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Knowledge management solves information overload Knowledge management (KM) solutions are now the most strategic technologies for large companies, according to a survey of 122 European executives by the Economist Intelligence Unit, sponsored by Tata Consultancy Services.

Some 67% of respondents cite KM/BI solutions as important to achieving strategic goals over the next three years. This compares with 63% that think the same of new CRM solutions, and 35% that see mobile/wireless as vital.

Despite huge investments in corporate IT, respondents cannot exploit large amounts of information. Two-thirds com-plain that much of it is not actionable, revealing a preference for tools that enable filtering, prioritisation and analysis of data.

Key findings

* 55% of executives say IT`s failure to prioritise information types is the main barrier. Consolidating information and providing consistent performance indicators are thought to be most important to improve speed and quality of decision-making.
* Knowledge about customers, their preferences and behaviour is the overwhelming focus for improving the quality of information. The focus of CRM is shifting from automating processes and collecting data to enabling sophisticated analysis of customer requirements and buying habits.
* The top two priority areas for IT improvement are: to make it easier to analyse information (40%); and improve the quality of data (31%). Only 12% of executives see ensuring access to information anywhere as a priority for improvement.
* Half of executives say barriers between departments hamper information sharing. Ignorance of what knowledge exists, or where to find it, is another, according to 41% of respondents.
* Executives increasingly see KM as a competitive advantage. Schlumberger, an oil services company, achieved a return on investment of $200m in one year from a KM initiative.

Tags: Knowledge  management