In the same week as the 2016 Janders Dean Legal Transformation Conference will be held in Sydney (July 27-28), leaders in legal management consulting and transformation advisory services – Janders Dean – have announced the completion of a new Knowledge Management industry research project and accompanying analysis report focused on the Asia region.

Janders Dean recently canvassed senior Asia-based Knowledge Management staff at global, international and regional firms for their views on Knowledge Management focus, strategic alignment and priorities. Respondents represent decision makers and influencers from large law firm Knowledge Management functions across Hong Kong, Singapore and China. We estimate the respondent-pool for this inaugural survey to be up to 50% of the dedicated legal Knowledge Management workers in the region. A majority of respondents occupied Professional Support Lawyer roles or other senior positions, including regional and firm-wide functional heads.

Our analysis of the research results reveals some very unique challenges and opportunities for Legal Knowledge Management functions in Asia.

Clearly valued by their firms and teams, Knowledge Management functions continue to be a feature of large law firm organisational structures in the Asia region. Although some have been in place for many years, a large proportion still appear to be in “build” mode (what we call “KM101”) – generating content, dealing with infrastructure and working to establish positive knowledge sharing cultures.

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As these functions mature, it is critical for leaders to pinpoint the right moment to move from an emphasis on content generation to more strategic activities directed at driving collaboration, efficiency and client value. In some firms, the absence of a firm-wide vision for Knowledge Management’s value proposition, and outdated perceptions among firm decision makers of Knowledge Management’s ability to help drive competitive advantage, could make this transition a particular challenge.

A significant proportion of respondents indicated that their firms are committed to Asia as a priority for future growth and investment for the business overall – more hires, more clients, more offices, and generally more investment. For some, the level of strategic involvement of Knowledge Management functions in Asia with the development of a global knowledge strategy seemed out of step with that priority. In these circumstances, Knowledge Management runs the risk of becoming a cost centre disconnected from the firm’s strategy. We strongly believe that this will result in many missed opportunities to tap into the enormous potential already existing within the region to drive client value, process improvement and innovation.

Please register your details to receive a full copy of the report. To discuss the results, please contact Stephanie Abbott via email stephanie.abbott@jandersdean.com