The quest to effectively share knowledge within a company is one that still appears elusive. How do you keep on top of your competitors’ developments? How do you monitor articles that mention your brand? How do you make sure your teams get the information they need to make decisions and to learn?
The answer is, in most cases, a patchwork of random emails or perhaps Yammer posts, which in my experience, are often ignored. Why is this? Is it form factor, information overload, or time constraints? Or perhaps all three?
How many of us receive random emails from colleagues or managers about a competitor, market development or brand mention only to think, “I wish I had seen this sooner” or “How many of these am I missing because I don’t have 3 hours a day to search for them”?
Beyond finding relevant information, the challenge of dissemination and adoption remains. Email, IM, Skype, Yammer, Hightail, Sharepoint and Dropbox are all ways of sharing or communicating information but are they the best way? The former four are real-time communication services while the latter three are more about file sharing.
But, let’s think about the bigger picture for a moment—what’s the goal? Some people would agree that an important goal for organizational knowledge sharing is to leverage employees’ expertise, monitoring abilities, insights and even social networks to improve corporate intelligence, promote the brand, make better decisions and ultimately generate more revenue. So how could we achieve that?
Let’s take it one step at a time:
1. Format: E-mail/IM doesn’t really work because real-time communication happens too fast and you’d be bombarded with links faster than you can click. File sharing helps but has one drawback: you can’t add context around a link. What about a blog or a media format? It lets you easily scan entries, pick up images and bits of content as you scroll through the page. Have you tried that form factor yet?
2. Organization: Not everyone within your organization is interested in the same thing. Internal communication programs often fail because they take the classic top/down broadcast communication approach. This is so last century and at the age of social media, you might want to consider a system that lets employees personalize the feeds the receive according to their interests.
3. Dissemination: Corporate knowledge faces a dilemma. Sometimes it needs to be private, often it ends up unseen. How do you get the right employees to see it while not allowing business intelligence and know-how to end up in the public domain? Consider mixing a private content hub with personalized email newsletters employees can subscribe to to get alerts and reminders on a need-to-know basis.
4. Adoption: This ties into the contribution question: just like on public social media, employees are more likely to adopt systems to which they can contribute. One-way communication doesn’t work anymore: it’s boring at best; and spam most of the time. But if posting a knowledge base article or sharing an insight on one’s professional expertise is as easy as posting a photo to Facebook, chances are adoption will soar.
5. Time constraints: While this is a challenge for most people, if relevant information was triggered based on keywords, employees could spend 10 minutes each morning reading through or sharing relevant information on a content hub and move on with their day with relatively little effort.
What solutions exist in the market that can do all of the above? The answer is not many. Apart from building your own internal platform, you’d likely have to cobble together different solutions to make it viable.
At Scoop.it, we see more and more corporate users consider publishing by curation as an answer to throw into that mix. We took some important first steps to support them by integration with Yammer, and adding privacy as an option to our Enterprise plans which also enables integration with complex legacy system through our API.
But, I’d love to hear from you: what are your challenges with internal information sharing? What are solutions that have worked and those that have failed? Can content curation play a major role in corporate knowledge sharing?