R3 Knowledge Factory for Cim: Ideas to Knowledge Products

A very common business process, particularly for the SharePoint community, is creating knowledge used by the organization or external communities.  R3 Business Solutions, has created the Knowledge Factory add-on for CorasWorks Idea Management, that leverages social features of Cim to improve the process of tranforming ideas and questions into knowledge that is interactive and dynamic.   This is a very interesting solution for Cim, in that it highlights the fact that the output is a knowledge product.  This solution really helps you to start thinking of knowledge in a product management context and giving you the means to get there.  Here is a discussion of this business scenario and a walkthrough of their add-on solution.

The Situation

A lot of time and effort goes into creating information that can be used as knowledge by your internal workforce or external communities.  The process raises some key questions.  What knowledge is needed and being asked for?  How important is it?  What is the process for creating and approving it for publication?  How do we manage the processes for different types of information? How can users find it and access it?  What do users think of the knowledge?  How can it be improved? What has been published?  How often is it used or looked for? How easy is it to change and versionize?  How do we track our knowledge creation process and the user satisfaction?

The tools and approach of most organizations lack the ability to answer many of these questions.  Typically, knowledge creation is a back room process with an end product that is rather dry and passive (aka a document).  Most approaches lack the interactivity to drive forward the value of knowledge.  Often, it gets published without the ability for the users to interact and add value upfront, during the creation, or after it is published.  It is often not easy to find the right information or to know what is important or even popular.  As a key part of the work of most organizations, this is an important process to improve.  

R3 Knowledge Factory Solution

Leveraging CorasWorks Idea Management, R3 has created an end-to-end add-on solution that provides organizations with a 360 degree process for transforming ideas, questions, and topics into knowledge that is dynamic and continuously improved.  It is a product management solution for knowledge.  It leverages the social aspects of Cim to know what is needed by users and to get feedback on the finished knowledge product that is used to improve existing knowledge and also drive needs.  In effect, Knowledge Factory takes a dry, passive process and transforms it into an interactive, dynamic, measurable system for serving the knowledge needs of users.

The Walkthrough

In this walkthrough, we’ll look at a scenario for the HR department.  We’ll assume that they have their own community where users can post ideas, questions, and topics.  It is part of the HR portal.  Users consume the published knowledge via a self-service display in the HR portal or in any other portal in the environment.  In the middle, there is an HR Knowledge Base app where the heavy lifting of creating the knowledge base articles and managing the review and approve process takes place.  Below we show the core modules of the solution and the activities.  Note that the solution is role-based in that different users are working in different contexts from different places across your SharePoint environment.



The HR Community

It starts with the Community.  As shown below, users are posting ideas and questions for the HR department.  Other users can also see them, rate them and comment on them.  This is used to determine the demand for a given topic. Members of HR can also respond to the posts via comments or email in an interactive and visible way.  



Knowledge Mgmt App: Scan, Screen, and Select

Each department or group can have its own Knowledge Management app.  This is where the creating process happens and the knowledge base is located.  From here they can scan the Community posts.  For instance, the HR department can see the posts in the HR Community.  Plus they can see posts in other communities that might relate to their work. They can view the original post and interact – commenting as necessary.  As shown below, they can then select posts to kick off a draft of a knowledge base article – it automatically pulls in information from the post and provides the user with a form to begin the process.  It also maintains a trackback to the original post providing the means for continued interactivity with users during the knowledge creation process.



Knowledge Mgmt App: Create and Review Process

Knowledge Base owners then go about their process to create the KB article with supporting information – often interacting with users.  The end result would be the KB article description, attached documents, links to videos and web pages.  This is then put through a managed review process with notifications. The end result is publishing the article for consumption by users.

KB Articles - review


KB Self-Service: Search and Social

Once published, KB articles are available in the self-service display.  In our scenario, this would be available in the HR Portal.  It can also be snapped into any other portal/location across your SharePoint environment.  As shown below, this lets users search the knowledge base (with suggestions) and access the information.  Each search by a user is tracked so that KB owners have another way to know what users are looking for.  In addition, users are able to rate the articles and comment which helps other users and the KB owners.  The commenting allows for the HR KB owner to interact with users in a public or private manner. 

search combo-850


KB Top 10 Listings

Think dynamic marketing of knowledge.  Sometimes users aren’t proactive.  They often just want to see what is new and most popular.  Knowledge Factory comes with a Top 10 Listings display that shows users the most recent articles and the highest rated articles (Star Power as shown below).  They can quickly click through multiple knowledge bases all in one display.

top 10


Wrap Up

R3’s Knowledge Factory does a great job of providing the complete 360 degree process of transforming ideas into knowledge.   It leverages social interactivity at all of the key points in the life cycle.  In doing so, it actually transforms your process from a “back-room” activity into a dynamic, interactive way that needs are effectively converted into knowledge that has its own cycle of improvement. It also comes with extensive tracking and reporting such as seeing what KB articles are published and what users are looking for.  This helps you to guide your efforts and activities going forward.  You can now have a 360 process for managing knowledge like a product. 

The solution is an add-on for CorasWorks Idea Management.  It is licensed on a single perpetual license per customer depending on size of organization.  The one solution can be used to support multiple departments.  And, the communities and self-service Snaplets can be distributed across your SharePoint environment for maximum visibility and interactivity.



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