In order to understand the real value and associated benefits of corporate knowledge management (KM) strategic initiatives and programs, it is crucial to assess its impact (qualitative and quantitative) on the more direct outcomes of the business and support activities it supports. Like most business activities customized metrics need to be employed to effectively monitor, manage the underlying goals and objectives.

The starting point in designing an effective metrics activity is to understand and appreciate the organization’s KM objectives and determine metrics that are able to pinpoint and measure success throughout the enterprise. When an organization creates and utilizes metrics, tracking the success of KM and showing value and return on investment (ROI) become straightforward tasks. Important considerations in designing a KM metrics and measuring system include:

1. Is the KM initiative meeting the agreed objectives and goals and aligned with the enterprise business strategy?

  • What are the responsibilities of the governance stakeholders?
  • What are the responsibilities of the end user stakeholders?
  • Are there any time-sensitive timeframes in sourcing, accessing, creating and assessing KM-centric metrics data by the responsible stakeholders?

2. Who are the governance and end user stakeholders of KM and what are their responsibilities?

3. What methods and tools should be used to locate, compile, and analyze KM measurement data?

KM Metrics & Measurement Framework

A KM metrics and measurement framework usually includes the following activities.

  • Monitor KM activities for progress compared to plans
  • Gather & Assess evidence of impact (positive and negative)
  • Control use of resources for new KM program phases (financial and human)
  • Communicate with stakeholders and retain their dedicated support and involvement
  • Learn from past activity to feed into new KM initiative plans (Lessons Learned)

Knowledge Compass Approach

The Knowledge Compass approach to assist clients in creating a KM Metrics and Measurement strategy and framework include:

1. Understand the enterprise’ KM centric activities and requirements for effective metrics, monitoring and measurement activities:

  • Objectives, goals, and strategies of the KM initiative
  • KM business (and/or support) activities to monitor and measure
  • Metrics to monitor and measure
  • Measuring criteria (Business Rules)
  • Data and information sources
  • Employee metrics uses
  • Decisions resulting from KM metric assessment and reporting
  • Analysis methods and tools

2. Develop a KM Metrics & Measurement strategy in alignment with the current KM initiative strategy and objectives.

3. Conduct ROI and Risk Analysis to support strategy and plan.

4. Design and set-up a KM Metrics & Measurement Framework as the supporting structure for the new KM metrics and measurement activities.

5. Create business and system specifications for the KM Metrics and Measurement process and system.

6. Develop a KM Metrics and Measurement Implementation plan.

7. Develop and deploy KM Metrics and Measurement system and supporting process.

The Bottom Line

The value and results of KM are only hypothetical unless their effectiveness and impact on the organization’s business are identified and the results presented for assessment and constructive action. By defining and publicizing KM results, employees’ are encouraged and more likely to behave in positive ways that contribute to the on-going achievement of successful KM results.

The key benefits typically realized from a successful KM metrics and measurement system includes:

  • Drive desired KM positive behaviors (organizational, individual and teams objectives and goals (align individual with organization measures).
  • Enable a structured ongoing assessment of KM investment business impact (link KM measures to business results).
  • Identify changes needed to enrich the KM initiative’ approach and execution.

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