I have been working with my colleagues and IBM to launch an industry benchmarking council for the consumer electronics industry vertical. The intent is to focus on collecting metrics around 10-15 KPIs related to the service after sales process and then have the group continue to meet, share best practices, etc. around other pressing topics. As I was preparing, I read some amazing stats in "Irresistable! Markets, Models, and Meta-Value in Consumer Electronics" (by George Bailey and Hagen Wenzek) about the industry - it's expected to hit $130+B in revenue this year but their product margins are razor thin (in the 0.4% to 3% range). My favorite passage in the book said something like - global electronics companies have changed the landscape of the world by making communication ubiquitous and instantaneous, but now they have to change their business models to fit the landscape they created.
This got me to thinking - in 8 years of studying and working with organizations from Fortune 500, govt, and associations, I've never read about or worked with a consumer electronics organization on KM. Sure, HP, Microsoft, and Dell get written up, but I'm thinking about the Sony's, Pioneers, Ericssons, etc. My guess is that most are very engineering driven, innovation oriented companies, so where's the KM? I would imagine that the industry is facing many of the same pressures that Big Pharma is today with outsourcing, globalization, specialization, and compressed cycle times. Sounds like a perfect environment for communities of practice, best practice transfer, and expertise location to me. I'll be interested to find out more as we get organizations inside the walls here in the next few months.