Best Practices in Knowledge Management

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1 Best Practices in Knowledge Management Andy Moore... 2 KM is Writing Itself a New Lease On Life Knowledge management has gone through many periods of reassessment: disappointment, rejection and comebacks worthy of Robert Downey, Jr. Once touted as the transformational strategy for the future, actual successes were hard to locate. Technology solutions were insufficient (and many times poorly planned). Solutions were expensive and focused on somewhat tangential things like document management or workflow. That was ill-conceived. So KM went through a well-documented period of rejection and abandonment.... and Carla Liz O Dell Kofsky, and OpenText Lauren Trees, APQC.. 4 Using KM to Leverage and Develop Experts Anyone reading the headlines is aware of the current expertise shortages in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM). While many companies are pouring money into recruitment initiatives to buy their way out of the problem, APQC has opted to look at the issue through a different lens. Namely, how can firms better leverage the experts they have while, at the same time, accelerating the rate of learning for new hires and mid-career professionals? In researching this topic, our goal was to understand the expertise gaps faced by scientific, technical and engineering organizations and the urgency associated with closing those gaps.... Martin Garland,...6 Risk Reduction and Innovation Creation Concept Searching, Inc In many organizations, a proactive approach to managing unstructured and semi-structured content has never received the necessary focus or relative importance from within the IT and business infrastructure. Enterprise content management, the phrase of the day in 2000, has lost its luster and has failed to keep up with technology. Knowledge management, once all the rage, is now coming into vogue again. A half-hearted approach to managing content is no longer a viable option, due to unmitigated content growth and the fact that 80% of business decisions are made using unstructured content.... KANA, A Verint Company...7 Four Tips to Optimize Search in Your Knowledge Management System Search is a critical component of any knowledge management system. Yet, the search function of many systems returns poor results, not because of poor technology, but rather because the search function didn t anticipate the correct user behavior. The following four tips will help you optimize the search function in your knowledge management system to improve the results for your customers.... Anand Subramaniam,...8 KM for Omnichannel Customer Engagement egain Corporation Superior customer engagement remains one of the few differentiators that businesses can sustain over time. The winners in today s omnichannel environment are the companies that leverage knowledge to empower customers and contact center agents, and provide standout customer experience across channels and devices. We have implemented knowledge solutions for blue-chip companies worldwide, helping them design and deliver great customer experiences. In the process, we have compiled hundreds of best practices. Here are some of the popular ones.... Coveo...9 Why It s Time to Embrace The Intranet of Everywhere When was the last time you contributed anything to your intranet? Or managed to find what you were looking for? If you can t remember, you re not alone. A 2013 Worldwide Intranet Challenge survey suggests that 90% of staff don t regularly contribute to their corporate intranet, and 50% never do. And it s not that people don t want to share; they ve merely found another system that is easier to use, or has features they personally prefer.... Premium Sponsor Supplement to KMWorld November/December 2014

2 KM is Writing Itself a New Lease On Life By Andy Moore, Editorial Director, KMWorld Specialty Publishing Group Knowledge management has gone through many periods of reassessment: disappointment, rejection and comebacks worthy of Robert Downey, Jr. Once touted as the transformational strategy for the future, actual successes were hard to locate. Technology solutions were insufficient (and many times poorly planned). Solutions were expensive and focused on somewhat tangential things like document management or workflow. That was ill-conceived. So KM went through a well-documented period of rejection and abandonment. Those costs were painful, and business leaders fled, avoiding KM like the third rail. Nobody I know knows this better than Carla O Dell, CEO of the APQC, which I ve only recently learned stands for American Productivity & Quality Center. But just because I didn t know the acronym doesn t mean I didn t know the organization. The APQC is probably best described as the Good Housekeeping Seal of knowledge management and corporate learning practices. Their research resources are voluminous; their devotion to process and business improvement is unfailing. They use big words, like benchmarking and metrics and process improvement, which is impressive. Plus they re really nice people. I asked Carla and her associate, Lauren Trees, APQC s research program manager for knowledge management, to join me in a discussion of the current state of KM and how we got here. I got that, in spades. In an interview session that epitomizes the term double-teaming, I learned more from these two about KM in 45 minutes than in the past five years. The Discussion This was such an interactive experience that I thought I would try to replicate it on paper. So I will present, to the best of my ability, the conversation as it occurred. Here goes: ANDY: I have the impression that knowledge management has shaken off some of its difficulty of the past, and is now back in vogue. Do you agree, and if so, to what do you attribute this fresh perception of KM? CARLA: We have the same impression. Knowledge management IS receiving a lot more attention these days, but it s different than the first time that happened. Twenty years ago, when we first got involved in knowledge management, there was a lot of over-hyping of the technical solutions, call it the Gartner hype curve, associated with it. We ve shaken off a lot of that misperception. We re now very clear that it s people solutions that make technology solutions work. Unless you have the people-part in play, your technology solutions will be disappointing. The second reason for the resurgence is that the technology is just a lot better than it used to be. There are lots of options for collaboration, and things like content management, which we call one of the adjacent spaces for KM you can t do good KM without findability. Findability is the holy grail for companies that want to find out what they know. The vendors are beginning to realize this; the caution I would give them is that they don t repeat the disillusionment of prior eras. LAUREN: A lot of companies realize their old solutions aren t the best solutions, but no solution will not work for them. They have so many pressures, in terms of volume of content and people being required to do more in the same roles, that all those forces are demanding some kind of knowledge solution. CARLA: This is part of the explanation of the resurgence of KM the need never went away, it got more intense. ANDY: Are companies moving away from their monolithic content management systems to something more free-range, maybe in the cloud, maybe more comprehensive? LAUREN: There s definitely a desire for a single point of search, and single point of access for different types of data. In terms of the cloud, we ve seen some interest, and there are some early adopters, but there are more people waiting to see how that plays out with those early adopters. CARLA: Monolithic is the right way to describe that fatigue. Today there are Andy Moore is the publisher of KMWorld Magazine. In addition, as the editorial director of the KMWorld Specialty Publishing Group, Andy Moore oversees the content of the monthly KM- World Best Practices White Paper series, Andy Moore in print and online, as well as assisting with the creation and content of several single-sponsored positioning papers per year. He is also the host and moderator of the popular KMWorld Web event online broadcast series. Moore is based in Camden, Maine, and can be reached at personalized ways to deliver content. They used to be called portals, and maybe they still are. But now it s more mainstream to have the ability to log-in in the morning and get just the information you need. ANDY:And portable devices underscore that even more, don t they? CARLA: Exactly. Not only do they want the information they need, but want it delivered in the format they need to see it. When we first started looking at mobile, most companies didn t have a mobile policy, much less the ability to support a mobile platform. That has transformed 180 degrees in less than five years. Who is Running This Show? ANDY: Can KM be taught or is it imposed? Is it a matter of enforcing policies? Or deploying technology? Or both? LAUREN: I don t think about it in terms of policy. I think of it in terms of strategy. Leading with technology never works; you want to think first about the value proposition. You should start with the business problem you re trying to solve, and then address that with a strategy. Then you can think about a set of tools and processes that allow you to meet that strategy. What you DON T want to do is reverse-engineer from the tools first, and back-end yourself into a strategy. CARLA: The KM operations are still mainly IT-based. But the IT organizations have become more sophisticated and have placed business analysts into their teams. They re doing that at the business-level, but not at the CEO level because the CEO is not in charge of anything, particularly. And I say that as a CEO! But seriously, the IT organizations that are effective now have business analysts on their teams. That s where the opportunity is. ANDY: Is KM a rich man s game? You emphasize STEM (science, technology, S2 KMWorld November/December 2014

3 engineering and mathematics) vertical industries. Are there sweet spots that you and the vendor communities pursue more than others? Are there vertical industries that are less likely to adopt KM practices? LAUREN: We see a certain higher level of knowledge management in the high-risk/high-reward industries.oil and gas, the military, aerospace. Places where a mistake can cause lost lives, or millions of dollars. Then there are the spaces where you get a really big bang for your buck, such as pharmaceutical. There are uneven levels of maturity, but I would not call it a rich man s game. CARLA: The fastest growing segment of our practice is with mid-sized companies. They re now just big enough that they need processes. They ve got enough heft, and enough resources because you have to have enough money to spend on SOME infrastructure and the additional staff required but they have growth prospects. There are some organizations that have never turned back, but there are others that got burned the first time, and are just now coming back. But midsized companies are a very attractive spot; they have money and they don t have a lot of legacy systems to get rid of. ANDY: What is driving the adoption of KM? Is it simply the looming loss of expertise? Or something else? CARLA: There is certainly a concern about loss of expertise, but the driver for KM is the rapidly changing technology landscape how do you engineer a new space rocket? Or a car bumper? Or make a new drug? And KM is terrifically prepared for solving those problems expertise location, communities of practice, repositories if they re done well But we still go back to tried-and-true approaches training, mentoring and accelerating the rate that people are exposed to the content they need in order to keep up. LAUREN: It s important to not only find the official subject matter expert, but also finding hidden expertise that may not be clear from someone s job title. And that s complicated because expertise is dynamic, and may change from day-to-day. CARLA: It s important that systems can find information just-in-time, whether it s in content or whether it resides in a person if you re lucky. And sometimes it means going outside the boundaries. That s why large companies, such as big pharma, invest in university research they want to have someone thinking about these things, so it s ready when they need it. ANDY: I like that term that you like also: nex perts. CARLA: Yeah. Us too. We noticed that companies were not really nurturing their nex perts, and yet that was going to be where their biggest payoffs would come from. The Social Need ANDY: Test my theory: I have a theory that social media has had enormous buzz but little actual business effect OUTSIDE of customer service engagements. That part makes sense customer feedback, user forums, blogs etc I can see that playing a role in that very discrete part of the business. But it has had, in my view, very little impact elsewhere. Perhaps it s oversold?? The promise of social media has actually not come true in general business processes true or false?? And why or why not? CARLA: Social has gone through is going through the same hype cycle that most technologies do. But social is different; there s a pony in there somewhere! We see people using internal wikis to converge knowledge from lots of different domains and lots of different people. LAUREN: We ve asked about cost-justifying social deployment. And one of our KM went through a well-documented period of rejection and abandonment. Those costs were painful, and business leaders fled. customers asked back: Do you cost-justify ? No, you don t. But you know its crucial to the way work gets done and how people communicate. CARLA: It s just a communication channel. It s admittedly not a deep information channel; it s for just blurting it out. It could be a request for information; it could be here s what I had for lunch. It s undifferentiated blurting out. It s not a venue for deep reflective dialog. LAUREN: If you combine these technologies you start from a piece of content, look up the author, learn about his or her expertise profile, then you connect with them through a microblogging tool or Yammer, then the value becomes more apparent. If you can flip through all those environments from a single interface, then you have something that creates value. ANDY: While we re on the subject of social This is not so much a question as an observation it has occurred to me that after all the haranguing about incentivizing people to share knowledge, it seems that the key element turns out to be ego gratification. People share information because they want their co-workers to know how smart they are! Do you agree with this? And if it s true, has social had a subtle and unexpected encouraging effect on this resurgence of KM? CARLA: I see what you mean. Those social tools are excellent for personal brand-building. Or I should say attempted personal brand-building. What happens is, it typically backfires. Building your brand as a know-it-all is very different from being helpful. Those of us who are introverts, and consider it a noisy channel, are not going to participate. ANDY: PS: I do not consider you an introvert, but I know what you mean. LAUREN: I think that s true of the public Internet, when people want to talk about their hobbies and so forth. But we find that the incentives in business social media are different. Many companies, especially the professional-services companies, have gone the gamification route, where people get points for sharing and being helpful. Or formal awards of recognition. It comes down to the culture of the organization, and having an environment where people share information because they align it with their success that s what gets you promoted and recognized in a meaningful way. Not just showing off. CARLA: The word incentivize makes us look at the wrong end of the carrot. The key is what s the pay-off for engaging in certain behaviors. What we should think about is reciprocity. If I help you find a piece of content that is exactly what you need to finish your project, then you will help me the next time I need something. ANDY: Why has it changed so much? It used to be that knowledge was power, and you hoarded your knowledge and didn t share it, because that was your ticket. Now, it s the opposite. Why is that? CARLA: Demographics are destiny. If you were part of the baby-boomer generation, there was an enormous number of people who were exactly as skilled as you, and willing to take your place right away. Now, people with expertise are scarce, AND they work in a virtual environment. Today, the way to get ahead is to do something useful that other people can see. It also has to do with motivational psychology. There are attribution errors that people make. For example, I don t eat doughnuts, but if you put one in front of me, the odds of me eating it go WAY up! That doesn t mean I always like doughnuts. So lean back, have a doughnut and read the rest of our lovely white paper. Enjoy! KMWorld November/December 2014 S3

4 Using KM to Leverage and Develop Experts Anyone reading the headlines is aware of the current expertise shortages in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM). While many companies are pouring money into recruitment initiatives to buy their way out of the problem, APQC has opted to look at the issue through a different lens. Namely, how can firms better leverage the experts they have while, at the same time, accelerating the rate of learning for new hires and mid-career professionals? In researching this topic, our goal was to understand the expertise gaps faced by scientific, technical and engineering organizations and the urgency associated with closing those gaps. We also wanted to know what firms are doing to make the most of existing experts and use them to support competency development for less-experienced workers. To find out, we interviewed technical and KM leaders responsible for STEM-oriented workforces. We also surveyed representatives from technical and engineering disciplines, KM and HR to get their perspectives on the issues raised in the interviews. By Carla O Dell, CEO and Lauren Trees, KM Research Program Manager, APQC This research clearly struck a chord with our audience. More than 750 professionals responded to our survey, 56% of whom rate the development of technical expertise as an urgent or significant priority for their organizations. This article shares key insights about increasing access to expertise and developing scientific and technical workers, but the results of our research are too expansive and multifaceted to encapsulate here. You can explore our findings in greater depth including details on the KM approaches we recommend and examples from leading organizations by visiting www2.apqc.org/ STEMresearch. The Challenges Technical leaders told us they are contending with two expertise gaps related to today s needs and tomorrow s growth. The first is focused on turning mid-career employees into true experts, and the second on developing novices and newcomers so they can work independently and begin contributing to the organization. Figure 1: More effort goes to training new hires than developing the next generation of experts. As one of the chief gurus in knowledge management (KM), celebrated author of three best-selling books and the driving force for dozens of leading-edge research projects, Carla O Dell is at the epicenter of the best and brightest in Carla O Dell KM. As CEO of APQC, a member-based nonprofit institution founded in 1977, O Dell has a unique perspective about what really matters in KM and how to make it work for your organization. Under her direction, APQC has long been recognized as a global leader in KM and is repeatedly named as one of KMWorld Magazine s 100 Companies That Matter in Knowledge Management. At the top end of the expertise ladder, few organizations have sufficient candidates qualified to step into senior roles, whether as technical leaders or subject-matter experts. We refer to this disparity between mid-career employees and long-tenured experts as the expert/nex pert gap, borrowing a term coined by Lockheed Martin s KM team. The second gap is the need to help novices and newcomers increase their competency, perhaps faster than previously required. Based on our survey, this second knowledge gap is being addressed more comprehensively and strategically than the first (figure 1). Fifty percent of our audience reports that their organizations have significant or fully integrated efforts to support learning and development for novices, whereas only 37% have similar initiatives in place for mid-career professionals. Many 42% say they see a smattering of activity to develop nex perts into experts, but no overarching strategy guides and sustains these efforts. It is possible that the type of specialized knowledge nex perts need does not lend itself to an integrated approach. However, we suspect a different reason: Whereas the need to bring new hires up to competency is a broad, obvious challenge recognized by HR and business leaders, the gravity of the expert shortage is clear only to those who fully understand the knowledge domains involved. From the outside looking in, an up-and-coming employee may look prepared to step into a technical leadership role, with the gaps becoming apparent only after the expert has walked out the door. Just because the need to accelerate competency development for mid-career employees is less visible does not mean it is less worthy of strategic attention, however. While it is important to get new hires up to speed quickly, the payoff for turning nex perts into experts is often larger and more immediate, especially in industries where growth has the S4 KMWorld November/December 2014

5 potential to outstrip the supply of expertise. If firms want to ensure a sufficient pipeline of technical leaders, they need to allocate resources to mid-career development and give these employees time to engage in formal and informal learning. The Solutions When it comes to developing novices and nex perts, organizations are using a range of diverse tools to address the gaps. Classic solutions like training, technical conferences and forums, content repositories and mentoring are in place at almost all the firms we surveyed, whereas programs targeting high-potential employees, expertise locators and formal programs to capture and transfer knowledge from those nearing retirement are slightly less prevalent. However, we discovered few truly new or emerging solutions, with all the approaches we tested in place at more than 50% of organizations. Even though most firms gravitate toward the same approaches, their perceived effectiveness varies widely. Training and mentoring receive the highest overall ratings, which is a testament to the value of in-depth learning. Organizations interested in developing nex perts must engage their current crop of experts in direct person-to-person knowledge sharing, whether one-to-many through lectures and team-based learning or one-onone through mentoring and informal support on strategic assignments. Unfortunately, mentoring requires a significant time investment from the technical leaders who serve as mentors, and advanced training can be equally high-touch when experts help design and deliver lessons. Most organizations do not have enough expert trainers and mentors to bring nex perts up to speed, nor do they have years to wait for training and mentoring programs to achieve their full effect. We recommend three categories of complementary approaches to help address the scarcity of experts and enable nex perts and newcomers to take on additional responsibility in the short term: Structural approaches such as gathering experts into a center of excellence or allocating them to specific regions or project areas; Knowledge management approaches such as technical networks and forums, communities of practice, profile-based expertise locators, technical conferences and formal processes to codify and transfer expertise; and Content management approaches such as improving access to content and learning through contextual search, special libraries and clear ownership of content. Figure 2: Few organizations have fully integrated cross-disciplinary strategies The data suggests that some KM approaches such as communities of practice and technical networks are already providing significant value to organizations looking to leverage experts more effectively and build skills and competencies. Others most notably expertise location, libraries and repositories and knowledge transfer approaches may represent opportunities for improvement. Systematic solutions to codify How can firms better leverage the experts they have while, at the same time, accelerating the rate of learning for new hires and mid-career professionals? knowledge and connect employees to experts can be tricky to design and implement, which is probably why survey participants perceive them as slightly less effective. But these tools are the key to organizations extending the reach of existing knowledge and expertise, allowing them to survive with fewer technical experts. KM and collaboration tools also function as learning resources and lifelines when less experienced employees take on more complex tasks. An Integrated Approach Although most of the approaches we recommend can be implemented on their own, organizations benefit from looking at the issue more holistically and purposefully combining techniques from executive management, HR, KM, content management and the technical disciplines themselves. Our research shows that, while a majority of firms have multiple programs in place to address expertise shortages and competency development, less than half have any degree of integration between those programs (figure 2). Important problems often require cross-functional solutions, and our data suggests that the degree of integration among multi-disciplinary approaches is positively correlated with their effectiveness, both individually and in totum. Even organizations with mature knowledge and talent management programs may benefit from more inclusive strategies to address expertise gaps and accelerate time to competency especially for the mid-career professionals in which some firms appear to be underinvesting. We strongly recommend that knowledge managers initiate conversations with stakeholders in learning, talent, competency and content management groups to begin gravitating toward more comprehensive, enterprisewide interventions. APQC is a member-based nonprofit and one of the world s leading proponents of knowledge management, benchmarking, and best practices business research. Working with more than 750 organizations worldwide in all industries, APQC provides the information they need to work smarter, faster, and with confidence. If you would like to learn more about APQC, visit or call us at KMWorld November/December 2014 S5

6 Risk Reduction and Innovation Creation By-Products of an Enterprise Metadata Repository In many organizations, a proactive approach to managing unstructured and semistructured content has never received the necessary focus or relative importance from within the IT and business infrastructure. Enterprise content management, the phrase of the day in 2000, has lost its luster and has failed to keep up with technology. Knowledge management, once all the rage, is now coming into vogue again. A half-hearted approach to managing content is no longer a viable option, due to unmitigated content growth and the fact that 80% of business decisions are made using unstructured content. A traditional oversight that continues is the inability of organizations to place value on unstructured content as a corporate asset. So content remains marginally useful, with no tangible value assigned to it. The business value of unstructured and semi-structured data has never been greater. Yet it still remains on the nice-to-have list, and not on the must-have list. Unfortunately, with this lack of focus and foresight, the business benefits remain unrealized. It is time to refocus on the outcomes of knowledge management and content management, and transform content into usable knowledge assets that can help achieve business objectives. Too Much Content Content overload is a fact of life. Enterprise risk is increasing. These issues will not go away. The end result is that organizations continue to struggle with business challenges that are directly associated with a lack of meaningful metadata. It is the exception for organizations to take a comprehensive approach to capturing, managing and leveraging metadata in order to reduce enterprise risk. Successful search, records management, data security of content assets, migration, text analytics, collaboration, and social business applications depend on meaningful, conceptual metadata, which is structured to enable easy access and realize benefits. Even though these applications share the use of metadata, they are typically approached as single applications. This siloed approach must be By Martin Garland, President, Concept Searching, Inc. eliminated to achieve business process improvements and reduce enterprise risk. There is an increasing corporate focus on information governance, text analytics, collaboration and social intelligence. But for most organizations, these are not viable options until an enterprise semantic framework is in place to exploit the inherent value in unstructured content, making it useful to a variety of stakeholders for different purposes and to the enterprise as a whole. Managing content needs a structured approach. An enterprise metadata repository provides transparency Valuable knowledge is gained when information is internalized, shared and reused as a source of innovation. and accountability and is necessary for proactive content management. The outcome must satisfactorily answer two questions. Can we trust the data? Can we use the data to make investments or sell assets? If both answers are not yes, then perhaps the time has come to revise how content is viewed as a business asset or as a by-product of business activities? Metadata is at the heart of an integrated semantic platform, and is the core component of the technology infrastructure, so can address a variety of application challenges in the management of unstructured content. This semantic framework can then be used to support a complete range of intelligent metadata enabled solutions. Key to this framework is taxonomy. Content grows, and useful content must be identified, kept as an asset with value, and made available to internal constituents and to an organization as a whole. Semantic metadata and taxonomies, coupled with auto-classification, can help separate the wheat from the chaff. One of the founders of Concept Searching, Martin Garland has more than 21 years experience in ECM. His understanding of the information management landscape and his business acumen provide a foundation Martin Garland for guiding organizations to achieve their business objectives using best practices, industry experience and technology. Martin s expertise has been instrumental in assisting multinational clients in diverse industries to understand the value of managing unstructured content to improve business processes. Creating and Using Knowledge Valuable knowledge is gained when information is internalized, shared and reused as a source of innovation. Without a taxonomy, the very basic task of search becomes the weakest link in deriving knowledge, because information that cannot be found cannot be used. If it cannot be used, it has no value. Meaningful content represents corporate memory. Without the ability to access this asset, corporate memory becomes eroded and forgotten. More than ever before, the opportunity exists to capture the knowledge of an often aging and dispersed workforce, to provide the intersection between content assets and knowledge assets. Enterprise risk can be reduced from the perspective of non-compliance, security and information governance, by using knowledge management technology tools. All these functions can be tied back to the enterprise metadata repository, in order to identify corporate risk and implement business processes that leverage enterprise metadata. This enables taxonomies to maintain and refine corporate memory so that it becomes a highly usable tool, to reduce risk, improve compliance, disperse knowledge assets, and ultimately create innovation. Concept Searching specializes in semantic metadata generation, auto-classification and taxonomy management, and has a Microsoft Gold Application Development competency. Its technologies encompass the entire portfolio of unstructured information, in on-premise, cloud or hybrid environments. Clients are using the technologies to improve search, records management, data privacy, migration and text analytics. Concept Searching, Inc 8300 Greensboro Drive, Suite 800 McLean, VA Phone: Web: LinkedIn: Blog: smartcontentdiscussions S6 KMWorld November/December 2014

7 Four Tips to Optimize Search in Your Knowledge Management System Search is a critical component of any knowledge management system. Yet, the search function of many systems returns poor results, not because of poor technology, but rather because the search function didn t anticipate the correct user behavior. The following four tips will help you optimize the search function in your knowledge management system to improve the results for your customers. Tip 1: Focus On Problems, Not Solutions. Most often, users do not know which knowledge management article contains their solution only the problem they are facing. This is particularly common in self-service knowledge management. Thus, writing answer-centric content and optimizing the search engine to find and retrieve answers is a recipe for failure. Knowledge management content needs to clearly state the problem, issue or question that the content addresses. In this way, when users search the knowledge management system by describing the problem, they are much more likely to find a solution. Knowledge management authors should re-think their approach to solution authoring titling content with problem statements and describing the solution information in the body of the knowledge management article. Tip 2: Make Less Do More. The average knowledge management search query is about two words, which is usually insufficient to locate a specific resolution. This leads to far too many results, forcing the user to weed through excess information. While it is impossible to force the user to enter a more complete query, several best practices can be used to produce a better user experience. First, the most relevant results for the keywords must be returned. To do this, the knowledge management system should employ weighting of certain article fields. Fields, such as titles and metadata, should be considered more heavily than body text. In this way, results at the top of a two-word query will contain both of these keywords in the most important sections of the article. Additionally, high-value knowledge articles By KANA, A Verint Company can be tagged as being more important and will always rise to the top of the results list when found, helping ensure that key content will be returned at the top of the result set. Second, users can be encouraged to provide additional information during the search session by providing visual cues to filter the results based on additional tags or by prompting the user to answer clarifying questions. Another option is to employ search-as-you-type or automatic search completion. As users type one or two words into the search box, they will see examples of more-specific search queries from which they can choose. If users see a query that matches their needs, they will choose the more specific search string and thereby retrieve more-specific results. Most often, users do not know which knowledge management article contains their solution only the problem they are facing. Finally, it is critical to leverage contextual information to filter results dynamically. Integration strategies now allow the knowledge management system to integrate to other components of the IT infrastructure. When integrated to other systems, the knowledge management system is aware of various user-profile elements, from location to contact history to current product ownership. By leveraging this information to proactively contextualize search results, the knowledge management system can provide more-personalized results. For example, a query for ATM fees can be translated to ATM fees for premiere checking users in New York. Tip 3: This is What You Are Looking For. Even if the article a user needs is ranked at the very top of the search results, it might as well not exist if the user cannot recognize its relevance. Several strategies can help users recognize a content item as the needed solution. Descriptive titles. Article titles should be problem-centric, describing the issue the user is likely experiencing. These titles should be as descriptive as possible, using terminology likely to be used by the customer. Additionally, visual cues, such as ratings and content type identifiers, can help the user identify the right content item. Relevant excerpts. The best way to communicate relevancy is to show users why the result matched their query. Contextual excerpts present the portion of the knowledge base article that best matches the query. This text snippet allows users to read a small portion of the article without clicking through to determine if the article will answer their question. Bolding keyword matches within the contextual excerpt will provide further information to users as to why the result was returned. Focused article topics. Finally, a knowledgebase article should focus on a single problem and solution. Long documents covering a range of topics are not only more time consuming to read, but also are difficult to recognize as a solution to a particular issue. Tip 4: Test Your Search. No matter how well you construct the search function in your knowledge management system, it is worthless if you don t test it to see if it returns the anticipated results. Testing should be done with real-life queries based on user input, not what you think your users are looking for. And, it should be done with the language of real users, not your knowledge experts. Start with a typical query, such as ATM fees, then see if the content found is relevant to that query. Check that highly ranked articles actually match the query and that lower-ranked articles do not. Search is an important tool, but even installing the best search engine will likely fail if its implementation is based on something other than the way your users think and talk. Follow these four simple tips to help make your search function the best it can be and something that optimizes your customer s engagement with you. KANA, a Verint Company, is a leading provider of cloud and on-premises customer service solutions. KANA helps global organizations including many of the Fortune 500, mid-market businesses and public sector agencies optimize their engagements with consistent and contextual customer journeys across agent, Web, social and mobile experiences. Using KANA solutions, organizations can reduce operational costs, increase resolution rates and improve brand loyalty. Learn more at KMWorld November/December 2014 S7

8 KM for Omnichannel Customer Engagement Six Keys to Success Superior customer engagement remains one of the few differentiators that businesses can sustain over time. The winners in today s omnichannel environment are the companies that leverage knowledge to empower customers and contact center agents, and provide standout customer experience across channels and devices. We have implemented knowledge solutions for blue-chip companies worldwide, helping them design and deliver great customer experiences. In the process, we have compiled hundreds of best practices. Here are some of the popular ones. 1. Quantify value. Assessing expected and realized ROI before and after the deployment helps you justify the initial investment as well as continuous improvement of the knowledgebase (KB). Best practice: Make sure the ROI metrics you use are aligned with business objectives. For instance, if your business goal is to increase upsell and cross-sell, reduction in average handle time will be a conflicting metric. As you assess ROI, keep in mind that knowledge management (KM) delivers positive ROI across a broad range of business problems. Some examples are: Deflection of requests for agent-assisted service through effective self-service; Increase in first-time resolution and sales conversion; Reduction in escalations, transfers, repeat calls and average handle times; and Reduction in training time, unwarranted product returns, field visits and staff wage premiums. 2. Build the team. Successful KM implementations employ the right team for knowledge capture, creation and continuous improvement. Best practice: Empower a cross-functional team that can bring a 360-degree approach to knowledge management. Best-practice teams typically include the following members: Strategist: Lead expert that determines the organization, topics, roles and responsibilities, and long-term plans; Anand Subramaniam, VP of Marketing, egain Corporation Select users: High-performance service and sales agents, who use the KB on a daily basis, can provide useful feedback from the trenches, and even contribute answers. Be sure to reward such agents to foster ongoing knowledge contribution; Subject matter experts: Experts that have answers, especially for questions of high complexity Knowledge authors: Writers and publishers that are focused on content development, taxonomy and publishing; and Project managers: Tactical managers that keep the project on track and ensure forward momentum. 3. Start with depth. Unfocused knowledge deployments almost always result in a shallow KB that is full of holes like Swiss cheese. If users can t find answers, or receive inadequate or wrong information, they will simply stop using the system. Best practice: Focus first on depth rather than breadth. Start with common questions on common products or lines of business (the rule) and expand out over time. 4. Implement best-practice frameworks. Best-practice frameworks have emerged over time in knowledge management. For example, the KCS framework, advocated by the Consortium for Service Innovation (CSI) and popular in the tech industry, is a comprehensive methodology that helps improve speed of resolution, optimize resources, and foster organizational learning. Adopting frameworks like KCS is a win-win-win for customers, contact center agents, and the organization alike. Best practice: Look for KCS Verified providers to implement the best and the next practices in knowledge-centered customer support. 5. Maximize findability. Users prefer different ways of searching for information, just as drivers prefer different ways of reaching their destination. Some drive on freeways, others would rather take the scenic route. A GPS-style approach with multiple options to find information dramatically improves knowledge base adoption and ROI. For example, new agents may find it difficult to wade through hundreds of keyword search results, but might fare better if they are guided through a step-by-step dialog, powered by technologies such as case-based reasoning. Best practice: Multiple search options such as FAQ, keyword and natural language search, intent-driven search, topic-tree browsing and guided help allow a broad range of users to quickly and easily find information. Make sure to use a common omnichannel knowledge platform to ensure consistency of answers and don t forget to deliver knowledge across traditional and mobile devices for access anywhere. 6. Crowdsource, but scrub. Most businesses are not taking advantage of the enormous opportunity to tap into community and social knowledge and, when they do, they often make the mistake of creating yet another inconsistent knowledge silo. Best practice: Foster and harvest social knowledge but scrub and unify with trusted knowledge, and then proactively publish across all channels. Knowledge in online communities and social networks foster peer-to-peer service and can help augment enterprise knowledge assets. Best Practices = Success Implementing these KM practices not only delivers ROI, but also enables transformative customer experiences. Here are some real-world examples: Premier home appliance manufacturer: $50M in savings by eliminating unwarranted truck rolls through knowledge-powered resolution processes in the contact center and website. Semiconductor giant: 59% increase in Web self-service adoption, 30% increase in first-contact resolution. Global knowledge and legal services solution provider: 70% deflection of calls and s through knowledge-powered self-service, 30% reduction in content authoring time. Leading telco provider: 42% reduction in unwarranted handset returns through knowledge-powered resolution process in the contact center. Global bank: 88% reduction in agent training time and 70% increase in productivity through knowledge-powered account opening process in small business sector. egain customer engagement solutions power digital transformation for leading brands. Our top-rated cloud applications for social, mobile, Web and contact centers help clients deliver connected customer journeys in a multichannel world. To find out more, visit S8 KMWorld November/December 2014

9 Why It s Time to Embrace The Intranet of Everywhere Organizations can define and document as much knowledge as they want, but if employees cannot access that knowledge or if they don t know where to find it when they need it then the flow [of knowledge] breaks down and the entire process is considered moot. APQC 1 When was the last time you contributed anything to your intranet? Or managed to find what you were looking for? If you can t remember, you re not alone. A 2013 Worldwide Intranet Challenge survey suggests that 90% of staff don t regularly contribute to their corporate intranet, and 50% never do. And it s not that people don t want to share; they ve merely found another system that is easier to use, or has features they personally prefer. In an era marked by increasingly empowered and mobile knowledge workers each using an ever wider range of tools and applications the new reality is that the modern-day intranet is everywhere your knowledge workers are. And with the continued consumerization of IT, and no end in sight to the broader BYOD movement, we shouldn t expect a momentum shift in this regard anytime soon. With knowledge and content dispersed across an ever-increasing range of tools and services, how can your team members identify (and connect with) subject-matter experts Figure 1: The Intranet of Everywhere, the knowledge worker s virtual workplace of the future 20% of knowledge Easy to reach but less relevant to context 80% of knowledge Difficult to reach but contextually relevant Cutoff point beyond which: IT can no longer manage, maintain, integrate and consolidate systems People need to go beyond their first level network, what they know or can easily access The long tail of enterprise knowledge and tools By Coveo who might be able to assist on a particular task, project or customer issue? How do you ensure your team members have access to the latest, most up-to-date information? In other words, how do companies empower workers to efficiently (and securely) create, share, explore, find and reuse enterprise knowledge in the era of the intranet of everywhere? For most organizations, the answer is to deploy an intelligent, unified search-driven architecture. The Search-Driven Architecture: Embracing Diversity Essentially, an intelligent search solution serves as the fabric that integrates the diverse content streams. It connects, consolidates and contextualizes all the content being created by your knowledge workers, across all of their preferred systems and tools, before delivering it through intuitive, role-specific interfaces that empower users to engage with this knowledge effectively wherever they are. These capabilities allow knowledge workers to access the entirety of knowledge your organization has created (represented in the figure as both the head and the long tail of knowledge.) Specifically, an intelligent search-driven architecture can facilitate knowledge access and solve the top findability challenges Uses multiple devices for work Knowledge Worker Collaborates with experts, shares/ co-creates knowledge Collegues/Contractors/ Partners/Customers faced by knowledge workers (both not being able to find content and not even knowing where to look) by delivering the following features: Support for a large variety of systems and file formats, so that all of the organization s content (along with their item-level security attributes) can be crawled and distilled within a unified index. To do so, the solution must utilize fully productized connectors that enable the precise scoping of crawls, and the swift mapping of securities to ensure users only see the content they are entitled to see at query-time. Provide advanced text analytics and data enrichment capabilities to develop a full awareness of the who, what, when, where and why of each piece of content. This includes not only the ability to understand what the content is about, but also to identify individuals within the organization who are experts on various topics, based upon their actual work-product contributions. A successful search solution should be able to automatically enrich the company s diverse content with enterprise-approved metadata, and should easily integrate with (and use) any taxonomy and term store used by the company. Even more, the solution should be able to auto-generate a taxonomy based upon its analysis of the content, should administrators wish to deploy an enterprise taxonomy without the burden of manually creating one. Deliver a compelling, role-specific search interface so that users can intuitively and quickly explore, filter and sort their search results. For example, a knowledge worker within an R&D department who regularly works on highly technical projects with colleagues located around the globe, might find relevant content more efficiently if she is provided an intuitive tool to filter her search results by both project number and project lead location. A sales representative at the same company, however, might be able to find relevant content more quickly if provided a tool to quickly filter his results by customer industry and deal close date. A search experience that is designed with the specific user in mind dramatically improves that likelihood the user will find what he or she is looking for. For more insights into how you can embrace the intranet of everywhere to enable better knowledge access in your organization, download The Intranet of Everywhere solution brief. Coveo provides search solutions that deliver actionable, personalized knowledge to every employee, support agent, customer, and website visitor. Coveo is a strategic partner of several leading software companies such as Salesforce.com and Sitecore, and has been recognized by Gartner as the most visionary leader in the 2014 Magic Quadrant for Enterprise Search. For more info, visit North America: , EMEA: +31 (0) APQC, Best Practices Report: Transferring and Applying Critical Knowledge, 2013 KMWorld November/December 2014 S9

10 Practical Books for Business Information Professionals from the Publisher of DESIGNING A SUCCESSFUL KM STRATEGY A Guide for the Knowledge Management Professional By Stephanie Barnes and Nick Milton 208 pages ISBN $59.50 GLOBAL MOBILE Applications and Innovations for the Worldwide Mobile Ecosystem Edited by Peter A. Bruck and Madanmohan Rao 632 pages ISBN $49.50 POWERING SEARCH The Role of Thesauri in New Information Environments By Ali Shiri 336 pages ISBN $59.50 PERSONAL ARCHIVING Preserving Our Digital Heritage Edited by Donald T. Hawkins 320 pages ISBN $49.50 THE EMBEDDED LIBRARIAN Innovative Strategies for Taking Knowledge Where It s Needed By David Shumaker 232 pages ISBN $49.50 THE INTRANET MANAGEMENT HANDBOOK By Martin White 256 pages ISBN $69.50 To order outside North America visit THE ACCIDENTAL TAXONOMIST By Heather Hedden Foreword by Patrick Lambe 472 pages ISBN $39.50 KNOWLEDGE MANAGEMENT IN PRACTICE Connections and Context Edited by T. Kanti Srikantaiah and Michael E. D. Koenig 544 pages ISBN $59.50 KMWorld attendees will receive 40% off all ITI books, directories, and periodicals while supplies last. i n f o t o d a y. c o m For more information, call (800) ; outside the U.S. call (609) Visit our website at or Write to Information Today, Inc., 143 Old Marlton Pike, Medford, NJ

11 An Essential Guide for the Taxonomist! Provides a crash course for newcomers and offers experienced practitioners a common frame of reference. A valuable book. Christine Connors, TriviumRLG LLC The Accidental Taxonomist is the most comprehensive guide available to the art and science of building information taxonomies. Heather Hedden one of today s leading writers, instructors, and consultants on indexing and taxonomy topics walks readers through the process, displaying her trademark ability to present highly technical information in straightforward, comprehensible English. Drawing on numerous real-world examples, Hedden explains how to create terms and relationships, select taxonomy management software, design taxonomies for human versus automated indexing, manage enterprise taxonomy projects, and adapt taxonomies to various user interfaces. The Accidental Taxonomist is a practical and essential guide for information professionals who need to effectively create or manage taxonomies, controlled vocabularies, and thesauri. 472 pp/softbound ISBN Price: $39.50 Available wherever books or ebooks are sold, or order direct from the publisher For more information, call (800) ; outside the U.S. call (609) Information Today, Inc., 143 Old Marlton Pike, Medford, NJ infotoday.com An Essential Resource for the KM Professional This volume is undoubtedly one of the best books available for anyone undertaking to do something interesting and useful with knowledge in their organization Larry Prusak, Working Knowledge Here is a practical, step-by-step guide to crafting a knowledge management strategy that aligns with your organization s larger business strategy. The Barnes-Milton approach prepares KM professionals to identify strategic knowledge areas, define program scope and vision, obtain stakeholder input and buy-in, select winning pilots, apply change management principles, build a sound knowledge management framework, manage content and technology, assemble and lead an implementation team, and most importantly connect KM strategy to business realities. Whether you are looking to reinvigorate your current KM program or build an effective program from the ground up, Designing a Successful KM Strategy is the comprehensive guide that will help you get it right. 224 pp/softbound ISBN Price: $59.50 Available wherever books and ebooks are sold, or order direct from the publisher For more information, call (800) ; outside the U.S. call (609) Information Today, Inc., 143 Old Marlton Pike, Medford, NJ infotoday.com

12 For more information on the companies who contributed to this white paper, visit their websites or contact them directly: APQC 123 North Post Oak Lane, 3rd Floor Houston TX PH: or FAX: Contact: Web: Concept Searching, Inc Greensboro Drive, Suite 800 McLean VA PH: Contact: Web: Coveo PH: Contact: Web: egain Corporation 1252 Borregas Avenue Sunnyvale CA PH: or FAX: Contact: Web: KANA, A Verint Company 840 West California Avenue, Suite 100 Sunnyvale CA PH: Sales: ; General: Contact: Web: Produced by: KMWorld Magazine Specialty Publishing Group Kathryn Rogals Paul Rosenlund Andy Moore Ext For information on participating in the next white paper in the Best Practices series, contact: or

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