A few weeks ago, I asked readers to vote on where PS organizations should be investing to improve performance. The early voting is showing readers believe knowledge management is where there is bang for the buck:
We know from our benchmarking that PS organizations invest about 3% of their revenues back into services engineering efforts. A subset of that investment goes into knowledge management infrastructure. Is this the right investment level? My observation is that PS organizations limit their investment in knowledge management infrastructure because they just don’t know what the return on investment truly is. Why is the return on knowledge management so unclear to PS organizations?
I am observing three common failure points for knowledge management within PS organizations:
1. Lack of Infrastructure
The first challenge facing PS organizations is lack of mature knowledge management infrastructure. Throwing documents into a central repository is not really knowledge management. My colleague, John Ragsdale, has written tons of articles on knowledge management infrastructure within support service organizations. He is now turning his gaze to how PS organizations can better leverage technology to manage information.
2. What Assets Matter?
The second challenge PS organizations face is a lack of understanding regarding the solution assets that really do make a difference when selling and delivering complex solutions. Do consultants get the greatest value from sample project plans or sample proposals? Or do sample deliverables really make the difference? It is rare for PS organizations to conduct regular project reviews that poll delivery consultants on what solutions assets they used and what assets were most valuable. This lack of data and insight makes it nearly impossible for PS organizations to judge what solution assets make the most sense to create.
3. Zero Enablement
Finally, I am more and more convinced the lack of return in knowledge management is being heavily influenced by a lack of enablement activities. PS organizations build out solution assets, throw them out to the field, and then hope for the best. Where is the love? How are delivery consultants trained to actually leverage the knowledge codified in solution assets? My newest colleague at TSIA, Maria Manning Chapman, has a background in education services. She is leading the TSIA Education Services discipline. Her motto is simple: Accessibility does not equal learning. In other words, simply making information available does not mean employees are actually internalizing the knowledge. To gain the big bang for the buck in knowledge management, PS organizations must manage both knowledge creation and knowledge dissemination. Two distinct motions.
So, votes are still coming in. Where do you believe PS organizations need to invest?