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Saturday, October 22, 2005

A four-step process - evaluating submissions to intranets

Here is a four-step process one company uses to measure whether a submission is worthy of posting:

1. Through the portal's automated workflow, knowledge submissions are first screened by a member of the KM team. The objectives of this screening are to ensure the submission is relevant to at least one critical business process or measure and to confirm adherence to the standard KM document format.

2. After this screening, the knowledge submission goes to the community of experts for that repository. The knowledge champion or any of the other subject-matter experts checks the submission for relevance to their particular repository. As a general rule, the question they ask before approving a submission is whether the submission has the potential to help one or more units improve performance on the business measure relevant to their repository.

3. Approved submissions are “published” on the portal. In some cases, the expert may send the submission back to the submitting employee with suggested changes. Even those submissions that cannot be published are close-looped by sending an explanatory response.

4. The system automatically generates a report showing submissions pending approval beyond seven days. This report is reviewed by the president and CEOs as part of regular business reviews.

Adapted from “Establishing KM processes” by Arun Hariharan in the current issue of KM Review.

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Creating need-to-have portals

So many portals are created with great fanfare, only to fall short of expectations when employees realize they don't need them to do their jobs. How can you make a portal work for your staff?

Here are three top tips from Alan Thompson of KBR Production Services - a business unit of the Energy and Chemicals Division of KBR, part of the Halliburton Company - on creating a need-to-have portal in an organization:

1. Create a fast and efficient portal: In recent times, the expectations of users have increased. Users now demand a speedy response, rather like an online shopping experience. That means the organizational processes and supporting systems need to integrate more readily, and must also be very intuitive and responsive.

2. Identify what users need: At KBR, great importance has been given to helping users make efficient use of collaboration portal technology, particularly in terms of what users would determine as information they need to have to carry out their daily business in an age of information overload. To identify these items of really useful information, allow the KM team to work with users to understand their work processes and in particular the interaction with each other.

3. Engage the global population: At KBR, it was fruitful to use KM program fact-finding activities to engage the global population. In seeking out what they thought would be useful to their community, the feeling of inclusion increased. This change in expectations on the part of users has also driven KBR from being a document-centric organization towards being a data-centric one.

Source: Adapted from “Creating need-to-have portals at Halliburton” by Alan Thompson in the current issue of KM Review.

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