Knowledge Management 2.0
Knowledge Management and Web 2.0; strategies and best practices

September 09, 2014

Connnecting Experts versus Codifying Content

I recently read about an upcoming SCIP (Strategic and Competitive Intelligence Professionals) conference session focused on Talent Networks. See link at bottom.

So often in Knowledge Management the focus is on capturing, codifying and organizing knowledge. While this is great for explicit knowledge, it fails to address the tactic information we all have in our heads around subject matter,expertise and relationships that is much more difficult to capture.

I used to laugh when I was at Morgan Stanley around the ways Investment Banking looked to share information; all very content-capture focused. Yet the nature of the business was much more around personal connections, and due to the sensitive nature of ongoing deals, bankers could often not explicitly post content to be broadly shared unless it was meticulously sanitized. In Financial Services especially, synergies of expertise sharing could similarly have been accomplished by simply connecting people with the right expertise and giving the organization better knowledge around 'who knows who' and 'who knows what' versus trying to codify all content.

  Maintaining and Tracking Internal Expert Networks: Keys to Competitive Intelligence Success
Wed, May 8, 2013

September 07, 2014

Ways to think about Legal KM strategy

In thinking about the areas you may want to address in a Lawe Firm's Knowledge Management strategy, here is one segmentation to consider.

1. Content (or Know What)
This may include Research, e-Discovery, Court Filings, Rulings, Declarative Knowledge

2. Processes (or Know How)
This may include forms, templates, process tutorials, training and development

3. Relationships (or Know Who)
This may include firm expertise, CRM data about existing clients, etc.

Putting in place solutions for each of these area should probably be a part of your strategy. And each may have its own set of solutions. This of this as the basis "Knowledge Management Foundation" for your firm or practice.

A more advanced approach for each area could then extend this to thinking about including Business Intelligence and ways to glean insights and make your practice more efficient.

Under Category 1, examples of this would be adding Insights about market or legislative news. Not just publishing out the news or new rulings, but allowing attornies to add commentary around the news.

Under Category 2, adding real-time collaboration about work product creation could be one example of improving existing processes. Automated contract systems that dynamically add appropriate clauses and phrases depending on the situation versus just a standard template could be a way to take contract or letter creation to the next level.

Under Category 3, mining your CRM data to help attornies discover who knows who. This could be used for enhancing an existing relationship or facilitating new business development can connecting attornies with attornies in other practice areas who potentially already have connections to a particular client or prospect.

There are lots of areas to focus knowledge management on in a legal practice. There was just one approach to breakout the various areas. It doesn't mean you need to focus on all these areas, but it does give you a way to think about all the potential focus area and then prioritize your initiatives and resources from there.

How does your law firm or practice think of the core focus areas for KM?

August 14, 2014

Legal KM - storing legal advice

The challenge of storing Legal Advice?

Many Legal departments and law firms have the challenge of how to share legal advice obtained through research around one particular Matter, and make it available for re-use by other attornies.

The biggest issue here is two-fold.

1. First, the format of the content. Much of the content is initially gathered through e-mails back and forth between inside and outside counsel, or research performed and not captured anywhere. Either way, the result can be a long string of e-mails - very hard to consume for a reader unfamiliar with the matter without some background and context, or nothing is captured at all.

2. Second, is the billable user base. The same problem that existed in my days at PricewaterhouseCoopers. You cannot build in process to capture content and expect billable personnel like Consultants or Attornies to do it, unlesss you can make it part of their normal business processes (or required) or if you make it billable back to the issue client as part of the admin of the engagement at the time. In absence of doing this, no attorny is going to be able to spend alot of time reformatting content or codifying legal advice gathered on a particular matter.

One solution is just capturing anything and everything; e-mails, e-mail threads, files, etc. Easy enough to mail-into a database or wiki and make searchable, but still incrdibly difficult to consume.

Has anyone done anything with Legal Advice?

Any suggestions on how your firm may have solved for this?

July 09, 2014

Sharing Confidential Content - The Need to Sanitize?

In relationship businesses like Financial Services, Management Consulting and Law, there is often a need to safeguard the identity of clients to the other parts of your company; where someone else may be working with a competitor as an example. The challenge becomes...

How to share when you can't share everything?

Many companies follow some type of sanitization practice; a way to mask out the names of companies, financials, and other information used in presentations and proposals that could be used by others to assess who the client is or was.

This process is time consuming for the submitter and creates a barrier for open and easy sharing, or creates a workload for Knowledge Managers and content editors. It becomes useful therefore to think about alternative approaches and which may work best for your organization.

Some models to think about are:

A. Review then Post
This model requires santization of sensitive information prior to publishing. As mentioned above, it creates a higher bar for submission or work for your Knowledge Managers and creates an artificial delay in getting content published in real-time.

B. Post then Review
This alternative model is a way to support the un-sanitized publishing of content to a more restricted audience at first and then establishing a post-publishing review process by Knowledge Managers to identify content that is appropriate for more broadly sharing - once a sanitized version is obtained. This model, some argue makes ti too easily to post content to a restricted audience with no incentive for broader sharing. The benefits of this approach however is that it gives your Knowledge Managers and editors more "pushed" content to work with; without having to solicit it, and from there, they can focus their efforts on review and escalation of access versus hunting down content.

Ways to think about levels of sharing under this model could include:
Deal Team Sharing ==> Industry or Group Level Sharing ==> Broad Sharing

Confidentiality and legal requirements will tend to increase as entitlement access is opened up moving from left to right above. Publishing and collect of content will be easier on the left.

C. Who Has What Content versus Content Sharing
A third model which can work hand in hand with the models above, or as an alternative, is where the content is very sensitive, eliminate the need to sanitize by moving from a content sharing model to a model where you just share who has the content.

The analogy would be a Gartner Group or Forrester Research executive summary. A brief abstract is used to give an idea of the strategic value of the content without sharing the details. Contact information is then provided to the author if you want to get the full version.

With this model, a senior banker or practice manager can relay they have implemented a unique solution in a specific industry for a client with this type of issue without relaying the details of the clients name or deal specific. They are not sharing the content, but simply marketing the knowledge they have. Once contacted, they can vet if it is appropriate to share the content with the requestor on a case-by-case basis. The disadvantage of this approach is that authors may get inundated with requests they then need to service. The advantage however is the ability to share what they know without the effort required for making the content itself broadly available.

Sharing "who has what" can be equally as effective as sharing the content itself.

June 23, 2014

KM for Investment Banking

The challenge for Knowledge Management is what initiatives to focus on? Choice of initiatives distinguishes the successful KM organizations from the unsuccessful. Ideally, you want to avoid focusing on the softer "fluffier" initiatives like building a more "sharing friendly" culture or developing content repositories for shating with no core business objective in mind.

Focus on measurable initatives that impact the direction and growth of your business. These all don't need to be the most complex or expensive initiatives either. Many of the most impactful initiatives can be quite simple as long as impacting some aspect that advances a core goal of the business; identifies new customers, closes sales faster or delivers higher quality product.

In Investing Banking or other engagement-related businesses, think about what impacts the Deal Life Cycle; what processes and content areneeded at each stage of the Deal Life Cycle.

The Deal Life Cycle can be categorized into 3 main buckets:

A. Relationship Development
Relationship Development activities involve helping to develop new client relationships or extend existing relationships. Ways to facilitate development include tools and content to enhance prospecting, knowing who else in your organization has previously or is still currently working with a prospect, learning "who knows who" at your prospect - which can include employees or board members of existing clients, implementing ways to communicate more real-time with customers using Web 2.0, etc.

B. Selling
Selling activities involve senior bankers or practice managers crafting solutions to met the needs of their clients. Selling can be facilitated by assisting with product and solution selection, sharing of thought leadership content and best practices from prior engagements, facilitating innovation, helping identify cross-sell and up-sell opportunities, etc.

C. DeliveryDelivery activities involve producing the work product to close the sale or deliver the final solution. Delivery can be facilitated making its production more efficient, improving its quality or speeding up the time to market. Activities to facilitate delivery might include offering access to re-usable content such as credentials and qualifications, slide libraries, offering tools to collaborate with other team members more efficiently, providing ways to connect with others in the company who may have worked on similar solutions before, etc.