Surviving a Content Migration: What’s Your Strategy for Success?

Is your organization planning a content migration to a new knowledge management system? As reported in our recent Guidebook, How to Lead a Successful Content Migration (published in partnership with Eventus Solutions Group):

“The reality is that many knowledge management programs are struggling to adapt to the trends facing them. Today’s tools and content are not able to deliver the customer knowledge experience required. At the same time, there is an abundance of content, spread out among several repositories.”

To address the challenges of migrating large amounts of content into a new system, content migration projects require careful planning and an organized approach. The best way to make it through the process with your head above water is to learn how to avoid the common pitfalls by developing a cohesive migration strategy.

Common Obstacles to Successful Content Migrations


Underestimating the amount of time and resources it takes to complete a content migration is one of the biggest mistakes that organizations make during the planning phase. This is typically the result of skipping a full content audit, which uncovers just how much content you really have, or misunderstanding the full scope of the content. Irrevo and Eventus noted, “The end result of the assessment and scoping phase is a completed roadmap highlighting all the specific content migration project deliverables. It captures the key strategic decisions that will serve as the project’s guiding principles and provides a framework to direct all future decisions.”

Having unorganized or heavily formatted content that can’t be migrated without manual work (i.e. converting PDF or Word documents) can hurt your budget if you aren’t prepared. Many legacy knowledge base software systems utilize older document types that simply aren’t compatible with today’s technologies. When creating a content migration budget, you must take into account the time it will take to convert file types or to create new versions of your content that can be migrated into the new system.

Without a quality control system in place, you’ll never know how successful your content migration really was. Every successful content migration plan has a way of tracking content from start to finish and performing quality checks to ensure the best final product. Keeping track of the number of articles that are migrated and verifying that each one has been properly formatted, tagged and imported will save you time and money, and will serve as a helpful way to measure your success.

Avoiding Migration Mistakes

Step 1. Complete a full content audit to get a realistic view of your migration needs.

Get a full count of the number of articles you have and all other pieces of content that you want to migrate. Be sure to note different file types and flag content types that may be difficult to migrate into a new system. Take special care to note image files, embedded tables and linked content, since each of these types of content pose their own challenges. Figuring out any technical issues before you dive into the migration process makes it much easier to avoid errors along the way.

Step 2. Make sure the migration team understands the content they are working with.

Both internal employees and external consultants on the team should have a basic understanding about the content they are working with. At a minimum, having an internal SME available to answer specific content questions can help sort out the more complicated areas of your knowledge base. 

Step 3. Create a content checklist. This can be used as both a tracking document for the migration process and as a QA checklist for the final verification. Having a content checklist makes it easy to maintain a smooth workflow, and it helps keep the team accountable for the work that is completed. This checklist should include a list of each content item, along with any relevant details, including tags, the new category designation and location, and a list of any embedded attachments or images. Use this list to make sure that all items were migrated correctly by verifying the content once it’s been moved into the new system.

Smart Preparation is the Key

When it comes to successfully implementing a content migration strategy, being prepared with the right information is the best way to stay ahead. By avoiding the common mistakes that can quickly derail a migration, you can stay on budget and on track every step of the way.

Q&A: Managing a new knowledge management strategy when your team won’t buy in

In our recent webinar, Creating Institutional KM Change that Sticks, our expert panel shared lessons learned in implementing new knowledge programs.

In this series of posts, Jennifer Crippen, Senior Consultant at DB Kay & Associates, and Dave Cutler, VP of Customer Success at Venafi, are joined by Irrevo’s Knowledge Strategists, Melissa Burch and Laurel Poertner to respond in detail to the questions our audience shared during our Q&A session.

How do you deal with individuals or teams who don’t want to use the “single source of truth” and maintain their own sources of info? Do you push them into your KM flow, or meet them halfway and encourage them to share what they have developed?

Melissa Burch:

Luckily, within organizations there are always more who are eager to participate than those who actively resist. Acknowledge those who are participating in knowledge sharing as you have visualized. Put the spotlight on those individuals and teams by publicly acknowledging their contributions toward the strategic objectives. Leave those who are not cooperating out of these conversations. Take advantage of the natural tendency of people to want to be accepted and acknowledged. Keep messages coming with consistent messages that articulate the vision and strategic direction. Soon you will see fewer and fewer team members who resist the changes you are visualizing.

I would add a caution though. If there continues to be individuals and teams who are actively resist, then you need to step back and evaluate the organization with a critical eye. Evaulate as objectively possible and look for the common mistakes made by leaders. Are they guilty of losing focus too quickly? Have communication and messaging been consistent and frequent enough to be effective? Does everyone understand their role in meeting the strategic objectives of the organization? Do the measures used by the organization align to these new strategic direction? It is never too late to adapt. Persistence is the most important leadership characteristic in times of change.

Laurel Poertner: 

It may be more about timing than anything. If the KM program is relatively new and the single source is still ramping up, you may want to give them more time to see the value. Ask yourself what outcome you are trying to achieve. Is it to bring new employees up to speed faster? Is it giving customers more resources and information before they call support? Focus on the outcome and how the team or individuals can impact that. Find the “What’s in it for me” answer to help them see the value for themselves. Once they do, they will freely share and move knowledge into the single source.

Learn More

If you missed the live broadcast, you can watch a recording of this webinar. Stay tuned to the Irrevo blog for more Q&A from this session, and follow us on Twitter to be the first to know when we share new answers.

 

The one person who can make or break your new knowledge program

The best laid plans of knowledge managers oft go astray, as the saying goes. It doesn’t have to be that way. Strategic planning up front that takes into consideration the pitfalls you’ll likely encounter greatly improves your success.

We asked the panelists for our recent webinar, Creating Institutional KM Change That Sticks, to share their thoughts on one essential question that’ll keep your change on track:

Who’s the most important person to have on your side as you implement a change? 

Melissa Burch, Knowledge Strategist, Irrevo:

Lasting change within an organization relies heavily on the ability of executive leaders to convey the strategic direction they are taking. It is difficult for team members to understand why they are doing something in a different way if they are not able to visualize the connection to the bigger picture. Successful change initiatives are ones where the executive leaders make those connections very clear to everyone. The messages from the executive leadership team need to be consistent and continuous to solidify the change into the muscle memory of the organization. Without the consistent involvement and support of the executive leaders, change initiatives will struggle to achieve results.

Jennifer Crippen, Senior Consultant, DB Kay & Associates:

The curators and consumers of the knowledge are the people I would make sure to have aligned and bought in to the plan and vison. That’s important to making it stick because when you get them to participate in the planning and decision making they gain a vested interest in seeing it come to fruition.

Dave Cutler, VP of Customer Success, Venafi:

In my opinion, the support analysts are the most important people to ‘win over’ to improve a knowledge management program, and it takes a focused effort to educate & engage each of those individuals so they become ‘converted’ to a new way of thinking in order to create lasting change.

Laurel Poertner, Knowledge Strategist, Irrevo:

It is hard to pick just one because like any team, if one group doesn’t pull their weight, it can fall apart. Many would say the Executive Sponsor is paramount to making a lasting change but the middle managers directly leading the knowledge workers have a greater impact. This group has one of the toughest jobs because they need to promote the change while keeping up with customer demands to show a smooth transition. There is tremendous pressure coming from all sides to allow the knowledge workers additional time to train and ramp up plus pressure from customers to keep services levels from dropping. These leaders need to see that their effort will bring value for their teams.

To hear more on this topic, and other tips on implementing change within your knowledge program, watch the recording of our webinar, Creating Institutional KM Change That Sticks.

Customer Success, Part 3: How segmentation delivers value to customers – and your business

This guest post by Francoise Tourniaire is the second in a series that takes an in-depth look into creating a successful Customer Success program. You can catch up with Part 1, Setting the stage for customer success, and Part in Part 2, Creating a Scalable Customer Success Program.


segment_support_models

In our last post on scaling customer success, we proposed many alternatives to the traditional, headcount-intensive approach to customer success. Still, customer success managers can become very knowledgeable about their customers, gain their trust, become valued advisors, and artfully uncover opportunities for revenue expansion. So how do we decide what customers receive this precious resource? By segmenting.

What is segmenting?

Segmenting is a strategy that divides the customer base into subsets of customers with similar needs, so that you can supply services that are most appropriate to each segment. For instance, high-value customers may be assigned a permanent customer success manager, while others may receive only automated updates.

Is segmenting for customer success all about revenue?

In a word, no. Segmenting by revenue is common, of course, and indeed revenue is almost always a part of the segmentation strategy. But there are many other factors that may make sense in your particular context:

Revenue potential

A customer may have a small MRR (Monthly Recurring Revenue) today, but have the potential for a much higher contribution. For instance, if a large organization starts with a small pilot project, revenue is likely to grow. Assessing revenue potential is not easy, but all other things being equal, it makes sense to prioritize customers who are likely to grow in time over those whose size will remain stable.

Reference accounts

A customer may not be particularly large nor likely to grow, but still serve as an important reference account, for instance because it is a beachhead in a new territory or a new industry. Coddling reference accounts may be an excellent investment.

Lifecycle stage

Customers usually need more assistance at the beginning of the lifecycle, during onboarding. Many vendors assign onboarding representatives during the initial training period, but withdraw them afterwards.

Industry

If your product of service is used very differently in different industries, providing different customer success deliverables may make sense, above and beyond the question of size. For instance, the K-12 education market may be offered regularly scheduled online meetups to boost community exchanges, while business customers instead receive quarterly business reviews.

Troubled accounts

Most vendors assign additional resources to troubled accounts, although they rarely make that explicit to customers. The hope is that troubled accounts will work themselves out of the crisis after a period of focused care.

This is far from an exhaustive list. Think about your customers’ unique requirements and how you can best allocate resources to them. I’ve had clients separate their customers into franchisers and independents, for instance. It all depends on what makes sense for your customer base.

Are customer success segments the same as marketing segments?

Perhaps. Remember that marketing segments direct the acquisition of customers, whereas customer success focuses on retention. Just because two customers were in different marketing segments does not imply that their ongoing needs are different. For instance, you may market differently to healthcare and technology companies, but once the customers are no longer prospects it may be more important to segment by size than by industry – or vice versa.

Consider the marketing segments as one possible way to segment for customer success, but don’t feel limited by them.

How many segments do I need?

It all depends on the specifics of your customer base, as well as your size. It is the rare vendor who can use a one-size-fits-all approach, although it is possible. For instance, if your customers are consumers, all using a fixed-price service, one segment may be just the ticket. (And you will be unlikely to deploy expensive customer success managers in this situation.) But most vendors find that they can easily distinguish between key and non-key customers, creating two segments, and often more.

Don’t go crazy with multiple segments. If you have a tiny customer success group, two segments are probably the most you should have.

Can you give me an example?

Here is an example using two segments: one for enterprise customers, who receive personalized service from start to end through an assigned CSM, the other for other customers, who get less, and less personalized help.

Onboarding Retention
All Online videos & 1:1 check-ins with onboarding specialist Monthly check-ins with CSM from pool
Enterprise 1:1 sessions with the CSM Weekly check-ins with assigned CSMQuarterly onsite business reviews
Onboarding Retention
All Online videos & 1:1 check-ins with onboarding specialist Monthly check-ins with CSM from pool
Enterprise 1:1 sessions with the CSM Weekly check-ins with assigned CSMQuarterly onsite business reviews

Here is another example, with three segments, showing a possible progression from self-service to completely personalized service.

Onboarding Retention
S Videos and group webinars Automated outreach
M Videos + 1:1 check-ins with an onboarding specialist Monthly check-ins with a CSM
L Customized 1:1 training sessions Weekly check-ins with assigned CSMQuarterly onsite business reviews

This last example is segmented by industry rather than by revenue or by size, to illustrate the idea that offerings need not be organized in a Russian-doll manner.

Onboarding Retention
K-12 K-12 online videosHelp with school adoption campaigns Dedicated online community3 check-ins with the CSM during the school year
Commercial 1:1 sessions with an onboarding specialist Monthly check-ins with the CSM

Remember to adapt the examples to your specific circumstances and customer requirements. The best customer segmentation strategy is one that delivers value both to your customers and your organization. Regularly evaluate the success of your segmentation strategy and revise it as needed.


Francoise Tourniaire is the founder of FT Works and co-founder of ChurnSquad. Both companies provide consulting, training, and coaching to create and improve customer success initiatives. Her most recent book, The Art of Support: A Blueprint for Customer Success and Support Organizations, is now available on Amazon. Contact Francoise at FT@ftworks.com or 650 559 9826 for more information.

4 Strategies to make your Knowledge Management changes stick

Why is it that people often say, “third time’s a charm”?  What is magic about the third time a program is implemented that it generally “sticks”?  Do we have to go through the pain and suffering of failing the first two times after spending all the time and effort to gain enthusiasm and momentum only to have it fall off after six months or so?

These are questions that many executives and directors wonder as they discuss ways to make sure their visions around Knowledge Management are carried out. Here are a few strategies on avoiding the pitfalls you’ll likely encounter when you launch a new KM program, or make dramatic changes to your existing program.  We explore these and other methods in more detail in our recorded webinar, Creating Institutional KM Change that Sticks.

Getting the right people involved

org_change_happen_fasterManagers and leaders are often told that if you build it they will come.  This way of thinking does not typically work for implementing and sustaining a valuable and successful knowledge management program.  People who want to participate need to know they have people they can trust that will care for their knowledge to make sure it gets into the right hands.  They also want to see that it is making a difference for customers.  Find people in your organization that want to take on the responsibility of being the caregivers of the organization’s collective knowledge.  Then give them the authority, budget and priority to make it accessible and valuable to all that use it.

What’s in it for me?

Knowledge comes from within.  We choose to share it and if we don’t see a reason to share, we won’t.  Managers often turn to incentives to entice people to share their knowledge to keep a program moving but it results only in short-term gains.  Competition between teammates may spike knowledge sharing participation at first but there needs to be a more compelling reason to sustain it long-term.  Not to mention executives can’t afford to keep handing out incentives indefinitely.  The value of sharing one’s knowledge must be realized by the people contributing and the way to do that is make it as visible as possible, like:

  • Publish customer testimonials on how knowledge has helped them.
  • Post positive KM metric trends to show team members their impact on the ecosystem
  • Talk with individual knowledge contributors about their positive experiences and post them for all employees to see

Managing the pace of change for sustained growth

Part of making change stick is having patience. It takes 12 weeks for the brain to develop a new habit so make sure goals and objectives are realistic.  Communicate the progress and focus on the positive changes. Then, establish a good pace that team members feel comfortable with.  It is a good idea to get input from various teams when establishing long-term goals and milestones to get the buy-in needed to keep it going.

Unite and align for a common cause

The new Knowledge Management program should be part of every meeting, conversation and communication.  Metrics are the best way to start conversations around knowledge. They need to be top of mind from the CEO down to the individual knowledge contributor.  Align team and individual objectives with program outcomes by adding them to performance reviews and quarterly company objectives.  Managers should discuss KM program process in weekly meetings and executives should set aside time during quarterly operations reviews to focus on the KM program.

These are just a few ways to create a KM program change that will be long-lasting and successful. Watch our recorded webinar to hear more from a panel of experts who have successfully executed institutional KM changes within their organizations.

Customer Experience 2015: A year in review

looking-back-2015

As we tie a bow on 2015 and look forward to 2016, we can’t help but observe that the landscape of the customer service industry has changed. Customer support organizations are becoming more customer-centric, and with that, have adopted a more targeted approach to improving the customer experience.

We’ve asked a few experts to share their thoughts on how customer experience has evolved over the last twelve months:

Melissa Burch, Knowledge Strategist, Irrevo

The demand for a cohesive experience from pre-sales through to post sale has never been higher. Prospective customers and existing customers both demand the ability to find the information they need to make buying decisions and help themselves use products more effectively. To meet that demand, everyone inside the company has to work together to deliver relevant and timely information needed throughout the entire customer lifecycle.

Rich Weborg, CEO, OneReach

Today’s customer experience is 24/7, part of a multilingual, multichannel, multi-location world. There’s more data available around user preferences and how they interact with your business. In addition, there are better tools handling better interactions, so data is easier to manage. We’re creating customer experiences based on real-life data, and it’s easier to design them than it used to be. Customer data is integrated across multiple channels. Automation has also allowed for more proactive customer experiences, helping customers before they ask for it. In addition, smarter interactions based on artificial intelligence-type analysis.
But with all these innovations, it’s become somewhat harder to manage the customer experience. Customers expect a consistent experience across channels, so companies need to be able to deliver. Another challenge is that there’s more opportunities to expose yourself to criticisms; it’s harder to hide behind bad UX.

Tim Whiting, VP of Marketing, Opinionlab

In 2015, true omnichannel customer engagement arrived with an exclamation point as evidenced by the domination of mobile retail interaction during Cyber Five. Viewing consistent cross-channel customer experience (CX) as a competitive differentiator gave way to customer’s expecting consistent cross-channel CX as market parity and looking for CX innovation.  We enter 2016 with omnichannel CX established as the new battleground for customer acquisition and loyalty.

Laurel Poertner, Knowledge Strategist, Irrevo

The customer experience landscape this year is all about ME.  That is, how well do you really know “ME” as your customer?  On-line and in-person experiences alike, the more personalized, preemptive and on-demand you can make an interaction, the higher the value it will have.

The bar for quality customer experiences was raised in 2015, and the next twelve months will see even more evolution. Check out our recent webinar, The 5 Knowledge Trends that will Reshape Customer Experience in 2016 to learn how you can stay ahead of your customers’ expectations.

 

Capturing the terms that make content findable: How Knowledge Centered Support (KCS℠) can help

Knowledge Centered Support is one of the most powerful tools you can use to improve your content for a wealth of reasons. By incorporating KCS principles into your knowledge workflow, you can increase the likelihood that your audience will be able to locate the information they need to address their issue or answer their question.

What’s the question?

First, you must place yourself in the shoes of the content seeker to try and anticipate what question they might ask to locate the content.  Typically, this comes from a customer or an employee.  Herein lies the first challenge.  If the person trying to locate the content did not write the content, how can you possibly know which words to type in the search box to maximize your chances of finding the exact content you are looking for?

The answer lies within the KCS practices

Knowledge Capture The first step in writing a piece of content is to “capture” it.  Usually, that comes from communicating with a customer about a question or problem.  People who are not practicing KCS will usually try to translate what the customer is asking or saying into what they think the problem is and then write an article about the translated problem.

This presents an issue because generally the people searching for the content (ie. other customers) think similarly and may describe the problem or question in a similar way.  Therefore, part of capturing using KCS practices is to also put it in the exact context as was described by the initial customer who reported it.

This is called capturing in the customer’s context.  If customers describe the screen as blue, but a more accurate description is azure, make sure blue is still in the article, preferably in the title (along with azure).  This will help someone else immediately identify the article as a possible candidate for the answer if they spot it in a list with one of the words they have searched on.

Structure

The next step is to structure the content.  Not only does it need to be accurate, clearly stated, and easy to read, it also needs to contain ALL the words that someone else might use to 1) describe the problem and 2) search for it.  This doesn’t always happen as the article is being written.  It is often an iterative process.  However, you don’t really want a support agent taking the extra time to think of all the words that could be used to describe say the word blue in the example above.

So many words

This is where a Knowledge Management tool with a built in dictionary can make things much easier to practice KCS and make things much more findable.  Instead of placing the words within each article, certain tools contain a global dictionary where you can add related words.  Again from our example above, if the article only contains the word blue, you could add this to the dictionary and list the related words like azure, turquoise, navy, etc.  Then, when a search contains any of those words, it will find all the articles with the related words and place them in the search results list.  And best of all, as new articles get added with any of those “blue” type words, they will be returned in searches and therefore customers and employees will have an easier time finding them.

Why search is so important

Inaccurate or incorrect search results will stifle KM adoption and content reuse even in the best of KCS organizations. The KM search engine must adapt not only to how users ask questions using natural language processing, filtering selections, content metadata, customer dictionary synonyms, and proximity/ordering of words in the users’ query, but also to who the user is and which content is of most interest and importance to them in real time. Additionally, having a strong KM analytics focused KCS program will enlighten KM administrators on exactly how users are searching, which content is being used most and least often, and perhaps most importantly, what content is missing from the knowledge base. When an organization intimately understands how users search, what content they are using, and what content they need, they can better configure their KM system to be more responsive and accurate, all while improving the overall perception, acceptance, and reliance on KM and the industry proven KCS practices.


This post was co-authored by Link Black, manager of the Knova KM product line for Aptean. Link has been working with Knova KM as a technical consultant and manager for more than 15 years and is based in Pittsburgh, PA.

Customer Success, Part 2: 4 Methods for creating a scalable Customer Success program

This guest post by Francoise Tourniaire is the second in a series that takes an in-depth look into creating a successful Customer Success program. You can catch up with Part 1, Setting the stage for customer success, and Part 3, How segmentation delivers value to customers – and your business


high-touch_low-touchThe traditional idea of customer success is the ever-friendly customer success manager who gets customers set up and comfortable with the tool and checks that all is well on a regular basis, bringing interesting suggestions to improve the customer experience. Sounds lovely, right? But it’s expensive.

It’s expensive because it is a high-touch process: the customer interacts with a human being (the customer success manager), in a 1:1 interaction. In contrast, a low-touch process uses alternatives that allow customers to get what they need with fewer 1:1 human interactions, instead using self-service or group interactions for most of the activities.

Clearly a low-touch customer success process is less expensive, and easier to scale, but can it deliver equivalent results for customer retention? This second blog post of our customer success series shows how low-touch, low-cost alternatives to the high-touch, high-cost, traditional model of customer success can deliver results both for onboarding customers and for ongoing retention efforts.

Leveraging Self-Service

It would be difficult to conceive of a customer success process that is purely self-service, but it is very effective to mix self-service activities with personalized check-ins. Here are three ways to make use of self-service:

  • Online training. This can be short videos, recorded webinars, or full-blown computer-based training if you can provide it.
  • Onboarding plan. Giving customers a list of steps and activities to set up the system minimizes confusion and suggests a firm schedule. It can be delivered in self-service, group settings, and also
  • Just-in-time hints. Customers usually follow a predictable path, which makes it possible to deliver helpful hints, ideally in product, as they start using new features for instance.

Leveraging Group Delivery

Many customer success activities can be done with a group of customers rather than with just one customer. Customers get the warmth of a human interaction but at a much lower cost to the organization.

  • Welcome call. The welcome call introduces customers to the onboarding process and can be a small-group affair, scheduled a few times a week to accommodate several customers at once.
  • Live webinars are great training tools and perfectly appropriate if customers all use the system in a similar manner. They can apply to product training or best practices sharing.
  • Online communities. Communities are helpful for all customers. Consider maintaining a separate forum just for new customers, whose concerns may not match established customers’.

Leveraging Big Data

Mining customer data can help you understand patterns so you can deploy better tools and specific customer success strategies as needed to rescue at-risk customers.

  • Health monitoring. Although not foolproof, customer usage is a telling sign of successful adoption. Customers that are not using the tool at all, or using it lightly or incompletely can be flagged for intervention.
  • Churn analysis. While health monitoring focuses mostly on usage patterns, churn analysis evaluates a holistic set of data across customers to detect patterns of defection – which become opportunities for action. Don’t delay churn analysis until your data is “perfect”: start with what you have, and build up over time.

Leveraging Repeatable Processes

Even when you must use a high-touch approach, a repeatable process improves efficiency and consistency.

  • Scripted onboarding. Rather than asking the onboarding specialists to create a custom program for each customer, script the sequence, ideally by customer segment.
  • Adoption campaign kits. Help customers train and motivate their internal users with pre-packaged materials and suggestions. This can be a pure self-service item, or be a part of a program driven by a customer service manager.
  • Responsive support. What is support doing in a customer success checklist? Well, we would not want customer success to be nothing more than an escalation channel, would we?
  • Business environment tracking. Just like support organizations capture their customers’ technical environments to expedite troubleshooting, customer success organizations should have a structured method to capture relevant features of their customers’ business environments.
  • Targeted, scripted check-ins. Equip the customer success managers with a reason and script to contact customers. Use the outcome of health monitoring data (see next paragraph) to trigger the contacts rather the calendar, at least for lower-value customers.

The high-touch model of customer success is wonderful – for key customers. By leveraging self-service, group delivery, big data, and repeatable processes, you can deliver excellent low-touch services to most customers so you can lavish high-touch services on key or at-risk customers. Tell us how you deploy low-touch programs.


Francoise Tourniaire is the founder of FT Works and co-founder of ChurnSquad. Both companies provide consulting, training, and coaching to create and improve customer success initiatives. Her most recent book, The Art of Support: A Blueprint for Customer Success and Support Organizations, is now available on Amazon. Contact Francoise at FT@ftworks.com or 650 559 9826 for more information.

Shifting your Knowledge Management Strategy

The Irrevo team has authored a comprehensive guide to effective knowledge strategy. Below is a preview of our collected wisdom on managing knowledge as a program, rather than a project. Like what you see? Download our white paper to read more.

Shifting your strategy

The success of a modern knowledge management program necessitates a shift from Project to Program thinking. Capturing, managing, and reusing the knowledge found within an organization or community is a practice that provides tremendous value throughout the customer life-cycle.

Many organizations already focus some energy on KM activities within the call center or help desk. In other situations, organizations attempt to derive greater value from knowledge within the organization by focusing knowledge activities within other areas such as sales, product development, and services. Regardless of where the knowledge work is focused within an organization, many organizations discover that the initial enthusiastic response to KM has dissipated. User adoption has not met expectations.

A truly effective knowledge program never stops moving. They understand the knowledge program is the circulatory system of the organization. They create a culture of reusing their existing knowledge, and build upon it, capturing new information. Keeping their circulatory system flowing occurs regardless of the project schedules and quarterly timelines.
– John Coles, Global Operations Knowledge Manager

Are you managing your knowledge as a project or a program?

One of the biggest misperceptions is the belief that with the right knowledge tools in place, the  knowledge ecosystem will manage itself. An intuitive search and authoring interface is all that is needed to ensure that those within the organization who have knowledge to share will do so. However, many executives see a lackluster impact even after a significant knowledge investment. As it turns out, there is a whole lot more that needs to happen to make this ecosystem function well and deliver the predicted impacts. In order to derive the most value from knowledge, the ecosystem must be managed effectively. Most KM implementations begin as a strategic initiative with funding aligned for a specific project. As with all projects, they typically are managed by a project manager with oversight coming from an executive sponsor. Organizing this way makes sense during the initial implementation period when many different parts of the organization are working together. At some point before the project is completed, the executive sponsor should initiate a transition whereby a program is established to take over the day-to-day management of the knowledge assets. Anticipating this early ensures that there is a smooth transition from project

Ready to learn more?

whitepaper_managing-knowledge_thumbWant to learn how to effectively provide your customers, employees, and partners with the knowledge they need, when they need it? Download our white paper today!

Knowledge Base Migration: Preparing your content for a move

Are you looking ahead to the new year and your plans for a new knowledge base to house your content? Have you also thought about how to move your content into the new knowledge base?

Whether moving furniture from one house to another or content from one knowledge base to another, moves are easier when a clear plan is established. Let’s discuss how you can get started planning your content migration.

Step 1: Decide what will be the scope of your migration.

Depending on your industry, you may need to bring all of your content over to the new knowledge base, due to regulatory requirements, or you may be able to leave some behind. If the scope of the migration is large, especially if you’re bringing everything, it’s a best practice to rank each area of content, with the highest priority items moving to the new knowledge base first.Moving content into new knowledge base

If you’re only moving some of your content, you need to do an analysis on your legacy content to establish which content moves and which content can be archived elsewhere. We suggest you use the 80-20 rule: roughly 20% of your content is used most often by your end users. This is the content that you’ll move. For the other 80%, you can always come back later and identify additional content to migrate.

Step 2: Decide whether to clean up your content now or later.

No doubt some of your content is older that the rest. Maybe some content doesn’t follow your newest guidelines. Maybe content is out of date and needs updated. While you may be tempted chuck all of the content for migration into the new tool and clean it up later, a better practice is to clean up the content as you migrate it.

If you decide to clean the content as it’s migrated, here are additional things to consider:

Taxonomy: How will you structure content in the new tool? Use the same old structure, or establish a new structure? The latter may be helpful for buy-in for the new tool if your content managers or customer service agents have suggested changes to the taxonomy to resolve issues they’ve encountered.

Look and feel: How will your content look in the new tool? If the old style guidelines worked well, you may decide to replicate those styles in the new tool, but if there are tweaks you’ve been waiting for the right time make them, now is the time to implement changes.

Accuracy and consistency: Finally, it’s a good idea to establish parameters for tidying up any inconsistencies in knowledge presentation and accuracy, as well as flagging out of date content.

Step 3: Plan for a pilot program

Once you’ve planned how the content will be migrated, the last step is to consider parameters for a pilot program. You should identify the stakeholders in the migration, a block of content to be migrated as a test, the individuals who’ll do the work, and anyone who will need to review the migrated content. The migration team should include at least one subject matter expert on the content, especially if the migration team consists of outside contractors without prior knowledge of your content. The team of reviewers should also include at least one SME, as well as any applicable stakeholders.

Step 4:  Pitch your plan to others and gain sign-off for your plan

Behind every customer experience transformation initiative, there are business challenges that are on the minds of executive leaders. Make it a priority to gather specifics on budget allocations for this initiative. It is absolutely critical that you understand expectations around budgeting before moving forward. When you make your pitch, establish specific goals/objectives to measure impact. Put numbers to the business impacts that are measured.

Once you’ve established your migration plan and gained sign-off on your initiative, you’re set to build out your teams and plan the execution phase.