Following is the key findings from the latest Cambridge Information Network
(CIN) Survey & Think Tank. For further information please contact Steve
Loynes on 0181 242 4235, firstname.lastname@example.org.
LONDON, UK, 14 September 1999 -- Today the Cambridge Information Network
(CIN), a professional online network of 3,500 senior IT executives, released
its latest Think Tank research report entitled "The Knowledge Paradox". The
report finds that 85% of CIOs assert that managing knowledge can create a
competitive advantage. However, only 8% of companies have a knowledge
initiative that spans the enterprise and only 7% have CEOs that regard
Knowledge Management as a high priority.
CIN found that senior IT executives see strategic Knowledge Management as
the key to addressing the dynamics of the New Economy:
* 81% of businesses drive new products to market in less than two years
* 92% of companies operate across numerous geographic regions
* 10% average annual staff turnover creates a serious knowledge loss issue
"The paradox between the high level of need and want for strategic Knowledge
Management and the low level of actual implementation is startling," says Ed
Baum, President of CIN. "One of the central reasons for this situation is
that knowledge is intangible and it's a mind shift to get CEOs to mentally
add knowledge to the balance sheet. What we do know is that those companies
that crack strategic Knowledge Management will be those most likely to
succeed in the New Economy.
Financial justification and boardroom credibility are two of the five
biggest Knowledge Management challenges highlighted by the CIN Think Tank:
* Bean-counter mentality wins
Evaluating the benefits of managing knowledge is a key hurdle. Because
executives are typically concerned with the bottom-line, their practical
approach to business demands a financial analysis of managing knowledge.
CIN member Steven Mullins, Technical Director, Pacific Bell (United States)
says: "We have a very clear objective, which is to increase shareholder
value. In a world where we quantify or die, Knowledge Management is going to
be grass roots until we can come up with a way to demonstrate to the board
of directors that Knowledge Management means direct bottom line
CIN member Eugene Chapman, Director of Finance & Administration Systems, JT
International, formerly RJ Reynolds International (Switzerland) says: "I
think that when people start putting intellectual capital on the balance
sheet and publishing it to Wall Street, that is when Knowledge Management
will get some notice."
* "Knowledge" is Not Credible in the Boardroom
Respondents also reported that their CEOs could not identify with knowledge
as a credible asset. Only 38% of respondents felt that Knowledge Management
is a clear concept, suggesting that the term 'Knowledge Management' is a
hindrance in gaining senior executive support.
CIN member Wim Bouman, IT Controller, Friesland Coberco Dairy Foods
(Netherlands) says: "As a management fashion, Knowledge Management will come
to an end - all of these labels have their lifecycles. But as a concept it
* Top-Down Won't Work
Respondents were also very passionate that Knowledge Management projects
cannot be imposed on their populations from the top down. They believe that
grass roots efforts suffer fewer obstacles and have greater employee buy-in,
while top down efforts often stifle innovation.
Mark Hazlewood, Manager of Information Technology at Bluewater Engineering
(Netherlands) says: "The people down in the trenches have a better
understanding of what it means to have the right data at the right time."
* Cultural Challenges are Daunting
As an enterprise-wide Knowledge Management system impacts the company
business model and culture, it creates a lot of friction with existing
hierarchical 'no sharing' structures:
An anonymous CIN member, an IS Manager at a $900 million manufacturer
(France) contributes: "Sharing information should be a priority, but it is
not. In our market, they have made secrecy the first value in the corporate
culture. There is a maxim that you should know only what you need to know.
If you have such a culture, information sharing is a problem."
CIN member Lars Bjonnes, Director of Technology, Merkantildata (Norway)
says: "To be honest, we are not sure how to do it today. We are sure that
we have to change the culture. We have to make people behave in a different
way than they do today, but we are moving fast - maybe sometimes too fast."
* Solutions are Immature
The survey also found that existing technology solutions are basic building
blocks, requiring customisation and placing a significant burden on the
implementers. In addition, IT executives are eagerly awaiting the maturation
of some tools for collaboration and communication, like voice recognition,
in order to enable their employees to begin to work in fundamentally new
And finally: Europe Vs United States
The CIN Think Tank identified a further Knowledge Management trend - that
European companies are a step ahead of those based in the US. Whilst
European companies are also facing the 'Knowledge Paradox', they are ahead
of the US when it comes to an active pursuit of Knowledge Management (tools
in place, underway or attempted) versus a passive pursuit (implementation
planned or considered). Europeans also exhibited more experience of applying
Knowledge Management tools and technologies.
However U.S. companies appear to be ahead of Europeans in Internet-enabled
Knowledge Management technologies such as search engines and navigation
tools. But it will take smaller investments in time and effort for Europeans
to close that gap than it will for U.S. companies to get up to speed on more
mature Knowledge Management tools.
President of CIN Ed Baum says: "The implications for non-European companies
are vast. If the successful application of Knowledge Management is a
decisive competitive advantage, then European companies already have an
edge. Furthermore, Knowledge Management isn't static. Merging unstructured
with structured information is the next phase of Knowledge Management
evolution, especially as companies move to implement corporate portals.
Companies ahead today will likely be the leaders tomorrow."
Lex Dekkers, Worldwide Director of Knowledge Management Solutions at Compaq
Computer Corporation, a sponsor of the CIN Think Tank says "Enterprises are
in business to make money - to gain market share, beat the competition - to
win. That's why Knowledge Management is foremost on the minds of every
success-minded business today. Compaq takes a leadership role in helping
enterprise companies build global Knowledge Management solutions that
leverage existing IT investments and help them tap into their own wealth of
information -- transforming their business into a continuous computing
Kathy Curley, Executive Director of Lotus Institute, a sponsor of the CIN
Think Tank, adds: "It's fair to say that the New Economy asset is knowledge.
Those companies that supply their workforce with knowledge will see it
transformed into healthy bottom-line profits."
About the Research:
Led by Cambridge Information Network (CIN) - a division of Cambridge
Technology Partners - and jointly sponsored by Lotus Development Corporation
and Compaq, the research project was conducted online among 314
self-selected senior IT strategists, who are all members of CIN. CIN wanted
to know how companies are handling issues of intellectual capital and
intangible assets, and what CIOs are doing to turn these strategies into
action. For free copies of the report, readers should contact Christine
Marsh on email@example.com.
About Cambridge Information Network:
Cambridge Information Network (CIN) - a division of Cambridge Technology
Partners - is a professional online network of senior IT executives
providing the first Internet-based research, advisory and consulting service
specifically designed for corporations' lead IT strategists. CIN's
fast-growing membership of 3500 executives from around the globe (one third
from Europe) collaborate in a secure online environment to share
experiences, solve common problems, and exchange benchmarking data and other
information. For more information on CIN, or to become a CIN member, please
go to CIN on the Web: www.cin.ctp.com. Membership is free to qualified
About Cambridge Technology Partners
Cambridge Technology Partners provides management consulting and systems
integration services to transform its clients into e-businesses. Working in
collaboration with Global 2000 and high-velocity middle market companies,
Cambridge combines a deep understanding of New Economy issues with
integrated, end-to-end services and a proven track record of shared risk and
rapid, guaranteed delivery. Cambridge has more than 4,500 employees and 55
offices worldwide. Cambridge on the Web: http://www.ctp.com.
About the Sponsors:
Lotus Development Corporation, founded in 1982, is a subsidiary of IBM
Corporation. Lotus offers high quality software products and services that
reflect the company's unique understanding of the new ways in which
individuals and businesses must work together to achieve success. Lotus'
innovative approach is evident in a new class of applications that allow
users to access and communicate information in ways never before possible,
both within and beyond organisational boundaries. Lotus now markets its
products in more than 80 countries worldwide and provides numerous
professional consulting, support and education services through the Lotus
Compaq Computer Corporation, a Fortune Global 100 company, is the
second-largest computer company in the world and the largest global supplier
of computer systems. Compaq develops and markets hardware, software,
solutions, and services, including industry-leading enterprise computing
solutions, fault-tolerant business-critical solutions, enterprise network
storage products, commercial desktop and portable products and consumer PCs.
Compaq products are sold and supported in more than 100 countries through a
network of authorised Compaq partners. Customer support and information
about Compaq and its products are available at http://www.compaq.com.
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