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Zach Wahl breaks down KM by the numbers at KMWorld Connect 2020 

Too frequently, KM is regarded as a "soft" field and a "nice to have" within an organization. As a result, in these challenging economic times, successful KM initiatives must be tied to business returns and competitive advantages. In a presentation at KMWorld Connect 2020, titled "KM by the Numbers," Zach Wahl, CEO the consultancy Enterprise Knowledge, offered clear metrics for the value of KM.

KMWorld Connect, November 16-19, and its co-located events, covers future-focused strategies, technologies, and tools to help organizations transform for positive outcomes.

He introduced a 40-plus metric benchmark to assess your organization's KM maturity and determine where you are and where you'll receive the greatest business value.

To begin with, one of the key problems with knowledge management is that frequently no one has a really good description or definition of knowledge management. It is impossible to quantify the benefits of a KM transformation when people within an organization don't agree on what it is.

Additionally, he said, too often, people talk about KM outcomes and not business outcomes. But, to be successful, a KM program needs to be measurable in dollars and cents. Organizations need to tie KM strategies to value. In Enterprise Knowledge's view, "Knowledge management involves the people, culture, processes and enabling technologies necessary to capture manage, share, and find information," said Wahl.

According to Wahl, by focusing on quantifying the business value of KM in clear terms of hard ROI and meaningful returns for the organization you can ensure that KM will stay a priority for your organization.

Organizations need to identify the role of five factors and their components and importance, said Wahl. They are: People, Process, Content, Culture, and Technology.

In presenting a KM strategy, you need to explain what stakeholders (people who will benefit from the transformation) will get. But it is also important that you don't ask them to wait for the end of the road map to show value. This is how you get KM programs supported and funded.

When selling KM programs, don't focus on the KM outcomes, but instead focus on business outcomes. These include:

  • Improved productivity
  • Decreased cost and cost avoidance due to regulatory fines and lawsuits
  • Increased employee satisfaction and retention
  • Faster and better up-scaling of employees.
  • Improved customer satisfaction and retention
  • Improved delivery and sales
  • Increased collaboration and innovation
  • Future readiness

Future readiness may not seem to be a well-defined outcome or show hard ROI, but it is actually something that C-level executives are often interested in, in terms of enabling future innovation and AI initiatives, noted Wahl.

Replays of KMWorld Connect webinars will be made available for on-demand viewing.

Replays of KMWorld Connect webinars will be made available for on-demand viewing on or about November 24.

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