So now that my company has decided to embark on a Knowledge Management (KM) path the inevitable question is: How do you measure success of the KM program? From the research I have done there seems to be no easy answers. The main issues are:
- KM is a soft subject, it enables many different activities within a Professional Services organization but is not directly responsible for these activities.
- Direct impact of KM on hard metrics such as Profitability, Resource Utilization, Resource Productivity, Margin etc are hard to attribute directly to KM, as any number of factors can influence these areas.
- Collection of metrics can prove to be just as difficult as determining the appropriate metrics.
From the research I’ve done and conversations with my Board and other individuals I’ve come up with a categorized system of metrics.
- Indirect: These are metrics that KM has some degree of impact on but cannot be directly and solely attributed to KM activities. Such metrics include, Year over Year or Quarter over Quarter increase in:
- Overall Revenue
- Other metrics that are measurable at a business unit level
- Revenue from partners
- Direct: These are metrics that KM has a direct impact on and can be recognized as having contributed to. Capture of these metrics may require specialized tools or surveys. Metrics can include:
- Employee satisfaction with finding information
- Enhanced Customer & Employee collaboration
- Enhanced Employee & Employee collaboration
- Reduced ramp up time for new employees/partners
- Program: These are metrics about the KM program itself, in my case the Professional Services KM program.
- Increase in the number of Project Reviews
- Number of Knowledge assets grows
- Increase in the number Communities of Practice
- Number of hours spent by consultants on KM capture, update and use