The answer to this question depends on the stage that KM implementation has reached. I suggest some KPIs below, for each of the different stages of KM implementation.
During the early strategy and planning phase
KPIs are difficult during the strategy and planning phase, as the KM team have not yet delivered anything – they are still planning. At this stage there is probably only one objective; “Deliver a well-researched Knowledge Management strategy and implementation plan that has the support of the key business stakeholders“. This will be easier to accomplish if your key business stakeholders are acting as a steering team for the KM program. The KPI will be the level of support for the strategy.
During the piloting phase
Part of the purpose of the Knowledge Management pilots is to deliver tangible business value through operation of KM within the pilot areas, with a secondary purpose of refining the Knowledge Management Framework prior to roll-out. The primary objective during the piloting stage is therefore the amount of value delivered through pilots, and the target value should be determined through discussion with your steering team, and should be set at a level where, if you deliver this value, the steering team will commit to the next phase.
This was the primary KPI for the BP KM team during piloting in 1998, when we were charged with delivering $100m of value to the organisation through KM pilots.
The secondary KPI for the KM team at this stage should be the number of elements of the Knowledge Management Framework which have been tested in action within the business, with improvements made as required. The target should be 100%.
During KM roll-out and transformation
During the roll-out phase, purpose of the KM team is to spread the KM transformation across the entire organisation, while continuing to add business value. The team therefore has three primary KPIs,
The percentage of the organisation which has reached a defined KM level,
Activity metrics such as number and value of lessons, maturity of CoPs, and
The value added by KM to the business.
You can also add activity metrics such as the number of training courses run, the number of communities launched and so on.
During KM operation
After the roll-out and transformation phase, Knowledge Management becomes part of normal business, defined by a set of expectations within a Knowledge Management policy. At this stage, the role of the KM team is to support the business in compliance with the policy, and hence deliver value to the business. Suitable KPIs for the KM team would be the following;
The level of business compliance with the expectations in the KM policy
Support activity metrics (such as training courses run, KM role-holders coached etc)
Activity metrics such as number and value of lessons, percentage of embedded lessons, completeness currency of knowledge bases, maturity of CoPs, etc