Thanks to Nancy Dixon for alerting me to this US Army publication reporting quantified results from the online forums on their Battle Command Knowledge System.
"A BCKS survey of forum participants reported that the professional forums helped save more than 1,400 lives from June 2008 to June 2009. Nearly 2,500 of the more than 100,000 members of 12 forums responded to the survey conducted last year. The respondents also said the forums had conservatively saved them or their unit 6,749 labor hours from June 2008 -June 2009. Likewise, they estimated that the things they had seen, read or downloaded from the Forums saved the Army nearly $1.6 million".
6750 hours, $1.6 million and 1400 lives. Thats pretty good value!
The article goes on to say
The professional forums provide 24x7 access to online discussions, best practices and TTPs (tactics, techniques, procedures) that facilitate knowledge sharing, promote learning and accelerate decision making, all of which helps Soldier and unit readiness in combat situations in Iraq and Afghanistan. "The professional forums hosted by BCKS promote a culture of learning in the Army and play a vital role in forming agile and adaptive leaders," said Mr. Dale Ormond, deputy to the commanding general, Combined Arms Center and Fort Leavenworth. "The survey clearly shows the value Soldiers place on the knowledge they glean from the online discussions and documents in the Forums."