Measuring the Return on Knowledge Management
For knowledge management to yield maximum benefit the organization must properly fund and support the initiative. The lack of support is the primary reason for the failure of knowledge management projects.
The single largest asset of a service organization is the collective experience and expertise of its staff. The ability to harness this asset through formal knowledge management processes and tools presents a significant opportunity for service delivery efficiency, yet it comes with a cost.
It is the need to access this expertise that compels customers to initiate a service request. The successful response to a service request depends upon the efficiency by which the appropriate knowledge can be transferred to the customer.
Like the oil under the ground, knowledge assets wait to be extracted, refined, and leveraged. Effective knowledge management – the processes to capture, enhance and reuse an organization’s experience and expertise – offers the means to optimize service efficiency and maximize customer success through effective knowledge transfer. Whether through live assistance or self-services, knowledge is the fuel that drives service efficiency, innovation, and customer success.
The Need for Cost-Benefit Validation
Knowledge management appears to make good business sense and has led to many formal and informal knowledge management initiatives. Informal knowledge management initiatives have largely been possible due to the minimal investment required to get started and make meaningful progress. Formal projects often require more investment and the accompanying business justification.
Informal knowledge management initiatives are effective at leveraging common knowledge to address frequently asked questions, yet they are not capable of maximizing the return on knowledge assets. As awareness of the power of harnessing intellectual assets grows and demands on knowledge resources increase, there must be a concerted effort to invest in the tools, technologies and people to achieve sustainable knowledge management activities.
For knowledge management to yield maximum benefit the organization must properly fund and support the initiative. The lack of support is the primary reason for the failure of knowledge management projects. Under funding of knowledge management initiatives is due in part to the difficulty in quantifying the tangible business impact from the efforts to capture and reuse content.
As knowledge management matures, it is essential to conduct a formal cost – benefit analysis to determine the proper level of investment. Continued success will come from efforts to enhance content creation processes, employ enhanced technologies and deliver tangible business value by leveraging knowledge assets. This research report introduces an approach to measure the return from knowledge management initiatives.
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Successful knowledge management is not achieved by chance, rather it is a function of understanding the scope of the required effort, establishing a clear vision of the expected benefits, and securing the support and resources necessary to execute. The formulation of a successful knowledge management strategy is based on providing answers to five fundamental questions.
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More than two-thirds of customers indicate that they attempt to help themselves when they need technical assistance. A general web search (e.g. Google or Bing) is the most likely first action customers take when attempting to resolve technical support issues on their own. In general customers find good information and are reasonably satisfied with their results. This ServiceXRG study examines the expectations and perceptions of 588 individuals that use self-help resources to resolve technical support issues.
There is no limit to the number of knowledge management metrics that can be measured. There are however a finite number of metrics that must be measured. Essential metrics are those that provide insight into performance against established knowledge management goals...