Increasingly, Daylife is working with major brands to create knowledge management platforms for use in company intranets and client extranets. To be honest, it wasn’t something we thought-up; rather, it was driven by client demand and we’ve learned a lot through our response to that demand.
Here’s some of what we’ve learned. First, definitions.
What we’re calling knowledge management platforms is a stack of technologies that enable the creation and automation of information-rich, constantly updating Web destinations, typically found in intranets or extranets. They consist of curation and syndication capabilities; aggregation capabilities to automatically gather news and information from within a given organization; and capabilities to aggregate news and information from a variety of third-party sources (or, indeed, from a huge range of sources from all over the Web). When organized and presented via a portal or website, the information is used by company employees or customers to stay up-to-date and informed on a just-in-time / just-enough basis on company, industry and breaking news. It’s especially helpful to corporate executives, sales organizations, customer service departments, and research and marketing groups.
The best of these sorts of implementations follow these overarching guides:
- Just-in-time knowledge management is a daily imperative. For companies whose employees or customers are buffeted by the daily machinations of any given market — healthcare, say, or financial services — staying on top of breaking news, recently published research or the latest talk in the Twittersphere is critical. Having an efficient way to both curate and distribute this information so people can access it whenever and wherever they want is also important.
- Careful curation is key. While services like our Daylife Publisher Suite can aggregate content from within an organization or from all over the Web — whether the source is the news media or Facebook or Twitter — what’s key is the ability to filter through all that stuff to get at only that which is most important for your internal audiences. So having both the tools, like our Publisher Suite, and someone dedicated to the task of curating feeds is also important. Curators should be able to establish a list of preferred sources both internally and externally. They should also be able to make aggregated feeds as narrow or broad as may be necessary to meet the needs of their audiences. And they should have the ability to spike content that may otherwise be relevant but for some reason isn’t appropriate for a given audience.
- Balancing proprietary information against all third-party content requires flexibility. Most companies that produce their own content — trend analyses, for instance, or company press releases — want that information featured in knowledge management portals. But they also want it juxtaposed to related content that may be flowing in from third-party sources so internal audiences can get a full picture of any given story or issue. So it’s important that administrators have the ability to design how content is ordered, presented and prioritized within site templates.
- How information is deployed is important. Some of our clients build their knowledge management portals into an existing company intranet using a legacy content management system (CMS). Others add a special sections to client extranets. Still others create dedicated, password-protected microsites built on a WordPress or something similar. Every company is different and must deal with the technology they’ve got in place in order to build out their knowledge management portals, which requires flexible companion technologies, like our Publisher Suite, which is CMS-agnostic. Wherever you decide to deploy a knowledge management solution, make sure it is (a) easily accessible by your audience and (b) secure according to your company’s established protocols.