Monday, April 14, 2008

Build It (and they won't come)


Call them ECMs or KM Hubs or Knowledge Nets or enterprise portals. Yesterday's sand castles? Meet tomorrow's ivory towers without the sustaining investment of your content producers. Here are five KM construction fictions and the corrections necessary to debunk the myths and get your users engaged as participants.

Construction Myth 1: Increased traffic to your site(s) means that users feel compelled to share their own experiences.

The perennial, time-tested truth is that people who love to learn don't share that love for what they learn (or care to share). How do we make it worth their while?

Myth #2: Producing content is its own reward -- Users are inspired by altruism, team play, and a sense of community.

Turning users into contributors requires that we architect searches that highlight who the contributors are along with the volume and nature of what they're contributing. What are some common recogition programs that can be applied here?

Myth #3: Users want to stay in-the-loop and feel compelled to check in by using a central KM system to stay up-to-date.

No 12 step program can move forward until the addict admits that they have an addiction -- in this case relying on email to provide a dashboard-like visibility into what's fresh and noteworthy on an organizational level. How can the addict be weaned from the isolation of 1:1 asynchronous communication so that their comfort zone includes RSS readers, search alerts, and subscription feeds for staying on top of their priorities and moving targets?

Myth #4: Your search engine is revving like never before. Everyone is using it. So content submissions should be edging up too, right?

Enterprise systems are saddled with the tags we force on them to label their content baggage. But the more control we exert on our metadata the more pressure we put on our producers to execute our elaborate coding schemes. At what point can we introduce commony accepted web 2.0 fare as folksonomies, tag clouds, and ability to aggregate these terms by their popularity?

Myth #5: The case of network effects has sold itself. Your executives all agree: we've got to let our people use KM to find each other, not just documentation. How do you re-deploy an internal resource as a social network?

One of the self-fulfilling failures of expert-finding deep dives is that when you ask for volunteers your most sought-after domain leaders are already snowed under -- why would they volunteer their protected time to be officially pegged for all to see on your corporate radar? One of the many benefits of connecting metadata to search is that the engine can quantify thought leadership based on business need -- not based on who volunteers for guru status in a given topic.

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attentionSpin is a consulting practice formed in 1990 to create, automate and apply a universal scoring system (“The Biggest Picture”) to brands, celebrities, events and policy issues in the public eye. In the Biggest Picture, attentionSpin applies the principles of market research to the process of media analytics to score the volume and nature of media coverage. The explanatory power of this research model: 1. Allows practitioners to understand the requirements for managing the quality of attention they receive 2. Shows influencers the level of authority they hold in forums where companies, office-seekers, celebrities and experts sell their visions, opinions and skills 3. Creates meaningful standards for measuring the success and failure of campaigns and their connection to marketable assets.