The New Knowledge Management: What Does A Collaborative Content Hub Look Like

66% of customers say that “valuing their time is the most important thing a company can do to provide good service.” A knowledge base is typically used to empower agents and customers with answers to customer questions. But traditional knowledge management is a difficult because of the confusion around the term and its checkered reputation.

Instead of a knowledge base, companies should be investing in a collaborative content hub that looks like this:


It includes the following capabilities:

  • Easy content capture. You should be able to flag information from any source (email, discussion forum thread, social media interaction) and kick it off to be included in your collaborative content hub.
  • Democracy. Everyone within an organization, and customers as well, should be able to recommend information to be included in the content hub.
  • Flexible authoring environment. You must be able to create and publish content without arduous workflows. Not all content should be subjected to the same workflows. Some content must be able to be published instantly, for example a service alert. Other content should be able to be routed through review or legal compliance flows.
  • Social content: Anyone who comes into contact with content should be able to rate and comment on content.
  • Curated and non-curated content. Content should include discussion threads and content residing in other repositories (for example, content management systems, bug databases etc.).
  • Collaboration. A certain segment of agents or customer-facing personnel should have the authority to change content and republish it without arduous approvals.
  • Proactive, in-process content delivery. Content must be linked, for example, to case management processes, so contextual, personalized content can be pushed to the agent at the right point in the customer service interaction.
  • Reports. You need to understand content usage and gaps so you can evolve content in line with customer demand.
  • Integration with listening tools and text analytics platforms. You need to stay ahead of the curve in content delivery. To do this, you  also need to mine social sites out of your direct control and use text analytics to understand conversations that customers are having about your products and services (for example, social conversations about a particular product issue). You then need to use these insights to generate content and push it out to your customer base to proactively deflect contacts from your contact center.

I see our clients pulling this ecosystem together. Are there any capabilities that you believe should also be included in a content hub?


A new name ...

Hi Kate, I absolutely agree that a business needs most of these capabilities in a consolidated solution. I just see that for the same thing there are now many names in the market place. I did propose ten years ago that content has no independent justification in a business:

'There is not process without content and content without process is waste.'

Such processes may be structured or unstructured, or rather predictable or adaptive case work. Clearly, today such content is also user created and may come or be used in Social interactions.

To name a solution as 'content hub' is rather no longer meeting today's needs. I propose that these market and product fragments create problems more than they do solve them. I think that the least thing businesses should need to do and waste money on is to 'pulling this together', meaning having to go through the worst of integration projects with the worst of long-term maintenance issues.

I honestly prefer now John Mancini's (the president of AIIM) definition of a 'System of Engagement' that is responsible for supporting the customer experience. No focus on process or content or integration, but what does it actually do: ENGAGE PEOPLE!

As an additional note one should consider that 'knowledge is not just content'. Knowledge is knowing what to do to go from current state to a desirable future state. Content management is not knowledge management. Peter Drucker said: 'Knowledge is between two ears only!' It needs goal-oriented, adaptive processes. To support those knowledge workers with processes that they create and adapt as they need without IT or process analysts and store successful goal achievements as templates - that can be considered knowledge management. And yes, content capture, analysis and creation must be an integral part of it.

As I said, we have been offering this for ten years.

Regards, Max J Pucher
CTO ISIS Papyrus Software

We should chat further

You are right - 'There is not process without content and content without process is waste

And i have been struggling with a name for this capability, which I call content hub, which needs to be deeply intertwinded with process, and contextualized and personalized for the issue and customer at hand.

I would be interested in speaking with you further about your solution.

Very good

Excellent summary in one diagram. Interesting from my POV that any good standard of IT Service Management toolset these days should be able to provide most if not all of these areas built into - not bolted onto - a mature IT service operation.

In ITSM, the tree is IT Service, and Knowledge is so intrinsic to this that it's more like the sap - in every root, branch twig and leaf.

Yes, it ITSM, knowledge is a

Yes, it ITSM, knowledge is a core component. There are no ITSM-like standards for customer-facing service and knowledge, so I see many of our clients trying to create this ecosystem out of several vendor solutions.

Great Summary

The bullet points are a great summary and simplify what can be a complicated process. I would add one more point: A lifecycle process that covers initial creation to retirement and includes regular reviews. This is important to keep the information up to date and valid.

I put this under reporting/workflow

Absolutely agreed that you need lifecycle management. I should call this out better, however, I tend to think of it as part of the reporting and workflow processes that are integral to the content collaboration hub

sharing is contagious...

Hi - i have been looking for GREAT real-life examples of your hub. Do you have any?
my favourite so far -- is accenture's content/collab hub.

I interact with alot of different content hubs, and I asked myself why have I given accenture's hub my number 1 rating. In fact it so good, I heard myself sharing the other day about and then saying "and now I dont dislike them anymore.. wow... it actually has built respect for them."

So Why Do I love their Hub?
Three Reasons
1 Because at any point I have wanted to "grab" "snatch" something - I could.
e.g. vids in my desired format posted, podcast, info-graphic, pdf,
e..g all content freely accessible and available. No silly register forms. No annoying passwords. No flv for video format that you must convert to watch.

2 Because (so far) at any point, I wanted the content at a different level of detail - 1 click and bingo, done. Wow!
e.g. see the whole thing (web page converts to all pages versus click thru page at a time),
e.g. see the executive summary,
e.g. see the implications etc...

3 At the point, I wanted to interact with author - SOMETIMES the contact was provided in my desired format (e.g. an email address, not some generic email but a direct email e.g. not twitter or blog comment but a direct email), other times a general contact form was used. That is OK, they are very very big firm.

So essentially.. the Hub is demonstrating. Sharing.
Which invites direct dialogue. (I did not have to give anything to receive).
The first point I needed to give something to receive, was when I wanted to ask a question about something and author's email not available. All they needed was my email and my relationship. No asking of my country or my phone number.

So what do they get from me?
Well I am known as a walking library. I have always been known as this (even before digital). So i am always flicking references here and there. Why do I do it? I love to share. You could never quantify the referral rating, the influence. But Accenture would definitely reap benefits from the flicks.

So for me - Making it easy to grab is a true sign of sharing.

You can have all the branches you want (tactics), all the infrastructure you want (tree trunk), but if it is not "easy peasy" to take, when the individual wants to take, in their desired format.... the individual.. moves on.

this of course, it WAS easy peasy to source e.g. excellent search engine and visible cloud of tags.

They do have ability to register and you get more.
I may even do that next.
But i have yet to stumble on a Hub, that gives me true benefit e.g.
- tagging which content I have interacted with and then rating it according to my own scale (e.g. a dud!, grab, considering/digesting, fab 5 Star)
- grouping the content how I see the world (ie drag and drop on my map of how I see the connections, flick to list view or flick to thumbnail)

The same could be applied to Blogs.
- on comment - do you have put first and last name.. and other stuff... .annoying.. just name and email that is all required to post
- provide the check box to "receive comments" AND "receive all posts to this blog" (that latter is rarely provided
- make it easy to add an image or insert link
- AND then checkbox to be emailed your post

These simple 4 points, in most blogs I interact with (including this one) are rarely embraced.

So if you have any other GREAT real-life examples, I would love to check them out. Thankyou for your post.

2 more - for blog

2 I forgot for Blogs (that this blog does not embrace)
- edit button, so you edit to correct the typos, spelling mistakes
- the email that you receive for "comment added to blog", is much more valuable when it includes the blog comment that was posted, rather than having to click thru. (about half of the blogs do this, and unfortunately the other half are playing silly "lets increased my traffic stats" games... which undermines the credibility of the author

sorry - if not well received..

its the little things...

Blog Post says:
66% of customers say that “valuing their time is the most important thing a company can do to provide good service.”
Most organisation's do not get what this "really means"... They go yes yes.. yaadda yar.. we have heard it before - I feel.
Because majority of organisations are still thinking "valuing of time" is in direct communication. NO NO NO .. it is in ANY interaction with the entity. That means all bits. All branches. All touchpoints.
using their website... completing a contact form... making a comment on their blog...

For example:
I don't know how many times, when I am prompted to complete a contact form, in the phone field, I put "please email". Then the first email I receive, is the BDM writing to me to ask me when is a good time to call as I would like to understand your requirements. ... rather than answer my question...

oh deary dear....

just this week, it happened 5 times.

and in each of those 5 times, I would have at least spent 15min on their website, typicallty 45min investigating something... So all wasted. As I am not intereasting in doing business with someone who cannot even read a contact form, and honour my preferences.

You are right

Valuing your time applies to ALL touchpoints and ALL communication channels. It also means NOT having to repeat yourself when your issue is escalated, or moves to another channel. Few companies do this well.

what is the journey to the CC Hub? / tools?

Hello, thankyou for great post on Collaborative Content Hub.
The word 'Hub' for me works.

I was looking for a paper, to map out the "Journey to the Hub" Is there one you know of?

For example, I see the journey broken in a few segments. I have mapped your great points (with a few tweaks) into this journey, from my viewpoint. Edit as you see fit please.

1- Building content
- Easy content capture AND from device or mac
- Easy flag/tag content for action e.g. recommendation of content to include and desired format e.g. vid v whitepaper or infographic v whitepaper, link, gain more, obtain xyz bibliography reference etc..
- Easy version control, tap to show recent edits embedded in doc, alert to be notified of changes, tap to view reviewers

2- Publishing process (author stack to publish) -- agree with all your points. Plus different approval routing e.g. parallel, majority, one of group etc..

3- Community Interaction
3.1 Interaction with content/authors (you called social content) -- in addition to rate, comment -- You may want to see the social tag cloud. You may wish to follow authors, or specific tag words. You may wish to rate authors, in addition to rating the content.
You definitely need an excellent search engine and ability to display results in map style rather than list style e.g. I find it hard to search, "show me all your videos for xyz areas..." then tap to .. "show me now of all these videos that have papers", and the map is built out further, now "show me all other collateral". Thru this process, showing counts of documents by year publish or by author.
You definitely need easy download, in desired video format (mp4 iphone or hd etc..) and for web pages view all as 1 page or view by page etc..
You may wish to add to your "own workspace". For example
- categorise the post, whitepaper, video as you see fit
- own tagging
- private comments v public comments.
In your profile, you could have your default search criteria, checkbox off the repositories you like to search on, build your own tag defaults,
3.2 Curated and non-curated content - discusssion threads, configurable repositories to be included

4 Link to Structured Data (you called Proactive, in-process content delivery).
5 Feedback Loop (reports, analytics)

I was also wondering
1) In the hub, this where structured data and unstructured data could meet. Is that correct? Is there any good papers on discussing this important to move forward?
2) what apps are out there that deliver ALL this functionality (if any). If none exist, what technology are people using to build it?


this CC Hub is the NEW user-driven marketing

this.. collaboration content hub you speak of is ... for me the NEW marketing
so while I like this tree.. is the first 5%. It scopes the current tactics.
The intent behind, the little things is what makes a CC Hub fly or not fly.

Given marketing is now word of mouth marketing, online WOM to be more precise
Given the WEB is the greatest amplifier.

and WEB = market place of opinion
NOT web = market place of products (as marketeers thing of it, still ... :-(...)

This is a massive shift. This does invalidate google brain-machine of ad-generated revenues. It puts it its rightful place. Second. Not First. I have tested this theory across all major CRM players over the last month. Not one is getting this. They are treating the web as place of products, tracking activity and assuming its a lead. There was only 1 company who did not PRESUME cause I took knowledge from their site, that was NOT A LEAD. That was accenture. omg. Whether it was big players, like (salesforce) or sugar CRM, or even smaller players like get satisfaction, or user-voice or a very specific solution like CRM Fusion (data cleansing).. all ASSUMED, information interaction = lead. NO NO NO!

Unfortunately even analysts, are not challenging this assumption.
From an ok book only, Groundswell (Chris's book is much much better).
Assumption: Online Traffic = Revenue
What if this assumption is flawed or plain wrong.

Based on this assumption, we have developed entire industry measuring.. now marketers are measuring Likes, etc...
Likes = progress indicator = your tracking well.
Likes does not mean anything to do with a lead. I often like something e.g. response to a question, but I would not buy the product cause the company's ethos does not fit with mine. Each to their own.

Based on this assumption, marketers are missing an incredible opportunity. They could be the community generators. The new Community Managers. Now my friends and I have debated this. They say, once a pusher of product, always a spinner... But I think, old-marketers could just move through that akwardness, that scary place of "what am i to do"
- letting users create the message
- letter consumers put their spin on it, as they sit back and watch..

As Chris Anderson in the Long Tail says eloquently, two imperatives are:
1 make everything available
2 help me find it

Playoff: Sugar v providing knowledge
Take sugar CRM. They so fail at this. They dont offer a developer edition of their product. They have a community edition, but its missing core "agility-enabling" pieces of the puzzle like workflow or the click-toolset of Studio etc... . In fact their developer forum hasn't been able to accessed reliably for a week... geez.. if that is an open-source technology company standard of quality. Crikey we are in trouble. If we compare, they are on-to-it. They behave like an open-source company, although their advanced programming toolset is proprietary (apex). They provide a full developer edition (all features, all tools) FREE and no time trail. Everything. OMG! Plus provides their full training courses (admin or developer) on itunes - Downloadable and FREE. Again sugar is useless here. No download and no full course. Geez... which one is more like an open-source company????

And before i wrote this post, I gave Sugar more than 1 opportunity to rectify their dismal performance. Cause I really wanted open-source company to come out front. They do a dis-service to the open-source community. Using the open-source brand and undermining it. Shame on you Sugar CRM.

So why do we have examples like this?
> Essentially marketers cannot do what they did before (as trust in individuals is UP and trust in institutions is down).. so the TRUST SOURCE has shifted. (insight from a helpful overview book Paul Greenberg: CRM at speed of light)

> The consumer now owns the message creation. So its back to old school, pre-mass marketing. Word of Mouth Marketing. Its a bumma if your a marketing dude. Yes.. but...

> Marketer role is the new community manager role. This role, Community Manager is more "be of service" focused than the old marketers job "be responsible for creating the message". Community Manager = consumer service, generate participation, generate engagement. Its true open leadership (leading from behind).

> Marketers... and unfortunately analysts too .. are now advocating "listen to your market". Its less about messaging. Its more about Listening.
We create a huge data crunch. Lets slice all our data (segementation or something more mature.... hopefully) and see WHO are these INFLUENCERS, these "Word of Mouther's" and so we can leverage off them..

Now: this is where I feel like a real twit or perhaps from another planet.

Question: Why go after the influencers... ?
Sample size of influeners is 7Billion.. world population.. or maybe you segment or localise, and get it 1M. But still 1M is BIG FAT NUMBER....

remember that is 1M PEOPLE, human beings. Not 1M widgets. Not 1M things to be data-erised, and thus analysed, and hopefully moneratised..


Why not just create the most awesome collaboration content hub?
>Make it so easy to get the information e.g. in all vid formats, in OPEN pdf
>Provide superb substance information (not marketing or sales waffle) e.g. providing expert consulting advice FREE. The juice. That is what Bloggers do.
> Provide content at different levels e.g. infographics for aggregate or at-a-glance content, 5min vids of the dialogue of issues and provide transcripts, etc...

Your CC Hub is a MUCH SMALLER task and higher probability of accuracy to create than ... play games with numbers... Its a known entity. The influencers are not known. Why not get to generating more influencers, versus tracking them down. The irony.. if you do this.. influencers will eventually let you know who they are...

This CC Hub is your pre-sales tool. Is THE marketing engine.
The NEW user-driven marketing.

Make it so easy for people to play with your product
e.g. Amazon allows you download first chapter of any kindle book. It took me 5 years visiting amazon site before I purchased something. I just leveraged off them. Saw what books the author has actually published. I did not care for the reviews as I am a thorough researcher. But when they made first chapter download free, when they did that, I NOW ONLY BUY from amazon. Its convenient, it can dl to iphone or my mac kindle. very simple. it allows me to track "possible reading", "what I pondering reading". I read at least 2 books a week. They have no idea I was a walking library and that is what I am known as in my network.

But now they would know. They can see how many chapters I DL.

These thoughts are really not my own. I just read a bunch of books. The books I found very very helpful, and changed my thinking
1 Long Tail is the new market model per Chris Anderson - defined here:
2 Paul Greenberg - CRM at Speed of Light

Now, there is no tool that i know of, that gets this. the CC Hub is the NEW marketers tool. supports extraction, social tagging, own profile with own content pulled etc....

My bigger concern. All these CRM apps. All lovely and all. But they are based on the OLD processes e.g. lead to cash. What if its all gone. no more lead to cash process. So solution dont buy a CRM that does not have a great platform you can adapt from. the PaaS is critical. Mobile, Cloud, Web 3_0 means your consumer is now a walking business. Doing business in the right-time for them.

What if the new enterprise system is really like
> CC Hub + Financial Applications (GL, AR, AP, Bank Rec) + HRM
> CC innovation Hub + Financials + HRM

and CRM is CRM but the C has gone from customer to consumer

umm... no email subscription for blog?

hey kate: would be great if your blog had an email subscription. I click subscription and it listed all these feed burners... but I just want a simple email subscription.

perhaps it is there, and I just cannot see it.
can you post a picture if it is.

try the subscribe button?

There should be a subscribe button on the right side of my blog? I hope this link works for you.

Great Illustration!!

Hi Kate,
The illustration is absolutely fantastic to show what value and technologies are required to make knowledge management effective. I would recommend you including few things to the illustration: Topic Management, People Discovery and People Interaction Tools (such as IM and chat). The organization usually suffers from finding the right people at the right time to answer questions that comeup. I believe the organization has all the knowledge however people don't know how to use it and when to use it.

Also, here is a great asset I would like to share for knowledge management officers who can access the transformation of the experience : It is focused on people and only people to make it happen.