In very large organizations, the demand for knowledge management solutions often comes from the top. The CEO, the board of directors, or another high-level leader will establish the initiative, fund it, and see it through. For other organizations, though, the quest for more effective knowledge sharing tools usually begins in one of three functional areas – sales and marketing, customer service, or human resources and training.
Departmental leaders wanting to implement new technologies that impact other departments as well as their own typically need executive sponsorship to evangelize the idea on a wider scale. Depending on your company’s culture and where its executives place institutional knowledge on their list of priorities, this could be an easy sell or a very challenging one. Regardless, the most effective way to win over business executives and owners is with numbers. You must show them the return they will see on their investment if they buy into the solution you propose.
Proving Return on Investment
One reason executives might resist investing in a knowledge management solution is because every business already has multiple digital tools to communicate internally: email, instant messaging, websites, blogs, social networks, intranet, digital conferences, mobile, and more. And yet communication remains scattered across many channels, often repetitive, static, stale, and uncatalogued.
According to McKinsey, employees spend about 20 percent of their time trying to find information they need to do their jobs. New employees spend even more time getting their questions answered.
The use of a more powerful and centralized platform for employee-to-employee sharing, therefore, can increase workforce productivity by 20 percent or more. Showing executives these kinds of numbers and tying them to increased revenue is a good start; revenue is often the surest way to a business owner or executive’s approval. However, remember that ROI is not measured solely in profits. There are soft benefits as well. Address both when selling your idea to executive leadership.
For specific tips on measuring the ROI of knowledge sharing tools for various use cases, and getting internal support, download our white paper, “Proving the Value: Getting Internal Buy-In for a Knowledge Base.”