Seminar: Knowledge deployment and accessibility – The Way Businesses Have Always Wanted
Date/Location: 23 June 2016, Moevenpick Hotel, Stuttgart Airport
The general belief today is that small, old-fashioned, sit-down seminars that bring customers together with software vendors are a thing of the past. Line of business managers, company execs, and consulting specialists are too busy to sacrifice a precious half-day to participate, aren't they?
We proved this thinking is off the mark with our seminar "Knowledge Deployment and Accessibility – The Way Businesses Have Always Wanted". The seminar, which included an introduction to the Theum Knowledge Management system and two customer case studies presented by the customers themselves, was fully booked and as a pleasant bonus distinguished by interested, engaged participants. There was no shortage of questions when the topic is on target, and some good laughing accompanied us through the afternoon.
Speakers and material
CEO Paul Caspers opened the seminar with an introduction to Theum's knowledge management concept. He placed a special focus on how Theum can be used to make unstructured corporate knowledge available in a way that dramatically reduces internal effort and makes the knowledge inside documents available to everyone in the business using an answer-oriented search. This paved the way for the first customer story from Bertelsmann AG, one of the world's largest mass media companies.
Silja Wegner, Senior Consultant at Bertelsmann SE & Co. KGaA, presented Bertelsmann's first deployment experiences with Theum as the vehicle for making International Financial Reporting Guidelines available throughout the enterprise. At Bertelsmann, the IFRG process spans multiple countries and processes, making it quite complex. The entire IFRS solution includes regulatory and compliance procedures, preparation and auditing of financial statements, controlling, and governance. Altogether, four authors maintain 800 pages of documentation authored in Microsoft Word. With Theum, this document content is now deployed as answer-oriented knowledge to 700 Bertelsmann users as well as local CPAs in each country. The information is also available in PDF and ePub formats for offline use. Due to the non-tech nature of the users, the solution had to be very easy to use and require no training. According to Ms Wegner, the implementation phase spanned four calendar months and has received consistently positive feedback—mostly based on the ability of users to immediately find the knowledge they need to get work done. The authoring team has in addition been able to eliminate its previous, expensive PDF document delivery process.
After a short pause, the customer-focused part of the seminar continued with Nadja Zahaf, a Bachelor's student in Industrial Engineering at the Munich University of Applied Sciences. As part of her program, Ms Zahaf has been studying Theum and its ability to completely change the way organizations make knowledge available to various end-user communities. To create a concrete basis for her analysis, she arranged with the Department of Industrial Engineering to use Theum to maintain and deliver its study programs. Altogether the project covered 84 different Bachelor's courses of study spanning 14 different faculties, with 18,000 students accessing the knowledge. It was important that the courses be searchable from many different angles depending on student need and not require searching through documents or delivering PDFs, especially as this was considered too cumbersome for students—who are predominantly tablet and smartphone users. Another requirement was that professors be able to continue maintaining their own course information in Microsoft Word the way they liked and without having to learn anything new. The solution, which was developed and deployed in only a few weeks, immediately eliminated a concrete effort of 30 days per year per course of study in document delivery effort. The complete course programs are now available online on every device and searchable for every context. Ms Zahaf pointed out she was able to create and deploy the solution herself, without the need for specialized technical skills.
Wrapping up the seminar, VP Richard Reed presented general information about knowledge management and how Theum makes it possible to tie together the unstructured knowledge stored in silos across and organization into a central point of access for the organization without having to integrate systems or force technological change. Theum's special answer-oriented features make the huge amount of resulting knowledge transparent to users, who simply receive answers for their needs—without ever having to search for, open, or scroll through document hits.
The seminar was given an average grade of 1.5 for organization and 1.8 for overall value. The participants indicated the following areas had the most relevance to their interests:
- Digital transformation / knowledge mobility
- Knowledge management strategy planning and solutions
- Knowledge management solutions that can be realized quickly
- The ability to make regional or department-specific knowledge available to the organization
- The need to bring document management systems up-to-speed with modern knowledge access requirements
Based on the seminar's engaged environment and overall participant feedback, we'd conclude in-person seminars like this one still do have value for everyone involved, even in today's fast-fast, web-oriented world!
We'd like to thank everyone who attended—not only for their time, but for contributing their thoughts, feedback, and energy, as these are the key elements of a successful 'knowledge exchange.'
We'd also like to extend special thanks to MS Wegner and Ms Zahaf, who not only invested considerable effort in putting together their presentations, but who also spent significant travel time with plane and train to share their experiences—and the afternoon—with us.