A knowledge audit is an assessment of knowledge management practices and culture. Historically, knowledge audits viewed knowledge as an asset and audits resembled an inventory audit. Modern knowledge audits are based on the idea that knowledge is only valuable when it is used. As such, a knowledge audit examines how knowledge flows across an organization. The following are common elements of a knowledge audit.
Sampling documents and evaluating their quality. Document quality can be scored according to criteria such as readability and adherence to document standards and templates.
Knowledge ProcessesAn evaluation of compliance to knowledge processes. For example, the percentage of projects that completed a satisfactory lessons learned process at project close.
Knowledge CultureEvaluating the culture of knowledge creation, communication and use. For example, identifying a tendency to hide knowledge in silos by setting restrictive permissions. This can be evaluated by calculating the percentage of documents that are private to each team. It can also be helpful to use surveys and focus groups to understand the culture of knowledge management across different teams.
An evaluation of user interfaces for knowledge management and use. For example, identifying cumbersome tools that impact productivity or poor quality search results that are contributing to knowledge waste.
Knowledge LossEvaluating knowledge that is leaving an organization without being captured. For example, evaluating knowledge transfer processes such as exit interviews.
Identifying instances where employees could not find existing knowledge in a timely and efficient manner.
Knowledge OverheadAssessing the time and cost that go into producing low value documents. For example, a team that creates detailed meeting minutes that are almost never used.Evaluating knowledge processes that relate to information security. For example, reporting incidents where employees have sent knowledge by email attachment as opposed to sending a link to a secure document repository.
Document ControlAssessing document control processes. For example, instances where individuals ignore a requirement to approve knowledge artifacts such as meeting minutes.
Structure & OrganizationEvaluating the structure and organization of knowledge repositories and tools. This can look at statistics such as the average depth of a document in a user interface. Generally speaking, any depth greater than 4 contributes to knowledge waste by making documents difficult to find.
Knowledge VelocityCalculating knowledge velocity to determine how often documents are accessed. This can be examined by team and document type to find areas where valuable documents are going unused or documents that are being created at significant expense that are low value.
Document AnalyticsEvaluating broad and comprehensive statistics related to the use of documents by employees, customers and partners to identify waste and value. For example, the number of unique users that have accessed a particular type of document.
NotesKnowledge audits are designed to find and communicate problems in the hopes of driving improvement. They are led by individuals with independence from knowledge management teams who can ask hard questions to uncover risks and costly inefficiencies.
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