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“Democratize” research to enhance enterprise knowledge management

If knowledge is power, then information is the fuel that runs the generating plant. The more free-flowing information is, the more knowledge can be produced from it.  And that’s where an effective knowledge management system comes in.

In business, ideas and decisions are powered by knowledge: deep understanding of a market; insight into up-and-coming technologies; a keen grasp of competitors’ strategies. Every successful organization relies on its knowledge base; it can’t be too robust, and you can’t have too much of it.

Running an enterprise “knowledge generation plant” is exacting work in its own right, which often falls to an organization’s market research or competitive intelligence leaders, supported by the company’s knowledge management system. Knowledge management boils down to two primary tasks: compile and organize the company’s information assets; and effectively share the wealth with professionals across the enterprise, whose ability to do their jobs hinges on ready access to relevant information. 

Significantly, the easier it is to find and access relevant information, the more knowledge (and, ultimately, insights) can be derived from it.  In other words, it behooves an organization to have a knowledge management system in place that “democratizes” information access – that makes it accessible to everyone.

From a systems perspective, achieving such information democracy has several challenges.  First, all market research and competitive intelligence information, from both internal and external sources, must be aggregated and indexed so it is easily searchable and findable in one place.  Because a researcher may not know exactly what (or who) they’re looking for when they begin their search, a “smart” system imbued with artificial intelligence (AI) capabilities – for example, a system that can learn about a user’s interests over time based on their research behavior – is a valuable asset. Other useful features include text analytics optimized for research applications (especially the ability to tag documents automatically with rich industry and company-specific taxonomies), and collaboration solutions to bookmark and tag documents, share documents and bookmarks, form groups, and identify internal experts and collaboration partners.

And then there’s the matter of establishing mechanisms for sharing information – widely, yet appropriately, ensuring document copyright compliance and adherence to subscription privileges – throughout the enterprise. At Northern Light, we refer to this as an insight distribution ecosystem, because it features a range of tools for sharing content with professionals who may prefer to receive their information in different ways:

Northern Light client studies have found that customized distribution dramatically expands content consumption, which is the name of the game when it comes to leveraging information for knowledge. For example, at one company, deploying multiple strategic dashboards to highlight content related to particular topic tripled content consumption year-over-year. Adding a custom newsletter tripled document downloads yet again.

Broad-based, “democratized” information access across the enterprise is a key to fueling an organization’s knowledge generation machine. And by catering to the particular preferences of information consumers throughout the enterprise, those responsible for managing an organization’s knowledge generation assets (with the support of a versatile knowledge management system) will maximize the use and value of information from all sources, and thus contribute to better business decision making and overall business performance.

To learn more about democratizing market research and competitive intelligence information to power knowledge generation within your organization, contact Northern Light.

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