Cloudy with a chance of knowledge nuggets
“Have you ever felt like you were a little bit different? Like you had something unique to offer the world, if you could just get people to see it. Then you know exactly how it felt to be me.” ~ Flint Lockwood (from the film: Cloudy with a chance of meatballs)
Knowledge Management has come to mean different things to different people. Starting with a document management system to a social intranet, knowledge takes on various hues and shades depending on what organizations expect out of such a system. There is no single definition of Knowledge Management. However, what everyone does agree on is the fact that Knowledge Management is the process through which organizations generate value from intellectual and knowledge-based assets. With “social” acquiring a new dimension in the digital world, the ability to transform tacit knowledge, which usually exists in conversations, into explicit knowledge has increased the value that KM systems are able to deliver to enterprises.
This has been further enhanced by making such knowledge available on the cloud. Is knowledge on the cloud likely to be different? Different, that is, from what you might get served if you had it in your enterprise knowledge repository?
In common usage, the term “cloud” is essentially a metaphor for the internet. This has further popularized the phrase “in the cloud” to refer to software platforms and infrastructure, that are sold as a service, i.e. remotely through the internet. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cloud_computing)
What this essentially facilitates is the ability for end-users to simply log on to the network and start using an application without requiring them to install anything; it also enables device-independent access to the application. The core functionality will continue to remain the same. However, with a lot of preference being given to mobile-only users, we now have a new jargon to contend with – mobile-first design. Historically, most designs have started out with a web interface and then been down-sized for smaller viewports. However, with an increasing number of mobile-only users, there is a growing need to design interfaces with these users primarily in mind. This therefore calls for a progressive and responsive design – one that keeps the limited screen space and concomitant constraints in the forefront. It also means that the way the users interact with the application cannot change drastically from one device to another.
Irrespective of how the application is accessed the core functionality will essentially remain the same. The user interface design will however, give priority to those interactions with the application that happen primarily through a mobile device; the interface will need to be device agnostic, nevertheless. The features and functionalities which are more likely to be accessed from a desktop or laptop (read, larger viewport, lesser frequency, more analytical and less transactional) may or may not be available across all interface devices; some features – for example complex admin configurations, or large text manipulations are probably best left to devices with larger user interfaces, namely laptops or desktops.
What is significantly important, and cannot be compromised irrespective of the device is the actual value of content being delivered to the end user. A cloud-based deployment, because of its ubiquitous nature, lends itself well to fulfil this important criteria. It is therefore, more important to be able to deliver knowledge to the end user in an intuitive manner – one that will make knowledge itself omnipresent. When these knowledge nuggets manifest themselves to users in a manner that makes it easy to apply them in day-to-day work, it is only then that a KM system, irrespective of where or how they are available, will actually transform the way an organization works.
NEPHILA™ is uniquely positioned to access such knowledge nuggets from the corporate enterprise repository and deliver them to end users at the point of action. Where a large field force is involved, the ability to deliver this at their workplace – which is usually outdoors, provides the critical leverage for successful usage of enterprise knowledge.