We welcome David Miller, our guest blogger this week. David Miller is an educational researcher who has several years of experience in the field of teaching, online testing and training. He is associated with prestigious universities and many leading educational research organizations. Currently, he is pursuing research in online knowledgebase software and is also a contributing author with ProProfs.
With big data, multimedia information, multichannel information, and the many other formats knowledge is coming in these days, tightly structured systems are no longer capable of handling all of an organization’s essential resources.
The management of unstructured data is one of the biggest current challenges for companies, and that challenge is only expected to get bigger: Gartner has predicted that over the next five years, there will be an 800% growth in enterprise data, and 80% of that data will be unstructured. In addition, a Coveo survey has revealed that 85% of customer service executives believe that their ability to manage unstructured content will affect their ability to serve their customers.
So, what is unstructured information and how can knowledge base software be used as a tool to manage it?
Unstructured information is traditionally defined as any information that doesn’t fit into a typical row-column database. Recently, however, that definition has been expanded to include information that isn’t organized in a pre-defined way. Unstructured information can come in a variety of formats, including documents, phone conversations with customers, social media interactions, and even online product reviews. Basically, unstructured information can be any type of content that is valuable to a company.
For organizations, the trick to handling the information that comes in from these various channels is to get it into a format where it can be used, in other words, to turn that unstructured information into knowledge insights. And there are ample knowledge insights to be found in unstructured information, such as detecting emerging trends and identifying changes in the industry landscape.
Knowledge base software can help businesses add structure and organization to what otherwise would be an overwhelming amount of unstructured information. Here are five features of knowledge base software that can assist in this process:
Centralized repository. Individually, each piece of unstructured information might not mean much. It’s only when you put them together that you can begin to gain insights into things like emerging trends. By housing all knowledge resources in a centralized repository, knowledge base software enables companies to gain a better look at the “big picture.”
Multimedia and multi-channel support. The resources housed in knowledge base software can be almost anything, including not only documents but videos, presentations, and so on. Information, for example, from social media channels can be easily transferred into one of these formats and stored within the system.
Powerful organization and search capabilities. One of the most effective ways to turn unstructured information into actionable knowledge is by making it structured. Using knowledge base software, resources of all types can be tagged, described, and organized, which allows them to become easily searchable.
Knowledge sharing across the entire organization. Unstructured information can come from anywhere—from customer service agents’ interactions with clients to industry conferences and training programs, to big data analytics. Regardless of the information’s source, knowledge base software allows it to be shared across an entire organization.
Collaboration and communication. In a business, unstructured information often comes from informal interaction, like employee collaborations and communications. Using knowledge base software to add a formal structure to information activities means that everyone in the organization can benefit from the information contained within them.
Knowledge management is one of the most important processes companies can put in place to improve their operations, from the customer service department all the way up to the C-suite. As unstructured information takes a more dominant role, the ability to efficiently manage and gain insights from that information will be what separates the firms that survive from the firms that don’t. Take some time to explore how a knowledge base software solution can help your organization better manage your unstructured information resources.