Knowledge Management System Efficiency Measurement

By Monica Kohn   |   January 3, 2019
Knowledge Management System Efficiency Measurement
A successful knowledge management strategy contributes to achieving your objectives while enhancing operational performance and customer satisfaction.

By quantifying that your knowledge management strategy is improving performance, increasing customer satisfaction, and reducing costs, you will establish an explicit link between the knowledge management system and your overall goals.

How do you determine if your knowledge management system efficiency?

You can use a set of metrics to analyze your system based on three cause and effect angles:

  • Achieving objectives via outcome metrics
  • Providing value through performance metrics
  • Analyzing readiness through learning metrics

Achieving Your Objectives

One crucial goal during the implementation of a knowledge management strategy includes demonstrating that your investment will provide value to your organization. Can ROI be measured in a knowledge management system?

ROI can be demonstrated through benchmarking. This gives you a quantifiable measurement to justify the expenditure and show the effectiveness of your knowledge management strategy. This provides a framework for evaluating and tracking the strategy and identifying potential adjustments. A balanced scorecard will include metrics for both outcome and leading indicators.

Outcome metrics analyze the achievement of organizational goals. They evaluate past performance at various levels, and you can design a tailored set of outcome metrics to address your specific needs. Frequently, a financial analysis is appropriate in the metrics hierarchy for providing data on shareholder value for public corporations.

Measuring Performance

Performance metrics analyze the satisfaction of the system users. You may be investing considerable resources in tools and infrastructure to enable knowledge management across your organization. You want proof of its usefulness, value, and adoption. Your knowledge management system should make the user’s experience more streamlined and productive. You can utilize three primary categories of metrics for analyzing collaboration workspaces and attaining goals: usage statistics, workspace usability metrics, and business process and outcome measurements. These metrics include:

  • Usability. This measures ease of use, adequacy of support and training, confidence of users, workspace performance, and overall customer/user satisfaction ratings. Learning metrics analyze your company’s knowledge management training program and the degree by which knowledge management is consistently utilized across your organization. This depends upon how well your staff members use knowledge management principles, concepts, and techniques. This is a key element to a knowledge management strategy.
  • Business value. These metrics will demonstrate improved responses to rapid changes, the value of knowledge mined from collaboration, business process efficiency and improvement, and outreach of contributions.
  • Usage. This will measure the number of registered user accounts and the frequency of use.

You make a significant investment of both financial resources and time to implement a knowledge management system. With the right metrics, you can easily demonstrate the effectiveness of that investment.

Using Metrics to Measure Success

Knowledge management is now an accepted component in nearly every industry. Companies have high expectations for their strategy and investment to play a key role in sharpening their competitive edge. Measuring the effectiveness of your knowledge management strategy also involves quantifiable data. Indeed, measuring the value of your knowledge management strategy is an imperative element to determining if your expectations have been realized.

Metrics are the numerical measurements of key attributes that produce data about a particular phenomenon. They are critical to the advancement of business processes, and they provide the information to compare performance between time periods and individuals.

Knowledge Management Strategy Metrics

You most likely know the old saying well: “What cannot be measured cannot be managed.” While some areas of knowledge management are slightly more intangible, you have a variety of successful metrics that can be applied to knowledge management.

Principles of Metrics

Prior to adopting a metrics system, you need to clarify the questions those metrics should answer. Metrics are highly useful to answer several questions including these four topics:

  • Is the knowledge management software working, and if not, what needs to be adjusted?
  • Is the implementation on course, and if not, how do you get it back on track?
  • Are team members producing as expected?
  • Is the knowledge management delivering value to your company?

In addition, you want clarity about who will need the metrics. The metrics should be targeted to provide guidance for better decision-making, and most metrics need a baseline from which to measure performance. This will streamline the knowledge management measuring process.

Measuring Knowledge Management Implementation

Typically, you will want to measure how well the implementation of your knowledge management system is occurring. By running an assessment at the beginning of your knowledge management implementation, you will produce several baseline metrics, which will help determine improvement of business processes. An appropriate protocol will gauge several elements of the knowledge flow within your organization. This will enable you to pinpoint obstacles and blockers to that knowledge flow. Administering the assessment later gives you data on your progress.

Measuring Knowledge Management Value

This is a significant metric. This is where you can quantifiably justify the investment and implementation of your knowledge management system. You will use these to demonstrate the added value obtained and gain continued support from all areas of the company. How does this measure value? Assess an area of your business that is lagging due to a lack of knowledge, obtain a baseline metric, and then introduce knowledge management in that area with a pilot project. Take measurements throughout the process to establish benchmark changes. The objective is to assess the financial value on learning situations.

Measuring Knowledge Management Compliance

When you adopt a knowledge management framework in your organization, you need to establish clear accountabilities and expectations through the knowledge management standards and policies. You can choose to measure how your team members are complying with the established expectations, and a dashboard can be targeted to track various projects within your company to determine that compliance. You may also institute similar dashboards across other business units within the organization.

Measuring Knowledge Management Activity

Another very useful area of knowledge management strategy metrics is activity-based measurements. The types of potential metrics include:

  • Questions asked per month on your Q&A or discussion forum
  • Answers per question on your Q&A or discussion forum
  • Best practices submitted monthly on an online best practice sharing database
  • Frequency of update of best practices
  • Lessons submitted monthly on an online lessons learned system
  • Frequency of updates on standard operating procedures based on new lessons
  • Number of open/closed lessons
  • Number of users of knowledge base
  • Time taken to close lessons
  • Number of wiki editors
  • Frequency of update of wiki
  • Number of active community members
  • Number of total community members
  • Number of knowledge management champions
  • Number of people being trained in knowledge management

Measuring Business Outcomes

You need continual business process improvement, and your knowledge management strategy will help you assess those improvements. Your results should see strong growth as you adopt, implement, and deploy your knowledge management system. Improvements may develop more quickly in certain areas, and that allows you to assess those successes and apply them in areas lagging behind a bit. It is a constant, positive process.