Andrew Gent of Incredibly Dull has some interesting thoughts in ROI: the Sad Case for KM:
More and more frequently I hear calls for proof of the "ROI" (Return on Investment) of knowledge management. I hear it within my own company; I hear it from KM practitioners in other companies; I even hear KM consultants espousing the importance and benefits of calculating ROI to demonstrate knowledge management's contribution to the business bottom line.
This relatively long article says that while ROI in itself is not bad, applying it to KM is problematic because KM isn't only about dropping money to the bottom line this quarter. Or the flavors of KM that drop money to the bottom line may not be the most interesting or the most useful in the long run. And the more interesting aspects of KM: enabling curiosity; expanding access to knowledge and people; etc. are rather difficult to measure and attach to bottom line growth.
Here's how Andrew wraps up his article:
But for the time being I believe it is the responsibility of KM professionals to avoid the rush to ROI and make sure both the direct and indirect "returns" of KM are recognized and re-established as objectives.
[via the del.icio.us knowledge-management tag]