2Know Magazine: Sharing KM Knowledge
2Know: Sharing KM Knowledge
December 2014 - Magazine No. 183
December 2014 - Magazine No. 183
Edition:
Written By Moria Levy

Another year has passed. Maybe it's just me growing old, but the years seem to fly by. It seems as if all is as was before. Luckily, concerning the Knowledge Management field this isn't true. This year had its surprises.

 

The Open Source and free software world is a prominent market force. We discovered this quite coincidentally. I remember being requested by one of Israel's largest hi-tech organizations to recommend a Wiki-implying method (yes, that's where it all started). The interesting part is how the organization decided on using Wiki in the first place. Their infrastructure workers were moving a server and stumbled upon a wiki-based problems database. They then discovered another similar database, and then yet another. A thorough inspection revealed that each development department in the organization had started its own wiki-database, a total of 5 separate databases. Knowledge Management at its best.

 

Another level of this phenomenon was reached in early 2014 by use of social media. At this stage, decision makers were showing creativity as well. The use of social media can be contributed to two factors (apart from the obvious cost factor). The organizations discovered that these formats weren't as risky as initially perceived. They also realized that in many cases the free software were more efficient than the costly ones.

  

Another stage in the emergence of Open Source this year was most companies offering cloud services. These have a great advantage: they don't require installation, licensing or any of the bureaucracy we grew accustomed to installing software. In short, decision making is quite hesitation-free in these cases.

   

These free (or almost free) solutions are applicable in knowledge sharing fields other than wiki: organizational newsletters, campaign management and even website development. A site is easy to build and maintain while various functions are available nowadays.

So how does this phenomenon affect decision makers?

First and foremost, it obliges us to think openly when applying a knowledge sharing solution. We must consider the variety of tools and solutions available nowadays. We must consider the benefits in adding a new solution to our arsenal. Don't get me wrong: newer solutions aren't always better. I oppose organizational chaos. Solutions’ uniformity is cogitatively more user-friendly. There are advantages to using one search engine for all information and organizational knowledge. There is another price to openness: since choosing a product requires study and research, no cost means (almost) no marketing. Nevertheless, knowing the free programs' disadvantages shouldn't stop us from using them. Rather, we should always consider the pros and cons in each specific scenario and choose wisely. This way, we can enrich our overall functionality and share more.

 

We can see the next step of this process in the Gamification field. And maybe, just maybe, we might soon see a discount on traditional software. But I'm getting ahead of myself. This will probably take a few more years.

One of the most complex challenges organizations deal with nowadays is efficient management and sharing of the organizational content, the width of increasingly growing. This content is stored on a wide range of platforms: internet pages, emails, documents generated by organizational systems such as ERP, CRM, OFFICE, etc.

All the above makes efficient sharing and management of content, as well as its storing, archiving, and immediate retrieval (if required) difficult.

It would seem that portal platforms (e.g. SharePoint) solve this problem. Yet, when the range of information is larger and/or the files are complex (archive, rich media) and/or more substantial than merely sharing (Control management, work processes, etc.).

What is required is a sharing and management solution beyond this platform.

For this purpose the ECM (Enterprise Content Management) systems were developed. These systems concentrate the management process in one place. These systems allow shifting from a situation in which a large amount of different contents and information scattered throughout the organization to a situation in which contents are catalogued and can be easily located, changes can be tracked, access permits, version management, coding and securing the content, etc.

The systems usually include different models that provide solutions for designated needs such as OCR: scanned files, RM, Mobile, Cloud and integration to SharePoint/SAP, massive scanning including barcodes, an advanced process engine combining a digital signature, etc.

 The assembly of solutions offered by the designated ECM systems is a complementary solution for organizations in the age of portals.

These systems support the increasing rate of organizational content using a massive indexation engine which allows immediate retrieval of any historical document from the system.

 

In conclusion, the assimilation of an ECM system in the organization can assist in:

  • Creating a uniform interface for managing and retaining knowledge and content in the organization.
  • Improving and optimizing the organization's work processes.
  • Saving time on information retrieval.
  • Saving on costs of storing and archiving files.
  • Following regulation and standards as required.
  • Monitoring and following changes.
  • A quick assimilation process, a shelf product that does not require special developments.
  • Management and maintenance performed by the client following said assimilation.

Despite the age of portals, ECM systems are still considered a meaningful solution for organizational Knowledge Management. 

 

Written By Maya Fleisher

Nowadays, investing in design and user experience is an integral stage of constructing a site, whether external or internal. We invest in locating needs, characterizing, choosing the right colors, creating appropriate templates, writing quality content, all in order for the user experience to be positive and our user become a frequent visitor.

Is this enough? What other elements can we insert into our professional websites in order to generate interest? How can we create a more personal relationship and thus instill a sense of belonging?

I wish to share two elements which in my opinion affect the user experience and can create a more personal experience:

 

Let's be social!

With the introduction of Social Networks to our world, internet websites (which are not traditionally categorized as Social Networks) also integrate different social components (posting a comment, Like, feedback, sharing etc.).

Integrating these components has become common in current organizational portals and in my opinion should be utilized when characterizing and designing professional websites as well. We can thus gain a mutual relationship:

First we gain, active, involved, responding users through which we can learn in real-time what the users are thinking, what they like and don't like, what they are looking for and what they find interesting.

Furthermore, we can learn through this about our users' behavior. The fact that they respond actively increases the chance that the users will return to the site: at first merely to check if anyone replied to their response, then to see if other users agree/Like what they think and if their content affects the contents and leads to changes. This discourse may cause the user to fell "part of the family". The site then becomes more than a source of knowledge, rather an environment in which the user can feel a sense of belonging (which we all seek).

 

Come and see us!

In numerous projects in which I participated in the process of characterization, establishment and/or update, I discovered that real pictures have great affect on the users' interest concerning the page.  I must note that, as a person who does not like to be exposed, the use of pictures affected me very positively as well. A profile picture is a basic element which exists in all Social Networks and creates a close, comfortable feeling between users.

This can be easily implemented in professional sites. Try it!

 

Where is this appropriate?

  • If you are presenting an organizational construct or unit pages, place a profile picture of each member beside his/her name.
  • If you're publishing news of some sort, insert a picture of the event or person.
  • If you've created a contacts page, insert a small profile picture beside each name.
  • If you wish to add a dynamic feature to your homepage, ass a picture gallery and you've gained color and interest.

In conclusion, the Social Networks are here to stay. We are all members of at least one social network, we all like to feel influential and are accustomed to responding to and sharing opinions and pictures as well as reading comments and viewing who wrote them. Why then not use these benefits in professional internal websites that may assist us in knowing our users better and provide them with a sense of belonging?

BTW, this is me, Maya. Nice to meet you!

 

What do you think? Is it nicer with a picture or without one?

Respond below.

Infographics are defined as illustrating information using graphical tools. Business Intelligence (hereby known as BI) deals with the production of knowledge relevant from a business point of view, yet containing an array of data.  User Experience (hereby referred to as UX) is what the user(s) actually experience while operating a system or product.

How is the relationship between them reflected?

For years we have been debating over the way processed data should be presented in order to enable us to extract from knowledge and information essential for the organization.  For years we have been investing time, effort and financial resources in the use of various types of graphical presentations: Vertical graphs, horizontal graphs, banners, dashboards, gauges, etc.  What have we not tried?

For years, managers find the task of making decisions, based on data, rather difficult; they do not always understand how to see through the clutter of reports, nor through sophisticated Dashboards.

So, what is the story? What is the data telling us here?

Let’s begin, by defining that not in all case, infographics, to be presented here, can be of assistance. Yet, in places in which we as an organization attempt to illustrate the meaning of data to a manager, consumer or any other user, Infographics fills in the missing component. As a result of an understanding of UX, it offers us another direction-unique graphics that doesn't give every presented item similar prominence rather emphasizes the message we wished to convey through this information. The user experiences the data rather than only sees them and therefore successfully assimilates them.

 

I believe that the info-graphic examples speak for themselves…

 

A ROM Knowledgeware greeting card:

 

 

Examples of info-graphic templates (available on the web):

 

 

 

Indeed, as the demonstrated in the examples, information seems clear, and is easy to decide upon, when infographics are involved.

 

So, you probably ask, where's the catch?

To state simply: good info graphics are not simple to create.

There is no automatic, straight forward way to create good infographics,

The bottom line is that in the meantime we have to work hard and be very creative. Probably, as in other fields, there is no such thing as a free lunch.

 

References:

 From Wikipedia: BI, UX, and Infographics.

Maya Fleisher, Infographics-visual information published in 2Know Magazine, ROM Knowledgeware, January 2013

Business Intelligence Ella Antes, published in: 2Know Magazine, ROM Knowledgeware April 2012

User Experience, Liron Regal, Published in: 2Know Magazine, October 2011

To use information intelligently in order to make decisions  Dr. Moria Levy

Infographics on the web-how many words is a picture actually worth? Yael Kreiderman, Israeli UX site 17.7.12

Free downloads: Here, here, and here

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