Knowledge Workers Have Changed, Has Your Knowledge Management Toolset?
“Knowledge workers are workers whose main capital is knowledge.” (Wikipedia)
It seems like a simple definition of a knowledge worker, someone who works with information (knowledge) as a primary part of their job. But what many are only starting to realize is that there are far more “knowledge workers” in their companies than they ever realized.
Almost every employee needs information to do their job effectively. There are few exceptions. There’s the airline pilot who needs to know flight plans, and runway map; the caseworker who works with disadvantaged youth and is looking for support groups and programs they can attend; the line worker in a car factory that’s trying to improve a key process; and customer service agent who helps customers figure out how to use their products.
In all cases, the key is finding the right information in a timely manner to make a decision or solve a problem. That means using a search tool.
Getting Smarter about KM Solutions
Here’s the big challenge - traditional search applications don’t work. In fact, using them often results in more problems than they fix. That’s because they don’t help you find all the information you need in one place. You perform a search, don’t find your answers, start again. This process repeats. You can’t refine your search, the search engine doesn’t remember your last search, and it often does index all the possible sources of information you need.
So, what’s the answer? Maybe it’s time to consider a different approach to knowledge management - a cognitive approach. Cognitive knowledge management is search that gets smarter as you use it. Leveraging capabilities such as natural language processing, machine learning, and text analytics, cognitive search is self-learning. It gets better as you use it, as more information sources are connected, and knowledge workers refine their queries.
Think about cognitive search this way. You search for information about a client, but your search results don’t give you the information you wanted. Instead of starting again, you refine your search, this time asking for an additional piece of information. The search understands to connect to another source of information that includes secure data about your client, and you get the right results.
Here’s another example. Your support team travels to customer sites to work on equipment. A support person starts with the first client and using his mobile support app leverages cognitive knowledge management to pull together all the information on the client. This includes the equipment, when it was last serviced, who the support person dealt with, any problems they had and any other equipment he might want to look at while he’s there. The app will also alert this support person that another client in the area now needs a house-call, so he can head there when he’s done.
Good Knowledge Management Improves CX
You can use cognitive knowledge management as a standalone search tool or embed it within other applications to provide relevant, timely information to employees.
It’s all about increasing productivity by connecting people and information in a timely manner. It’s about recommending the best content through continually learning what is relevant and useful. It’s about connecting secure content into searches while ensuring permissions are properly applied so only those people with rights to access the secure content can see it.
We talk a lot about improving the customer experience, and that’s a really important thing to do. But what we don’t often discuss is improving the employee experience. Employees need tools that help them do their jobs well. They don’t need to spend crazy amounts of time looking for the right information, across content silos and hidden in the minds of experts. Cognitive knowledge management can improve the employee experience through improved productivity.
Don’t you think it’s time to focus on your employees and the information they need? Download our eBook Knowledge Management Gets Cognitive to learn more about modernizing KM.