Creating a Central Hub of Knowledge for Employees

Case Study: SharePoint Knowledge Management System

Challenge:

A mission-driven consulting firm dedicated to creating large-scale social change was not satisfied with their current knowledge management system (KMS). They were using iMeet Central, a commercial off-the-shelf solution that initially met their needs; however, as the system has been updated, the firm found that it was no longer aligning with their requirements for a KMS. For this reason, the organization began looking for a KMS that could be a long-term solution to their need for a central hub of knowledge for their employees. To find a platform that would be a better fit, the firm performed an in-depth requirements analysis and decided that Microsoft SharePoint 2016 would be the best fit. Upon making this decision, the firm reached out to Aciron for assistance with developing their new KMS on SharePoint.

Approach:

Aciron began the initiative with an in-depth requirements gathering phase to determine the company’s specific needs for a KMS. Throughout this process of defining requirements, we drew from our extensive experience with SharePoint and developing custom knowledge management systems to make actionable recommendations for the client’s KMS.

Once we had established a solid roadmap for the project, Aciron’s consultants designed storyboards to visually demonstrate the anticipated look and feel of the system. We regularly reviewed these storyboards with the client and iterated on them based on the client’s feedback. Then, Aciron developed the application according to the defined strategy and thoroughly tested the system’s functionality and design. After our internal testing process, the system moved to user acceptance testing (UAT), where representative end users were able to test the user experience and provide feedback before the launch of the system. After implementing these final tweaks based on user input, we deployed the KMS to the client’s production environment.

Finally, to ensure that the KMS incorporated all of the client’s data from their previous system, Aciron migrated the organization’s data from iMeet to the new SharePoint KMS. Using an export of the content from iMeet Central, our team of technical consultants wrote code to associate metadata tags with each folder and document and imported this data into SharePoint. This migration process ensured that users would still have full access to the historical data in the new KMS.

Solution:

Aciron developed a custom SharePoint KMS that acts as a central repository for knowledge and allows the company to improve efficiency within their organization. The KMS consists of various sites and subsites including: client and project profiles, department sites, groups and committees, areas of expertise, and a learning center.

By creating a comprehensive and searchable database of the company’s past experience with specific clients and projects, users are able to quickly reference lessons learned and key insights from engagements. The focus on employees’ areas of expertise (including languages spoken, software skills, and tactical skills) also allows users to easily identify colleagues who have knowledge on a given topic, opening up additional avenues for learning and collaboration.

Throughout the KMS, department sites include discussion boards to facilitate team communication, as well as quick links for easy navigation to relevant resources. Users also receive email notifications and digest emails with daily updates of any subjects that they have subscribed to. The Business Development subsite incorporates advanced workflows for processing new and declined engagements and sending confirmation emails to all parties involved. This subsite provides employees with a common place to store information about engagements, eliminating redundancies and streamlining the knowledge sharing process.

Another core feature of the KMS is robust document management, which improves collaboration in the organization by allowing users to share, edit, and tag their documents for easy organization. The KMS also features extensive wikis that employees can contribute to and learn from, with topics ranging from onboarding and internal training to FAQs and document templates.

Since launching the new KMS, the organization has enjoyed a high rate of user adoption for the system, as well as an increase in efficiency, communication, and collaboration. Aciron continues to work with the client to provide ongoing support and updates to the system.

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