Congratulations! You have implemented a Knowledge management system with centralized knowledge, now what? Modern knowledge management systems can be accessed directly via a portal or web client. However, the higher value for many users is to expose knowledge inside their primary applications, increasing efficiency. While we are exploring a couple of types of knowledge integration here, you can imagine that there are many knowledge opportunities within your organization.
Siebel, Remedy, Oracle Service Cloud (RightNow), and other customer relationship management (CRM) systems are good examples of a primary Application for a significant population within most large organizations. Integrating your knowledge platform into your CRMs minimizes the need to swivel between applications and re-key, while allowing your agents to:
- Locate useful knowledge rapidly
- Educate customers on how they can self-resolve in the future
- Consistently track information used to resolve cases (case linking)
- Capture tacit knowledge
Case linking provides actionable analytics data to show which content has the highest use and who the superstar authors are. Statistically in a knowledge system very little content has significant reuse. Early identification of the valuable content allows managers to accurately focus review and content improvement efforts. For example, an article that has been used 1,000 times might warrant being flagged for the creation of a short how-to video snippet to further help call deflection.
Integrations with a CRM system can be incorporated as part of an initial knowledge management system build-out or as a standalone project. These types of integrations are extremely stable on an ongoing basis. Knowledge can be exposed inside CRM applications via iframes in existing pages, pop-ups or via the addition of new tabs. CRM integration is always a given high ROI.
The Rest of the Application World
Across organizations, I have seen array of different applications, monitoring tools and home-grown niche utilities. Rarely are any of these applications knowledge integrated.Imagine an application that monitors hundreds of cell phone towers. It constantly pings the towers to validate the battery back-up system, connectivity, and a host of environmental data such as temperature and even down to knowing if the entry door is open or closed.
Suddenly the application returns “Error Number 3567” – low voltage. The question then becomes what to do with the error. Because it is a common error, there is already a solution article and/or a standard operating procedures document in the central knowledge base system that outlines all of the resolution steps.
Ideally, one would hover their mouse over the error message, automatically creating a search call which would return the most current results. However, in reality, the agent must “swivel” between the cell phone application and the knowledge system. Swiveling between applications creates ongoing frustration, leading to the creation of cheat sheets which are quickly out-of-date. Due to regional regulations it is also possible that the operating procedures to resolve an issue in California are different from New York. It is possible to automatically pass the context variable in the search string to return the appropriate document.
Keep it Simple
While it is not realistic to build hard connectors between every application and the knowledge system there is a relatively simple solution. Assuming your application has the ability to consume some sort of service (SOAP, REST, etc.) – these calls can go through an integration platform such as Informatica, SOA, or MuleSoft. In the specific case of Oracle Knowledge, Infogain has built out a specialized set of services to accelerate the deployment of meaningful, easy to discover and utilize services on that integration platform.For example, your monitoring application just needs to send key information to the integration platform, parse the response, and display the returned information in a way that suits your UI. No intervention is needed by the knowledge management team, other than providing query access and clear documentation around how to enjoy the knowledge API. The final result is the ability for the agent/engineer to just hover over the error message and have it make an automatic call to retrieve the desire knowledge article. The cost of integrating an application is very low with an extremely high ROI.
Knowledge can be integrated with CRM applications via hard coded connectors providing a full array of options including case linking/unlinking and authoring ability.
Every application that has the ability to make service calls can be customized to return basic knowledge capabilities within the application with minimal effort.
We welcome your opinions and feedback on this Blog article:
- What are your experiences and challenges in regard to integrating knowledge with other applications?
By Randy Ross, Sr. Director, Knowledge Group