Most of us—that is, Knowledge Workers—rarely do new work. This unhappy revelation comes from the recent Coveo Knowledge Rework Report which surveyed 412 Knowledge Workers and 337 Knowledge Management Practitioners across North America earlier this year. Only 7% of Knowledge Workers report doing new work or solving new challenges more than 75 percent of the time. Nearly 60 percent said they do new work less than 25 percent of the time.
Knowledge Managers know this problem exists but not to the greater extent employees report. Thirty-one (31) percent of KM Practitioners believe that Knowledge Workers spend 25 to 50 percent of their time on unique work. In reality, only 19 percent of Knowledge Workers report that to be true. And while 58 percent of Knowledge Workers said they do new work less than 25 percent of the time, only 41 percent of KM Practitioners felt the same was true, a whopping 17% difference.
How can this great amount of rework be happening, when the very definition of a Knowledge Worker is one who creates new knowledge and uses existing knowledge? Quite simply, Knowledge Workers cannot access what they need, at the moment they need it. And yet, they know that if they could, they would become more proficient and organizational performance would soar.
We asked both Knowledge Workers and KM Practitioners what would happen if they could reuse 98 percent of their organization’s knowledge, personalized for their use. We used 98 percent as a proxy for “most of” the rich knowledge organizations possess, alluding to the Long Tail of Enterprise Knowledge and the 98 percent rule. The 98 percent rule (see more in my blog here) projects that employees would reuse, at least a handful of times each quarter, 98 percent of their company’s knowledge and information, providing they experience the same type of contextual information that Amazon serves up to its customers.
The answers are astounding:
Forty-one (41) percent of KM Practitioners and 31 percent of Knowledge Workerspredict increases in sales of more than 25 percent from better knowledge reuse.
Sixty-seven (67) percent of KM Practitioners and 49 percent of Knowledge Workers believe that if Knowledge Workers are able to find and build on prior work, instead of reinventing the wheel, their company’s ability to deliver better, more innovative products and services would increase by at least 25 percent.
Fifty-eight (58) percent of KM Practitioners and 48 percent of Knowledge Workers believe this ability would result in a minimum 25 percent increase in overall profitability.
Both groups understand why knowledge workers are constantly doing rework rather than creating new knowledge or reusing the rich knowledge organizations possess. It’s difficult for employees to find the information they need to build and augment rather than reinvent. In fact, 86 percent of KM Practitioners and 67 percent of Knowledge Workers agree that Knowledge Workers have trouble finding the information they need, when they need it, three-quarters of the time.
There are myriad documented benefits to providing the right access to the right information at the right time, from onboarding employees in two months vs two yearsat a F50 life sciences company to becoming even more competitive at a defense contractor, and many more.
What would your organization accomplish if it were able to bring personalized information from across your IT infrastructure to employees at the point of need?