Thursday 12 March 2015

What are the measurable benefits of KM?

What are the business metrics where Knowledge Management has delivered value? This is one of the questions we addressed in our recent survey of Knowledge Management, and the results are very interesting. 

286 of our respondents (Knowledge Managers from a wide range of industries, company sizes and geographies) answered the question "What tangible benefits have you seen so far from Knowledge management? Choose all that apply".

The results are shown below. 

The most common benefit, identified by over 3/4 of those surveyed, is a reduction in time to find information. Although this is a relatively small benefit - perhaps an order of magnitude or two less than the other benefits - its should be common to all KM programs. 

This is followed by four benefits quoted by over 100 respondents:

  • Reduced time to competence for new staff
  • Reduced project or operational costs
  • Reduced project or activity cycle time
  • Improved customer satisfaction
Each of these should be measurable, and provided you have a good pre-KM benchmark, you should be able to measure the impact of your KM program.

We also asked the respondents about the softer benefits. The answers to the question "In which of these areas do you believe KM has added intangible value? (choose all that apply)" are shown below.. 

Two answers were chosen significantly more than the others;
  • Increased employee satisfaction, and
  • Increased leadership understanding of business issues.
The results of the survey will be useful to all Knowledge Managers looking to make a case for Knowledge Management, whether this is a business case or a logical case. It may help you pick the metrics to use to measure KM impact. 

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