The total information generated in 2002 was equivalent to the amount of information stored in half a million libraries the size of the Library of Congress. This tremendous influx of information is also reality for major firms. Keeping track and relevance of information has become extremely important in order to avoid reinventing the wheel moments, centralize information usage, standardize best practices and combat obsolescence. In order to do so, companies rely on specialized knowledge bases in order to properly store and retrieve information, prioritizing content re-utilization and curation.
During recent years, traditional knowledge bases have evolved into web based systems meaning that several collaborative options have been integrated, such as the opportunity for teams to come together and develop projects in real time and regardless of location. Web based also means that content can be visualized in various formats and screens. For example, earlier knowledge bases could only be consulted through your desktop computer. Now access is available directly through your tablet or Smartphone and this means that on-demand access is now a reality.
Every professional must be able to access different types of information in order to successfully carry out their tasks and improve learning cycles. This takes on a deeper meaning when we take into consideration the fact that we are highly dependent on knowledge workers and their abilities in order to generate profitable and sustainable results. For this they must be able to access a knowledge base in the shortest time possible in order to consult manuals, processes, templates and even ask questions to other experts. This becomes extremely crucial when teams are global and do not share the same working space. Although many companies are aware of this, there is a reluctance to move towards web based knowledge bases in comparison to traditional (and less collaborative) software.
Below are some of the primary fears associated with this:
1) Fear that a knowledge base will turn into an information graveyard where documentation is just stored away and never reused. This happens when we rely strictly on technology to do the job and leave aside strategy. First of all, for a web knowledge base (and any base in general) to become productive you need to prioritize content and structure. Identifying strategic information is a key and vital step. A simple matrix can help define prioritization according to different variables such as content and usage rate. There might be critical information tied to the company's strategic plans and processes which might require a different form of administration and structure. Keeping an eye out for this type of details will help turn your knowledge base into a strategic source of action.
2) Fear of overwhelming employees with new (and many functions). Although knowledge bases now come packed with various tools and collaborative options there are certain aspects such as change management and processes that need to be defined before deploying new technology. Various lessons learned from the field denote that too often technology is deployed without an adequate communication plan (top-down), a proper training or induction framework and in general, workers are left to explore the new gadgets on their own. If this is the case, then it is no wonder why workers assume that they are being overwhelmed with new features. Also having someone just telling you to use it without showcasing benefits and importance won’t help either.
3) Fear of not understanding how information is reused and impact on business.
For many CEOs it is important not just to invest in repositories but being able to create authentic learning environments where knowledge can be co-created and shared instantly. New forms of web based knowledge bases now come with various options that help to keep track of changes, monitor information re utilization, create FAQ guides, manuals and many more things. This in turn helps monitor information, create an expert map based on user interaction, but above all, understand how well information is being used and how it impacts results. For example, in help centers, answers might be documented in a Q&A form. When the attention time decreases based on the number of times the information was consulted, we have a clear example of how it is impacting productivity and ROI can be accurately measured in economic terms.
Note than unlike data and information, knowledge contains expert judgment and analysis. Documented and structured experience will become a valuable source of action and this transformation occurs when knowledge bases are in place at the service of organizations and workers. As technology continues to improve and cognitive learning is paving way to new forms of expert systems, there are plenty of changes that will soon revolutionize the way knowledge bases are conceived and developed. For the time being, it is important to break away from the paradigms that prevent our organizations to co-create, collaborate and share knowledge.
This blog is listed under Data & Information Management Community