How searching “early and often” improves your knowledge ecosystem’s health

In our recent webinar, Making Your Support Content Work Harder For You, experts Melissa Burch of Irrevo and David Kay of DB Kay & Associates covered a wealth of information on how to improve your knowledge base.

One of our audience members asked David Kay to speak in a little more depth about how utilizing best practices for search can enhance a knowledge program:

How does searching improve content quality? How can we incorporate this into our processes to maintain the health of my knowledge ecosystem?

Searching “early and often” is a cornerstone of the KCS practices for a number of reasons. First, by searching and understanding what we collectively know before solving a problem anew, we actually get the benefit of the knowledge in our KB. But searching has many more benefits:

  1. By searching throughout the resolution process, we make it far less likely that we’ll create duplicate content. For KBs, duplicates are death.
  2. If we don’t find content, our search terms capture important context from the requestor. These words should end up in the article that we ultimately create from the interaction
  3. If we struggled to find the article, then the search terms will be good to add to the article, to make it easier for the next person to find.

It’s sometimes difficult to get people who already know the answer to search and link. We need to reinforce the many benefits of searching and linking, even if we know the answer:

  • Link data gives us ammunition to drive improvements in the products and services
  • Link data targets value-added work in the Evolve loop
  • Every use is a review; if we’re not using, we’re not reviewing and content will get stale
  • Even if someone thinks they know the answer, that answer may have been updated or improved
  • If everyone uses the KB, we’re more consistent
  • It’s quicker and easier to search and link an article, and send it to the customer, than it is to write case notes or customer communications from scratch…even if we know the answer

You can watch the entire webinar on-demand to hear more great insights from David. Stay tuned to the Irrevo blog for more Q&A from this session.

3 Truths every knowledge manager knows

Knowledge managers are a widely varied bunch. We work in different industries. We may be nestled into an org chart under IT, Customer Service, or Marketing. We support an internal audience, external customers, or a mix of the two. We may have a great knowledge program, or know that ours can improve. We may manage a team of individual contributors, or we may be in the trenches, getting personally involved in content creation.

3_checkboxes (1)Over the years, I’ve worked with hundreds of people who manage knowledge programs of all shapes and sizes. No matter what differences divide us, if you asked a few dozen knowledge managers what “Doing KM Right” means to them personally, you’d hear the same things over and over. We execute on our strategies in different ways, but every knowledge management professional holds these three truths at the core of their beliefs:

Good KM needs a vision

To create a great knowledge program, you have to know what success looks like. You, your leadership, your direct  reports, and your business partners need to understand what you’re working on, and how your actions play into organizational goals. So often we get caught up in the day-to-day business of creating content to support products and services that we lose sight of the bigger picture. Getting lost in the details is the difference between striving for improvement and just keeping the lights on.

Good KM needs guiding principles

Having a clearly defined vision of the experience you want your customers (internal and/or external) to have is paramount. Defining clear guiding principles (around 10 or so) that are the highest level requirements that your system and process should never compromise. These give you and your team the ability to make future decisions in the context of the real intent of your knowledge base program. Knowledge programs fail to achieve their potential when they lose track of this vision and the principles that were to be upheld. Revisiting these regularly and socializing them, will drive long-term improvements to your program and ensure a solid user experience.

Good KM needs partnership

Once you know where you’re going and how you’ll get there, you need support – and a lot of it. You need a supportive ear in leadership to green-light your budget and resource allocations. The cross-functional relationships you’ve built with your business partners are an important asset as you develop a holistic knowledge strategy. Of course, your end users, the people who benefit the most from the knowledge you capture, need to be brought into the loop in a meaningful way. Teamwork is critical to KM success.

Operationalizing your beliefs

We can all agree that these three truths are the keys to reaching your knowledge management goals, no matter how you define success. How do you combine vision, principles, and partnership to unlock your organization’s potential? Easy answer: Systematically. Through our experience building and managing successful KM programs, Irrevo has developed the KM Path Methodology to operationalize these core truths that are at the heart of every great KM program.

Our KM Path methodology organizes these pillars into six phases:

  • During the KM Innovation phase, you’ll outline your vision and build a high-level plan to meet your goals.
  • The Architecture Design phase moves further into decision-making, defining the requirements and scope, creating an achievable timeline, and identifying the right technologies to support the plan.
  • Executive Support is the critical phase in which you obtain buy-in from an executive sponsor and communicate your vision, plan, and goals to stakeholders.
  • After you’ve secured buy-in, you’re ready for the Build and Test phase where you’ll create the structure that supports your knowledge program: Processes, governance models, metrics, and content standards.
  • In the Launch phase, your plans come to fruition as you leverage new processes, update or migrate content,
  • The Optimize phase is what marks the difference between a once-and-done project and a living program.

Want to know more about how the KM Path methodology encapsulates the concepts you already know to be true? Check out the detailed plan for a list of actions, decisions, and deliverables you’ll need for your KM program.

How to get your team to buy-in to new content authoring standards

In our recent webinar, The 5 Biggest KM Challenges You’ll Face, our presenters, Melissa Burch, Knowledge Strategist of Irrevo and Brian Bombard, Senior Director of Proactive Support Delivery for Oracle Applications, shared their wisdom on tackling the trickiest problems common to every KM transformation. One of the toughest parts of transforming your strategy is getting buy-in from the people most affected by change.

How do you communicate and get buy-in on content authoring standards?

Melissa Burch, Irrevo:
Build your content contributors into creating your authoring standards as much as possible. Does it mean does that you go to them with a blank sheet of paper and ask them “Well, what should our publishing standards be?” No, but bringing them an early version of the publishing standards and asking for feedback while these are in development can be helpful. This holds true for many of the knowledge management programs holistically. If don’t solicit feedback and you try to roll out changes too quickly , it’s possible that you will run into resistance. Things that are imposed on humans are usually not very well received; it’s just not our style. We like to participate in the process, it’s just human nature.

Brian Bombard, Oracle:
The only thing I would add is once you’ve come up with those standards, make sure you build it into your toolset. Make it as easy as possible. If an engineer selects a certain doc type, make it so that they don’t have to remember what template they need to use.

Melissa Burch:
Making those publishing requirements very difficult to put into practice because they are not supported by the tool is certainly going to put a barrier between a person who’s very busy, but wants to share what they know with others and keeping the ability to do that as streamlined as possible is great advice.

Further Insight

If you missed the live broadcast of The 5 Biggest KM Challenges You’ll Face, you can watch our presentation on-demand.

How hot is your knowledge management program? 3 ways to take its temperature

taking-temperatureYou’ve set your goals for the year, and you think you’re making progress. But, is it enough progress? As we enter Q2, now is a good time to take the temperature of your KM plan, and determine if the progress you’re making is sufficient or if additional changes need to come. Here are some signs to look out for that you still have work to do on your KM plan.

You don’t have a KM management plan in place.

This is the most obvious sign you’re in need of a change, of course. However, the importance of your company having a plan to not only capture knowledge, but also to eliminate less-useful content, cannot be overstated. As any company grows, it collects content in the knowledge base that needs an update or is no longer needed at all. It’s crucial for your customers’ satisfaction and that of your customer support agents to create a knowledge management plan to identify out-of-date content and how it is to be handled. If your company doesn’t have a KM plan in place already, mark this year as the time to start one and transform your knowledge management practices.

Your customer support reps don’t know how to handle certain customer issues, so they escalate them to their managers.

Do your customer service reps do this often? There may be a couple of reasons behind this practice. Perhaps your CSRs have insufficient information available to them in the knowledge base to instruct them on how to handle these customer issues, or perhaps the answer exists, but they simply don’t know how to find it in a rapid fashion. Either way, if your CSRs are defaulting to a state where they send issues with an unknown solution to their manager, it’s time to think about how to transform your KM plan. You need to have best practices in place for collecting undocumented solutions and adding the missing solution to the knowledge base, as well as procedures for communicating the location of those answers to your CSRs so that they can find the solutions they need on the fly.

Your customer support reps only discuss issue resolutions amongst themselves.

It’s all well and good for your customer support reps to discuss amongst themselves best practices for handling specific customer issues, but if there is no involvement in those discussions from the knowledge management team, you are losing valuable knowledge, simply by your team’s exclusion from the conversation. You need to add procedures into your KM plan for meeting with your CSRs and including them in the knowledge management process. The more they are included in your KM plan, the knowledge base, and the transformations you made to both, the more confident the CSRs become that they can turn to the knowledge base for whatever information they need. This makes your CS team advocates for your KM plan, and every voice in your corner counts when it comes to buy-in for future changes you want to make to the knowledge base and the KM plan.



On April 28th, we are following up on our popular guidebook, How to Build a Knowledge Management Transformation Plan that Wins Executive Support with a webinar on The 5 Biggest KM Transformation Challenges You’ll Face.

Join us for proactive solutions and advice to overcome the obstacles that hold back your knowledge management program.

Identify (and resolve!) support content issues with one precise exercise

hand-and-compassThere are times when you are looking for a quick win to give your customers an improved support site experience. You can have a big impact with focused content improvement efforts that align to your customers biggest concerns.

To get started, begin by doing some analysis on what types of issues your customers are asking about most frequently when they contact you. If you have data, dig into it and figure out what it is telling.  If you don’t have data to look at, poll the agents who work with customers directly.  They can easily tell you what questions they are frequently asked.

After you have the frequently asked questions, test your support site by searching for information for those questions. Remember that you are playing the part of a customer who doesn’t understand your system from the inside like you.  They are coming to your support site with very limited visibility into how it works.  If you are able to, it would be great to ask a customer to help you with this. Even if you engage with your customer remotely, via web conferencing, you will see and hear what the experience feels like for them.

Now, starting with one of the frequently asked questions, improve the content by assigning a knowledge engineer resource to address the issues with the content.  They should remove the outdated content and update existing content with better and more targeted information. Don’t be tempted to create a single long document with responses to each of these frequently asked questions. Since each question is important to many customers, it requires substantial content that aligns to their needs (not yours) and should be kept separate to support findability.

This is a very simple way to positively impact your customer’s experience with your support site.  Ideally, this should not take a long time, but should be a focused effort to ensure that it is completed well. Don’t forget that you will have to keep this content maintained to be helpful.

On March 31, I’ll be joined by an expert panel including Jordi Torras, Founder and CEO of Inbenta, for a webinar titled Preparing for the Next Evolution of Self-Service.

Join us to hear share actionable advice and strategies that will help you take your self-service experience to the next level.

Q&A: Re-invigorating a stalled knowledge program

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.

Do you have suggestions for good resources, best practices, and/or lessons learned that address restarting KM programs that have stalled or failed, and that speak to the unique challenges that exist in such programs vs. ones operating in a greenfield environment? How does the failure of previous efforts impact the willingness of an org to change, and what pace they’re willing to move at?

Melissa Burch: 

Invigorating a stalled knowledge program is definitely different than initiating a new one. Previous failures are felt by all members of the organization and it is best to acknowledge what has gone wrong and how things will be different in the future. The heightened level of pessimism from the team means that it is important to share the victories early and often. A pace of change that is too slow is likely to be interpreted by the team members as a leading indicator of failure because they are not able to see the impacts quickly. Build momentum quickly and sustain it more carefully than during previous attempts.

Laurel Poertner: 

I do think that a restart is a little bit different because you may not have additional training since your audience is already familiar with the changes. I think you should always have a refresher course. I also think it’s important to understand in great detail why it failed. There’s so much to learn on why something failed, and you can really build on that. Try to make sure you understand the underlying causes. Was it a culture thing? A change in leadership? It is helpful to be transparent with those reasons for failure so your teams understand why the mistakes happened. Use that to your advantage by showing you have resilience and new experience to help you move past it. You may find that there are team members that still have some of that momentum that you leverage. I have been a part of several implementations that sought out additional help from an organization like DB Kay and Associates or Irrevo that helped them get going again. 

Dave Cutler:

I agree, analyzing what went wrong and having a plan to do something differently including outcome based objectives and getting people’s buy in right from the beginning, and communication and the three things we’ve talked about throughout the webinar.

Jennifer Crippen:

The restarts are where I find I spend a lot more of my time and Laurel and Dave hit it on the head, that transparency and recognizing whatever it was we did before that didn’t work and we’re not gonna do that again. Then really plan and demonstrate how you’re not gonna let the organization fall back into those same failures by doing things differently and very clearly explaining how things will be different this time around.

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.


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.

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.

The Experts Weigh In: Getting Your Knowledge Transformation off the Ground, Part 2

In our recent webinar, Build a Knowledge Management Transformation Plan that Wins Executive Support, our expert panel shared quite a few stories of how to get a successful KM program off the ground.

In this series of posts, Jennifer MacIntosh, VP of Customer Success at Coveo, is joined by Irrevo’s Knowledge Strategists, Melissa Burch and Laurel Poertner to address the incredibly insightful questions shared by our audience.

Q:  What is more important the technology or the process? Where do I start with the technology or the process?

Jennifer MacIntosh: I think it really depends on where you are on the journey, what your business outcomes are and what you’re really trying to drive at. So, it’s not a straightforward answer to say it’s one or the other. For me it’s always a combination of both. I’ve never done a knowledge management transformational project that didn’t require both technology and process. I don’t think it’s a matter of what’s first, it’s a matter of how do we ensure that we have both of these things working together and that we understand what changes need to be made on both sides of that equation.
Laurel Poertner: In my experience what I’ve done is look at the processes and gathered the requirements from that to try and understand if the current processes that are in place are meeting expectations, are they allowing us to get the business outcomes and objectives that we want moving forward, then look at the technology. I think a lot of times at the executive level they start and say “We’re going to change the technology” and so stepping back and taking a look at what does this technology really give us, and what are we doing today and what do we need to do to move forward. A lot of times you’ll find this technology can handle a lot of this and we need a change of technology but it can be quite expensive. So try not to jump to conclusions  or decisions that might impact something that big and take a look at what you’re doing with processes too.

Q: What kind of content do you suggest creating?

Melissa Burch: There are three ways you can start with that. The first one is to look at the content you already have available to your customers.
Identify what your end users or target audience are using today as a clue to indicate what you should do more of and also to identify what you should do less of. The second recommendation is to analyze your customer search behavior to understand what it is that they are searching for and then to extrapolate back what is valuable to your customers. The third would be analyzing your inbound customer inquiries or cases, what are customers asking for help on and let that also drive you to provide your customers exactly what they need related to those particular questions.

Jennifer MacIntosh: A couple things I’d like to add to that. If we start to look at cases, we have to remember that the cases coming into your support center represent a small fraction of the interactions that our customers are having, most customers are engaging with our content so I would tend to lean more toward what Melissa said and focusing in on what interactions are happening with the content you have available today. if you’re not publishing any content, we recommend that you start publishing some content to your customers whatever way you can. There are great tools available, I’ll throw a plug in here for Coveo, this is one of the areas that we do a really great job at, we can analyze and capture all the interactions of your website and help you understand what content is the most popular, which is the most valuable in your organization,  it can help you understand what search content people are using that will really help you design the type of knowledge your customers are looking for. Finally, if you don’t have any of those things available to you, there’s an easy way, ask them. Ask your customers what they’re looking for. It’s probably the most basic way you can do this. I think sometimes we shy  away from actually engaging with them, even if you have your support analysts, ask them at the end of a phone call, send a survey, post a survey on your website, there’s lots of different ways to get feedback and input from your customers and I’ve always found that they’re very willing to help us with those types of questions and give us lots of feedback that will set us in the right direction.

Laurel Poertner: To add to what Melissa said, what I have done in the past is to categorize your cases.  If you’ve got a ticketing system that has some reason codes use that information and if you don’t, analyze a sampling to understand what types of inquiries you’re getting. If it’s a lot of “how to”, if it’s a lot of installation problems, Knowing the kind of things your customers are asking can really help get you going in a particular direction and then you can expand on that.

Q: How do I start a KM program from scratch without an executive sponsor?

Jennifer MacIntosh: What’s the biggest pain point in your organization? Why all of a sudden do we need to have a knowledge manager? So is it that our support analysts are overwhelmed? That we have too much turnover, what’s the driving factor, the biggest pain in your organization that is causing you now to think that we ought to do this. So I would focus in on that and start to see how new tools and process around Knowledge Management could really help alleviate some of that pain and help to move that pain. Identify what’s you’re biggest pain point and do the research on how new Knowledge Management tools and processes help alleviate that pain.

Melissa Burch: I will echo that. Star with your pain points. Where you see opportunity to improve your Customer Experience . Many times the need around that Customer Experience  improvement almost always integrate with Knowledge Management. It might not be the only initiative that you embark on but it’s certainly one of the most common ones that we’ve seen. Mapping that problem to the solution. Out in the world there’s a  ton of information about Knowledge Management, impacts that it’s had, how people have implemented it. There are many case studies, there’s lots of organizations that are talking about this and have published information. Many times software vendors who are in the Knowledge Management space are putting out information that is of course highlighting how their particular technology solutions had an impact on Customer Experience , but it is Ok to look at those case studies and extrapolate that. If you were to make a change that is similar to one described the the case study, even if you don’t necessarily utilize the technology solutions that that particular vendor is offering. It’s still a scenario that you’ll have a positive customer impact. There’s a lot of evidence in the world. Identify what improvements you want to make and then take the information and see how a Knowledge Management program can make a positive impact there.

Laurel Poertner: I’ll also make a plug for Irrevo, we can also help you get that started with engaging with a Knowledge Management expert, talk through some of those things that Jennifer and Melissa just talked about. I think it’s great way to start that conversation. The other thing I was thinking of was the people part of that question. Who would I have in my organization to take something like this on, and I would ask for volunteers because this is something that I think you’ll find that there are people in your organization that have a passion for this whether they realize it or not you’ll get some of those people coming out of the woodwork, especially if you have an expert that comes in and starts those conversations you’ll start to see that this person or that person was really involved with these conversations and that will give you some of those answers.

Q: How do Customer Communities fit into the overall KM strategy? Are they integrated or distinct? I’m thinking of how knowledge gets data mined from a community and “promoted” into the KB (and whether or not this is even appropriate).

Laurel Poertner:  My personal experience is that there is huge value in the knowledge that comes from a community and it should always be leveraged in a self-service environment.  It is also extremely cost effective to companies because it takes very few resources to maintain once it is up and running.

I have seen examples of certain sites where customers can click a button to request that a particular thread be considered for inclusion in the knowledge base.  This would then need to be reviewed and converted into an authored document.  A more common approach is to offer a search filter on a community page.  This allows users to choose whether or not to search the community data along with other knowledge sources.  There are different schools of thought on whether to mine data from communities but I have seen it be very successful.

Learn MoreKnowledge Program Guidebook

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.

Ready to implement a new Knowledge Strategy? Check out our latest white paper to learn more about getting executive buy-in for your knowledge transformation.