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Businesses struggle to turn data mountain into practical knowledge

Antony Savvas

Culture and process are pillars for success

Knowledge management products are now the most important strategic technologies for large companies, according to a survey by the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU).

The survey of 122 European companies reveals that 67% considered knowledge management and business intelligence solutions as important in achieving their strategic goals over the next three years. 

A smaller number, 63%, laid an equal stress on new customer relationship management solutions, while 35% cited mobile/wireless technology. The EIU said that despite the huge investment in corporate IT, companies still felt unable to exploit large amounts of corporate information. 

Two-thirds of the companies in the survey complained that while their IT systems generated huge volumes of data, executives could not act on much of it. 

Too much information could be impeding decision-making. Over half (55%) of executives said that IT's failure to prioritise information was the main barrier to effective decision-making. The EIU said companies were now seeking smarter IT tools to let them analyse corporate data. 

"Corporate knowledge is notoriously difficult to manage, but it is a problem worth solving," said Daniel Franklin, editorial director of the EIU. "As this research shows, a growing number of firms now believe there are tangible rewards to be gained from sharing knowledge effectively."

Subramaniam Ramadorai, chief executive officer of Tata Consultancy Services, which commissioned the survey, said, "Knowledge management is about more than effective IT. It has three critical and complementary components: people and culture, infrastructure and technology, and processes and information flow.

"Without addressing corporate culture as well as IT, or using technology to make information actionable, knowledge management projects are likely to fail." 

The survey report, Managing Knowledge for Competitive Advantage, is available free at:

http://www.eiu.com/KnowHow

 

Key to knowledge

  • Business requirements and the knowledge needed to fulfil them must be identified before tools and processes are implemented
  • Successful knowledge management is about shifting culture and behaviour
  • Though improving, knowledge management tools are often too complicated

Source: Economist Intelligence Unit


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