Metrics and Knowledge Management

I’ve been asked recently about metrics in knowledge management. Specifically, what are the things I like to measure. I do have a favourite. Diving down into the read count per topic or category and then looking further into what specific issues are being accessed most often can uncover potential improvements to products or services. Layers of complexity could be removed by redesigning the product or service for more intuitive use. Maybe the instructional documentation could be made clearer. Analysing metrics like these can help us improve our offering in a way that ultimately reduces the amount of support we need to provide. No wonder that’s my favourite.

But we need to make sure we’re measuring the right things for the outcomes that are most important. Let’s face it; proactive improvement is a bit of a luxury for many organisations, and indeed, the support environment is intensely reactive. It may be that employee engagement and retention is most important to your business; or customer satisfaction; or reduced time to market; or a reduction in mistakes or repetition. As an example, for expertise location, the measurement will ask “how many people have completed filling out their online profiles?”. Measurements around employee engagement will include the percentage of people active on the social enterprise tool, comment counts on forum and blog posts, number of “likes” and usefulness.

Decide what the specific objectives of your KM program will be, set the baseline and mark the goal. The focus of your knowledge management program will determine the metrics that matter.

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