Thursday, October 31, 2013

Information Governance With SharePoint

The goals of any enterprise content management (ECM) system are to connect an organization's knowledge workers, streamline its business processes, and manage and store its information.

Microsoft SharePoint has become the leading content management system in today's competitive business landscape as organizations look to foster information transparency and collaboration by providing efficient capture, storage, preservation, management, and delivery of content to end users.

A recent study by the Association for Information and Image Management (AIIM) found that 53% of organizations currently utilize SharePoint for ECM. SharePoint's growth can be attributed to its ease of use, incorporation of social collaboration features, as well as its distributed management approach, allowing for self-service. With the growing trends of social collaboration and enhancements found in the latest release of SharePoint 2013, Microsoft continues to facilitate collaboration among knowledge workers.

As SharePoint continues to evolve, it is essential to have a solution in place that would achieve the vision of efficiency and collaboration without compromising on security and compliance. The growing usage of SharePoint for ECM is not without risk. AIIM also estimated that 60% of organizations utilizing SharePoint for ECM have yet to incorporate it into their existing governance and compliance strategies. It is imperative that organizations establish effective information governance strategies to support secure collaboration.

There are two new nice features in SharePoint 2013 version that would help you with compliance issues. E-discovery center is a SharePoint site that allows to get more control of your data. It allows to identify, hold, search, and export documents needed for e-discovery. "In Place Hold" feature allows to preserve documents and put hold on them while users continue working on them. These features are available for both on-premises and in-cloud solutions.

2013 SharePoint has been integrated with Yammer which provides many social features. This presents new challenge with compliance. Yammer is planning to integrate more security in future releases. But for now, organizations need to create policies and procedures for these social features. Roles like "Community Manager", "Yambassadors", "Group Administrators" might be introduced.

There are 3rd party tools that could be used with SharePoint for compliance and information governance. They are: Metalogix and AvePoint for Governance and Compliance, CipherPoint and Stealth Software for Encryption and Security; ViewDo Labs and Good Data for Yammer analytics and compliance.

In order to most effectively utilize SharePoint for content management, there are several best practices that must be incorporated into information governance strategies as part of an effective risk management lifecycle. The goal of any comprehensive governance strategy is to mitigate risk, whether this entails downtime, compliance violation or data loss. In order to do so, an effective governance plan must be established that includes the following components:

Develop a plan. When developing your plan, it is necessary for organizations to understand the types of content SharePoint contains before establishing governance procedures. It is important to involve the appropriate business owners and gather any regulatory requirements. These requirements will help to drive information governance policies for content security, information architecture and lifecycle management.

When determining the best approach to implement and enforce content management and compliance initiatives, chief privacy officers, chief information security officers, compliance managers, records managers, SharePoint administrators, and company executives will all have to work together to establish the most appropriate processes for their organization as well as an action plan for how to execute these processes. During the planning phase, your organization should perform an assessment, set your organization's goals, and establish appropriate compliance and governance requirements based on the results of the assessment to meet the business objectives.

Implement your governance architecture. Once your organization has developed a good understanding of the various content that will be managed through SharePoint, it is time to implement the governance architecture. In this phase, it is important to plan for technical enforcement, monitoring and training for employees that address areas of risk or noncompliance. It is important to note that while SharePoint is known for its content management functionality, there are specific challenges that come with utilizing the platform as a content management system for which your governance architecture must account: content growth and security management.

In order to implement effective content management, organizations should address and plan to manage growth of sites, files, storage, and the overall volume of content. Organizations without a governance strategy often struggle with proliferation of content with no solutions to manage or dispose of it. This is a huge problem with file servers. Over time, file servers grow to the point where they become a bit like the file cabinet collecting dust in the corner of your office. It is easy to add in a new file, but you will not find it later when you need it. The challenge comes from the planning on how to organize and dispose of out-of-date content.

SharePoint offers the technology to address these challenges, but only if it is enabled as part of your governance plan. Information management policies can be used to automatically delete documents, or you may be using third-party solutions to archive documents, libraries and sites. By default in SharePoint 2013, Shredded Storage is enabled to reduce the overall storage of organizations that are utilizing versioning. Remote BLOB Storage (RBS) can also be enabled in SharePoint or through third-party tools to reduce SharePoint's storage burden on SQL Server.

Tagging and classification plays a key role in information governance. Proper classification can improve content findability. Organizations can utilize SharePoint's extensive document management and classification features, including Content Types and Managed Metadata to tag and classify content. Third-party tools that extend SharePoint's native capabilities can also filter for specified content when applying management policies for storage, deletion, archiving, or preservation. Ultimately, however, the people in your organization will play the biggest role here. As such, your plan should identify who the key data owners are and the areas for which they are responsible. This role is often filled by a "site librarian" or those responsible for risk management in the enterprise.

In order to minimize risk to the organization, it is imperative to ensure information is accessible to the people that should have it, and protected from the people that should not have access. SharePoint has very flexible system of permissions that can accommodate this issue.

Ongoing assessments. In order to ensure that established governance procedures continue to meet your business requirements ongoing assessment is required. Conduct ongoing testing of business solutions, monitoring of system response times, service availability and user activity, as well as assessments to ensure that you have complied with your guidelines and requirements for properly managing the content. The content is essentially your intellectual property, the lifeblood that sustains your organization.

React and revise as necessary. In order to continue to mitigate risk, respond to evolving requirements, and harden security and access controls, we must take information gathered in your ongoing assessments and use that to make more intelligent management decisions. Continue to assess and react and revise as necessary. With each change, continue to validate that your system meets necessary requirements.

The risk has never been higher, especially as more data is created along an growing regulatory compliance mandates requiring organizations to ensure that its content is properly managed.

If you develop a plan, implement a governance architecture that supports that plan, assess the architecture on an ongoing basis, and react and revise as necessary, your organization will have the support and agility necessary to truly use all of the content it possesses to improve business processes, innovation, and competitiveness while lowering total costs.

Monday, October 28, 2013

Meeting the Social Media Challenge

When social media volume is low, it is typically handled manually by one or more people in a company. These people are assigned to check Facebook and/or Twitter a couple of times a day and respond when appropriate.

As the volume of inquiries grows, it becomes expensive to respond manually to the posts and comments, and nearly impossible to do it on a timely basis. After a while, it becomes clear that automation is necessary to respond to the large number of social media comments in appropriate time frames.

During the next few years, organizations of all sizes will need to build a social media technology servicing framework to handle an increasing volume of inquiries, complaints, and comments. As social media is conceptually just another channel, it should be incorporated into the enterprise's overall servicing framework. However, the unique characteristics and demands of social media interactions require specialized solutions and processes, even though the responses should be consistent in all channels.

There are many applications to help organizations handle their social media servicing challenges, and new ones are constantly being introduced. However, currently, there is no single solution that addresses all necessary requirements. Enterprises that want a complete solution need to purchase several applications and integrate them. They should also merge these applications with their existing servicing infrastructure to ensure an excellent customer experience.

The underlying technical components required to build a social media servicing infrastructure are:
  • Tools for monitoring social media sites for brand and company mentions.
  • Data acquisition/capture tools to identify and gather relevant social media interactions for the company.
  • Data extraction tools that separate "noise" from interactions that require immediate or timely responses.
  • An engine for defining business rules that generates alerts, messages, pop-ups, alarms, and events.
  • Integration tools to facilitate application-to-application communication, typically using open protocols such as Web services. Prebuilt integration tools, along with published application programming interfaces, should be provided for contact center applications.
  • Storage to house and access large volumes of historical data, and an automated process to retain and purge both online and archived data. Additional capabilities may include the ability to access archived data via other media, such as a CD-ROM, and the ability to store and retrieve data in a corporate storage facility, such as a network-attached storage or storage area network.
  • Database software for managing large volumes of information.
  • Work flow tools to automate business processes by systematically passing information, documents, tasks, notifications, or alerts to another business process (or person) for additional or supplementary action, follow-up, or expertise.
The core administrative tools needed are:
  • User administration capability with prebuilt tools to facilitate system access, user set-up, user identification and rights (privileges), password administration, and security.
  • Alert management capability that allows thresholds to be set so that alarms, alerts, or notifications can be enabled when predefined levels or time frames are triggered when violations or achievements occur (examples include alerts to signal changes in topics, emerging issues, and sentiment).
  • Metrics management, including the ability to enter, create, and define key performance indicators (KPIs) and associated metrics.
  • System configuration with an integrated environment for managing application set-up, and parameters for contact routing, skill groups, business rules, etc.
The core servicing functionality includes:
  • Skills-based routing tools to deliver identified interactions to agents or other employees with the proficiency to address them.
  • The ability to queue and route transactions (calls, emails, chat/IM, and social media posts) to the appropriate agent, employee, or team.
  • Text analytics software that uses a combination of statistical or linguistic modeling methods to extract information from unstructured textual data.
  • Filtering tools that separate "noise" from social media customer interactions that require immediate or timely responses.
  • Topic categorization software that identifies themes and trends within social media interactions.
  • Root cause analysis, a problem-solving tool that enables users to strip away layers of symptoms to identify the underlying reasons for problems or issues.
  • Search and retrieval abilities that allow large volumes of data to be searched, based on user-defined queries, to retrieve specific instances.
  • Sentiment analysis capability that can identify positive or negative sentiment about a company, person, or product, and assign a numerical score based on linguistic and statistical analysis.
  • A social CRM servicing solution that logs and tracks received social media interactions so that agents or employees can view the post/comment, create a customized response, and issue or post it.
  • Response templates that comprise a library of customizable responses to common social media posts.
  • A social media publishing tool that enables users to publish posts to social media sites.
  • Reporting functionality in which reports can be set up based on collected data, metrics, or KPIs in a preferred presentation format (chart or graph); this should also include the ability to create custom reports based on ad hoc queries.
  • Scorecards/dashboards for all constituents in an organization - agents, supervisors, managers, other departments, and executives.
  • An analytics tool that conducts multidimensional analyses of social media data, used to look for trends and data relationships over time, identify emerging issues and root causes, etc.
  • Recording software to capture social media inputs and responses.
Organizations also need a number of management applications to ensure that their social media teams or departments are properly trained and staffed. These tools are:
  • Quality assurance functionality to measure the quality of social media comments and posts by agents, to ensure that they are adhering to the organization's guidelines.
  • Coaching and e-learning software to deliver appropriate training courses and best practice clips to agents and other employees involved in responding to social media interactions.
  • A workforce management solution to forecast the expected volume of social media interactions that will require agent/employee assistance, and to identify and create optimal schedules (this also tracks adherence to service levels for each inquiry type).
  • Surveying software to determine if customers/comments were satisfied with the company's responses.
  • Desktop analytics to provide an automated and systematic approach to monitor, capture, structure, analyze, report, and react to all agent/employee desktop activity and process workflows.
  • An analytics-oriented performance management module that creates scorecards and dashboards to help contact center and other managers measure performance against preset goals.
Social media is going to change the servicing landscape for many organizations within the next five to eight years. This is because the volume of social media comments and posts is expected to grow rapidly, comprising 50 percent of all service interactions. Companies that build a servicing strategy incorporating social media will have a major advantage over their competitors.

Companies do not need all of the solutions identified above, they need to select the ones that allow them to incorporate social media into their servicing strategy and infrastructure so that customers can interact with them in their preferred channel.

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Knowledge Management Adoption Through Gamification

One of the most important components of a successful knowledge management program is its ability to promote and support a culture of collaboration and knowledge sharing.

Tools, processes and organizational policies are important elements but they will only get you so far. Culture is the cornerstone that will determine the willingness of your employees to participate in knowledge management.

How do you influence employees in your organization to adopt productive behaviors around collaboration and knowledge sharing? The answer may be found in a new concept called gamification.

What is gamification? It is a new and rapidly evolving area, but the following description is a good starting point: gamification is the use of game elements and game design techniques in non-game contexts.

That definition of gamification contains three distinct elements:
  • Game elements - this is about leveraging the components, design patterns, and feedback mechanisms that you would typically find in video games, such as points, badges and leader-boards. It is sometimes referred to as the engineering side of gamification.
  • Game design techniques - this is the artistic, experimental side of gamification. It includes aesthetics, narrative, player journey, progression, surprise, and, of course, fun. Games are not just a collection of elements, they are a way of thinking about and approaching challenges like a games designer.
  • Non-game contexts - some common areas in which gamification has taken hold include health and wellness, education, sustainability, and collaboration and knowledge sharing in the enterprise.
There are three key types of knowledge management behavior:
  • connect: how people connect to the content and communities they need to do their job;
  • contribute: the level at which people are contributing their knowledge and the impact of those contributions on other people;
  • cultivate: the willingness to interact with and build upon the ideas and perspectives of other employees, to help nurture a spirit of collaboration.
The unique selling point of gamification is the potential to learn from games and to draw on what makes games so engaging and attractive and to apply those components in other contexts. What is behind this philosophy? While people can be drawn in to collaborate and share via extrinsic motivation, the more you can tap into their intrinsic motivations and help people realize the inherent benefits of collaboration, the more successful and sustained that engagement will be.

We can identify three ways to affect intrinsic motivation: mastery, autonomy, and purpose.


Getting really good at something, be it a skill, sport or mental discipline, has its own benefits. The goal of gamifying collaboration is to help people get good at it and, therefore, realize its inherent benefits. As participants progress through the "game", they gradually learn the skills to find expertise, build their network, and share their knowledge in a way that makes them more effective, and advances their careers.


Autonomy is about giving people the freedom to make meaningful choices. Instead of dictating a prescribed path, an autonomous approach allows them to set their own goals, choosing how they wish to collaborate, and ultimately providing a sense of ownership. The more individuals feel that they are in control, the better engaged they are going to be. Participants can share a document, write a blog, post a microblog or create a video. It is about giving participants choices, equipping them with the tools, and rewarding them for their knowledge sharing behaviors regardless of the specific mechanism they used.


While there are plenty of personal benefits to collaboration, people are more engaged when they feel socially connected to others as part of a larger purpose. As part of that wider organization, they can take pride in the fact that they are making a broader impact on their organization and collaboration is a key part of that experience.

The use of gamification assumes that you already have knowledge management program in place. Assuming gamification can magically transform absence of knowledge management program into something engaging is a common error. A well thought-out and sustainable approach to gamification offers significant potential to make collaboration fun and engaging.

Gamification Tips

Don't lose sight of your objectives

Start with your business objectives in terms of their outcomes and keep your eyes on those objectives and validate them as you design, develop and implement your knowledge management program.

Focus on behaviors, not activities

It is very easy to get caught up in focusing exclusively on activities and end up having people busy doing "stuff". Similar to objectives, keep a focus on the behaviors you want your people to adopt and identify activities that are indicators of those behaviors.

Data is king

You need to be able to capture, store and retrieve data. Without a way to quantify and measure it, you will be stuck in the first step.

Spread the recognition

Don't limit the number of people who can be recognized through your program. In addition, recognize people's efforts in a variety of meaningful ways. Some examples of recognition are:
  • e-cards with 100 recognition points (monetary value of $100);
  • thank-you notes from leadership;
  • shout-outs in internal corporate communications;
  • badges on employees' profile pages;
  • feedback during the employee's performance review process.
People will game the system

You will need to pay attention to people who want to "game" the system. Where possible, build in approaches to limit the ability of people to do so.

Start small and evolve

Gamifying collaboration is not just something you build at once. To arrive at a good and sustainable knowledge management program, you need to be iterative, creating rough versions and play-testing continuously.

No silver bullet exists

Gamification is not a silver bullet. All the available evidence suggests that it can be leveraged further to embed the collaborative behaviors that go to make up a meaningful culture of collaboration and knowledge sharing across any organization.