7 potential business drivers for Knowledge Management

As part of our Global Knowledge Management Surveys in 2014 and 2017, we asked our respondents about the business imperatives which drove them to invest in Knowledge Management. This is what they answered.

The survey asked about the importance of 7 main business drivers, and these are listed below, together with the percentage of the 536 respondents who said this was their primary business driver. 

It’s important to realise that the actual KM framework may be independent of the business driver, and that there will be framework elements which are common to all approaches. However the the KM strategy, that determines how and where the Framework is applied, should be fundamentally based on the key business drivers for your own organisation.

Operational effectiveness – top driver for 22% of our respondents, with an average priority of 5.4 out of 7.

Here Knowledge Management is deployed to ensure that the business delivers better outcomes. Through aspects such as Learning from Experience, and the development of Communities of Practice which look after Best Practices or Doctrines, the organisation will build a knowledge base of “what works”, enabling it to improve its products and processes and deliver better results.

Operational effectiveness is the primary business driver for the Military sector, for Oil and Gas, for Aid and Development, and for Construction.

Internal Efficiency – top driver for 22% of our respondents, with an average priority of 5.1 out of 7.

Here Knowledge Management is deployed to reduce cost and time. Again Lessons Learned are useful to avoid repeat costly mistakes, and Communities of Practice can exchange knowledge of individual savings and short-cuts.  Through continuous improvement of internal process, the organisation can work faster, shaper and smarter while still delivering the same results.

Operational effectiveness is the primary business driver for the Financial sector, for Manufacturing and Telecoms.

Delivering a better customer service – top driver for 20% of our respondents, with an average priority of 4.7 out of 7.

Here your Knowledge Management strategy will be focused on the needs of the customer. Communities of practice will be needed to support customer facing staff, and may need to be extended to include the customers themselves. Delivering a better customer service is the primary business driver for the Legal and the Professional Services sectors.

Retaining knowledge at risk of loss – top driver for 15% of our respondents, with an average priority of 4.3 out of 7. 

Here you need a Knowledge Retention and Transfer strategy, in order to protect against the loss of knowledge through staff retirement. This is a very specific KM approach, targeted at a short term need, which should over time be replaced by an ongoing Knowledge Management Framework. There is no one sector where Knowledge Retention is the priority; instead it reflects country demographics, seeming to be a particular issue in India and Central/South America.

Improved company growth – top driver for 9% of our respondents, with an average priority of 3.6 out of 7.

Knowledge Management supports company growth by allowing the development of reproducible and reusable knowledge that can be deployed to help each new sector of the business to grow as rapidly as the market allows, as well as the deployment of effective learning techniques in new areas of business.

Improved Innovation – top driver for 8% of our respondents, with an average priority of 3.8 out of 7.

Here your Knowledge Management Implementation will focus on developing and deploying innovation processes and techniques, to enable you to create new products, new processes and new business models. Improved innovation seems from the survey results to be a driver in the health-care sector.

Impacting health, safety and the environment – top driver for 4% of our respondents, with an average priority of 2.3 out of 7.

Here KM is deployed not to help you work faster and cheaper, but to help you work safer and cleaner. The tools of KM are the same as above, but the focus is on safety and health. This business driver is a secondary driver  in many industries, and occasionally was cited as a primary driver in the Oil and Gas sector.

For other insights, order our free KM survey report here

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