Posted tagged ‘search’

Top Knowledge Management Trends for 2014

February 27, 2014

Today I co-presented a webinar with longtime partner Coveo, “Top Knowledge Management Trends of 2014.” We had a huge response to the event, and the largest live audience I’ve seen for a webinar in quite a while. KM is always a hot topic with TSIA members, but interest continues to grow as we see knowledge strategies moving beyond customer support to include field service, professional services, managed services, and more. So what are the biggest trends in KM today? Based on TSIA data and member conversations, here are the top 3 trends I highlighted in today’s webinar:


  • Legacy search tools failing. My colleague Ken O’Reilly completed TSIA’s first “knowledge management practices” survey in December, and the results will be published in the next couple of weeks. I shared a couple of proof points in the webinar today to illustrate how existing KM implementations aren’t keeping up. The lion’s share of respondents to the survey have had both their customer-facing and employee-facing KM platforms in place for 4 or more years, which should indicate they are mature, highly adopted, and delivering value. But, when asked to rate their current KM implementations, the largest percent of respondents indicated the worst option: “Needs a lot of work.” So why are these mature implementations failing? In my experience, inadequate search is often at the root of the problem. Legacy search tools don’t do well outside a proprietary knowledgebase, and according to my annual tech survey, SharePoint is now the top installed knowledgebase tool used by service organizations. Not a specialized tool built for support knowledge, a generic content warehouse. With customers and employees now expecting to search content anywhere in the enterprise, in any format, requirements for search have evolved dramatically. Today, companies need a search tool that provides context, intelligence, dynamic taxonomies, and multiple filtering options.
  • Enterprise collaboration. I have a report in editing right now calling enterprise collaboration “the third wave of knowledge management.” Another factoid from the recent KM survey is that less than half of customer issues are resolved by content in the knowledgebase. If you don’t have the answer at your fingertips, the most direct route to the answer is to ask an expert. I’m seeing huge planned spending on enterprise collaboration tools to enable this. But the missing element–and this is a BIG missing element–is how to know who the expert is to ask. This is where expertise management comes in. I have blogged before about the importance of expertise management, and I’m hoping more companies begin to include requirements for this in their KM/enterprise search plans. The same search platform that can analyze all the content in your enterprise to create dynamic taxonomies, can also create relationships between content topics and people. So, if you are trouble shooting an install script, the system can prompt you with the developer who wrote the install script, the Q&A person who tested it, and the Tech Pubs person who documented it. Armed with this information, you know exactly who to reach out to for an answer.
  • Mobility. I tend to refer to this trend as “The Connected Customer” and “The Connected Technician.” The mass adoption of smartphones and tablets has revolutionized the way we retrieve and interact with information. While the majority of mobile devices may be originally designed for consumers, we bring our consumer experiences into the workplace with us. Today’s customers and employees expect–if not demand–that they have ubiquitous access to corporate content at any time, from any place, using any device. But to enable this, you need the right mobile infrastructure. When shopping for KM/search technology, include requirements in three areas. First, the system should support all devices, not just Droid or Apple or RIM. Ideally, this means HTML5. Secondly, the system should offer optimized displays for mobile devices–the same user interface that works fine on a desktop web browser will not work effectively on a 2″x 3″ smartphone screen. And third, the system should be able to retrieve and display a wide variety of formats. I’ve heard complaints from companies whose mobile search tools displayed some file types like ASCII characters–completely unreadable.


For those of you who missed today’s webinar, here’s a link to the OnDemand version: It is only 30 minutes, and worth a listen if you are interested in what’s new with KM. Thanks to everyone who tuned in today. We didn’t have time to answer audience questions, so if you asked a question during the live event, we will be following up with you afterwards.

And as always, thanks for reading!


Knowledge Anywhere Strategies Raise the Stakes for Search: Webcast Thursday

September 21, 2011

One of the major trends I’m tracking for 2012 is the evolution of knowledge management from a departmental problem to a corporate problem. With CIO’s all on alert that baby boomers are retiring over the next 3 years, taking with them the lion’s share of corporate wisdom, knowledge management is hotter than ever. But what I’m hearing from TSIA members is that the CIO doesn’t want to fund departmental solutions, they want to implement an enterprise KM system. As a proofpoint, enterprise content management tools like EMC’s Documentum is now showing up on my survey on KM products in place, and MS Sharepoint is now the most installed knowledgebase by TSIA members, outside of using the KM tools in

The challenge here is how to locate and leverage content wherever it is stored across the enterprise: knowledgebases, communities, databases, applications, CRM customer history, billing and payment systems, EVERYTHING!

If this sounds a like a challenge you are facing, please attend our webcast this Thursday, “How Leading Companies Power Customer Service with Insight Through the Confluence of Enterprise Search 2.0, Knowledge Management.” I will be interviewing a panel consisting of Coveo, an enterprise search vendor whose motto is “Stop moving data,” and Tina Yarovsky, Vice President, Online Support Services,Trading Technologies International, Inc., who has gone through the process of implementing enterprise search and had dramatic improvements to support operations as a result.

Another key trend for 2012 is increased mobility, with mobile tools and applications driving field service automation and education, as well as productivity tools for support and professional services. Search is a big element of this trend as well, letting both customers and employees have access to content from anywhere at anytime on a smartphone or other mobile device. This ‘just in time’ knowledge access is already proving valuable with field employees, and giving customers ubiquitous access to content is certainly a way to improve lackluster self-service results. Coveo was one of the first search vendors to offer a mobile product, and I will touch on this as well during the webcast.

Hope to see you Thursday for a great webcast!

Intelligent Search Market Overview Launches March 29th

March 23, 2010

My latest research opus, a Market Overview of Intelligent Search, is about to see the light of day. I kicked off this project last fall and thought it would be a 2 month project.  7 months later, I’m finally delivering the report. What took so long?  Good question.

It turns out that navigating the vendor landscape for search tools was even more complicated than I thought. A full third of my TSIA member inquiry volume last year related to search technology, and short lists of vendors began to include both knowledgebase and self-service search experts AND enterprise search specialists. As I started digging, these two worlds are also merging with an emerging search market: social search.

Merging Markets Create Intelligent Search

I started by surveying a dozen search vendors that spanned these three markets to find out what was “bleeding edge” in their world, and I compiled a list of the 20 most innovative selection criteria for search, spread across several categories such as displaying search results, content maintenance, integration, scalability, deployment model, and product breadth. Next, I had each vendor fill out a form indicating which of these 20 features they offered, along with details on prepackaged integrations and scalability. The following search vendors/TSIA partners participated in the study: Attensity, Baynote, Clarabridge, Consona CRM, Coveo, InQuira, KANA, nGenera CIM, Q-go, and RightNow.

The report, which addresses search needs of technical support, professional services and field service operations, goes live to all TSIA corporate members on Monday, March 29th. This Thursday I am doing a members only webcast to preview my findings, which includes the matrix of features by vendor. To register for the webcast or for more information, TSIA members should access the link for their service discipline:

In my 2009 Member Technology Survey, intelligent search was one of the bright spots, with high planned spending. For companies launching a search for search, this report will help you create the RFP by understanding what really differentiates products today.

I look forward to seeing you on Thursday’s webcast, and thanks for reading!

Coveo Customer Information Access: Search is Just The Tip of The Iceberg

January 20, 2010

I admit to being pretty jaded about “new” technology. In the 9 years I’ve been an analyst, I estimate I’ve had over 2,000 vendor briefings, and unfortunately the majority of claims about unique technology turn out to be the same or similar as other products. So when I say I was blown away by something new and innovative, it means I’ve been introduced to something pretty special.

This week I had the opportunity to spend some time in Quebec with Coveo, an emerging “customer information access” vendor, whom I will never again refer to as a “search vendor.” Oh, Coveo does search. They do it extremely well. But that is just the tip of the iceberg for this company.

But let’s start with search, as that’s what brought me to Coveo. I am finalizing the evaluation criteria for my upcoming market overview of search, showing how the worlds of enterprise search, customer support search and social search are merging. Coveo is on the list of vendor partners included in the study, and I wanted to learn more about what they were doing. The product had shown up on last year’s TSIA member survey for intelligent search with high satisfaction marks, but Coveo wasn’t coming at customer service search the same way as the multi-channel vendors. Turns out Coveo has over 700 customer installations, across several verticals, including the customer service market. Tied to no single knowledge base or content management tool, Coveo’s platform does very creative indexing of all enterprise and customer support content (biggest library of packaged connectors I’ve seen) and enables additional attribution or meta data to be associated to the content–sort of sophisticated tagging. (more…)

Gearing up for TSW: Killer KM Content

October 5, 2009

The majority of my SSPA member inquiries are regarding some aspect of knowledge management (KM) and search, and increasingly I’m receiving similar inquiries from TPSA and AFSMI members.  KM is definitely a cross-service concern.

We are only two weeks out from Technology Serviced World-Vegas, with a conference track dedicated to KM.  Technology support organizations are pushing the envelope with KM in many ways, and attending these sessions is a great way to find out what’s working, what’s not working, and what ‘bleeding edge’ means in the fast changing world of KM.  Here’s a sneak peek of what we’ll be talking about at TSW:

First up is a session I’m excited about: “Quarterback Ratings and Knowledge Management: Maximize the “Pass Efficiency” of Your KM Users” by Jeff Harling, Global Process Manager for Knowledge Management, Avaya. Avaya recently won our STAR Award for Best Knowledge Management Practices, and they have lot of great insight to share. In this session, hear about the latest innovative KM project at Avaya–measuring participation in their knowledge management program. By normalizing across eight key data points similar to a passer rating or football “quarterback rating,” they are creating an aggregated approach to defining the value of each and every KM user. This presentation will look at the algorithm methodology, how it was created, and how it is being implemented into an on-demand report for an organization of over 6,000 associates.

My next big research project is a market overview of search technology. The world of enterprise search is encroaching on our KM-specific search universe, and now there are products serving both domains.  Here are 2 sessions that will help you learn more.  The first is: “Using Information and Knowledge Access Solutions to Lower Service Costs and Increase Customer Trust, Loyalty and Engagement,” by search vendor and SSPA partner Coveo. Coveo will co-present with one of their customers, a leading technology provider, about how their use of enterprise search has evolved from a single departmental implementation to supporting all call center and extranet content.

The second search-related KM session I encourage you to attend is a panel discussion of InQuira customers, led by InQuira’s Chris Hall. Chris and I did a recent webcast on KM best practices that had a very large audience and lots of great questions from attendees. If you want to know the truth about resource and maintenance requirements (a common inquiry topic) for search technology, this is your chance to hear it from real-world users.

If your interest in KM is more on the social media side, you will definitely want to attend this session, “Top 10 Things Online Support Communities Have Taught HP,” by Lois Townsend, Global Manager, Social Media Strategy, HP Consumer Support Operations, Hewlett Packard. Customers are blogging, posting, and tweeting about the problems they are facing and the questions they have. Lois is responsible for determining how HP should use social media to answer them. With more than 290 million customer interactions last year alone, this is no small task. She will give the top 10 lessons HP learned in the last year for you to take back and apply to your support organization.

Thanks for reading, and I look forward to seeing all of you in 2 weeks in Vegas!

IntelliResponse: One Right Answer for Web Self-Service Questions

March 17, 2008

I receive a lot of requests for briefings from emerging customer support software vendors, and a recent request from IntelliResponse caught my attention because of this line:  “Our unique competitive differentiation is our ‘One Right Answer’ approach, versus all of our competitors who utilize search based paradigms.” Because of the huge popularity of Google, many vendors in this space are creating a ‘Google-like’ search experience, which is great when you are researching a topic, but not so good when you have a specific question or problem and need the One Right Answer, not a scrolling page of thousands of possibilities.

IntelliResponse, a 100% SaaS vendor, has around 100 customers and nearly twice as many deployments, but their focus has been higher education and financial services, with reference accounts including TD Canada Trust, ING Direct, American Express, Scotiabank, Ohio State, and Penn State University. After receiving inquiries from many high tech companies, IntelliResponse is now bringing their solution to our industry, with a commitment I think many tech companies will find attractive: Go live in 60 days and deliver one right answer to at least 80% of visitor questions. (more…)