Re: Integration of external content in KBase – what’s your view? #question

Dan Ranta

Tatiana - at GE I led our KM stuff for the company and that included our digital library with many branches to that.  The main content element of our digital library was about 5,000 technical journals and research / scientific periodicals that we purchased from consolidators like IEEE and many others.  This was valuable external content that the company owned / purchased, but we were not taking full advantage of it since you rely on employees searching a specialized portal, etc....essentially you are counting on serendipity at that point.  What we had in our favor was a business-focused set of 175 communities - each with a community-based taxonomy.  So, what did we do?  We used that taxonomy as a "lense" of sorts and surgically delivered individual articles through a customized webpart (SharePoint-based communities) per the areas of expertise / interest of members in each community - all based on matching terms from our taxonomies and the external articles.  This way, we were surgically or precisely delivering external content that was way, way more relevant for our engineering workforce and others. These individual articles also showed up in a daily summary community alert email (every company has an email culture) - so knowledge workers could quickly read the article title and a short summary that we produced with some basic AI for each article.  Folks loved it since they had highly relevant external content delivered on a "silver platter."  The big boost was that we use this to share / teach all community members (and we had about 150,000 of them) about that valuable external content that we were purchasing company-wide.  I often say - "all the smartest people in the world don't necessarily work for our company."  This is just a cheeky way to say that an organization's borders need to be porous since you never know where optimal knowledge and expertise may come from.

Best - Dan

On Tue, Jun 9, 2020 at 7:21 AM Tatiana Gudilina <tata.gudilina@...> wrote:

Dear SIKM community, I’ve got my entire KM experience within professional services environment, namely big4 consulting firms. Would you please share some industry perspective on the matter:


I joined strategy department of a large bank to build a knowledge management concept. So far interviews with leadership and colleagues in strategy show, that they see integration of external analytical content as an important and almost mandatory part of building an enterprise knowledge portal. 


Please help me calibrate! Is this a common practice on the market? From the consulting perspective and my personal point of view – integration of external content at the enterprise level is mostly evil... 

Here is some of my reasoning:

  • Mixing of internal and external knowledge (1) misleads employees, they came to an enterprise portal for the verified “truth” from the company (2) blurs the brand, we are positioning internal methods and expertise, aren’t we?
  • Hardly can be fully automated (1) external sites are constantly changing (2) not all content even from the trusted sources will be equally valuable – which means manual curation (demanding FTEs too smart to work with content)
  • Google will be more efficient unless you've got a very specific knowledge domain and enterprise search is truly adapted to it 
  • Copyright restrictions at contract agreements level (1) major business information providers restrict storage (2) access to subscription or report might be for a department level only

Thank you in advance!


Kind regards,



Join to automatically receive all group messages.