Raise the “Enterprise IQ” of your organization
- Posted on March 24, 2022
- Estimated reading time 4 minutes
For many organizations, successfully enabling how employees locate the right information when they need it is an often-untracked time loss for overall productivity. Studies show that the average knowledge worker spends 36% of their day looking for information required to do their jobs. The unfortunate truth is that 56% of them never even find what they’re looking for in the end. This unintended consequence of not having an effective knowledge management strategy can trigger employee frustration, lower job satisfaction, defections and lost revenue.
With such massive amounts of knowledge trapped on both thousands of laptops across the company and inside employee’s heads, the question many organizations are now asking is: “How can we collect and leverage proprietary information for greater competitive market advantage?” Spoiler alert: it’s not easy!
To answer this question, Bain & Company’s leadership embarked on a digitally fueled journey to rethink the way assets, expertise and intellectual property were to be used by their consultants in the future. The answer was an ambitious roadmap to develop a new knowledge management service for employees that didn’t just tag documents alone but could also collect and manage valuable expertise and business insights at scale. Key to the vision was even anticipating what consultants would need before they would even have to ask – true dynamic personalization – along with the ability for the system to get smarter as consultants used it more.
Bain knew that the way it supported its clients had evolved, yet the knowledge platform to support those changing needs needed to catch up. Employees were not always trusting that the information in the legacy system was accurate or current, further eroding its value. The organization wanted a faster, scalable, secure platform that could also support a wider network of partners and third-party experts who collectively work with their clients around the world.
Enter, Avanade. Bain partnered with Avanade to bring the organization’s bold knowledge management vision to life, rolling out Phase 1 of the new system in just under nine months. Our Advisory team expanded on Bain’s vision through a series of planning and feature definition workshops involving key stakeholders that heavily leverage the platform. This initial strategic engagement culminated in both a vision prototype to gain consensus around and a clear architectural roadmap to realize that vision within an aggressive timeline. Microsoft Azure gave the new platform robust security and scale. Avanade’s user experience design team delivered a modern, sleek user interface that makes it seamless to both find information, save it, customize it, and collaborate around it with colleagues.
With the newly branded “Iris” platform now in use, Bain employees say they are now more productive, reporting a 60% increase in satisfaction with the new platform and increased trust that they can reliably find what they need. Bain is now well-positioned to help clients seize new opportunities and overcome market challenges in a time of incredible churn and change through a single, high-performance interface.
From my perspective, four best practices stand out with this digital transformation:
- Lean into change, especially now. Our lead client, Angela Varner, vp of knowledge management, went into an agile engagement model with Avanade, prioritizing and reprioritizing as needed over the first phases. Both the commitment and the funding to do the right things were not obstacles to success.
- User input is critical. Before Bain engaged with Avanade, our clients conducted hundreds of interviews with users across the workflow spectrum to understand the “day in the life” challenges for employees. We were able to build upon this initial research by bringing together our own thought leaders, designers and developers to refine the future vision so that it could be implemented with end-users in mind.
- Flexibility, scalability, and security is non-negotiable. Bain embraced digital technologies like Microsoft Azure, Microsoft Teams and best-in-class third-party integrated platforms that could scale and evolve with their needs. Bain also relies on Avanade to manage the cloud-based platform so Bain’s leaders can focus more of their time on identifying future capability versus managing the platform itself. In parallel, an agile team continues to work the backlog of requirements and expand on the success of the initial release.
- A knowledge transformation journey is never really finished. Evolving business taxonomies and ontologies, AI-based recommendation, dynamic content assembly, and expanded expertise search, remain to release this year. Feedback from the user base continues to come in and make suggestions. New technologies on the horizon promise ever greater functionality (Metaverse anyone?). A true business transformation journey is something that requires imagination, commitment, delivery excellence and … courage.
There’s an old saying that “Knowledge is power”. The spirit of that statement was intended for the individual. But when a platform exists to combine the knowledge and expertise of everyone at the company, you can raise the level of all the boats and truly differentiate yourself in the marketplace. If technology at work can extract knowledge easily, synthesize meaning from it and readily share it with others at scale, the collective IQ of the company can significantly leap to new heights and new business potential.