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  • Five Trends of Knowledge Management

Five Trends of Knowledge Management

Many issues affect knowledge management. The five most important are big data, cybersecurity, mobility, social analytics, and customer engagement.

The availability of big data has opened many options for understanding everything from customer preferences to medical outcomes.

Amidst all that data, concerns about security have grown, so cybersecurity is taking on new importance. Mobility has become pervasive and affects nearly every element in KM, while social analytics is providing insights at a personal level that were never possible before.

Finally, although those four factors feed into many KM objectives, enhancing customer engagement has taken a place at the top of the priority list for virtually every company and is likely to remain there for some time.

Big data

The most dramatic trend impacting knowledge management is harvesting and analyzing big data. An esoteric phenomenon just a few years ago with a new set of technologies and terminology, big data is now wrapped into the strategic plans of many organizations, and not just the big ones.

There are few applications to help with this challenge.

One of them is Hadoop. It can help to integrate complex sets of data to make business decisions and marketing efforts.

Actian Analytics Platform is a big data analytics solution that is accessible and affordable for small businesses, but also scalable to large ones. It can be used to target right customers. It can also be used to generate an economic case for potential buyers.

For example, Yahoo uses Actian to segment millions of users across 10,000 variables, looking for clues that will help predict customer behavior. Amazon uses Actian to provide the core technology components for its cloud-based data warehouse.

The technology can pull together diverse data in near real time as it flows through the data pipeline, marketing, customer engagement, risk assessment and many other applications. At both ends of the spectrum, from startups to large-scale users, big data is the central force in converting large amounts of data to decision-supporting information.


With so much information at large, unauthorized access to it has the potential to be destructive. Knowledge management is focused on information. What makes KM so important is that people can get information and analyze it better. In the past, it was hard to find out who was buying products and how they felt about them. Now an enormous amount of information is available, which has benefits. The information can be stolen and used financial gain.

The cybersecurity market is expected to increase from $95.6 billion in 2014 to $155.7 billion by 2019, resulting in a 10.3% per year increase during that time period. This amount includes network, endpoint, application, content and wireless security as well as many other types of technology. Innovative products are emerging in response to increased threats.

The volume of data, including an entire new collection from the Internet of Things, the challenges of mobile devices, greater use of the cloud for data storage and the broad impact of consumer concern are all sparking the growth.

Cybercrime comes in many forms, from stealing credit card numbers out of a merchant’s database to identity theft of consumers. A common strategy is for a cyberthief to obtain some publicly available information about an individual and use it to open an account or figure out a password that provides them access to an account. Users need to be vigilant about changing their passwords and making them strong. Technological safeguards can be put into place, but security depends a great deal on the human effort.

Mobile devices add another element of risk. They are much easier to lose or to steal, and often contain sensitive information such as bank passwords. Technological advances such as the ability to remotely disable a phone will continue to emerge to protect users from the impact of cybertheft. However, the result of users being careless with physical security, such as leaving a laptop in an unlocked car, remains a threat.

Companies can mitigate the impact on their customers by limiting the responsibility of users in the event of fraud or identity theft. Industries are growing up around providing insurance for such scenarios, either to the merchant or the customer.


Although mobility brings hazards, it has brought even more advantages, and it will continue to drive the pervasiveness of knowledge management. Increasingly, knowledge management solutions, including content management, process management and analytics, have mobile versions of the solution. No longer a miniaturized version of the desktop browser, mobile apps are delivering usable KM applications.

Mobility is also forging new paths. For example, Apple Pay allows use of the smartphone as a wallet.

One mistake merchants make in designing mobile apps is to try to duplicate a physical purchase experience on a mobile device. Merchants should not necessarily automate an existing process, but instead should look at the experience holistically. Mobile experiences have to be simpler and as good as, if not better than, the non-mobile experience in order to gain loyalty from the customer.

Barriers remain in the use of mobile devices for enterprise applications, but the barriers also represent opportunities. In a study of U.S. and U.K. information technology decision makers conducted by Vanson Bourne, respondents reported that although more than 400 enterprise applications were typically deployed in each organization, only 22% of them could be easily accessed on mobile devices.

One reason for that is the diversity of enterprise applications. Some are custom, some are SaaS and some are off-the-shelf, and the technology for accessing each one is different. Therefore, development of mobile apps for such applications is needed, but organizations are hampered by the high cost. More efficient development techniques would be a big benefit.

The proliferation of mobile devices has also increased a number of other supporting sectors beside mobile application management (MAM), including mobile content management (MCM) and mobile device management (MDM). Each of them has a touchpoint to knowledge management and should be viewed in conjunction with an overall KM strategy.

Social analytics

Social analytics is a booming market which is expected to triple over the next five years to nearly $9 billion and showing a growth rate of nearly 25% per year. Initially based on simple counts of the number of times a brand was mentioned in social media, analytics has evolved to the point where it is using sophisticated algorithms that support the use of social data for targeted marketing and for initiating customer service.

Social analytics moved from hindsight to insight and now to foresight, with predictive capabilities. SAS social media solutions include integration and storage of social data, general text analytics and analysis of comments for sentiment, and a social conversation module that can work directly or integrate with third-party engagement solutions.

Real-time analysis allows marketing or brand campaigns to be synchronized with the topic threads that are emerging. Decision trees allow ‘what-if’ scenarios such as the impact of increasing the frequency of an ad, or combining customer segments. These analysis allows users to determine the relationships among various factors and to present visualizations of the relationships for better marketing decisions.

The value of social media analytics is also increased by combining it with data such as purchasing information from the data warehouse, to compare customers’ stated intentions with actual behavior. There is tremendous growth in analyzing social media information along with data from the Internet of Things which measures physical activity to build a profile not just of transactions but of tone and behavior along the customer journey.

Social media analytics should not be isolated. The information should be tightly connected to upstream data so different departments can use it to drive the customer experience.

Customer engagement

The driving force for all of the above is customer engagement - collecting and managing big data, keeping information secure, enabling mobility and analyzing social media inputs. The ultimate goal is to engage the customer, whether for marketing, customer support, participation in loyalty programs or some other outcome.

The key for customer engagement is omni-channel. Whether the interaction is initiated by the customer or the organization, customers want options in the delivery channels.

Customer engagement is not a static business area. The feedback obtained through social analytics and traditional business intelligence can be merged to explain both what customers are doing and why. That information can guide the delivery of marketing materials and help provide better customer service.

Galaxy Consulting has 17 years experience in knowledge management. We have lead knowledge management initiatives. Contact us for a free consultation.

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