Knowledge Management in Professional Services – the song remains the same

Last week, I found myself at Knowledge Management in Professional Services.

Some comments:

  • There has been a lot of M&A activity in the legal and engineering consulting sectors. Since 2010, Norton Rose Fulbright has grown by M&A / JV from a set of largely national firms to an international network. SKM has been acquired by Jacobs and GHD has made a number of US acquisitions.
  • This M&A activity has led to more globalised firms. While the ‘official’ working language for these organisations remains English, they also have to cope with increasingly linguistic and cultural diversity among staff. In some respects, this is simply professional services following their clients – “following” implying they are both tracking them and also trailing them.
  • Global M&A also means integrating systems and processes and trying to forge common standards while being sensitive to local regulatory and client needs.
  • Operationalising and embedding KM activities so they are part of work rather than an optional extra remains an issue everywhere. This is not a new observation but it is an important one.
  • Getting sponsorship, aligning with business strategy, showing value, measurement are cropped up (as they always do at events like this).
  • Technology integration was also a common theme. Not just from M&A activity but trying to integrate CRM, social, document mgt, records mgt, email, etc to make life simpler rather than more complicated for staff.
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