Australian businesses fail to leverage knowledge

Australian businesses are falling short in managing their knowledge capital

Australian organisations aren’t eating their own dog food when it comes to managing and leveraging the knowledge capital within their businesses.

According to a recent CSC report, called Mind the Gap – Australia’s Knowledge Capital Shortcomings, businesses recognise the benefits associated with taking advantage of their knowledge capital, but less than one third are actually achieving significant performance increases as a result of knowledge capital.

The benefits associated with making the most of knowledge within an organisation are obvious:

• Increased operational efficiency • Higher levels of customer engagement • Higher revenue with decreased costs

“This report has been commissioned to examine Australia’s knowledge capital status and identify areas for improvement so organisations can better grasp the concept and understand the benefits it offers to operational efficiency, customer engagement … and the balance sheet,” writes CSC Australia chief executive Nick Wilkinson.

“The findings highlight the feeling … that there is ‘work to do,’” Wilkinson writes.

According to the report’s findings, the disconnect between the realisation that knowledge capital needs to be leveraged, and the fact of doing so can be distilled into six trends. The report states that the six trends outlined are more apparent because of the Global Financial Crisis, and they have the potential to reduce the ability of commercial organisations to respond when markets return to pre-GFC levels.

Those trends include: a high level of inconsistency in an organisation as to who is responsible for the creation and maintenance of knowledge. Forty-four per cent of organisations say knowledge management is HR’s responsibility, while 25 per cent said IT, and a further 18 per cent said it was the responsibility of a centralised knowledge management unit. The second major trend is an immature knowledge measurement process, with 50 per cent of organisations not even measuring their knowledge assets.

The third trend is that businesses are failing to leverage knowledge effectively to drive business efficiency, despite the fact that they recognise the value of knowledge as a key driver of efficiency.

Workforce generational differences are also a key trend underlying Australian business’ lack of knowledge management and capitalisation, as is the GFC, which has provided a catalyst for changing knowledge management practices. Finally, retaining knowledge is also key, with 76 per cent of organisations reporting that they don’t have a dedicated budget for knowledge management.

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