How do you know KM is failing?

How do you know KM is failing in your organisation? This was a question raised yesterday at a workshop I ran a few years back at KM World.

FAIL by amboo who? on Flickr
Assuming you have introduced KM, embedded it into business processes, and the central KM team has effectively handed it over to the business, how can you tell whether this was successful, and that KM is alive and well?
This is an issue we faced in one organisation about 10 years ago, and the clue that KM was failing came through a series of metrics.
  • Attendance at KM training courses was dropping
  • The rate at which lessons were entering the lessons database was falling
  • Activity in the community of practice was decreasing 
  • At the same time, there was a change in the business metrics, and costs began to rise.
Of course it may have been coincidence that costs were rising at the same time as KM activity was falling, but all of these metrics gave us concern that KM was beginning to fail, and may have been having an adverse effect on business efficiency.  We therefore introduced a KM refresh program, aimed at the middle managers in order to engage them in clarifying and reinforcing the KM expectations.  Things picked up again, and the business metrics began to improve.
The way you can know KM is failing is through metrics. 
  • Activity metrics can show the drop-off of KM activity, 
  • Compliance measures can show that people are no longer doing whats expected of them in KM, and
  • Business metrics can show any associated business impact. 
Make sure you have a “KM dashboard” so you can track activity and spot the warning signs in time to take evasive action.
See our winter 2009 newsletter for more on metrics.

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Shared by: Nick Milton

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