Monday, March 28, 2016

Gamification for Content and Knowledge Management

To successfully manage content and knowledge in an organization it is very important to promote a culture among the organization's employees to collaborate working on documents, share and document knowledge, comply with document control and information governance procedures.

This gets difficult when employees are disengaged from this aspect of their jobs. A recent Gallup poll found that more than 70% of all U.S. workers are either actively or passively disengaged from their work. It is a particularly problematic situation for contact centers, where employee turnover is much higher than in most other industries. It is imperative to ensure that employees are properly engaged in their job so that content and knowledge management initiatives could succeed.

One way this can be done is by using gamification which is borrowing from video games the principles of virtual challenges, contests, and quests for the purpose of racking up points, advancing to higher levels, or earning rewards. Gamification can be used as a means to get employees more passionately involved in collaboration on working with documents, to document tacit knowledge, to follow document control and information governance procedures.

People get excited with possibilities for rewards, status, achievement, and competition. Gartner predicted that by 2016, more than 40% of the top companies would be using gamification to transform their business operations.

What Can be Gamified?

Companies can use gamification to reward incremental improvements in knowledge sharing such as documenting processes they work with, in content management such using a content management system to create, update, and approve documents, in document control such as using a CMS workflow to approve documents, etc.

Employees can be recognized for improvement in content and knowledge management procedures, for increasing their knowledge of these processes through training, for properly using social media or email channels as far as company information is concerned or for driving traffic to company knowledge bases or online portals.

Anything that can be measured in content and knowledge management can also be gamified. But you have to tell your employees what you want them to do and why.

In the contact center, for example, gamification can be applied to many things, from entering information in the knowledge base to logging and handling more phone calls, chats, or email. The most basic contests can involve reducing average call handling time and increasing first-call resolutions, updating knowledge base entries.

Gamification can be used as a long-term strategy or implemented for shorter duration when managers see a need for improvements. In the long term, gamification ensures that processes and workflows do not end up getting monotonous over time.

Set Clear Improvement Goals

One of the trickiest parts of an implementation could be determining the targets to be achieved. While setting goals might appear to be a good motivator, employees will react negatively to unrealistic goals. Ideally, a target goal should stretch employees to achieve a higher level of performance, but still be based in reality, using established industry best practices. The goal must be consistent for all employees and across all customer interactions and then it must be clearly communicated to all employees.

When managers notice a slip in one area, it is a good idea to implement contests to bring that number up again. Here, managers need to determine what percentage improvement is needed to close the gap between the current level and the benchmark.

Other special contests can be held monthly, quarterly, or yearly as needed or desired. You can implement any contest quickly, and you can easily change your reward one week to the next.

However, contests can lose their motivational power over time without personalization, transparency, and immediate feedback.

You can use recognition and virtual rewards, for example you can put achievers' names on top of a leader-board as well as financial incentives such as gift cards. Other common rewards include posting an employee of the month photo on a board in the break room, online badges, titles or access to privileges like special parking spots or free lunches.

You reward people for what they are doing and make it clear what they need to do next to advance in the game.

For gamification to be an effective motivator, companies need to make all of the results public so team members can see where they stand compared to their colleagues. It also adds transparency and trust.

There are few technology solutions for gamification. Most gamification solutions offer a leader-board feature. These tools provide robust analytics and expert reports that can provide insight into what motivates employees and to which challenges they respond the best.

Freshdesk Arcade, for example, enables companies to display a leader-board of top performers in specific categories. Bunchball's Nitro solution also offers custom leader-boards that can be displayed publicly on dedicated monitors or TV screens. Or, with a single click on the user console, users can see their current point totals, how many points they need to reach the next level, and the rewards toward which they are working.

Badgeville has a platform for Behavior Platform, a suite of products that includes Game Mechanics for creating gamelike activities, Reputation Mechanics for promoting status in an online community, and Social Mechanics for using social networking techniques.

Recent product enhancements for LevelEleven's flagship gamification platform, Compete, include real-time feedback, an updated user interface, newly designed leader-boards, and real-time breaking news bursts for LeaderTV. The company also recently announced a mobile application and strategic integration with several top cloud-computing providers. Web portals with real-time dashboards cost nothing to install and operate and can be just as effective.

With most solutions now available in the cloud, the gamification applications can be very affordable, on-boarding can be accomplished more quickly, and ROI can be realized in much less time.

Products from Bunchball, Badgeville, FreshDesk, and other vendors are software-as-a-service platforms rather than individual applications. As such, they can be easily customized to fit the individual needs of each company and enable the businesses to track behavior and activities across their Web and mobile properties. This also comes in handy, since every deployment will likely have different audiences and goals.

Gamification can really help to achieve positive results in content and knowledge management initiatives. Galaxy Consulting is on the top of developments in this relatively new field.

Sunday, March 13, 2016

What is Ontology?

Ontology is a formal naming and definition of the types, properties, and interrelationships of the entities that exist in a particular domain of information. Ontologies are created to limit complexity and to organize information. Ontologies are considered one of the pillars of the Semantic Web.

The term ontology has its origin in philosophy and has been applied in many different ways. The word element onto- comes from the Greek "being", "that which is". The meaning within information management is a model for describing information that consists of a set of types, properties, and relationship types. Ontologies share many structural similarities, regardless of the language in which they are expressed. Most ontologies describe individuals (instances), classes (concepts), attributes, and relations.

The most common ontology visualization techniques are indented tree and graph.

Ontology Components

Common components of ontologies include:
  • Individuals: instances or objects (the basic or "ground level" objects).
  • Classes: sets, collections, concepts, classes in programming, types of objects, or kinds of things.
  • Attributes: aspects, properties, features, characteristics, or parameters that objects and classes can have.
  • Relations: ways in which classes and individuals can be related to one another.
  • Function terms: complex structures formed from certain relations that can be used in place of an individual term in a statement.
  • Restrictions: formally stated descriptions of what must be true in order for some assertion to be accepted as input.
  • Rules: statements in the form of an if-then (antecedent-consequent) sentence that describe the logical inferences that can be drawn from an assertion in a particular form.
  • Axioms: assertions (including rules) in a logical form that together comprise the overall theory that the ontology describes in its domain of application.
  • Events: the changing of attributes or relations.
Ontologies are commonly encoded using ontology languages.

Ontology Types

Domain Ontology

A domain ontology (or domain-specific ontology) represents concepts which belong to a certain term. Particular meanings of terms applied to that domain are provided by domain ontology. For example, the word "card" has many different meanings. An ontology about the domain of "poker" would model the "playing card" meaning of the word.

Since domain ontologies represent concepts in very specific and often eclectic ways, they are often incompatible. As systems that rely on domain ontologies expand, the need comes to merge domain ontologies into a more general representation. Different ontologies in the same domain arise due to different languages, different intended usage of the ontologies, and different perceptions of the domain (based on cultural background, education, ideology, etc.).

Upper Ontology

An upper ontology (or foundation ontology) is a model of the common objects that are generally applicable across a wide range of domain ontologies. It usually employs a core glossary that contains the terms and associated object descriptions as they are used in various relevant domain sets.

There are several standardized upper ontologies available for use such as Dublin Core, for example.

Hybrid Ontology

Hybrid ontology is a combination of upper and domain ontology.

Ontology Languages

Ontology languages are formal languages used to construct ontologies. They allow the encoding of knowledge about specific domains and often include reasoning rules that support the processing of that knowledge. The most commonly used ontology languages are Web Ontology Language (OWL), Resource Description Framework (RDF), RDF Schema (RDFS), Ontology Inference Layer (OIL).

Ontology Editors

Ontology editors are applications designed to assist in the creation or manipulation of ontologies. They often express ontologies in one of many ontology languages. Some provide export to other ontology languages.

Among the most relevant criteria for choosing an ontology editor are the degree to which the editor abstracts from the actual ontology representation language used for persistence and the visual navigation possibilities within the knowledge model. Also important features are built-in inference engines and information extraction facilities, and the support of meta-ontologies such as OWL-S, Dublin Core, etc. Another important feature is the ability to import & export foreign knowledge representation languages for ontology matching. Ontologies are developed for a specific purpose and application.

Ontology Learning

Ontology learning is the automatic or semi-automatic creation of ontologies, including extracting a domain's terms from natural language text. As building ontologies manually is labor-intensive and time consuming process, there is a need to automate the process. Information extraction and text mining methods have been explored to automatically link ontologies to documents.

Galaxy Consulting has 16 years experience working with ontologies. Please contact us for a free consultation.