Are you graduating from a knowledge base or upgrading a legacy knowledge tool like SharePoint? Today’s customer expects a better knowledge experience—one where answers they encounter are up-to-date, informative, and accurate.
Unfortunately, many knowledge management tools still aren’t fitting the bill because they weren’t designed for enterprises in today’s world. Here are 10 knowledge management requirements to look for in a KM solution so your organization will be ready for what the future holds.
Ability to serve knowledge anywhere
It’s simple. Enterprises need that one source of truth that can actually provide answers internally and to the public.
If you have a contact center where agents need answers and a website where customers often serve themselves…you need a knowledge management tool that can integrate into these channels.
Most knowledge bases can’t handle this task alone because they were not created for storage and retrieval—not for integrating and serving up knowledge.
A knowledge management platform is the modern day tool that accomplishes this task. A KM platform integrates with all your systems to provide clear, cohesive information to everyone who needs it, both inside and outside your organization.
Data drives all aspects of business, and your knowledge management system should be no exception.
The only way to help your customer service agents find answers they need with minimal effort is to use big data, to leverage this knowledge management data, and use it to serve up answers. Knowledge bases still don’t automate very much, and certainly don’t use AI to influence what answers get presented.
Customers only need to interact with contact center agents as a last resort, and they expect immediate answers. If agents are wasting time searching through several knowledge silos before they finally get an answer, you’re frustrating your customer and tarnishing your brand.
Your knowledge management system should include a tool built to process customer intent and suggest answers inside your customer service applications.
Your agents can provide comprehensive, accurate answers quickly–but not with outdated knowledge management technology that serves as your KM foundation.
Modern knowledge management platform
Many knowledge bases limit the number of content types available to creators. If you work in a large enterprise, often the best customer experience occurs when knowledge is presented as an FAQ or guided experience.. After all knowledge should be content agnostic when created based on the use case—not just a bunch of articles.
Any modern knowledge management platform should give creators the tools they need to present information in the most ideal format to an end-user.
Decision trees, as an example, can help agents deliver information much easier than long form articles; this content type (among others) are typically unavailable in knowledge bases. They walk your agents through providing concise answers to complex questions.
Your knowledge management platform should also allow for users to create knowledge in the right format, including but not limited to:
- Decision trees
People learn best when they can access knowledge in their preferred format, so make sure any knowledge base software includes content types that will best serve your employees and customers.
Knowledge management team organization
As an enterprise organization, if you don’t have a clearly defined group of knowledge workers and contributors….it doesn’t matter how many fancy knowledge tools or processes you have.
To truly serve great answers, you need to form a knowledge management team with clearly defined roles and responsibilities. Any knowledge management system needs people to operate, to create and maintain a base of knowledge.
Your knowledge management team can be a group effort composed of people from all departments in your organization made up of admins, contributors, and subject matter experts.
A technical administrator will work closely with your knowledge manager to handle users, configurations, and integrations. A collaboration team of subject matter experts, contact center supervisors, and trainers can be drawn from different departments across your organization.
At the enterprise level, teamwork and clearly defined documentation is key to maintain your overall system of moving parts (including technology).
Documented knowledge management framework
A knowledge management framework helps guide teams as they put together processes and systems that involve technology and people.. Knowledge-centered service (KCS) is a popular methodology that many organizations use when defining together the components of a KM framework
A certified knowledge manager with experience in KCS can implement the overall framework and methodology in line with KM’s best practices.
There are eight elements to a comprehensive knowledge framework, and you need all of them to be successful:
Check out our post on how to create a knowledge management framework at the enterprise level for a deep dive.
One location for all approved and maintained knowledge
Too often, large enterprises end up with knowledge silos that have been put in place by individual departments which causes chaos for employees trying to locate answers.
If you have ever copied or populated any piece of software with a knowledge component, there’s a good chance you have created a knowledge silo—a common knowledge management mistake. Your organization should always integrate knowledge from one place instead of duplicating or creating new content in locations few people know.
Knowledge managers need a source of truth to realistically manage knowledge and ensure it gets created and improved according to a set of standards. This task is impossible for enterprises that have a hodgepodge of silos.
Ability to recommend answers
The best enterprise knowledge management solutions shouldn’t only store knowledge and make knowledge searchable.
With today’s technology, your customers and agents should only attempt to locate answers as a last resort. Answer recommendations should appear automatically the moment agents need them.
To pull off answer recommendations, you need an integrated knowledge base that takes in customer input and can process and return answers. The knowledge management products of years past simply won’t improve the customer experience with yesterday’s approach to knowledge management software as a storage and retrieval tool.
Enterprise-class pinpoint search
If agents or customers must search for answers as a last resort, enterprises need a search solution that is fast and efficient, not slow and clunky. Agents aren’t likely to remember the exact titles of a particular document half the time, which is why so many knowledge management products score so poorly in the search/findability department.
For search to perform optimally, enterprises will need a modern KM solution with a Google-like search experience; most KBs on the market don’t even look for keywords inside of documents, much less leverage AI and big data in knowledge management to influence search results.
The best KM solutions will make finding knowledge easier by using tags, categories, descriptions and creating connections to related knowledge content.
Knowledge work automation
The KM platforms shouldn’t just organize your knowledge, they should help knowledge managers identify gaps in your existing knowledge (without the manual work).
Big data has transformed the business landscape and provides visibility to knowledge-related data that was previously opaque or impossible to access. Enterprise knowledge leaders in the future will need automation to help pinpoint unanswered questions, view trends based on user interaction data, and uncover problems like duplicate content easier than ever before.
The amount of information that needs to be processed and utilized as knowledge continues to grow every day.
Your organization’s knowledge managers will need automation to eliminate unnecessary reporting and analyzing tasks if you expect knowledge-related content to improve over time and stay high-quality.
The foundation of a knowledge management system is the people using it. Building a knowledge-centric culture that understands the benefits of quality knowledge requires building a knowledge infrastructure throughout your organization.
To build a modern knowledge infrastructure, you need buy-in at all levels of your company. You need people that don’t tolerate out-of-date knowledge and realize the software of yesterday won’t solve tomorrow’s knowledge challenges.
A good culture also involves sharing knowledge, adding new articles, and revising existing content. No matter the knowledge solution you currently use, you need executives that preach the benefits of knowledge management to create a knowledge-centric culture.
Explore the future and outlook of enterprise KM
If you’re outgrowing your current knowledge management tools, take some time to explore how enterprises are approaching knowledge management, what’s working, and what’s not.
Industry reports, software review sites, and speaking with other knowledge management thought leaders is a good place to start, especially in the enterprise market.
Enterprise knowledge management is due for a change, so it’s best to stay informed if you are in the middle of a knowledge initiative.