November 30, 2022

Read time: 4min

Knowledge management maturity: how well do you ‘know what you know’? 

Market Logic Team

How mature is your knowledge management?

When was the last time you evaluated your organization’s knowledge management maturity? If you’ve never done it, then you may be overlooking a foundational process that you quite frankly can’t afford to overlook. 

Knowledge management maturity models

Maturity models have been in use at the enterprise level for over a decade. In 2007, APQC developed a five-level framework for knowledge management maturity. In 2009, Boston Consulting Group (BCG) developed a four-stage framework for describing the progressive status of an insights department. Others have adapted the models further.

Overall, more mature organizations have data-driven insights fully embedded into employees’ daily actions and decisions across the business, and the organization can measure their ROI. 

Less mature organizations, on the other hand, are often just starting to realize they need better processes for knowledge management and knowledge sharing, relying mainly on ad-hoc knowledge management and knowledge sharing limited to one area of the business.

Stage 1: Ad-hoc, localized knowledge management processes

Organizations with low-level knowledge management maturity rely on ad-hoc, localized knowledge. People share knowledge in informal one-to-one exchanges; knowledge is buried in email threads, instant messaging, siloed hard drives, and people’s heads. Knowledge management focuses on basic document management without any dedicated IT infrastructure. This means there’s no accessible way to search the organization’s knowledge and data assets. 

Additionally, there’s a lack of strategy for insights management. Your company’s objectives for knowledge management are foggy, and funding is limited, but there is awareness of the value of insights. 

At this stage, your insights professionals are primarily service providers. They take orders without a budget, and there’s little to no measurement of ROI.

To level up from low-level knowledge management maturity, organizations must first define knowledge management goals. They can then create a strategy for developing an insights function that aligns with business goals. 

Stage 2: Repeatable insights management processes—still localized, but more strategic

Organizations with level-two insights management maturity will likely be developing some repeatable knowledge management practices and contributing more insights to the business, but those practices are still localized, limited to one team or project. 

At this stage, your insights professionals deliver research on short-term projects, like packaging and promotions. There may be some measuring of ROI at this stage, but it’s done in an inconsistent, qualitative manner. 

As your insights management program grows in maturity, you’ll likely have more visible executive and leadership support and recognition of the value of knowledge management. Knowledge management training may be provided at this stage, as well as incentives for employees to promote knowledge sharing and to meet knowledge management goals.

As you’ll see in the next stage of insights management maturity, the shift from level two to level three is significant. Many organizations implement the following steps to mature their insights function:

  1. Identify a knowledge repository.
  2. Take an inventory of all formal and informal knowledge repositories in your organization.
  3. Establish processes for capturing, publishing, and maintaining knowledge.
  4. Create a unified search strategy.

Stage 3: Scalable insights management, measurable ROI, strategic partners in the business

According to APQC, stage three is a milestone level for organizations. At this level, organizations achieve standardized insights management processes and measurable ROI. This is where you start to realize the true value of your insights function. 

Stage-three organizations have consistent processes, approaches, and technologies for capturing, transferring, accessing, and reusing insights. There’s standardized taxonomies and workflows. 

Leadership dedicates resources to knowledge management in this stage, and there’s usually a core insights team responsible for developing and implementing the organization’s insights function strategy. 

At this point, you know your organization’s unique barriers to knowledge sharing, and you’re actively and systematically addressing them. There’s training, accountability, and rewards integrated into your knowledge management processes. Your program has the foundation to be highly scalable, and your insights function begins to expand beyond the core team and beyond a service-provider function. With self-service access, insights professionals are freed from busy work so they can take on a more of a strategic partnership role in the business.

At this point, your insights platform pushes relevant insights to the right people at the right time, promoting a single source of truth to unify your organization in insights-driven decision making.

Stage 4: Agile and strategic, continuously improving source of competitive advantage

At stage four, your insights and knowledge management strategy is fully embedded into your operations. It’s no longer a separate “job” for employees. Essentially, your insights management program has spawned a robust knowledge-sharing culture. Your organization now has shared beliefs, attitudes, and norms that make insights-driven decisions “just the way we do things.”

It’s here where your insights objectives are fully aligned your business goals, and the insights function drives significant competitive advantage. 

The impact of measuring your insights

Knowing what maturity stage your organization is on will help you determine what you are doing well and where it need to improve. Insights executives can use the framework to help steer conversations with leadership and make the case for further investment in developing an insights capability.

If you want to go from ad-hoc knowledge management to a fully realized knowledge sharing culture that impacts daily decision making in your organization, check out Market Logic’s insights platform—a tool that can support you through every stage in the knowledge management maturity model.

Get regular insights

Keep up to date with the latest insights from Market Logic as well as all our company news in our free monthly newsletter.