Fundamentals of modern knowledge management
It’s widely accepted that employee engagement plays an essential part in a company’s success. But did you know that an engaged, knowledge-based workforce—with access to the digital tools they need to do their jobs—could contribute to 21% higher profitability, and 20% more sales? It’s hard to ignore the benefits of an engaged workforce with figures like those.
The reality for businesses, however, is that over the years an increasing number of tools and systems—some home-grown, some third-party—have created an information sprawl that has become not only hard to manage, but also highly detrimental to the quality and accuracy of information. Spending hours looking for information, which turns out to be obsolete or outdated, has led to a loss of trust among employees in their business critical information.
Analyst firm Forrester suggests that CMOs and CIOs are failing confront this "ticking time bomb," of digital fragility, and must do more to preserve and protect digital information to ensure that it's available when needed to meet business, legal, or knowledge management needs.
Fixing the issue of digital fragility
Fixing the issue of digital fragility is easier said than done. The answer lies in knowledge centralization – centralizing people, processes and technology in a way that builds a knowledge-rich organization. Let’s take a look at the pillars of knowledge centralization:
- Single Source of Truth—establish an information model and associated data schema, so that every single data element is create, managed (or edited) in only one place of reference. This will help ensure data is authentic, relevant, and referable
- Unified Collaboration—once there is a single source of truth, employees all over the organization will be able to interact with the information and collaborate in a unified manner, keeping information accurate and intact over time
- Content reuse—this is a way of using the same pieces of content in several places. It lets organizations reduce content development costs while simultaneously improving the quality of the information
- Quality & consistency—key to establishing employee trust in information found across the business is ensuring its quality and consistency. Knowledge centralization is a step towards this, but it doesn’t always ensure it. Which brings us to the next key pillar ...
- Information governance—this balances the use and security of information. Information governance is a holistic approach to managing corporate information by implementing processes, roles, controls and metrics that treat information as a business critical asset
- Analytics & Insights—organizations can use content analytics to understand the content that is created, how it is used, the context it is being used in and the nature of that content. It is especially relevant for organizations where knowledge is at the core of their business. This helps accomplish the primary objective of an ECM that is, delivering the relevant content to the right people via the right channels at the right moment to support the right objective. Which finally leads to discovery ...
- Search & Discovery—finding the right information in the increasing content tsunami is challenging, knowledge centralization holds the promise of making findability of the right information in the right time easy and manageable, for employees, partners and customers
Of course, the seven pillars outlined above are demanding, and it’s a big ask in today’s increasingly complex world. Unfortunately, the way content worked in the past doesn’t meet our modern-day knowledge management needs since we need the content to work as hard as we humans do.
- We need content that can deliver itself to any channel where it is needed without any extra effort
- We need content that can describe itself on a much granular level going beyond document pages
- We need content to be able to self-assemble itself to be able to power conversational UI such as smart chatbots and other IoT devices
In short, what we need is content that understands user needs better to enable intelligent processes and systems at scale to meet contextual search expectations.
Intelligent content and knowledge management
As we work on our knowledge management fundamentals, at the same time we also need to ensure content is secure and accurate through content governance, which enables auditability and compliance. With a system designed for these new requirements, you can not only establish one right answer with a strong modern knowledge management foundation but also ensure security and business agility. Specialized content management systems allows the creation, management and delivery of intelligent content, which is defined as follows:
- Structured—the content components are organized in a predictable manner and has relation defined between them which enables providing usage insights and improves findability
- Stored in topic-specific components—meaning information can be searched/accessed on a much granular level (a component can be as small as a word or as large as a paragraph)
- Reusable—Smaller components of content that are tagged can be reused several times
- Format-free—content can be used across any information channel without rework
- Enriched with metadata—content is tagged that allows "understanding" what a piece of information is about—so both humans and machines can work with it independently as well as interdependently
Intelligent content together with a modern knowledge management foundation can radically transform an organization. Many recent digital transformation initiatives can be implemented, including:
- Modern intranets (and knowledge hubs) which are pull based vs push based for everyday employee information needs, which show relevant content personalized to the individual’s needs
- Innovative customer support knowledge bases which require on demand new information generations
- Secure information sharing with third-party agents such as partners and field agents
- Conversational UIs such as chatbots and voice agents for IoT devices
New approach to managing business content
A unified approach towards intelligent content across the organization has several benefits, ranging from:
- Cost savings with content reuse
- Information governance with access rights and change tracking
- Adaptive delivery of consistent information to any digital channel
- Discovering insights
In short, intelligent content shines when it is centralized across the organization without any barriers between people and departments. An integrated approach to content management—using modular chunks of information that are tagged—provides reusability and machine readiness to help boost monetization, productivity, business insights and security. The use of a specialized content management system such as a Component Content Management System (CCMS) enables organizations to harness those benefits. Unfortunately not all C-level execs place the same importance on employee experiences—but with a potential uplift in profits of 20%, isn’t it time knowledge management became a boardroom issue?