As we move into 2016 it is time to reflect on knowledge management and look at the future of this discipline. In my latest book: Knowledge Management in Practice I address what I believe is the future of KM in 2016 and beyond. An excerpt from chapter 18 follows.
Future of Knowledge Management:
One of the major areas in which KM will make an impact is within the customer service industry. Customer Service is the area in which most customers will have their only connection and interaction with your organization. It is this area where customers will form their opinions about the organization and determine if they remain a customer or move on to another competitor. Due to this scenario (and others) organizations invest a major portion of their revenue and attention to improving their customer service.
In an August 2014 Harvard Business Review article by Peter Kriss entitled “The Value of Customer Experience, Quantified” he states “Intuitively, most people recognize the value of a great customer experience. Brands that deliver them are ones that we want to interact with as customers that we become loyal to, and that we recommend to our friends and family”. Also, he states that the “value of delivering such an experience is often a lot less clear, because it can be hard to quantify” Delivering consistent and concise knowledge to provide answers to customer inquiries in an efficient way leads to providing value to the customer and improving the overall customer experience.
In support of this trend of KM in customer service, Forrester’s “Top Trends For Customer Service in 2015”, author Kate Leggett points out in trend #4, knowledge management’s impact when she states “Knowledge Will Evolve From Dialog To Cognitive Engagement. Organizations will look at ways to reduce the manual overhead of traditional knowledge management for customer service. They will start to explore cognitive engagement solutions, interactive computing systems that use artificial intelligence to collect information, automatically build models of understanding and inference, and communicate in natural ways. These solutions have the potential to automate knowledge creation, empower agents with deeply personalized answers and intelligence, scale a company’s knowledge capability, and uncover new revenue streams by learning about customer needs.”
IBM Watson is playing a significant role in the evolution of applications that automate knowledge creation by providing deeply personalized answers and intelligence. This technology will not only effect customer service, but a multitude of industries with its capability to extract knowledge from Big Data sources. The IBM Watson ecosystem will provide deep content analytics and intensive scientific discovery that will lead to improve cognition contributing to an organization’s knowledge capabilities. This supports Kate Leggett’s research and points out that KM will continue to play a significant role in delivering knowledge and decision making capabilities to the customer service industry for the foreseeable future (2016 and beyond).
Global View of KM
In reviewing the 2015 Global Knowledge Management Observatory Report, authors David Griffiths, Abi Jenkins and Zoe Kingston-Griffiths state “The Knowledge Management function in many organizations is in a state of general decline”. This as they indicate is due to the following factors:
- “Satisfaction in Knowledge Management’s contribution to strategic and operational objectives within organizations is often poor.”
- “Knowledge Management lacks maturity and integration within the vast majority of organizations.”
- “Knowledge Management continues to be predominantly seen as a technology-led function.”
- “Satisfaction with technology-led Knowledge Management solutions is not improving.”
- “Many Knowledge Management professionals do not appear to have the necessary awareness and/or permissions required to respond to unmet demand for KM activities in organizations.”
- “Knowledge Management, as a field or area of practice, is argued to be suffering from a lack of specialist practitioners.”
- “The value and/or significance of Knowledge Management activities is still not being appropriately recognized or reported within most organizations.”
Solutions that address many of the findings of the 2015 Global Knowledge Management Observatory Report are essential for KM success in 2016 and as KM evolves as a discipline. This includes producing a comprehensive KM strategy, KM education options, adopting KM programs, project and systems, and addressing why KM programs/projects fail.
All of these aspects from the 2015 Global KM Observatory Report are addressed in Knowledge Management in Practice. This book should be leveraged as a reference/guide and presents a tremendous resource to support the growth of KM at your organization.