Role of Knowledge Management for Professional Services Firms

Why is Knowledge Management (KM) important for modern firms?

How much time knowledge workers spend looking for past information is difficult to measure. It is not surprising that such statistics are available sporadically. In 2019, Forbes Technology Council published a comprehensive chronological recap, stating that time spent has remained 25-30% in 20 years. While technology has advanced multi-fold during these years, the complexity of businesses and knowledge creation has also increased exponentially.

KM impacts both the bottom line and the top line of companies. It enables your consultants to create new presentations faster (better margins) and deliver more and better presentations (more revenue and sales). It ensures that employees don’t need to reinvent the wheel and they focus on the winning proposition in new projects. Further, in today’s era of high employee turnover, retaining organization knowledge and reusing it effectively is a centerstage topic. In our experience, the key challenges faced by a KM leader when envisioning a KM program are:

  • Identifying process shortfalls and improving them
  • Finding the right technology solution and driving adoption
  • Identifying clear end user benefits and aligning the solution with them
  • Aligning multiple teams with the common central goal

Components of an Effective KM Program

While success rates are low, there are several companies that have set and achieved their KM goals. KM for the global firms today is not a ‘technology’ only problem. An effective KM strategy has a programmatic approach, augmented by Digital Platforms and right amount of human intervention.

Successful KM programs are designed and focused on delivering the desired value to the end user. These KM programs consist of three intertwined pillars - Knowledge Process Re-Engineering, Digital Solution Deployment, and Change Management.

Knowledge Process Re-Engineering (KM analyst led)
Digital Solution Deployment (Technology led)
Change Management
• Understanding the ‘as-is’ process of KM
• Understand the pain points of the end user
• Discover and enhance existing taxonomies, data sources, etc.
• Highlight the possible ‘to-be’ processes of KM
• Project plan for Foundational Data and its lifecycle management
• Highlight the value to be derived by the end user
• Access to content repository via an Intuitive interface
• Features to discover past content leveraging new-age tech such as semantic search, advanced NLP and ML
• Customizable Refiners to help users narrow down the content based on specific needs
• Access control of content based on roles
• Integration with CRM and SharePoint
• Involvement of end users from the start of the program to ensure ownership
• User Acceptance Testing (UAT) of the Digital Solution before deployment
• Dedicated Customer Success Manager (CSM) to ensure adoption
• Identification and training of internal ‘Champions’
• Reporting of detailed user analytics metrics to relevant stakeholders and Champions

Role of Technology

Delivering end-user value to the end user is the ultimate and key mission of an effective KM program. To ensure this, it is critical that the technology solution is designed keeping the end user in mind. Publishwise is Evalueserve’s AI-powered platform that lets users lookup past content using human-centric modern search and recommends content faster using NLP.

  • The search is powered by a semantic engine which supports smart synonyms, acronyms, automatic entity extraction, lemmatization and contextual search. This enables users to type in simple search terms and easily find content when they know what they are looking for.
  • Publishwise’s recommendation engine helps users discover content, without them knowing what content exists. It uses various Natural Language Processing, Machine Learning and Deep Learning techniques and becomes better with user feedback.

Other than the above two core features, Publishwise has a human-centric design with extensive features such as customizable refiners, curated content libraries, ability to easily export and bookmark content, flexible access control, etc.

Role of the Knowledge Management Analyst

Any technical solution needs foundational data to work effectively. For KM projects, foundational data comprises of a tagged repository of past content, comprising past proposals, pitchbooks, case studies, frameworks, CV libraries and a business taxonomy. The KM analyst works with business and technology stakeholders to develop a foundational data strategy - setting it up for the first time and ensuring ongoing content tagging and harmonization. We spoke of the first component of a KM program as ‘Knowledge Process Re-engineering’. Evalueserve KM analysts identify these gaps during this phase and implement an apt solution such as described below:

Disparate Sources of Information
Generally, proposals are not saved consistently. They are saved in cloud storages such as SharePoint & Google Drive, local file servers, Intranets, etc.
• Identify 3-5 stakeholders from business and IT teams to understand the as-is state
• In most of the cases, an existing initiative to save documents needs to be re-energized
• Creation of a ‘to-be’ state in consultation with client IT team, aligning with ongoing and future tech projects
Taxonomy Issue
Either an organization wide taxonomy doesn’t exist or is not followed consistently
• Evalueserve KM experts review the existing taxonomy with business stakeholders, update it basis the feedback from variety of users and their own knowledge
• If taxonomy doesn’t exist, Evalueserve’s KM experts suggest an initial draft basis the inputs from business stakeholders and objectives of the KM program
Tagging Issue
Lack of tagged past documents
• Evalueserve KM experts will tag past proposals and client documents as per the agreed taxonomy
• Once there is sufficient tagged data from the past, AI is used to auto-tag new proposals with 85-90% accuracy
Ongoing content management
Even if there is a taxonomy and repository, lack of process and ownership for the ongoing content management
• This is fulfilled by an ongoing content stewardship service by Evalueserve
• The KM analysts are custodians of taxonomy and make changes as per the feedback from client’s business stakeholders

Talk to One of Our Experts

Get in touch today to find out about how Evalueserve can help you improve your processes, making you better, faster and more efficient.