By Donna Fluss
The knowledge management (KM) market is experiencing the most rapid adoption cycle in its history. Driven by customer expectations for a great experience, increased demand for self-service, the need to empower employees throughout the enterprise, and the rise of artificial intelligence (AI), KM solutions are being purchased to meet a wide range of requirements.
The significantly increased demand is driving a large research and development (R&D) investment cycle, which is invigorating and greatly enhancing all aspects of these solutions, enabling vendors to convert them from searchable information repositories to highly contextual sources of intelligent content.
The KM vendors are applying AI to enhance many aspects of their solutions, including the creation, curation, and oversight of content. The “garbage in/garbage out” issue has long been one of the largest impediments to acceptance and adoption of KM solutions. Authoring and maintaining pertinent and up-to-date content will always be a critical element of these applications, and the vendors have started to introduce tools and best practices to help companies manage this essential aspect of the system (and process).
Artificial intelligence is being used to locate and prioritize the most relevant knowledge utilized by organizations, as well as to help administrators keep it current by identifying outdated, redundant, and missing information. Artificial intelligence and other enhanced features also enable companies to create one answer and automatically render it in a manner appropriate for each user and channel.
This is just the beginning of many practical and game-changing innovations that the KM vendors are delivering to the market, along with improved system usability, integrations, and much more coming during the next couple of years.
Process is as Important as the KM Solution
While technology makes a difference for any solution, including KM, how it is perceived and used are equally important. Contact centers and other enterprise departments that want to realize benefits from KM need to build a culture that prioritizes agents’ use of knowledge over productivity.
For years, contact center leaders asked their agents to use KM to standardize inquiry handling and then complained that it took them too long. The new generation of context-sensitive and highly responsive KM solutions can more rapidly serve up the information agents need to resolve customer issues, eliminating one of the biggest impediments to adoption.
However, it will still take training and encouragement to get agents on board and contact center leaders need to support these efforts by making KM usage one of the department’s core tenets for success.
Selecting the Right KM for your Contact Center
Prospects need to carefully assess the KM offerings in the market, as each one is in a different stage of its development, despite vendor claims. Adding complexity to the challenge, vendors in many IT sectors, including customer relationship management (CRM), contact-center-as-a-service (CCaaS), and even workforce management (WFM), are claiming to offer their own KM solutions.
In many cases, these are knowledge repositories designed to provide information, best practices, and tips to support the use of their own core solution and are not full-fledged KM offerings. (This doesn’t make them bad, but it limits their overall scope and contributions.)
Given the tremendous amount of innovation introduced into these solutions, it’s time to find a vendor whose product and plans align with the needs of your organization. And be sure to select one that listens and has a proven record of accomplishment of applying customer feedback to its roadmap.
The current generation of KM solutions are excellent and have proven benefits. The next generation of KM solutions that are expected to be delivered during the next two years will be even better, as significant improvements to the underlying technology should enable vendors to deliver on the benefits they have been promising for decades.
For an in-depth analysis of the knowledge management (KM) market and the solutions that are vital in supporting the needs of today’s digitally transformed and artificial intelligence (AI)-enabled enterprises, please see DMGs 2022 – 2023 Knowledge Management for the Enterprisereport.
Donna Fluss, founder and president of DMG Consulting LLC, provides a unique and unparalleled understanding of the people, processes and technology that drive the strategic direction of the dynamic and rapidly transforming contact center and back-office markets. Donna can be reached at email@example.com.