Imagine the following situation: You just started a new job in the marketing department of a Fortune 1000 company and it's time for you to get down to business and start cranking out results.
Your first priority is to build a strategy deck that will guide the next 12 months. Gathering historical data and insights is key to this project.
Some of this critical knowledge can be found in the organization’s databases, although most is spread across PowerPoint presentations, PDFs and Word documents stored in Box, Dropbox, SharePoint and OneDrive.
Finding any answers from this repository of unstructured data is like searching for a needle in a haystack.
Sifting through unfamiliar documents created by your predecessors, you realize that time is running thin to deliver your first assignment so you Google it—ignoring the richness of internal data for quick “Internet” answers.
While this sounds like a nightmare scenario, it happens daily inside most organizations.
The solutions that create and record information about our businesses have swiftly outpaced the technology available to organize, store, and find answers from the data.
Unstructured data is both the hardest to get to yet also the most valuable as time, money and insight was spent converting data into knowledge.
The good news: AI technology today can search that haystack of documents and find the answers you seek. Let's explore how AI does this.
I know it's there, somewhere…
You are tasked with the quarterly marketing report for your division.
You want to incorporate a matrix of your market share across different geographies and remember seeing it in a presentation delivered by another team.
You reach out to them; no one knows who created it, what the filename was, or where it's saved. It should be on the fileserver, somewhere. Your search retrieves 90 possible decks created in the past year alone.
Even if each presentation has only 20 slides, the chart you want is buried somewhere in one of those 1,800 slides. It will just be easier to recreate it than to try to find it.
With an AI-powered knowledge management system, you could have started the process by simply asking, “What is our market share across different geographies?”
Instantly, you are presented with a beautifully designed chart that was located on page 33 of a 100-page deck called Competitive Intelligence.
Even better, it also pulled up the original data. A quick update to the numbers provides a polished chart based on this new information and you're done.
Your time is can now be spent adding strategic insights to your report versus recreating assets.
It's probably been done before…
An RFP just came across your desk and, as usual, you have limited time to get the proposal out.
You immediately start reaching out to different specialists across the organization regarding questions many of them have answered before, just not for this RFP.
As you wait for responses, you start scanning past proposals, knowing many of the answers likely could be found in the extensive library of PDFs. The problem is that search will eat up most of the available response time.
Today’s AI technology is changing this guessing game. Instead of trying to figure out who may know or if it already exists, you just ask your AI-powered assistant the questions you are looking to answer.
Having read and remembered every piece of information across your organization’s Dropbox, OneDrive and SharePoint accounts, you instantly find a similar proposal created by the New York office.
Without AI, you would have never been able to take advantage of some of the brilliant answers your long-distance colleagues have already written. Everyone’s projects can continue without disruption when all of a company’s data is available with AI-enabled knowledge management.
I don’t know what I don’t know…
It's time to write a blog, newsletter or whitepaper and you want to include some relevant data to strengthen your message.
You scanned through your company’s archives of published content and do not see any titles that match your particular topic so you head to Google to see what you can find. Google lets you easily collect some additional key points from publicly available information to include in your content.
The process would be much easier if you could simply ask your AI assistant.
Instantly new information is uncovered that you had no idea existed. A video is delivered right at the 22:43-minute mark where your CEO addresses this exact topic. You find a pull quote from a newsletter created six months ago by a peer in a different office.
There is also a relevant statistic from the eMarketer subscription you forgot you had. Now you are able to strengthen your content with targeted information instantly delivered through AI.
Think of AI for knowledge management as an enterprise answer engine versus a document search tool. It preserves the sum of a company’s knowledge across a myriad of file types and quickly delivers precise answers, not a list of related documents.
All your brand’s memories, thoroughly read, remembered, and accessed in one place, a single gateway to your enterprise knowledge. Ubiquitous access and democratization of the data through one interface. Accumulated knowledge is not just saved it is built upon. These systems truly allow knowledge workers to use data to propel their company forward.
As we revisit the “nightmare scenario” above, imagine having the most knowledgeable person in the company—with years of accumulated wisdom—assisting as you build your strategy.
Best of all, this “person” is fully dedicated to helping you do your job better by continuously learning, uncovering past insights, and providing the right information when you need it. This no longer seems like much of a nightmare after all, does it? You make your deadline, drive growth in revenue, and live happily ever after.
It's all possible with AI.
Dan Mallin is the co-founder of Equals 3, where he and his team created Lucy, the AI-powered knowledge management platform.