Much like thought leadership, the idea of knowledge management is a concept that’s relatively new to a lot of A/E firms. While most multi-office firms have some type of intranet in place, usually it’s nothing more than a confusing collection of fileshares — a place to store often referenced documents and templates. Knowledge management could best be described as Intranet 2.0, and will increasingly have a profound impact on A/E firms’ public-facing websites.
Intranet 1.0 – Static, Clunky and Disorienting
A lot of firms struggle to simply communicate between offices and make service delivery consistent, let alone collaborate across disciplines and share knowledge wherever it resides. In most cases, traditional intranets do little to solve the problem — good adoption rates hover in the 10-20% range because the technology operates little like today’s social web. Instead of being a central place for people in the organization to go to connect and collaborate, it’s a confusing mess of text links, document libraries and file shares.
Intranet 2.0 – Social, Connected and Intuitive
With that in mind, forward-thinking firms are investing in social intranets like those pioneered by software company, Knowledge Architecture to connect experts across disciplines and offices, share knowledge and innovate new ideas, leverage expertise and combine information from otherwise disparate systems (CRM, project management and digital asset management). An intranet like this becomes a knowledge hub for the entire firm, often driving adoption rates through the roof (like 60-70%….and, potentially employee engagement rates with them). As more and more firms look to compete on knowledge, they’ll increasingly turn to products like Synthesis to build a meaningful, sustainable competitive advantage.
Knowledge Management and the A/E Firm Website of 2015
With the social intranet functioning as the center of the firm’s knowledge, the ability to seamlessly integrate the intranet with the firm’s public website will be a critical component of the site of 2015:
- Rather than using traditional intranet systems, more and more firms will adopt social intranets to share, collaborate and innovate.
- Social intranet platforms will become the backbone of a firm’s intellectual property and most marketable asset – its expertise and unique perspective.
- Intranets will be seamlessly connected to the public-facing site through the use of “push to publish” functionality like that in development by the folks at Knowledge Architecture.
- Knowledge will become the basis for thought leadership and will be assigned to an editorial calendar and an internal or external content producer via integration with editorial software like that pioneered by software company, Skyword. Content will be reviewed through the editorial cycle and published directly to a firm’s site — elegantly and seamlessly in the cloud.
- Knowledge management will be a critical part of leading firms’ content strategies.
- Replacing clutter and disconnect will be organization and integration.
Knowledge management is one of seven trends driving A/E firm website experiences. To access all seven, download our eBook, The A/E Firm Website of 2015.