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


Tatiana Gudilina
 

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,

Tatiana

 


Heather Fox
 

Hi Tatiana,

In Knowledge bases I've used and/or designed for enterprises, or in professional services groups or for design/development or business development groups, external content has been critical. I can share an example of one KB I designed that relied on external content being crawled and made available within a general knowledge base (KB) search.

For example, an enterprise-wide development organization's Knowledge Base required crawling and indexing of relevant third-party analysts information relevant to the markets/industries in which they compete. The organization had licenses for the third-party content and n-number of seats for that content (eg Forrester and Gartner). Thus, search results for information on competitors would bring back results that included the internal competitive intelligence team's assessments of competitors, along with relevant Forrester and Gartner analysis notes and reports.  In this case, a Google search might not bring back specific paid analyst reports for which the organization had access.

Concerning your note about copyright restrictions, contracts, licenses/seats--a good user profile and RBAC (role-based access control) system can mediate access to specific KB content based on a user's entitlements. An example of a great search engine that enables this is Northern Light (https://northernlight.com/). Using a search engine like this, you are able to set up the collection process for external content sources so that crawling takes place regularly (hourly/daily/weekly/monthly, for example) so that new external content is always made available to a knowledge search. Administering Northern Light is straightforward--it will integrate with an organization's access and identity management system, so privileged content is only accessed by those who have the entitlements to do so.

Best, Heather
Heather J. Fox
personal email: heather@...
work email: heather.fox@...
+1 302 287 0240


Tom Barfield
 

Tatiana,
In my past work, the KM teams had their hands so full with managing the flow of internal information that there wasn't much time to focus on external content.  Sure, they might embed a widget from a content source on a page - but not much more than that.

It's great to hear that you have situation where the end users are calling for external information.  I appreciate the "evil" examples - they are all addressable.

I encourage you to check out the KM Collection (https://kminvite.keeeb.com) - both from a KM content perspective and from a capability perspective in how it deals with external content.  This approach is focused on getting knowledge to flow - internal and external.  Please reach out to me if you'd like to talk in more detail about your situation.

Tom
tom@... 


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,

Tatiana