Six degrees of separation BY NICK MILTON
Several aspects of the legal sector’s approach to knowledge management make it stand out from the crowd – but not always in a good way, says Nick Milton. One way to make sense of this complex field is to take an overview of current practice around the world and across industries. This was the thought last year that led us to conduct the Knoco Global Survey of Knowledge Management 2014.
nowledge Management (KM) is nearly two decades old, and yet it remains in many ways an immature discipline. There is no common definition of what KM involves, or how it should be addressed. Arguments still break out over its definition; what it should be called; and even whether it exists at all.
We surveyed nearly 400 knowledge managers from around the world, asking them detailed questions about their KM programs. When we started to analyse the results, it became clear that different industries have their own slants on the topic. The legal industry in particular stands out as different from the rest. Here are six of the main ways in which it differs, based on the survey results:
1. Legal has been doing KM longer than any other sector, but is less mature than many In terms of the length of time companies have been doing KM, the legal respondents to our survey topped the list. The average legal firm has been doing KM for 9.5 years – longer than oil and gas (8.7 years), consulting firms (8.5 years) and the military (7.4 years). However, in terms of KM maturity, legal falls down the list to 6th position. Only 20% of legal respondents said KM was “fully embedded,” for example, compared to 40% of those from consulting firms. LEGAL IT TODAY