Re: Informal Poll - What system/tool/platform do you use for KM #poll #tools

Andrew Gent <ajgent@...>

Hi Maureen,

I'm not sure how useful my input will be since I work at a very small company (50 people) but for anyone interested in KM at a startup...

1. The Tool or Platform your organization uses

Internally we primarily use a wiki (Confluence), Slack, and email (Gmail).  I would say the wiki is 95% engineering, Slack is 70% engineering, 30% everyone else (sales, marketing, mgmt). Email is everyone, although engineers tend to go to Slack first.

Externally, marketing has used a variety of CMSes: hubspot, drupal, workpress. Not sure which one we are on now. Engineering manages it own external resources as source. Engineering uses a public slack and stack overflow for KM and zendesk for support (this is newly implemented).

For external training, I created and managed a certification program using Adobe Captivate and Moodle as an LMS. We replaced Captivate with a custom-built delivery framework because Captivate was far too cumbersome and time-consuming to update content. 

From a marketing perspective, they use GoToMeeting to host live webinars and have used a series of services to post video content (including the webinars after the fact): vimeo, brightcove, and vidyard. I suspect from this that there was no clear winner in terms of cost/benefits.

2. How much development support was needed for set-up? What IT resources are needed ongoing?

Internal IT/support tends to be ad hoc, done by various engineers (including myself as UX person). both for set up and ongoing maintenance. Set up was minimal and as a result has had mixed results (more on this later). 

Externally, marketing uses outsourcing for the website. Not sure of the size or cost.

I might add, engineering originally used a forum (vBulletin) for external interaction. However, we found managing spam -- even with a paid plugin catching 70-80% of it -- too costly in terms of time and resources. Which is why we switched to hosted, generic services.

The other item that has caused significant support effort has been Crowd for account management.

3. How many other systems does your KM tool integrate with? and what? i.e. Directory or code base etc

The Wiki and slack are not really integrated.  Since we are engineering-heavy, using github for code mgt, the key integration is JIRA and github. The second most important integration is email for notification from JIRA, github, wiki, etc.

4. Your favorite feature of your knowledge tool(s)

I'd say my favorite feature -- and this plays into another recent question on SIKM -- is the structure of our internal Slack. Our wiki is, as most wiki's, only lightly structured.  As a result finding anything in it usually requires search, not browsing. On the other hand, when they set up slack they created several channels. Most importantly, Engineering, General, and Random. There are a mess of other channels, most of which are dormant. But the big three have served to produce two benefits:
  • Self-Organization: I don't remember a single reply saying "post to the other channel". Everyone seems to understand the purpose of the three channels and posts appropriately.  In my experience, that is a remarkable feat.
  • Work vs. non-work: As a direct result of the self-organization, everyone seems to realize that Random is the catch-all for non-work related discussions. So if you don't care about Boston-area sports (HQ is in the Boston area), bear sightings, and other non-work related trivia, you don't need to read that channel or even subscribe to it. I only wish email had such a clear filtering capability....
Andrew Gent
UX Architect
VoltDB, Inc.

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