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Customer-activated communication and collaboration will drive a new era of KM

This article appears in the issue January 2015, [Vol 24, Issue 1]
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A new class of applications will emerge

To shift a firm’s investment focus from passive customer-data collection to using insight to drive business decision-making requires a strategy to coordinate investments with an eye toward maximizing overall leverage of data. Data currently in the hands of marketing must be analyzed and distributed much more broadly within the organization. To begin the process of developing a new class of applications, three strategic goals that cross multiple organizational boundaries will be required:

  • Set a companywide direction and tone for bringing the customer voice and insight into every commercial process while helping employees avoid any potential risks to the brand.
  • Foster a technology and investment agenda around turning customer information into insights against which all employees can readily take action in their day-to-day activity.
  • Extend direct employee communication and customer information gathering into tools that are used by employees in the course of their daily work.

Where to go from here

To exploit this opportunity, the next steps require a combination of assessment, coordination and possibly piloting a new class of applications. First, determine what assets in your organization are capturing customer data. Assess if that data is in a form that can be distributed more widely throughout the organization. Align your future architecture to ensure that information can move freely to all relevant employees. This could be through a standards-based approach or through a vertically integrated stack from a vendor or partnership that serves both the needs of customers and employees. Reach out to underserved parts of the organization, starting with product development and R&D, and test if the business is ready to partner in a pilot program to access that critical data.

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