This website covers knowledge management, personal effectiveness, theory of constraints, amongst other topics. Opinions expressed here are strictly those of the owner, Jack Vinson, and those of the commenters.

Intranet-based information is useless

A friend pointed me to this item from the Accenture press releases about a survey they've done: Managers Say the Majority of Information Obtained for Their Work Is Useless, Accenture Survey Finds:

NEW YORK and LONDON – Jan. 4, 2007 – Middle managers spend more than a quarter of their time searching for information necessary to their jobs, and when they do find it, it is often wrong, according to results of an Accenture survey released today.

The purpose of the online survey of more than 1,000 middle managers of large companies in the United States and United Kingdom was to uncover wide-ranging insights about the way they gather, use and analyze information.

The findings are entertaining, but not completely surprising

  • Managers spend up to two hours searching
  • 50 percent of information found is of no value
  • 59 percent say they don't see internal information that would be helpful to them
  • 53 percent say less than half of the information they receive in valuable
  • 36 percent say there is too much information, making the right information difficult to find

The solution that Accenture comes to as a result of these numbers is to create a central place to consolidate and manage key company information.  However, they completely miss the implications of the survey result that says 16 percent of respondents use "collaborative workplaces" to store their most valuable information.  I'm surprised it was that high.  It's not just a matter of stuff being difficult to find on company resources, people don't keep even their most important information in these shared spaces.  How can a company expect a new software package to change this behavior? 

That said, I agree with the general concept of making stuff easier to find for the people who need it.  If a portal will truly do that, then have at it.  Based on my experience, it really isn't the information people need so much as the connection to people who have access to the meaning behind the information.

The impact of lost knowledge

My wife in a book