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Collections: A New Way to Curate and Share Knowledge

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Thomas Hsu and Steve Berzins will be speaking at the KMWorld conference in Washington DC. Their sessions is A204: Pinterest for the Enterprise?. Click here to register.

To deliver services to the best of their ability, global knowledge organizations need to bring the best thinking of their workforce to every client with whom they work. The optimum way to do this is to ensure that their people learn continuously by sharing their knowledge and collaborating with one another.

As consumers of content, knowledge employees engage in daily research for online information and methodologies to do their jobs. However, without straightforward access to the best thinking across global networks, such research will necessarily be limited – and ultimately restricts peoples’ ability to learn from one another.

For content curators, particularly in large, diverse and geographically-dispersed organizations, the challenge is to render the effort of sifting through a wide variety of online sources – including websites, online articles, videos, internal documentation, and conversations – as easy to administer and manage as possible.  One way of doing this is to deploy a single, easy-to-access, open-curation platform where that content can be made available to the widest possible internal audience. 

To this end, we set out to build a social-bookmarking capability called ‘Collections’, inspired by consumer apps like Pinterest and Flipboard – but specifically tailored for the enterprise in a way that helps people to:

  • Easily collect and share great content in a way that is social, mobile and digital, thus providing a highly engaging user experience
  • Rapidly find the content they need when they need it
  • Improve their internal websites team sites and email newsletters

Collections are also highly flexible and can be used to support a wide range of use cases, including:

  • Sales and delivery essentials
  • Credentials, client profiles or proposals
  • Best new contributions from the practice around a topic
  • Post-workshop materials
  • Replace email newsletters
  • Replace an individual’s browser bookmarks

Collections make it easy for our people to save and share great content by harnessing the collective effort of the entire organization to filter and select the best material. Collections provide a vastly improved digital and social user experience compared to how we traditionally present manually chosen content in the form of the so-called ‘link farms’ typically found on many internal sites.

Best of all, Collections are fun and easy to use.

What Collections offer

  • Highly visual, Pinterest-like display for easy scanning
  • Full social features:
    • When someone ‘follows’ a Collection, they receive updates when new items or comments are added to it
    • Ability to re-pin a link to your own Collection
    • Ability to like, share, and comment to engage in conversations
  • Mobile enabled with responsive web design

For those who support our knowledge communities and networks, Collections are a great way to ensure followers have access to the best and most important content. They’re also a great way to improve the experience of internal websites, making them much more engaging.

For Subject Matter Experts (SMEs) who are always being asked for expert content, Collections simply make life easier.  Instead of constantly emailing the same links to multiple individual recipients, SMEs can now just point people to their Collections.

As one of the key aims of Collections is to enable people to find great content more easily, we’ve made sure they can be discovered in a wide range of ways:

  • Official Collections: when sponsored by a content owning organization, Collections can be marked as “Official”. Official Collections show up higher in search results and help end users identify true expert-curated content
  • Enterprise Search: Public Collections and their items are indexed by search. If someone is searching for the best content on “Gamification”, they can now find the “Gamification Essentials” collection instead of trying to find the proverbial needle in the haystack. Because Collections can include external links, we are effectively broadening the scope of our enterprise search to return relevant, hand-picked external knowledge as well
  • Search from our dedicated Collections site (internal only)
  • Through the Stream, Accenture’s internal collaborative microblogging resource
  • Direct links to Collections can be communicated via The Stream or in email communications

Benefits

The success of Collections to date is best measured by feedback from those using the resource rather than by sheer volume alone. In other words, a focus that places quality squarely over quantity.

The statistics to date are impressive.  Since launching Collections to a select group of users last year:

  • Over 60,000 people have used them
  • Over 8,000 individual Collections have been created, 77% of which have been updated in the past three months
  • Collections have been viewed 650,000 times
  • 70,000 content items have been curated
  • Collections have received 35,000 follows
  • More than 800 Collections have been embedded within internal sites
  • Collections usage is spread across 62 countries within the Accenture network

An end-user survey also garnered overwhelmingly positive feedback on Collections:

  • 95% of respondents said they were “Satisfied” with Collections
  • 92% of respondents said Collections added “Good” or “Excellent” value

Furthermore, using the Net Promoter customer-satisfaction rating, Collections performed significantly beyond expectations in recording a score of 67, comfortably ahead of such established brand apps as Kindle (59) and iPhone (63).

Looking ahead

The future of Collections is bright. We have seen very promising early results and have built up a loyal grassroots following.  The capability is clearly hitting the mark in making great content more discoverable across our organization. Research and usability testing have led us to enhance the overall user experience to make the basic interactions as simple and intuitive as possible on any device – fixed or mobile. It is also clear that a self-service tool like Collections makes it much simpler for content teams to organize, share, and make content more easily discoverable.


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