Increase the Value of your Content: The Knowledge Value Maturity Model
Miryam Brand, Suite Solutions
Today, organizations have more content than ever before. While this content presents a challenge for management, it also represents a tremendous opportunity. The knowledge in a company is not only more important: it has a longer “life” than it used to. Corporate content can be used at every stage of customer engagement, from reaching out to prospects to maintenance and support. The content “machine” that exists in nearly every company can also be used to resell and upsell to existing customers. But despite the tremendous value of corporate content, our experience in the market has shown us that the vast majority of companies do not exploit its potential.
So why are so many organizations behind in the knowledge use curve? Part of the answer is the perceived “barrier to entry”: the worry that trying to optimize the use of knowledge in the organization will require a long learning curve, resulting in lost hours and productivity. Even if this loss is only short-term, it can still be a daunting prospect for an organization that needs to keep to strict deadlines for product releases and upgrades.
Here at Suite Solutions we’re really excited about the model we’ve put together that addresses this issue and shows you how you can incrementally optimize your use of content to increase sales and reduce costs.
The Knowledge Value Maturity Model
What is the Knowledge Value Maturity Model all about?
The Knowledge Value Maturity Model is based on our extensive experience with organizations who wish to optimize their use of corporate knowledge. It is meant to help you do two things:
- Understand where your company stands compared to similar organizations in the industry, and
- Budget and build your knowledge infrastructure roadmap and knowledge processes in order to maximize long-term business value.
The point is to plan your knowledge framework in a way that is incremental, safe, and cost-effective.
Moving up the knowledge value maturity model allows organizations to monetize existing content and increase customer satisfaction and sales. Being world-class on the knowledge value maturity model means utilizing content to the fullest, not only for increased productivity but also for a richer knowledge community and better partner and customer relationships, leading in turn to greater opportunities for up-selling and cross-selling. While “performing” means that your organization is keeping up with most companies in the industry, “world-class” means that you are actually using your corporate knowledge for a competitive advantage over similar organizations.
Explaining the Knowledge Value Maturity Model
For each track of the knowledge value maturity model organizations may find themselves in the lagging, performing, or world class category.
A good example is the third track in the model above: knowledge distribution. A lagging organization gives users access to content via monolithic PDF files that can be found on the corporate website or only via an internal CMS. Most organizations are moving towards the “performing” level: thanks to structured content, users can access topic-based pages on the corporate website, rather than being forced to wade through an entire manual. A world-class organization, however, does not satisfy itself with allowing customers to just “pull” content. It provides a facility for customers to create their own documentation based on what they are interested in and the goals they need to achieve. Because the world-class organization understands customer preferences based on their interest in specific topics, it can automatically push context-based content to these customers. For example, the company can inform customers of new versions, upgrades and complementary products and services based on features they are already interested in, leading to increased sales. Since the “pushed” content is based on customer preferences, it is not perceived as an unwelcome intrusion by customers. On the contrary: customers appreciate it as a further aspect of the service that the company provides them. The world-class organization thus gains an important competitive advantage.
The Infrastructure: Intelligent Content
The underlying foundation of the knowledge value maturity model is intelligent content. Migrating your content to structured, topic-based, findable content is the necessary first step for any significant increase in knowledge value. The good news is that once you have migrated your content, the rest of your move up the maturity model flows from there.
Structured and topic-based content allows specific content to be “served up” to customers and employees based on who they are, where they are, and what they need to achieve. An XML-based format such as DITA allows distribution to multiple formats and devices. It future-proofs your content via a standard that will allow distribution to whatever channel or technology comes along in the future. Finally, building the right taxonomy, which classifies the important aspects of your content and how it should be directed to different audiences, creates the glue that holds it all together.
Why Move Up the Knowledge Value Maturity Model?
There is one clear reason to move up the knowledge value maturity model: You already have content. Use it!
You have already invested significant resources developing your technical documentation and training content. It is a crucial company asset. Moving up the knowledge value maturity model adds significant business value to the content you already own, and makes it easier for you to create more value. Your content will be reused more easily and will enhance customer engagement, solidify your competitive advantage over your competitors, optimize support, and increase cross-selling and up-selling. As a result, your content creation department will take a more influential and central role within your organization.
Finally, moving up the knowledge value maturity model means your content becomes more useful to more groups within your organization, leading to co-sponsoring with other departments. This increases your content creation and distribution budget for future projects.
In the final analysis, this model can help you optimize your corporate knowledge. (You can read some actionable tips in our white paper.) Remember: as long as you are planning to use your structured content to increase knowledge value, you are on the right track.
This post introduced the concept of the model. The rest of the series will discuss the different dimensions of the model — in particular, moving up each track.
Please comment below – I would love to hear your feedback on the model and what further questions you have. Want to learn more? Read our next post, which “unpacks” the Fragmentation and Structure tracks.