with scores determined by the consultant. The survey is quick and dirty and tells you roughly where you are, the assessment is detailed, thorough, and tells you why you are where you are, what you are missing, and what you should do to fill the gaps.

Nevertheless the high level results from the two correspond remarkably closely, as shown in Figure 3, which gives us some reassurance that these are both, in their own way, effectively measuring KM maturity and development.

 Figure 3 - comparison of high level results from the assessment and survey

So what are the conclusions for you, the knowledge manager?
  • Firstly, that most companies have much of the technology they need already. If you are looking to improve your Knowledge Management results, then just buying more technology is probably not going to help.
  • Secondly, most companies need to focus on Governance. This is the weakest area in Figures 1, 2 and 3, and therefore the area that generally needs most attention and which will deliver the best return on effort.
  • Thirdly, most companies need to focus on KM roles. This is the second weakest element in Figures 1 and 2 and also generally needs serious attention.
If you want to make the next step forwards on your Knowledge Management journey, then the survey results show that in most cases you would be better to work on Governance and Roles than on acquiring more Technology.

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