How KM is migrating from Big Companies to SMEs

So far, Knowledge Management has largely been a Big Company game, but this is changing.

This is another conclusion from the Knoco Knowledge Management survey, and is neatly illustrated in the bar chart shown here. The survey was conducted in 2 waves – 204 and 2017, and received submissions form over 700 KM professionals world-wide.

Among the data collected through the survey was a subjective assessment of the maturity of knowledge management, described as “We are investigating KM but have not yet started”, “We are in the early stages of introducing KM”, “We are well in progress with KM”, and “KM is embedded in the way we work”.

The picture above shows how this maturity level varies with company size.

It is clear that there is a very close link between size and maturity, and the larger organisations are the most mature. Knowledge Management has historically been a big-company activity, and early starters in KM were mostly the large multinationals. These companies are therefore the most mature.

In the plot below, we look at the link between company size and the number of years the company has been doing KM.

Again we can see a clear link – the largest organisations are the ones that have been doing KM the longest (over a decade on average) while the SMEs have been doing it for a much shorter time (less than 5 years).

The third bit of information is to look at the relative numbers of small, medium and big companies answering the survey.

So the messages from these graphs are as follows:

  • The larger companies have been doing KM for longer;
  • The larger companies are more mature in KM;
  • However there are potentially many more medium sized companies getting involved in KM. 
For example, of the 128 companies in the survey with around 1000 staff (graph 3), 60 of these  (47%) are in the early stages of KM (graph 1). That’s more than the total number of organisations in the survey with 100,000 staff.   So the smaller companies are catching up, and the trends shown here represent Knowledge Management spreading from the large organisations to the medium sized and smaller companies.

KM has been a big company game – now the medium sized organisations are catching up. 

For as assessment of your own KM maturity, use our quick online survey or book a detailed assessment.

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Shared by: Nick Milton

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