In EK CEO Zach Wahl's presentation from KMWorld Connect 2020, he discusses the importance of putting KM in terms of business value and ROI. The presentation details EK's Proprietary KM Maturity Benchmark, a process to understand your organization's current, and target state, and specific metrics regarding KM ROI and Business Value.
Discuss how to benchmark KM.
Define KM business cases and ROI.
Establish the challenge of KM.
FOUNDER AND CEO, ENTERPRISE KNOWLEDGE
KM STRATEGY & DESIGN TAXONOMY & ONTOLOGY DESIGN
TECHNOLOGY SOLUTIONS AGILE, DESIGN THINKING & FACILITATION
CONTENT & BRAND STRATEGY KNOWLEDGE GRAPHS, DATA MODELING, & AI
ENTERPRISE SEARCH INTEGRATED CHANGE MANAGEMENT
ENTERPRISE LEARNING CONTENT MANAGEMENT
HEADQUARTERED IN ARLINGTON, VIRGINIA, USA
ESTABLISHED 2013 – OUR FOUNDERS AND PRINCIPALS HAVE BEEN PROVIDING KNOWLEDGE
MANAGEMENT CONSULTING TO GLOBAL CLIENTS FOR OVER 25 YEARS
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(2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019, 2020)
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BEST PLACES TO WORK (2017, 2018, 2019, 2020)
ARLINGTON ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT’S
FAST FOUR AWARD – FASTEST GROWING COMPANY (2016)
VIRGINIA CHAMBER OF COMMERCE’S
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VALUE OF KM
TOO MANY KM PRACTITIONERS ARE
APPROACHING THE TOPIC FROM AN
ACADEMIC PERSPECTIVE, RATHER
THAN A BUSINESS PERSPECTIVE.
THE INTANGIBLES OF KM
IMPROVED LEARNING, CUSTOMER
SATISFACTION) ARE OFTEN
DIFFICULT TO MEASURE.
A SINGLE, COMPLETE, AND
COHESIVE DEFINITION OF KM IS
LACKING IN MOST ORGANIZATIONS.
KM OFTEN COMES AS PART OF A
LARGER “PACKAGE” OF CHANGE.
KM IS TYPICALLY DISCUSSED IN
TERMS OF “KM OUTCOMES,” NOT
TIME SAVINGS, QUALITY, AND
EFFICIENCY ARE NOTORIOUSLY
DIFFICULT TO TRANSLATE TO HARD
RETURN ON INVESTMENT.
QUOTES FROM THE C SUITE…
“We’ve tried KM before. It always starts with some good
ideas but never yields anything tangible.”
“Search and AI will fix our issues. That’s all we need.”
“This is a nice-to-have, but I’m not going to put our resources
into it in the midst of a pandemic and global recession.”
“We can’t even agree on what KM is, let alone do
anything about it.”
KNOWLEDGE MANAGEMENT INVOLVES THE PEOPLE,
CULTURE, PROCESSES, AND ENABLING
TECHNOLOGIES NECESSARY TO CAPTURE, MANAGE,
SHARE, AND FIND INFORMATION.
KNOWLEDGE MANAGEMENT LIFECYCLE
The point at which knowledge or
information is first exposed, either
in written or verbal form.
The collection of information in a
tool or repository (from tacit to
explicit) so that it can be managed.
Tools, technologies, and processes
required to secure, organize,
control, and expose the right
information to the right people.
Processes to evolve and prime
Tools and technologies to help
people find the content they
need, when they need it.
Creating links between knowledge
and information, between the holders
of knowledge (experts), and between
Decisions, activities or
processes where information
could be streamlined to
The KM Lifecycle is comprised of the core processes
that content undergoes during its lifetime.
FORMS OF KNOWLEDGE
knowledge has not yet
been recorded or
Knowledge that has been
made visible by capturing,
recording, or embedding it in
databases, documents and
Organized and categorized in a consistent way that
makes it easy for systems and machines to read
and process. More difficult for human users to
understand without underlying context.
Follows no consistent format for its organization
and categorization. Generally easy for human
users to read and understand, but more difficult
for machines to use and process.
PEOPLE PROCESS CONTENT CULTURE TECHNOLOGY
• Flow of knowledge
• Knowledge holders
• Understanding of state
and disposition of
• Existence and
• Awareness of and
• Quality of processes.
• State and location of
• Consistency of
• Dynamism of content.
• Understanding of
• Senior support and
• Willingness to share,
• Maturity of “KM Suite.”
• Integration with and
• Usability and user-
BENCHMARK FACTORS DETAILED
Engagement • Organizational Awareness • Cross-Silo Communication • Knowledge Management
Leadership • Individual Roles • Trust • Access to Expertise
Knowledge Retention • Explicit Knowledge Capture & Sharing • Tacit Knowledge Capture & Sharing •
Embedded Processes • Support for Processes • Content Governance • Content Controls • Learning,
Training, & Development • Usage of Learning, Training, & Development Tools • Taxonomy Governance
Content Creation & Contribution • Duplicate Content • Outdated or Obsolete Content • Defined Content
Types & Templates • Taxonomy • Content Deconstruction • Data Integration • Data Awareness
CULTURE Incentives • Innovation • Sharing & Collaboration • Openness to Change • Measurable Success Criteria
Auto-tagging / Text Mining • Content / Document Repository • Technical Metadata Strategy • Search •
Ontologies & Knowledge Graphs • Machine Learning (ML) & Artificial Intelligence (AI) • Social &
Collaboration Tools • Adoption • KM Innovation • Systems Analytics
The KM Maturity Benchmark scores each of the
following 40 factors on a five-point Likert scale.
THE BENCHMARK FACTORS –
The EK KM Benchmark evaluates
organizations across 40 KM factors within
the five categories of People, Process,
Content, Culture, and Technology.
Furthermore, the Benchmark is:
• Based on real-world observations of
several hundred organizations.
• Focused on measurable elements,
allowing an organization to score where
they are and understand the business
value of improving (based on a five-
point Likert scale).
• Recognizes that no two organizations
are the same.
• Is translatable into business
KM BENCHMARK SCORING OVERVIEW
Below Industry Average Average Industry Leading
Most organizations fall
somewhere within this
range on a majority of
EK's KM Maturity
Benchmark is based on
our experience with
hundreds of organizations
across industries and
around the world on similar
efforts. It is used to score
determine where they
currently stand in terms of
the maturity of critical
1 2 3 4 5
CURRENT STATE - TARGET STATE
Information should be collected and validated through a variety of approaches:Methodology
This Knowledge Management (KM) assessment is broken down into five KM categories: People, Process, Content, Culture, and Technology.
The target state creates a shared vision of what a KM transformation looks like, including:
1. Iterative and measurable changes to each of these five factors.
2. Benefits to individuals and the organization that can be “felt” and measured at each stage.
3. Outcomes and benefits that can be realized as a result of these efforts.
Demonstrate how an organization’s current
benchmark score can progress over the course of
the engagement, obtaining greater maturity (and
thereby greater results and competitive advantage).
Workshops and Interviews System Demonstrations Documents & Diagrams
2.4 4.6Current Target
Month One Month Two Month Three Month Four
1 Customized, practical, and detailed
baseline for context-based
recommendations within KM workstreams.
DEFINE TARGET STATE
Comprehensive consideration of all
factors (strengths and weaknesses)
during the assessment phase.
Agile delivery approach with incremental
tasks that can be built upon in future
efforts. Discrete tasks include actionable
detail and measurable success criteria.
BASELINE (CURRENT STATE)
ROADMAP AGILE APPROACH TO
DELIVERY▪ Fully customized to match the People, Process, Content, Culture, and Technology of
the organization and build on the best of what you already have.
▪ Iterative, task-based plans that will show value quickly and provide measurable
success criteria to help drive change and build momentum.
▪ Specific enough to identify gateways and develop ROI calculations.
BUSINESS OUTCOMESKM OUTCOMES
▪ Improved content findability and
discoverability, and therefore less time
waiting, searching, and recreating
▪ Increased use and reuse of information.
▪ Decreased knowledge loss.
▪ Improved organizational awareness and
▪ Enhanced quality, availability, and speed
▪ Improved productivity.
▪ Decreased costs and cost avoidance due
to regulatory fines and lawsuits.
▪ Increased employee satisfaction and
▪ Faster and better up-scaling of employees.
▪ Improved customer satisfaction and
▪ Improved delivery and sales.
▪ Increased collaboration and innovation.
▪ Future readiness.
DECREASED COST/COST AVOIDANCEIMPROVED PRODUCTIVITY
▪ Twenty to forty percent of staff time is spent
looking for information, waiting for answer, or
recreating/reworking information that existed
within the enterprise but of which they were
▪ Highest for low- to mid-level staff and lowest
for high-level staff.
▪ Hard ROI only exists when a KM
transformation is accompanied by a reduction
▪ Decreased license/software costs due to
redundancy (in large organizations, we
typically identify 2.5x redundancy in
competing software (i.e. content
management, document management,
records management, search, etc).
▪ The administrative cost of maintenance can
result in additional 20% savings in IT costs
▪ Regulatory risk can justify a KM initiative
without any other factors (for heavily
FASTER AND BETTER UP-SKILLING OF
SATISFACTION AND RETENTION
▪ SHRM estimates that direct replacement
costs for a lost employee can reach as high
as 50%-60% of the employee’s annual salary.
▪ The Work Institute estimates (conservatively)
that the average cost of turnover is $15,000
▪ Gallup says that Millennials rank the
opportunity to learn and grow in a job above
all other considerations, and 69% of non-
millennials say it is important to them.
▪ O.C. Tanner finds that 60% of employees are
more likely to stay at a job for three years or
more if they have a good onboarding
▪ An Enterprise KM initiative can reduce staff
attrition by 3-5% over the first three years.
▪ Training Magazine says in 2019, the average
cost of training an employee was $1,286,
with over 40 hours per year spent on training
by each employee. Regulatory risk can justify
a KM initiative without any other factors (for
heavily regulated industries).
▪ Enterprise Learning (learning at the point of
need in small increments) can improve
learning retention from 20% to 80%, and
reduce costs by over 75% (travel, time off the
Best Practices to
Quantify the Value
Find Your KM
Don’t Be Afraid
of Technology as
the Way that KM