Is KM relevant anymore? Before you reach for the keyboard in defense of KM, organisational trends suggest that the field, and its contribution as a strategic management tool, is being doubted at the C level and is on the cusp of irrelevance.
For a while now I have been discussing the decline of Knowledge Management and the need shift the function toward a more strategically aligned role; one where there is a greater emphasis on boundary management (sense and response). The latest evidence from Bain & Co. seems to confirm my position.
Bain & Company publish a regular report on management tools and trends (1200+ global CEOs). In 2006 KM was ranked as the 10th most popular tool out of the top 25 chosen by survey participants. In 2008 it dropped to 22nd for satisfaction and received the lowest rating of all tools within respondents from large organisations. In 2010 it dropped again, being ranked 24th out of the top 25 tools. Now in 2012 (the 2013 report) KM has fallen out of the top 25.
The problem is that the need for KM still exists (if you buy into KM being more than a glorified Information Management (e.g. a traditional lessons learned function), just look at the top 3 management trends (below) – advanced KM teams should be perfectly placed to respond to these challenges. The trend communicated by Bain & Co is of concern – KMers can choose to ignore it , but there is surely nothing worse than waking up one day to find yourself to be irrelevant. KM professionals may not like to hear this, but KM needs to wake up from its 90′s/00′s slumber and take action, before it is too late.