Know where your organisations knowledge is stored with Viva Topics

Know where your organisations knowledge is stored with Viva Topics

  • 10 August,2021

Starting a knowledge management journey can be frustrating with so many methods in place, but which one suits your organisation’s needs? Microsoft Viva Topics helps sort the wood from the trees by starting in one specific area of your organisation, focusing on key stakeholders or building a business case for the value of a large-scale program of work. Viva Topics enables you to decide where you want to start and within this blogpost, we will dive into where your knowledge is stored and consider the different areas and you’re your information can be held. This will help you to understand how you can make better use of that information to bolster a thriving and knowledgeable culture.

So where would you find knowledge in your own organisation? You are probably thinking of formal locations such as your Intranet, support guides, wikis and formal documentation. You may also be thinking of less structured areas such as your departmental shared drives or your SharePoint Team Sites for collaboration. But what about all those conversations people have in Teams and in email, chats that take place in meetings and all that incredible experience stuck in people’s heads? There will be times where you have read a formal document but still reach out to the author or even others within your organisation to get more of an understanding on the topic. Even with the best Knowledge Management programs, there will still be huge swathes of knowledge still be stuck in people’s heads. So what can you do to change this?

Types of knowledge

      • Knowledge can be broken down into two key areas:
      • Explicit knowledge – knowledge captured for the purpose of holding knowledge
      • Structured content – e.g. Record management systems
      • Unstructured content – e.g. File shares, wikis, meeting minutes
      • Tacit knowledge – knowledge held informally that can be hard to share with others
      • Discussion forums
      • Enterprise social media
      • Emails

A third area sometimes cited is implicit knowledge which is the knowledge that is primarily in people’s heads. If you think back to when you joined a new organisation or a new team, then there is always that time where you pick people’s brains about what to do and how to do things. If you are lucky, then there is a page or document that lists things out but there is always that implicit knowledge not written down, even if it is as simple as the best time to beat the crowds for the coffee shop.

You can think of these three areas as a scale with explicit knowledge in structured areas being the hardest to capture and maintain, but the easiest to search and navigate, and implicit knowledge being the hardest to find but easiest to capture.

Do you know where is your knowledge is stored and the types of knowledge you have?

 

The first step to get your knowledge into a usable state is to build a knowledge map which helps you to capture the areas of knowledge at that point in time. It is important to realise that it will be an iterative process as you start to think about the knowledge, discover locations for that knowledge and then realise other areas of knowledge. If you are looking for more assets on knowledge maps then APQC (American Productivity & Quality Center) have lots of tools available.

Where might your knowledge be:

  1. Explicit sources e.g.
    • Formal areas of SharePoint including policy locations and process guides.
    • Other formal record management systems you have in place.
    • Existing knowledge systems in a tool such as ServiceNow
  2. Tacit sources e.g.
    • Wider SharePoint content (including documents, pages and lists)
    • File shares and other content stores.
    • Wikis and other internal websites or apps that may store useful knowledge.

Implicit knowledge is harder to identify technically but could involve identifying the teams or even individuals who would have the appropriate knowledge and could be approached to capture that knowledge into more formal systems if it isn’t already. They may even be able to identify unstructured content that they already have in place that could be used.

Once you have these top-level areas, you can then take the next step in trying to look at common threads that could surface useful content within them. For example, Twitter could be considered a useful area of knowledge, but the useful content is drowned out by the volume of content there. In that case, it could be that specific hashtags or even certain individuals could be identified that are more related to the knowledge that you need. The same logic could be applied to file shares with either certain folders identified as usual or the reverse of identifying specific areas that should be excluded such as log files or pst files. Focusing on useful areas will lead to greater results, even if they are prioritised rather than removed entirely.

Where does Viva Topics fit into this process?

For a successful roll-out of Viva Topics, it is key to identify where your knowledge is. While the focus currently is on SharePoint content, Viva Topics will be able to consume other platforms as well, either through standard connectors for services such as ServiceNow, but also through the ability to build custom connectors for your own systems. Knowing where your knowledge is, what can be consumed now and what will need to be processed, is key to getting the adoption needed from your Viva Topics system. If all the core knowledge is elsewhere, you need a plan in place to get the right knowledge to the right people.

The capabilities of Viva Topics to automatically identify your knowledge once the foundations are in place mean that this initial investment in your time can pay off hugely further down the line. Setting a solid base to build out your systems mean that it will not only be effective from the start but also allow future knowledge to be added with less effort and become a core part of your organisation’s services to boost the employee experience.

For more information on Microsoft Viva Topics and how CPS can support you on this journey, contact us today – hello@cps.co.uk