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|KM Benefits Tree|
A benefits tree is a simple but effective tool for showing interdependencies between different types of benefit. Many senior executives want a clear understanding of the 'bottom line' benefits of knowledge management before they invest. Typically a knowledge initiative is an infrastructure project where the cost is visible, but the benefits are diffused throughout the organization. A benefits tree relates the immediately visible benefits, through a series of steps to those understood by senior executives.
The following tree has been synthesized from the outputs of three separate situations and highlights some commonly found benefits.
The arrows indicate which benefits lead to higher level benefits. The benefits on the left are those that are the most visible or quantifiable. Those to the right are the result of several factors, including non-KM factors, combining. In this particular tree, three different classes of benefit have been used:
As a result of such analysis, it is possible to track savings of time in accessing knowledge, though to better customer service by giving them more relevant, validated and timely solutions to their problems. It is quite common to have 4 or even five classes of benefits. For example, organizational benefits can be divided into two classes, one internal benefits, the other customer or market-related benefits.
Deriving a benefits tree is not as simple as it might look. It takes considerable effort to identify the efforts and map their relationships. These considerations are covered more fully in the Knowledge Management Benefits Tree Toolkit (price $10), available at K-Shop which provides:
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