You Knew It All Along

How many times have we said it? KM is not a pure technology play – it involves people too. (OK, we don’t have the exact number, but trust us, it’s a lot.) Now KPMG Consulting has come along to put a nice, solid foundation under all our insistent soapbox rhetoric.

The consultancy recently published Knowledge Management Research Report 2000, a survey of 423 organizations across the United Kingdom, mainland Europe and the United States. (Each of the companies reported at least US$300 million in revenues and represented a wide variety of industries.)

The study found that more than two-thirds of respondents have set up knowledge management programs and have high expectations of them: 79 per cent felt that KM could play an “extremely” or “very significant” role in improving competitive advantage. But while these organizations have succeeded in implementing KM technology, such as collaborative computing or databases of internal experts, the investments could be wasted because companies so often ignore the human factor.

A significant number of companies are experiencing problems with employee use of KM systems, according to the study. For example:

• 67 per cent claim to suffer from information overload,

• 67 per cent say that employees want to share knowledge but don’t have the time, and,

• 62 per cent say that employees are not using the available technology to share knowledge effectively.

Less than one-third of the respondents have implemented incentives that reward knowledge sharing.

Says David Parlby, a partner at KPMG Consulting in London, “In reality, the problem is that many systems were designed without due consideration to employee needs. Without employee-friendly programs, companies risk wasting the considerable resources they’ve invested, and are unlikely to realize the full bottom-line benefits.”

The full report is available at the KPMG Web site at