Knowledge Management Still Has a Long Way to Go in European Organizations, IDC Says

COPENHAGEN, MAY 9, 2001 – Only 64% of European organizations have implemented an intranet, according to a recent IDC survey, and just 33% have implemented an extranet. The low adoption of these two solutions shows just how far European companies have to go in the adoption of knowledge management, technology that is designed to help companies deliver the right information to the right people at the right time.


IDC surveyed 405 organizations across Europe and found evidence of a clear north, south divide in Europe in terms of knowledge management adoption. "One explanation for this is the fact that Northern European countries are traditionally early adopters of software technologies and hence more advanced in terms of usage of software building blocks," said Nathaniel Martinez, analyst with IDC’s European Collaborative Technologies research program.

IDC expects extranet adoption to catch up with high intranet adoption within the next three years. Again there is a geographical divide. Swedish respondents are the most enthusiastic, with 78% and 54% having already deployed intranet and extranet technologies, respectively. U.K. respondents, despite usually being early adopters of collaborative technologies, seem the most reluctant to implement intranet and extranet technologies, with only 55% and 26%, respectively, having implemented these applications.

Only 65% of respondents declared they had already deployed a groupware platform, a critical component of the software knowledge management infrastructure. This is somewhat lower than would be expected, given the fact that groupware is now considered a mature technology.

Overall, British and Swedish respondents are the most advanced in deploying technologies supporting knowledge management, with Italian respondents lagging behind but clearly leading the other countries. "This gives a clear indication of the cultural hurdles knowledge management vendors have to be able to cope with. It appears that Southern European organizations still have to enforce information and knowledge sharing among employees, while this seems more natural in other European countries," Martinez said.

The survey shows the finance sector is the most mature for knowledge management, both in terms of software already in place and organizational culture responsiveness. The industry with the highest penetration rate is transport, telecoms, and media; 76% of the respondents in this sector said they use groupware. The retail industry uses groupware the least, with only 56% of respondents citing use.

"European organizations’ approach to knowledge management is not uniform. As a consequence, knowledge management vendors need to have flexible knowledge management products and services to adapt their overall solutions to the technology already in place, the organizational culture, and the responsiveness of each organization," Martinez said.

IDC’s bulletin 2001 IDC European Software End-User Survey: Ready for the Knowledge-Based Organization? (IDC #LG22H) provides valuable information on the deployment of software enabling knowledge management, particularly those industries that are most likely to use groupware solutions. This bulletin is available to purchase from your local IDC office.

About IDC

IDC delivers dependable, high-impact insights and advice on the future of ebusiness, the Internet, and technology to help organizations make sound business decisions. IDC forecasts worldwide markets and trends and analyzes business strategies, technologies, and vendors, using a combination of rigorous primary research and in-depth competitive analysis. IDC provides global research with local content through more than 700 analysts in 43 countries worldwide. IDC's customers comprise the world's leading IT suppliers, IT organizations, ebusiness companies, and the financial community. Additional information can be found at

IDC is a division of IDG, the world's leading IT media, research and exposition company.


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