Upgrading/replacing a Knowledge Management system as part of an organizational paradigm shift
1 August 2010
A Knowledge Management system is usually a cross-organizational system serving its workers as a channel for transferring uniform data with service and marketing messages for internal and external service providers.
The system thus allows the organization to attain its objectives and satisfy it clients. Due to its relevance and in turn extensive use, it should be regularly maintained and managed: central and/or subjects should be occasionally reedited, heavy users should be contacted continuously (e.g. a feedback system), interface operation should be made more efficient, etc.
Launching advanced and complex products frequently requires content editors to comprehend, simplify and quickly implement the new information according to the organization and service provider's needs.
Intensity of update coupled with the aspiration to make manpower more efficient and alter the organization's focuses (e.g. focusing on service) lead to reviewing whether the system matches the newly generated needs.
First, we must attempt and adapt the system to the new needs via the tools available to us:
Focusing on editing the new documents/subjects as part of an organized workplan.
Developing the system.
If these tools are insufficient, we require a fundamental change with new data display abilities that the current system doesn't feature. We can then consider replacing the system and review various systems and decide which system fits our needs best (e.g. simplifying updates, smart searches and different data displays).
Regardless, refreshing the system optimizes content editor's work and the time spent on performing it. Work takes less time when the documents are well structured and do not include any repetition, and when the data reception process and the work processes are optimized. Furthermore, service providers enjoy edited and updated data.
Any solution we choose must defy the limits of simply upgrading/replacing a system; replacing a system is part of a comprehensive, long-term solution based on constant thinking ahead, learning, efficiency and implementation. Examples include:
Defining the role of content editors
Optimizing work processes with interfaces (the time and manner in which data is received from the interfaces as well as prioritizing their requests).
Holding focus groups with service providers and accordingly preparing a workplan for reediting the documents/converting them to the new system.
Preparing/refreshing a routine work plan:
- Holding monthly work meetings with content editors and reviewing documents added to the system/updated.
- Holding quarterly focus groups, including a user group for brain storming and raising difficulties with the displayed data and addressing them.
- Receiving feedback on a daily basis via a designated system and addressing by a defined time (SLA).
- Producing monthly reports for monitoring purposes, e.g. reviewing the amount of entrances to the KM system and checking how many requests were received in the interfaces.
Upgrading or replacing a system involves investing financial and human resources and is justified when the company views service as an organizational focus in the long run.
The new or upgraded system must feature both an innovative exterior and clear, updated content adapted to users' needs. Its influence on users will be derived from its level of management.