Knowledge Management: The Holy Grail for Today's Economy - An Oracle White Paper October 2011

An Oracle White Paper
October 2011

Knowledge Management:
The Holy Grail for Today’s Economy
Knowledge Management: The Holy Grail for Today’s Economy


Current trends, including increased budgetary pressure and the explosion in social media,
have prompted many of the world’s top brands to place renewed focus on their knowledge
management initiatives. This white paper outlines how a well-executed knowledge
management initiative can help organizations disseminate critical information across a
multitude of channels as well as support customers in finding rapid, accurate answers to the
questions they have. In supporting these two imperatives, knowledge management initiatives
help organizations meet some of their most critical objectives, including the goals of boosting
customer retention and managing costs.

Knowledge Management: The Holy Grail for Today’s Economy

Knowledge Management in a Multiple-Channel World
With all the channels and means for customers to get information, one might think that a centralized
knowledge management strategy isn’t important anymore. In fact, it’s the exact opposite: knowledge
management is more important than ever. The multitude of channels—ranging from call centers, voice
response units (VRUs), e-mail, retail stores, and company Websites to social networks such as Twitter
and Facebook—has exponentially increased the chances for inconsistent and just plain wrong
information to be everywhere.
Think about the vast array of technology in play: content management systems and knowledgebases are
used in the contact center, the Website has a FAQ engine, the e-mail response system manages its
automated responses, and social forums maintain their own databases. The trouble lies in disseminating
content to all these different applications and databases. They are being modified by different people
with different skill sets and, when you add in global distribution and multiple languages, it gets even
more complicated. Even if you could make the changes to these different engines in a matter of days,
how consistent and accurate would the answers be when you’re done?
This is why knowledge management has become mission-critical. Organizations need to be able to
quickly create, maintain, and update content across all channels so that customers can rely on the
accuracy of the information and know that it will be consistent—regardless of the channel they are
using to access it.

Consistent, Accurate Knowledge Management
So how can you make sure that customers are finding accurate and consistent information, regardless
of the channel they use? This is really a two-part question. First, how can you rapidly disseminate
information across multiple channels? Second, how can you help your customers find and consume
this content?

Disseminating Knowledge Across Channels
The answer to quickly and easily sharing content is to use a knowledge platform, which is purpose-built
to make the business of disseminating content across channels a rapid one-step process. Rather than
requiring each channel’s underlying technology to be manually updated, a single update from the
knowledge platform can push the most-relevant content to every channel and customer-facing process,
when and where it is needed.
Think about how this capability can help you improve the quality of your service—and give you a
competitive edge. For example, say your company wants to offer a 50 percent discount to consumers
who switch to your service from a competitor. This offer must be communicated and supported by
every customer channel, including the contact center, retail locations, Website, VRU, Facebook page,
and even your field service technicians. With a knowledge management platform, you can create this
content in a single place and propagate it to all the channels. When a service agent logs into the
customer relationship management (CRM) application, the knowledge is already in place and integrated
into the desktop application. When customers log onto your Website, visit a retail location, or stop by a

Knowledge Management: The Holy Grail for Today’s Economy

kiosk fed by the knowledge management repository, your special offer becomes an integral part of their
experience. With just one source of knowledge, the offer is not only delivered in a unified, consistent,
and accurate manner at each point of contact but can also be implemented far faster than if you had to
wait for every channel to be updated individually.

High-Value Customer Experience
With a knowledge platform, you can deliver information far more efficiently and effectively, which
means that you are providing a much more satisfying customer experience, right? Well, yes—and no.
Certainly, increasing consistency and accuracy and disseminating crucial information right away to meet
customer demands is going to improve the experience. But now the problem of helping customers find
what they are looking for arises. Too often companies rely on enterprise search engines or content
management systems that offer only keyword search. Customers find themselves caught in endless
search loops, sifting through page after page of results, and giving up and making a phone call to your
contact center or asking their friends for help. Even worse, they may turn to a competitor and bad-
mouth your business in various social channels. As Harris Interactive reported in its “Customer
Experience Impact Report” in April 2009, 86 percent of customers will stop doing business with an
organization after just one bad experience and 82 percent of them will tell their friends about it.
As Harris Interactive reports, 86 percent of customers will stop doing business with an organization after just one bad
experience and 82 percent of them will tell their friends about it.

The answer is not to present more results. Instead, help customers avoid content clutter by providing a
specific and relevant answer. This requires understanding the intent of each inquiry—a capability that
is not available with enterprise search or content management. Knowledge management solutions that
offer intent-based search capabilities leverage natural language processing, business rules, behavioral
analytics, ontologies, and the context of the inquiry to discover the user’s true intent and deliver the
most relevant answer. For example, here’s what happens when self-service customers ask how to
complete an online transfer between their checking accounts and their individual retirement accounts
(IRAs). Instead of searching all repositories and producing a massive results list, knowledge
management directs the search to the most relevant knowledge source, such as the page on the support
site that explains how to complete transfers or a microsite for IRAs. This eliminates the presentation of
irrelevant documents that just happen to contain the terms checking account, IRA, or transfer—all of
which could produce hundreds of results.

Killing Two Birds with One Stone
Advanced knowledge management combines this intent discovery with directed knowledge that
enriches the experience, by both better defining the inquiry and providing a more accurate response.
For example, a wizard can guide a customer through the process of picking just the right product. The
customers discussed above may be offered not just the most relevant funds-transfer procedure but also
a rich environment of related knowledge, including links to appropriate FAQs, a tricks-and-tips online
forum, or even a special offer or promotion related to the inquiry.

Knowledge Management: The Holy Grail for Today’s Economy

Why is there a new heightened focus on knowledge strategies? The current economic climate has
forced businesses to be exceedingly vigilant about the cost of service while figuring out new strategies
for increasing customer spending and retention.
Top brands today are implementing knowledge strategies to ensure that the information distributed
across their global businesses is consistent and accurate. These same strategies bring new offers and
products to market faster, quickly deliver troubleshooting solutions that prevent costly contact center
inquiries, help customers find answers as rapidly as possible, and surround answers with information
and opportunities that deliver more value every time a customer touches your company. The fact of
the matter is that in this world of channel explosion, social exposure, and the need for fiscal
responsibility, few things are more relevant or appropriate than a well-implemented knowledge
management platform.

Knowledge Management:                Copyright © 2010, 2011, Oracle and/or its affiliates. All rights reserved. This document is provided for information purposes only and
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