Experimenting with e-resources

In a large, distributed organisation like KPMG, knowledge is business critical.

Turning knowledge into value at KPMG

KPMG is an organisation of 140,000 people distributed in 150 countries.  As Global Knowledge Business Leader, Ceri Hughes is responsible for delivering core elements of KPMG's knowledge strategy.  Her colleague Alex Chapel leads the organisation's drive to foster effective internal social communications.  Together they described the progress KPMG is making in helping ensure the effectiveness of the workforce through knowledge sharing and collaboration.   

Effective knowledge management is acknowledged as business critical to KPMG.  A better connected workforce will help the organisation retain and strengthen client relationships and maintain competitive advantage.  The key challenge is to enable the distributed population of KPMG to connect with each other, and with knowledge and content. The company wants to 'do it once, and do it well'.  

There are three key strands of KPMG's knowledge strategy - content, connectivity and culture.  The key enablers are technology, change management and organisation.

Current experiments

The ability to respond to customer requests rapidly is critical.  It can be a challenge, in a large, distributed organisation, in a traditionally risk-averse sector, to discover what has been done before.  KPMG is experimenting with ways to enable networking through social collaboration.  Social networking can also help bring new members of staff up to speed quickly.  Efforts are being made to move away from 'one to many' publishing models to more collaborative blogging and wiki creation.   Moves to discussion forums is greatly reducing the amount of email usage.  The SharePoint MySite encourages the creation of personal profiles - there are already 85,000 of them. 

Next steps - mobile, social and improved search

KPMG works with a huge range of external content providers and has been working to ensure that the most needed sources are licensed and delivered via mobile devices.  The mobile and distributed workforce will be at the forefront of content strategy.  Plans are being made to make internal content mobile too.  There will be focused investment further to end user input.  SharePoint and other knowledge portals will be overlaid with more social features and improved search experiences and at the same time client information must be protected.

Key lessons

  • Can you demonstrate business value?
  • Use tools judiciously - sometimes less really is more
  • Experiment
  • Have clear 'rules of the road' for users
  • Involve the right stakeholders (at KPMG for example, risk managment and IT)
  • Involve all business groups

Image courtesy of Bob Doran via Flickr.