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Innovative knowledge-sharing tools elevate the modern workplace

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If catalogs are the foundation of knowledge sharing, and taxonomies fortify the terms used in them and their classifications, then search is the universal means of accessing this knowledge and sharing it between users. According to Patrick Hoeffel, vice president of integration and enablement at Lucidworks, there is a crucial bifurcation to this indispensable facet of knowledge sharing. “Knowledge management is one part understanding what the user is asking for, and a second part understanding the data about which the question is asked,” Hoeffel said.

Search supports all aspects of knowledge management, from identifying all the documents apropos to a particular regulation to onboarding new employees. “Sometimes knowledge is really important,” Greenberger explained. “Not just to allow people to work more effectively and efficiently, but to save time for the company, and money, by not re-creating assets or research that’s already been done.” There are numerous advancements that search is helping to enable in the discipline of knowledge management.

These include:

♦ External search: According to Hoeffel, progressive knowledge management vendors are developing solutions in which an organization’s customers can search through their knowledge for customer service purposes.

♦ Semantic vector search: Hoeffel described semantic vector search as a technique in which “a lot of the meaning space of words that are similar to each other are vectorized, or pulled into a similar vector space, which provides a lot of really cool capabilities around things like words with similar meanings.” This approach is great for identifying synonyms without taxonomies and searching across different languages.

♦ Search prescriptions: Enhancing search results with prescriptions epitomizes knowledge management’s capacity to engage users by leading them to the next step in their search or task. “Imagine, you go into SharePoint, and you just see a bunch of documents, and the onus is on you, as a user, to figure out what the next step is,” Chevala said. “We take it one step further with our system where we also tell you what the next logical step would be.”

Conversational search: Perhaps the biggest way search assists knowledge sharing is by eradicating the need to continually tag, classify, and catalog data by simply letting users search it directly. “We’re trying to actually wean off the tagging in general because the search capability has evolved so much that literally you don’t need tags,” Chevala revealed. “You just put your question in plain English, like a question, and then it does a semantic or contextual search.”

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