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KM Topics

For those who grapple with the quality of knowledge-based support systems, e.g. marketing, self-help, call center, extranet, intranet, online learning:

Consolidate to Communicate (Part I & Part II)

LookingInYour company is rolling out a new product. Perched on the outside looking in are the content managers for intranet, extranet and customer support.

Oh sure, there will be a last-minute demo to the customer-facing team and a breezy e-mail from the VP heralding the new item, but this is just info-lite. Avoid this dilemma by developing the problem-solving resources along with the marketing and sales materials…read article

The Curse of Elegance

ChabanaWhen a designer successfully balances function and form to achieve rare beauty we laud the creation as being elegant.

Unfortunately, such appreciation is not common in the world of knowledge management. By failing to recognize the very best knowledge resources, we don’t compel the creators to advance the state of the art. The curse of the elegant knowledge resource is that the creation looks simplistic and blindingly obvious unless…read article

Your Personal (Knowledge) Shopper

PSWhen we face a time-critical and complex problem that requires us to plumb the depths of available knowledge, nothing beats finding a well-designed, easy to use collection that aggregates everything we need.

As a collection builder, you have the opportunity to peruse and select top-notch resources from across the knowledge-base. In a sense, you are the personal knowledge shopper for future users. It’s time consuming and challenging, but rewarding. The following insights should be helpful…read article

Publish…don’t Perish

RedInkMany skills are needed – along with significant expertise – to produce high-quality, professional and informative resources worthy of publishing. This begets a question:

Is it reasonable to expect that high quality, professional knowledge-base resources will be crafted absent a disciplined publishing process?

Most people would assert that – due to scope – a manual is inherently more important than a two-paragraph web page.  But a Risk Manager would suggest different criteria, e.g. potential harm should a resource be faulty…read article

(Im-)Proper Care & Feeding of Experts

Spark of GeniusOne of the most challenging problems a KM initiative must overcome is unproductive SMEs.

Why aren’t your experts cranking out useful knowledge base content? Let’s examine the problem from their perspective…read article

Swing and a Miss – Support Center Metrics

A-Rod strikes out...again.Organizational leaders love their Support Center metrics, e.g. response & resolution, escalation, abandonment, average talk time and more.

The focus is on solving the problem of the user as quickly and efficiently as possible.  From a KM perspective, a myopic emphasis on the needs of a single user is misplaced and wasteful…read article

Overcoming SharePoint’s Limitations

One of the most liberating steps a knowledge manager can take is to segregate the organization scheme used for content management from that for navigation.

Using an open-source content management system (CMS) one can build killer navigation…read article

Quality Control via Ownership

NDIf knowledge resources were widgets, there would certainly be a formal quality control (QC) program, but knowledge base QC is often Ad hoc and ineffective.

A Knowledge Management program that recognizes the following requirements and invokes responsibility and capacity for them will have a much better ROI than one that allows its knowledge-base to become corrupted due to negligence…read article

Escape the KM Delusion Trap

DelusionMousetrapDelusion vs. Reality: Is your KM program legit?

Few strategic plans written in the past decade omit a commitment to capturing and leveraging knowledge, but a lofty strategic goal is meaningless without an operational commitment. Fortunately, there’s a quick test to determine if your organization suffers from vapor management…read article

Tag Ur It! Classifying resources for navigation

TagAs knowledge-bases scale, both content and demand evolve.  Why live with a rigid classification scheme as the foundation of navigation, when it is clear that flexibility is needed?

In practical terms, can we combine the flexibility of tags with the utility of controlled vocabularies?  Evidence suggests we can…read article

Think Like a Librarian

TrinityLibraryDublinThe most common misconception about Librarianship is that libraries are clones with respect to the mechanisms of organization, management and navigation of content.

Librarians don’t start with an organization scheme and plug resources into it; that is courting disaster. Perhaps you have personal experience. If the pantry or garage is difficult to navigate (locate resources), the initial organization scheme likely failed as the quantity and diversity of content changed. This is an avoidable mistake…read article

Managing Expectations for Knowledge Initiatives

Ignore SwitchThe key to managing expectations up the chain of command is to be alert to the risks of not doing so.

Ever been in a long-anticipated meeting to green-light an initiative only to hear your boss (or colleague) sell a bold concept you support by making promises that make you cringe? Creative advocates are prone to oversell, over-simplify and over-estimate decision-makers…read article

Knowledge Management vs. Flipping Burgers – How Do You Define Success?

FlippingBurgersThe definition of success for most support efforts is single-client focused.  From the moment the ticket is opened, the emphasis is to close it, albeit with a satisfied client.

Making clients happy one at a time is a laudable goal, but it is hardly KM – it’s much more akin to flipping Big Macs…read article

Avoiding the Dreaded Oops!

BrokenLinkWhen you expect to open a useful resource to solve a time-critical problem, it’s maddening to get a 404 or Oops! message.

One of the worst culprits for broken links is the practice of embedding links to individual resources in newly published items such as announcements, newsletters, training materials, sales content, reference manuals, FAQs, etc. These items have a long shelf life. What was intended to be helpful to the user can easily lead to maintenance headaches. These strategies will help…read article

Vapor Management or Operational Excellence?

RedInkWhen it comes to maximizing return on investment (ROI) from knowledge base systems, the organization that scrutinizes day-to-day operational effectiveness will outperform its competitors.

read article

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