According to Oxford English Dictionary, Knowledge is defined variously as (i) expertise, and skills acquired by a person through experience or education; the theoretical or practical understanding of a subject, (ii) what is known in a particular field or in total; facts and information or (iii) awareness or familiarity gained by experience of a fact or situation.
What is Knowledge Management?
Dozens or even hundreds of documents are intended to provide people from different areas of business with the knowledge they need to compete. Yet, because the information generally arrives from many different sources, neither its content nor format is consistent. The result is a scarcity of knowledge in an abundance of information.
Knowledge Management comprises of a range of practices used by organizations to identify, create, represent, and distribute knowledge. Today, many large companies have resources dedicated to Knowledge Management, often as a part of ‘Information Technology’ or ‘Human Resource Management’ departments. Content Management and e-business are inseparable. E-business infrastructures and applications must be content centric to compete.
What is Knowledge Article in SAP CRM?
Knowledge Article provides the means for the computerized collection, organization, and retrieval of knowledge. It can store a wide variety of information such as:
Due to its multiple usages Knowledge Article component in SAP CRM can be used with sales, marketing, and service processes in the interaction center (IC) and CRM service management such as Service Order, Complaints, Incident Management, Problem Management and Request for Change.
Some of its features include:
- Faster access to specific information via categorization and full text search.
- Easy integration to other CRM objects e.g. customers, products, installed bases, campaigns, opportunities, incidents and… more.
- Multilingual and multiple text authoring.
- Attachment capability and special authorization scopes.
- Open interfaces for import and export from and to existing knowledge bases.
- Automatic update/creation of knowledge base index when a knowledge article is saved.
- Creation of knowledge articles in multiple languages
- Ability of IC Agents to search for knowledge articles so as to email them as attachments to the customers
- Provision of knowledge article templates with prefilled details to create knowledge articles from it, without wasting time.
How is Knowledge Article in SAP CRM implemented?
A knowledge base is a special kind of database for knowledge management. It provides the means for the computerized collection, organization, and retrieval of knowledge. With CRM 7.0, SAP has implemented knowledge base that would allow representatives to look for knowledge articles in the knowledge base. It would allow representatives to search for articles either by defining specific attribute search or by free text search using an information retrieval system (search engine).
The search engine Text Retrieval and Information Extraction Engine (TREX) which is based on the Client/Server Architecture uses multiple method searches such as exact text, linguistic, wild card, phrase and fuzzy search methods for searching knowledge located across enterprise. As a result the user can use either text or attribute search to search for similar Knowledge Articles or a particular one.
As the size of the knowledge base increases due to the addition of new knowledge articles, the time taken to retrieve a desired article also increases. This is where indexes are used to reduce the retrieval time. An index is a data structure that improves the speed of operations. Indices can be created using one or more key attributes such as status, priority, customer, keywords etc. thereby, providing the basis for efficient ordering of access to records. For knowledge articles to be returned in searches, they must be compiled. The knowledge base index should therefore be updated regularly when new records are created, or existing records are changed. This enables TREX to find the relevant documents in a search.
The Power User/ Administrator would have the access to compile the Knowledge Base Index for faster retrieval of records. The compilation of knowledge base which is currently offered is divided into the following options:
- Full Compilation: Compiles all documents. This option is recommended initially and if the index is corrupted.
- Delta Compilation: Compiles all new and changed documents since the last compilation and removes deleted documents from the index. It is also provided as a batch job.
- Deletion: Delete an Index from the search engine
- Start Background Job: Schedule Delta compilations as background jobs at regular intervals
- Stop Background Job: Any queued or in-process compilation tasks can be cancelled.
In addition, the administrator would be able to view the log for the particular Index of the Knowledge Base by clicking on the corresponding Knowledge Base Index link. Compilation log is useful for an administrator because it would provide the user with different details such as errors, number of documents, inform as it would provide information regarding full compilation, delta compilation, current schedule, Index details etc.
This solution forms an important part of Customer Service and Support segment in our service management portfolio.
Where can it be implemented?
A common belief is that the Knowledge Management is primarily used for Service sector to help find a potential solution of a perspective problem, for instance: Reason for a Blue Screen error. However it can be extended for marketing and sales too. Marketing activities focuses on managing strategic partnerships and positioning the organization in a competitive market and with the aim of delivering superior values to its customers. Information regarding Market environmental factors such as market size, market share, brand loyalty, competitors, competitors, concentration of the industry, barriers to entry, market trends etc could also be maintained. With the rapid growth of sales automation, many corporations have rushed to deploy systems for distributing information and documents of all kinds to their sales people. As markets and products change with accelerating pace, sales people must assimilate and apply vast amounts of current information about their markets, their competition, and the solutions they can offer to customers.
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Benefits of Knowledge Management
- Increases customer satisfaction as its an added convenience for 24 hour support
- Reduces cost per interaction by empowering the customer to help themselves
- Provides consistent and accurate information for the customer.
- Improves operational efficiency by removing agents from interactions that can be resolved using self service
- Reduces the total cost of ownership
- Greater transparency of information
- Maximize the usage of intellectual assets