Knowledge sharing platforms

consulting firms
New answer on Sep 19, 2021
4 Answers
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Anonymous A asked on Sep 17, 2021

Why do firms ask project teams to sanitize data and deliverables before uploading them to internal knowledge sharing platforms? Isn’t it more useful for firm consultants if they know who the client was, and especially if they’re working with the same client? If it’s for client confidentiality reasons, arent there NDA type forms you sign when you join the firm anyway?

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Cristian
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Content Creator
replied on Sep 18, 2021
Highest recommendation rate / Top McKinsey coach / 100% success rate at >4 sessions / Honest feedback: no sugar-coating

That's interesting. I actually asked the same question when I joined. 

What I then learned is that in theory (and more often than not in practice), big consulting firms should have internal ‘chinese walls’ (yes, strange, but that's the phrased that's commonly used) to protect knowledge from one client service team to another. Basically a company like McKinsey or BCG or whichever is likely to work with multiple large clients in an industry, even if they are competitors (e.g., Vodafone, Orange and Telekom at the same time). Now the point is that if you are a BCG consultant you want to share your experience to help other colleagues working in the telecom industry, but you don't want to disclose specific things you did for Vodafone that might influence the decision-making and recommendations of your colleagues serving Orange. So then you share just the knowledge nugget and not anything that could help identify the client. Does that make sense? 

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Sofia
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replied on Sep 18, 2021
McKinsey San Francisco | Harvard graduate | 5+ years of coaching | >90% candidate success rate | Personalized approach

Hello,

In my experience working at McKinsey, this was for client confidentiality reasons. I believe in most projects you have to sign some paperwork saying that only sanitized data can be shared outside the project itself due to data security and confidentiality reasons. Moreover, larger companies like MBB often have consultants serving competing clients, so you can see why neither the clients nor the consultants serving them would want to share unsanitized information on a common platform, if it has a chance of being seen by someone working for their direct competition. So essentially sanitizing the data allows for helpful insights to be shared across projects while protecting client confidentiality and not giving anyone an unfair advantage.

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Hagen
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replied on Sep 18, 2021
Current Bain & Company Project Leader and interviewer | 250+ interviews conducted | 6+ years of coaching and mentoring

Hi there,

This is indeed an interesting question which is probably relevant for quite a lot of users, so I'm happy to give you my perspective on that:

Complementary to what other coaches said, the aim is to share the overall approach, methodologies and insights gathered within the company while maintaining client confidentiality.

Probably all consulting companies work for competing clients in sequence or in parallel. Thus, in order to prevent infringing client confidentiality, sanitizing documents for company-wide use is an easy method to do so. On the contrary, relying on the individual employee to sanitize all information before using it with a different client is a risk companies are not - understandably - willing to take.

I hope this helps,

Hagen

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Ian
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replied on Sep 19, 2021
MBB | 100% personal interview success rate (8/8) and 95% candidate success rate | Personalized interview prep

Hi there,

Trust but verify.

As an employer liable to be sued for hundreds of millions of dollars for leaking of sensitive information, would you trust thousands of employees to do the right thing?

Think about it: the purpose of those repositories is to share knowledge. There's no need to know the specific client etc. to get 90% of the knowledge. If you need to know more, you can call up the team that worked on the project!

The risk is just far too high that a slide gets accidentally copy-pasted for another client with previous client info still on there. Or, for a disgruntled employee to download all of the content and make it public.

Or

Or

The list goes on :)

Essentially, it's super high risk for minimal reward.

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Cristian gave the best answer

Cristian

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