Metrics and Knowledge Management

This article has been moved here…..

For the longest time ( well, since a couple of weeks ago ) , i’ve been trying to come to grips with how Knowledge Management in theory differs so much from actual practice in corporates.

My previous posts on corporate KM and ROI on KM are an indication of my thoughts on this subject. As those of you who practice KM in the corporate world know, the success of any initiative is determined by its ROI.

The problem of addressing ROI is one which we face on a daily basis. The question they all ask “How do you determine , in numbers , the effect of a KM program?”.

The basis of any analysis is numbers, and the process of collecting “meaningful” numbers, metrics. So, how do you gather metrics on Knowledge Management initiatives? and by that i dont mean how many hits you get on your portal or which document was used the most. These numbers do not mean anything unless put in meaningful context.

While metrics are important there isnt any definite way to capture the benefits of KM. Due to the variable nature of Knowledge a standardized metrics capture process would not give a clear picture of the benefits of knowledge transfer and its re-use.

Now while metrics in KM is a very vague subject, trying to quantify knowledge transfer in a large organization where just getting knowledge to flow is such a challenge, seems an impossible task.

Though at the end of the day its a numbers game, and without metrics backing knowledge management initiatives in the corporate arena, management buy-in seems bleak.

So, for those of you out there who have managed to implement, successfully or otherwise, a KM metrics methodology please feel free to leave comments.

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3 Responses to Metrics and Knowledge Management

  1. arturs says:

    Knowledge metrics, KM metrics cover not only organizational but also deeply personal issues. it is about a design of company’s attitude to its knowledge workers and far beyond it.

    To calculate the ROI of a KM initiative, foresighting the uniqueness of business will be high on agenda. Aspects related to knowledge of (business company) service provider, workers, clients and ‘‘invited guests’ that use/would use deliverables can be integrated meeting values, motivation, interests and objectives of parties on the move.

  2. Matt Moore says:

    Arjun – I would agree with Arthur that metrics & ROI are not solely rational activities. I would appreciate your comments on this: http://engineerswithoutfears.blogspot.com/2007/04/return-on-investment-other-dramas.html

  3. Arjun Thomas says:

    Arturs,

    Agree with your statement, while it sounds good in theory. How difficult is it to actually translate what you described above into metrics and go about capturing it?

    – Arjun.

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