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2009 KM Reality Award winner | Procter & Gamble


    In many organizations, knowledge management is just rhetoric. This award recognizes an organization in which knowledge management is a positive reality. The recipient of the KM Reality award is an organization demonstrating leadership in the implementation of knowledge management practices and processes by realizing measurable business benefits.

    The knowledge management program will have:

  • been in place for a minimum of one year,
  • demonstrated senior management support, and
  • defined metrics to evaluate the program and its impact on organizational goals.

The Procter & Gamble (P&G) community includes approximately 138,000 employees working in more than 80 countries worldwide.

Initiation date of KM program: June 2008

Project champion/leader: Bud Miyahara, Global Business Services Innovation, Procter & Gamble

Why were knowledge practices processes initiated?

P&G was in a place where its current enterprise search was behind the times. The search results took a long time to return, and they were unable to include key content for which users were looking. They were finding they could not deliver all of the business needs, which was causing a proliferation of small-scale search solutions.

The company decided to look for better options to deliver a more effective, holistic enterprise search experience to users. P&G sought to simplify and improve the search experience by connecting more people to more content. Enterprise search helps P&G to operate as a unified company rather than a collection of disconnected organizations. Employees would benefit from an effective and efficient way to find the people and information they need, reducing the time spent searching for information and allowing for greater productivity.

What were the key business results and/or organizational improvements targeted by the KM initiative?

P&G was a customer of many search engines and after adopting Vivisimo’s (vivisimo.com) Velocity Enterprise Search Platform, it was able to eliminate many of the point solutions. That simplified the environment and improved user and content owner satisfaction. Users now could find the information they were looking for quickly, and content owners could include their content in enterprise search. The overall goal was to create a stepwise change in the findability of information.

The project was to span across all global offices and be deployed quickly for a minimum total cost—not a small order considering the breath and depth of P&G’s reach. With the new software, the company successfully met its goals and enabled users to spend less time searching for the right information and more time making connections. That led to not only faster decisions but also higher-quality action based on the most relevant information being delivered with each search. In the business world, being collaborative and having the right information is critical to success.

What metrics or measures were in place to evaluate the program and its impact on organizational goals?

Prior to launching Vivisimo, P&G lacked the ability to track search usage. By doing search log analysis, it was able to determine that:

  • 34 percent of queries are for acronyms,
  • 58 percent of queries are for sites,
  • 60 percent of searches are for Global Business Services (GBS) elements,
  • 24.5 percent of queries are for content, and
  • 53 percent of queries are not in P&G’s search engine.

To better match users’ needs, P&G added the following features to its enterprise search:

  • acronym search that is provided with every search, along with an ability to expand the query;
  • site-based search that returns home pages of all Web sites;
  • inclusion of its corporate portal and service centers that include GBS Services; and
  • inclusion of new repositories such as blogs, wikis and SharePoint.

P&G now tracks the number of searches, unique users, documents included, referred sites, feedback received, service availability and search result position.

What KM competencies were developed within the organization?

Knowledge management is critical to business success. If done correctly, the company saves precious time, allowing employees to focus on business. If done poorly, employees waste time searching for information and not enough time using it.

The KM competencies developed within the organization include:

  • increased knowledge sharing and capture by enabling search from a single point across multiple repositories,
  • improved expertise location connecting people to achieve greater results, and
  • increased findability leading to improved decision-making.

What outcomes, benefits and impacts have been realized today?

P&G has realized three major benefits from the adoption of this new search engine including:

  • increase in employee productivity,
  • reduced rework around the globe, and
  • increased number of searches being performed.

Since implementation in October 2008, searches take two to four seconds, and the average result position is number five.

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