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Essentials of Knowledge Management by Bryan Bergeron

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7.2. Defending the Investment

Nine months into the pilot program to index, archive, and disseminate the information collected in the electronic whiteboard sessions in CGF's research and development (R&D) department, the chief knowledge office (CKO) is pressed by senior management to determine if the pilot program should be expanded to other departments or dropped. With the start of the fiscal year only three months away, the CKO is under pressure to show a return for the resources invested thus far.

The CKO is convinced that the program is making a positive contribution to the corporation. During the pilot period, he has observed an increased use of the content management system, and the corporate archive has grown from nothing to tens of megabytes. In addition, based on informal interviews, the CKO has noted an increase in overall job satisfaction in knowledge workers in the R&D department. However, neither of these measures affects the ROI calculation that could help make a case for expanding the KM initiative to include other departments.

Before making a case to senior management, the CKO explores a benchmarking approach, comparing the pilot program with other R&D departments in similar industries experimenting with Knowledge Management. However, in searching for best practices in other biotech firms, the CKO runs into confidentiality and privacy issues, given the competitiveness of the industry. As a result, the best he can do is compare practices in the R&D department with ...

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