Once you have come to understand your business as a knowledge factory and understand the management implications of this new operating model, you are going to be ready to develop an intangibles information set. This section will build on the inventory of your knowledge assets that you developed in Section A and help you create the information set you’ll need to implement the management concepts in Section B. The information set you will need is not that different from the set you would use to operate a tangible factory. You just need to learn some new techniques for generating it.
This section will describe a series of approaches to generate the information you will need to manage your knowledge factory. It will answer these questions:
- How much did it cost you to build the factory?
- How much does it cost to operate the factory?
- Is it running the way it should?
- What needs to be changed?
- How will you be able to track your progress?
- Why is reputation the new bottom line?
Even though the IC factory is intangible, the money that you spend to build and maintain it is very real—so are the results you yield from it. There is no reason that you should not get a good financial and operational understanding of this critical side of your business. This section will give you a basic toolset to accomplish this using three kinds of data: investment, assessment and indicators. Together, these three kinds of data are the backbone of a new kind of accounting, one that helps you track the business of yielding financial results from nonfinancial assets. You will use this information internally every day. If you work in a public company or get involved in a merger or acquisition, this information will have a second use. It will be part of the analysis that will be used to generate a financial valuation of your company.
The best way we could see to wrap up this book is to end it with a chapter that explains that judging your success with a financial “bottom line” is no longer enough. The success of your organization will ultimately depend on how you manage the network of your employees, partners and stakeholders. Earnings will always be important but they only tell what you accomplished in the past. Your reputation is your license to continue to generate earnings in the future. This section will help you see the path to accomplishing this by applying all the lessons in this book on intangibles management.