How to go from insights to impact

Measuring the ROI of Knowledge Management

How to go from insights to impact

Measuring the ROI of Knowledge Management

Last updated
July 26, 2023
Written by
Elisa Reggiardo

Capturing insights and know-how while fostering a culture of collective wisdom is the ultimate knowledge management goal. Consequently, having a platform that grants the space to funnel in, hold and document this collective wisdom seems like the most reasonable choice. But things are not that simple.

Is knowledge management worth it? Can't we just keep using Google Docs instead of paying for a dedicated tool? We use Slack for so many things - why not rely on our communication go-to place for knowledge as well? What’s actually the ROI? These are common questions that roam the minds of your cofounders, the finance team, investors, and even yourself, and in this blog, we will dive deep into how to go from insights to impact: measuring the ROI of knowledge management.

What’s the business impact of knowledge management?

While it's tempting to focus on quick wins and immediate growth, it's equally important to consider the long-term sustainability of these actions. Ultimately, you want to bring on something that people want and use. The ultimate success when adding a knowledge management platform is to make it become the single source of truth for your teams, the company’s brain.

Think of it this way, when you’re launching your new feature or product, you’re looking to understand if this product is going to be well received, if people are gonna buy it or not… but what really provides you with the key indicator of whether the product or feature has product market fit is the stickiness. Launching a trendy product that people drop out almost instantly, it’s a waste of both time and money.

Well, the same happens when incorporating a knowledge management platform. You want to not only become an exciting platform for the team to use but actually grow into the day-to-day of your team's performance. You want knowledge management to stick and generate a positive impact in your company.

To assess the current impact that knowledge management is having within your company or team, you can ask yourself a couple of questions:

  • Are teams actively sharing knowledge?
  • Is the knowledge documented or held with the stakeholders?
  • Does our collective wisdom feel repetitive or stagnated?
  • If several team members were to leave the company tomorrow, do we have documentation to refer to in order to keep the wheel spinning?
  • Are our team members finding answers to their questions in our knowledge base?

Suppose your answer was “no” for three or more of the questions above; in that case, you probably want to implement a knowledge management strategy. One that resonates with your team's needs and actually impacts your team’s efficiency. You may be wondering: but… how?

Keep reading.

Goals & ROI of knowledge management.

Now that you know what the potential impact can be let’s attach goals and ROI to the impact of knowledge management.

Make it actionable

When investing in knowledge management, aligning your goals with your organization's knowledge-sharing objectives is crucial. For example, you can aim to increase the number of knowledge base contributors by 20% within the next quarter or implement a cross-functional knowledge-sharing program by the end of the year. By having robust, attainable, and measurable goals, you can push the boundaries of progress while remaining realistic.

But remember, when setting the goals, you want to make sure your stakeholders are included in this process. You want your team to be inspired by the growth potential of knowledge and pursue a culture of collective wisdom. That’s why sharing this process will likely make them feel involved and accountable and, sooner than later, engage more with your documentation culture.

Keep it real

Set dynamic, ambitious, but attainable goals. Like in any marathon, winning consists of achieving a desirable tempo run, a comfortably hard or challenging pace of continuous improvement. This can be translated into setting short-term, medium-term, and long-term goals, and as you achieve short-term objectives, you can use insights and lessons learned to define new targets and adapt your strategy.

After all, you are looking to make sure you’re carving out the pathway for your team to see the value of knowledge management so they are able to incorporate it as a natural step within their scope of work.

Measure what you can

A happier, more productive, and wiser company ultimately stimulates your company’s growth. Remember that cofounder, investor, revenue team, or your critical self asking: Is it worth it?

Even with challenges in quantifying the ROI of people, culture, and intellectual capital directly, shared knowledge generates a multiplying impact that resonates across your organization. The cost of learning, the ramping up of employees, speed of pivoting, talent retention, and improved decision-making are some of the metrics that can be calculated to attach ROI to your knowledge management investment directly.

Key Takeaways

  • Long-term sustainability: A knowledge management system fosters a culture of collective wisdom, ensuring knowledge is captured and nurtured for long-term success.
  • Understanding specific needs: Dive deep into your company's needs beyond surface-level requirements to maximize the system's benefits.
  • Impact on productivity and growth: Active knowledge sharing, centralized wisdom, and qualitative feedback boost productivity, scalability, and revenue growth.
  • Setting goals: Set goals that focus on embracing the system, leading to a happier, more productive company with measurable ROI.
  • Multiplying measurable impact: Shared knowledge has a multiplying effect, enhancing decision-making, talent retention, and agility.

In conclusion, adopting a knowledge management system within your team is a strategic decision that pays off in the long run. By fostering a culture of collective wisdom, empowering your team members to dedicate time to document knowledge only they carry, and implementing a well-aligned platform, companies can harness the power of shared knowledge to drive growth, boost productivity, and achieve tangible, sustainable success.

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Written by

Elisa Reggiardo is part of the Marketing team at Slite where she leads the Partner Marketing motions. She is also a mom, author, and a big fan of delicious wine.

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