Knowledge Management Cost Benchmarking

Learning about KM investment across industry peers

For many years, one of the most prominent global management consulting firms had invested in building a strong internal knowledge management (KM) capability, focused on enabling its partners and consultants to provide stronger and more efficient client service delivery, growth, and firm-wide success. The firm had augmented these investments in recent years with expanded staff (including placing client-facing consultants in formal knowledge roles), offshore support from a shared services center in India, and enhanced knowledge-sharing tools.


Because of the challenges of performing high-quality benchmarking, the project took the following approach:

  • The study participants included approximately 15 large, global professional services organizations, as long as they had a defined KM capability and program leader(s).
  • Data was collected through an online survey, completed by each participating firm’s head of KM (or another senior contact). Iknow also conducted a telephone interview of each firm after the survey.
  • Iknow committed that the attribution of raw data to individual firms remain in the possession of Iknow and not be shared with any other parties. Participating firms were offered a summary report from the study.
  • The majority of KM costs typically reside in personnel/staff, so one main focus was on capturing clean and normalized headcount/FTE data and staff location.
  • The data collected was also mapped against services delivered and key program activities. The analysis then compared KM costs by major activity.
  • Technology enablement costs were captured for major categories of KM platforms and reflected new versus ongoing investment.
  • The process ensured that all roles were captured, including those in business groups that may be part-time and not budgeted.

The project was structured in three workstreams.

  1. Preparation. Build and test the survey and data collection approach and secure the participation from peer firms.
  2. Data Collection. Gather data from participating firms through a survey and follow-up interview.
  3. Analysis, Reporting, and Wrap-up. Complete data analysis, deliver the full project report, and transition the sanitized model to the client.

The project’s deliverables included:

  • Collecting current and projected data on KM costs from each organization
  • Capturing the data, as best as possible, by type of spend (e.g., dedicated staff, technology cost, other program expenses), and by the type of services provided
  • Normalizing the raw data to account for differences in KM program scope and services, by organizational size and geography, and other relevant differences in firm strategy
  • Creating practical cost metrics, which can be used to compare relative spending across participating firms
  • Identifying key insights and good practices from other firms, which the consulting company may want to assess in more detail.

The consulting firm received valuable information about the levels of current and future investment in knowledge management across its industry peer group. The benchmarking findings provided insights about how the company might optimize its resource allocation decisions. 

    Project Summary No.

    Knowledge Management Strategy

    Helping the IMF leverage knowledge to promote monetary cooperation and sustainable economic growth

    The International Monetary Fund (IMF), an international organization headquartered in Washington, D.C. and composed of 189 member countries, works to foster global monetary cooperation, secure financial stability, facilitate international trade, promote high employment and sustainable economic growth, and reduce poverty around the world.


    The objective of this initial assignment was to support the IMF’s KM working group by providing an external, expert review of the working group’s draft strategy and plan for knowledge management.

    Iknow structured the project in three phases.

    1. Discover Phase. Iknow started the assignment by reviewing the current draft documents, the previous KM recommendations, and other relevant information. Then Iknow conducted interviews with the KM working group and with other IMF stakeholders. The Discover Phase established a baseline understanding of the IMF’s knowledge management environment and the associated issues.

    2. Workshop Phase. Next, Iknow facilitated two workshops with the KM working group. The two half-day interactive workshops proved to be excellent forums for discussing, challenging, reviewing, and enhancing the draft documents. The workshops helped align the team to a common KM vision and goals for the future state.

    3. Strategy Refinement. Iknow captured the conclusions and insights from the two workshops and incorporated this new material into the draft documents. Iknow provided a knowledge model and recommended a series of priority and longer- term actions, addressing such issues as governance, cultural change, and communications. Iknow also added additional perspectives from its previous client work to enhance the vision and planning documents. Lastly, Iknow helped IMF develop KM storylines and use cases that clearly demonstrated KM’s value propositions for the key stakeholders.


    Iknow’s input into the planning process strengthened the working group’s proposal for the new KM vision, plan, and recommendations. Specifically, Iknow’s support aligned the KM vision and plan with the IMF’s strategic plan and communicated KM’s value in more tangible and practical terms. The resulting recommendations quickly gained support from the IMF’s senior management.

    Project Summary No.

    Human Capital Business Process Re-Engineering

    Rebuilding the Human Capital organization at a major mass transit authority

    The Dallas Area Rapid Transit Authority (DART) is a regional transportation authority in the State of Texas. DART was organized to provide public and general transportation services to 13 cities in five counties: Collin, Dallas, Denton, Ellis, and Rockwall. DART has nearly 3,700 budgeted positions and employs bus operators, train operators, mechanics, police, and professional and semiprofessional staff.


    This initial project was organized into five work streams.

    1. Diagnostic Review. Iknow started the assignment by conducting a thorough review of the HC Department’s processes and practices. Iknow conducted 46 interviews with two groups of HC stakeholders. One group was internal customers of the HC Department and included almost all of DART’s senior leadership team. The second group was the HC Department’s staff. Iknow prepared two customized interview guides and conducted initial interviews that lasted between 30 minutes to more than two hours each. A second round of interviews was performed, when appropriate. Iknow prepared detailed interview summaries to capture a complete record of all of the information collected.

    In parallel, the Iknow team reviewed and analyzed relevant documentation on DART’s policies, practices, standard operating procedures (SOPs), systems, and internal controls.

    2. Document the Current-State and Future-State HC Business Processes. The objectives of this work stream were to capture the “as-is” business processes for the Human Capital Department in its entirety, to develop recommendations on the “to-be” business processes, and to advise on business process improvements, automation opportunities, and system configuration changes that could increase process efficiency, staff effectiveness, and data and transaction accuracy.

    Iknow started this work stream by reviewing DART’s process descriptions, automated work flows, SOPs, and any other relevant documentation on the core HC business processes. Specifically, Iknow conducted detailed analyses of DART’s 34 SOPs and the 89 automated DARTnet workflows to understand HC’s role and involvement in each. This analysis also included undocumented HC processes and practices.

    3. Develop a New HC Organizational Structure. The objective of this work stream was to develop a new HC organizational structure that would support the new processes, information flows, and controls. Iknow incorporated several best practices into the new HC organization structure, including introducing alignment of the organizational structure with the HC business processes, introducing the concept of “high performing” work-centric teams, and flattening the HC Department’s span of control.

    4. Compliance Review. This work stream analyzed DART’s compliance with federal, state, and local human resources-related laws, statutes, rules, regulations, and guidelines. Iknow reviewed DART’s Administrative and Hourly Employment Manuals, reviewed DART’s implementation of FTA Complaint No. 13-0163, and studied the implications of the FTA’s Circular 4704.1 as part of the compliance review.

    5. Implementation Plan and Timeline. Iknow planned and conducted a half- day offsite workshop to discuss the HC improvement ideas and develop an implementation roadmap and timetable. The offsite was held at SMU’s Cox Executive Education facilities.

    Subsequent iterations of the plan resulted in a portfolio of 21 projects as part of the initial wave of the Implementation Phase. Some of the various projects included: Redesign the Employee Recruitment Process, Update the DART Hourly Employment Manual and the Administrative Employment Manual, Relaunch the People Center, Develop and Implement a HC Data Analytics and Reporting Function, and Design, Develop, and Implement a HC Records Management Program.


    The recommendations and roadmap were used by the Vice President of Human Capital to support her request for resources and funding for process redesign implementation.

    Project Summary No.

    Content Enrichment for Enterprise Search

    Using Smartlogic Semaphore for developing and applying consistent metadata

    The New York Power Authority (NYPA), officially the Power Authority of the State of New York, is the largest state public power organization in the United States. NYPA operates 16 electricity generation facilities and more than 1,400 circuit-miles of transmission lines.


    Iknow started the assignment by developing a NYPA-specific enterprise-wide taxonomy. Specifically, Iknow worked with NYPA’s staff to develop an enterprise subject taxonomy by using a combination of techniques, such as a review of prior internal classification schemes, an assessment of relevant external taxonomies, and the analysis of user search logs.

    A second important work stream was user interface development. Iknow worked with the NYPA staff to understand their business-driven use cases and search requirements. Based on these findings, Iknow developed wireframe concepts for the presentation of various types of search results.

    Iknow recommended the purchase of Smartlogic’s Semaphore suite of metadata management software products. Iknow and Smartlogic implemented the software suite to apply the new taxonomy in sophisticated autoclassification functionality to achieve more consistent content categorization and metadata tagging. Iknow also leveraged Semaphore’s ontology management and search enhancement features to offer NYPA users improved search relevancy and the ability to discover related content.

    Iknow worked collaboratively with the NYPA staff in content management, IT, and several business functions to define the overall solution architecture, which included defining the business process workflows and the technical infrastructure requirements for metadata enhancement and autoclassification.

    The new enterprise metadata management and search solution was implemented in NYPA’s software development and production environments.

    Lastly, Iknow provided training for NYPA staff so that they could maintain the enterprise search and taxonomy platform in the future. The training included the installation and configuration of the Smartlogic Semaphore software and the development of the autoclassification rules.


    NYPA launched the improved search functionality and users saw significant improvement in the quality of the search results. NYPA plans to extend the content enrichment and search experience to other internal content repositories in the future.

    Project Summary No.

    Taxonomy Development for the United Nations

    Improving content findability to support the UN’s sustainable development goals

    The United Nations University (UNU) was tasked with building a Global Online Knowledge Platform to support efforts to end forced labor, modern slavery, human trafficking, and child labor by 2030, as defined in Target 8.7 of the UN Sustainable Development Goals. The initiative was funded by several organizations, including the United Nations Development Program (UNDP).


    Iknow’s approach to the taxonomy development effort consisted of the following three phases.

    1. Defining the Objectives. Iknow clearly defined the objectives and search use cases for the new taxonomy. The UNU taxonomy was intended to support:

    • Thematic area pages
    • Search refiners (faceted browsing of search results)
    • Links to other relevant content from each page
    • Interfacing to other sites and data repositories dealing with humanitarian issues (using standard taxonomies to facilitate this, such as the HXL term set).

    The taxonomy also needed to support longer-term content management. As the number of site items (e.g., blog posts, datasets, articles, etc.) increases in the future, UNU needs to be able to review the accumulated content by topic area to ensure it is highlighting the most important content and archiving anything that’s outdated.

    2. Developing the Taxonomy. Iknow identified the taxonomy terms and created the new taxonomy. As with other taxonomy development projects, Iknow focused on key usage questions in order to develop the best set of terms. Specific usage questions included:

    • How does UNU expect users to search and browse the content? What are the main concepts they will search for?
    • How does UNU organize content internally? (e.g., Are folders set up for specific topics or other categories?)
    • How do related organizations categorize content in these topic areas (especially if UNU may want to share data or documents with them)?

    Iknow held a series of meetings with UNU project leaders to answer these questions and to jointly develop a taxonomy that was as simple and concise as possible, while allowing effective search refinement, browsing, and information exchange.

    This work resulted in a five-facet taxonomy structure, with up to three levels of hierarchy for the terms in each facet. The five taxonomy branches were:

    1. Policy areas, e.g., migration and displacement
    2. Types of exploitation, e.g., modern slavery
    3. Regions/countries, focusing on countries that are active in the UN’s 8.7 initiatives
    4. Organizations (UN and other agencies that do field operational work and other organizations that are data sources or contributors to the site)
    5. Industry sectors, focusing on those where exploitation is most serious, e.g., mining.

    3. Implementation. After approval of the draft taxonomy, Iknow translated the term set into a structured XML file, which was used in the technology platform.


    Iknow’s work was well received by the client and main contractor, and full implementation of the Knowledge Platform is now in progress.

    Project Summary No.

    Taxonomy and Governance Support

    Updating an organization’s ontology and business rules for autoclassification

    On a previous assignment for the New York Power Authority (NYPA), Iknow assisted with the development of an enterprise taxonomy and improvements in the enterprise search capability. The assignment incorporated Smartlogic Semaphore tools for ontology management and auto-classification, SharePoint 2013 search tools, and Semaphore web parts.


    Iknow’s project approach involved four major phases of work.

    1. Initial Taxonomy Review. Iknow reviewed user feedback on the current enterprise taxonomy as well as new requirements developed by the KM team since the close of the earlier project. These requirements were focused on the need for a more detailed technical vocabulary for describing specific expertise and lessons learned, especially in the generating plant environment. Iknow performed a draft manual classification of the new content, and then implemented the draft taxonomy updates and additions ready for review by NYPA subject matter experts (SMEs).
    2. Trial auto-classification of new content. As a way of testing the new ontology and rules, Iknow ran a trial auto-classification of the best practice/lessons learned content and expertise records. This was used to refine the ontology (especially alternative labels and other evidence values) and the rules as necessary.
    3. Initiation of the new ontology governance process. Iknow assisted NYPA with the preparation and execution of the new governance model, especially the review sessions with SMEs from each NYPA department. These sessions were used to discuss and get approval for recommended taxonomy changes as well as to review autoclassification results to identify any areas of systematic over-tagging or under-tagging and develop strategies to correct them.
    4. Bulk re-classification of enterprise content based on the updated taxonomy and rules set. As in the previous project, Iknow assisted with the planning and initiation of the bulk re-classification jobs, as well as conducting a final review of results.

    Iknow worked with the NYPA KM team to complete the four tasks listed above. From the initial taxonomy of about 1,100 terms, over 1,000 updates were made, including hierarchy and grouping changes, synonym and acronym changes, and the addition of 380 new terms for more specific concepts that were shown to be useful for searching. The changes were made during the course of multiple SME and KM team reviews, search simulations, and classification tests. The governance procedures developed in the previous project were utilized, including compilation of candidate term lists, group reviews, updates in the development environment, and testing.

    The latest taxonomy enrichment will result in further improvements in the precision and recall of NYPA’s enterprise search tools, as well as enhanced browsing and content discovery for users.

    Project Summary No.

    ECM Solution Recommendation for a Transit Authority

    Taking the first step in dealing with mountains of paper

    The Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority, the largest provider of public transportation within the state of Ohio, was looking for an enterprise content management (ECM) solution that would streamline its processes to permit more timely and comprehensive compliance with public records requests and electronic discovery obligations, and to take better advantage of the operational value of its data, which was becoming increasingly difficult to manage, find, search and produce.


    Iknow’s project approach involved five workstreams.

    1. Baseline Assessment. The purpose of the baseline assessment was to lay out GCRTA’s current state of capabilities, practices and procedures as it relates to enterprise content management. To effectively develop this assessment, Iknow conducted interviews with executives, as well as IT, security systems, records management staff. The work was supplemented with documents provided by GCRTA and external data sources as well as Iknow proprietary data based on over 200 client engagements in multiple industries.

    Several key themes emerged from the analysis.

    • There exists a deep-rooted P2P2C (People-to-People-to-Content) culture. If someone wants to find out information at the organization, the default method is to reach out to a colleague who might know where the information is found. This model of knowledge sharing places a premium on individuals (and the information they have access to) rather than technology (and the information it can access).
    • Structured training on software and systems is limited. Many of GCRTA’s system and software tools are not being used to their full capabilities. A principal reason for this is that employees typically do not receive formal, structured training on the products. Most of the employee training is OTS - over-the-shoulder - where individuals learn while they use the software/ systems, focusing on the immediate tasks at hand.
    • Process governance, documentation and standardization is inconsistent across GCRTA. Although processes exist at all levels of the organization and range from simple and linear to complex and multi-department, there is limited oversight, governance and standardization for these processes. There exist no best practices process templates or process control documents.
    • The GCRTA is largely a “paper-based” organization. A large number of records at GCRTA are stored on paper. Reliance on paper-based records generally occurs for one of three reasons: (1) technology; (2) inertia; or (3) cost.
    • The effective application of records management policies and procedures are uneven. The GCRTA has a widespread “save it” mentality – an inherent bias towards keeping data and records beyond their destruction dates. The “save it” mentality is allowed to continue because there is a loose governance structure and there is not a mechanism in place for policy enforcement.
    • No legacy ECM systems exist. GCRTA has not implemented any enterprise-wide applications that provide core ECM functionality. With no exiting ECM systems in place, there are no issues associated with legacy system migration, consolidation or sunsetting.

    2. Future-State Vision. The purpose of the Future State vision workstream was to provide insights as to what benefits GCRTA could potentially realize through the implementation and deployment of an enterprise-wide ECM solution. Iknow reviewed more than 170 case studies from many of the leading ECM product vendors. These case studies described ECM implementations at organizations in the public sector, private sector, and nonprofit/NGOs. The private sector organizations covered almost every industry. The organizations were drawn from countries around the world; sizes ranged from mid-sized companies to global corporations. Iknow selected the best case study in each of eight areas that highlighted a key ECM functionality relevant to GCRTA and compiled them into a report.

    3. Requirements Collection. The purpose of this workstream was to understand the business and technical requirements associated with the ECM solution. Iknow conducted interviews with GCRTA executives to understand the business and technical requirements for the new ECM solution. Based on our analysis of the information discussed during the executive interviews, Iknow ranked the types of ECM functionality based on our assessment of relative importance. Next, working with the ECM Steering Committee, a numerical set of weightings were developed that reflected the importance of the desired ECM functionalities to the GCRTA. Iknow also spoke with the GCRTA IT Team to understand the current and future technical environment and its implications for the new ECM solution.

    4. Content Audit. The purpose of this workstream was to provide a comprehensive inventory of GCRTA documents and files (i.e., content) that are both paper based and electronic. Iknow looked at both structured and unstructured data. Iknow looked at over 3.5 TB of data stored in over 300,000 directories. The key deliverable was an analysis of where GCRTA content is stored and how the data is likely to grow over time.

    5. Solution Evaluation. Iknow reviewed over 400 commercial, off-the-shelf (COTS) and open source products. After an initial screening, in which Iknow ascertained the stability of the company (looking at, for example, pending or recent M&A activity, presence in the United States, suitable product documentation in the English language), Iknow applied detailed screening criteria based on business and technical requirements. These requirements were established in consultation with the ECM Steering Committee and the IT Department. This resulted in a list of about 30 vendors.

    Next, Iknow analyzed available pricing data from GSA Advantage (the federal government’s pricing catalog), Iknow’s proprietary database and from Iknow’s FOIA (Freedom of Information Act) requests for similar ECM product procurements. Finally, Iknow conducted in-depth conversations, product demonstration, benchmark testing and further product evaluations to ultimately narrow the list down to twelve potential solutions.

    Iknow created an evaluation spreadsheet that looked at a number of criteria and weightings and ultimately determined that the software package that best suited GCRTA’s requirements was Alfresco’s Digital Business Platform.


    Iknow identified many areas where ECM could provide significant and lasting benefits. To capture these benefits, Iknow recommended that the GCRTA embark on a three-year program to fully implement an enterprise-wide ECM system. GCRTA included ECM implementation in its 2019 budget.

    Project Summary No.

    Knowledge Management Strategy and Framework

    Designing Saudi Arabia’s National Knowledge Hub

    The Center for Strategic Development (CSD) was established by Saudi Arabia’s Council of Ministers to be their national center of thought-leadership on socio-economic development. The CSD’s mission is to provide independent and comprehensive advice on socio-economic development. The CSD is organized into three main departments—policy analysis, consulting, and knowledge management (KM).


    The Knowledge Management Strategy and Framework Project was conducted in eight stages, or work streams, over roughly a 20-week period. The objectives of each work stream were:

    1. Baseline CSD KM Landscape and Capabilities. Gain a comprehensive understanding of the CSD’s current KM capabilities, practices, and processes and develop a “baseline” assessment.
    2. Benchmark Think Tank KM Functions. Identify KM-related benchmarks and industry best practices from recognized “think tanks” and apply them to CSD’s new KM program.
    3. Develop the CSD KM Strategy. Develop a customized KM strategy that is consistent with and supports CSD’s overall mission, vision, and business strategy.
    4. Develop the CSD Knowledge Taxonomy. Create a comprehensive and consistent taxonomy and set of metadata that can be used across both the CSD KM Platform and the National Knowledge Hub.
    5. Design the CSD Knowledge Management and National Knowledge Hub Platform. Identify, collect, and validate the CSD’s internal KM-related business requirements and the National Knowledge Hub’s KM-related business requirements.
    6. Design the CSD KM Governance Model. Develop an information governance framework, processes, and organizational structures to manage the entirety of information assets within the CSD.
    7. Detail the CSD KM Operating Model. Define the internal business processes necessary to support enterprise-wide knowledge management, and define the roles, organization structure, and resources necessary to staff the internal KM function.
    8. Design the 2020 KM Roadmap. Develop, evaluate, and prioritize a portfolio of projects that will continue to grow and expand the KM capabilities within the Center for Strategic Development.

    These eight work streams provided a comprehensive KM foundation and roadmap for the CSD.


    Iknow produced 40 primary deliverables and categories of deliverables as part of the KM Strategy and Framework Project. Some of the key deliverables are described below.

    • KM Strategy. The KM Strategy work stream identified and defined ten user groups and performed an extensive analysis of business use cases. The National Knowledge Hub will initially focus on four categories of strategic knowledge assets:
      • Deliverables and related outputs from studies and projects related to strategy and socio-economic development that are conducted within the CSD and across all KSA government organizations.
      • External content to support the CSD Research & Policy Department’s policy research portfolio.
      • Profiles of subject matter experts (SMEs) whose specialty areas are of interest to the CSD and other government entities.
      • Consulting and research templates, guidelines, approaches, methodologies, frameworks, and tools, extracted from the collected studies.
    • KM Benchmarking. Iknow conducted a comprehensive benchmarking effort to identify knowledge management-related (KM) benchmarks and industry best practices from recognized think tanks and apply them in the design of the CSD’s new KM program.
    • Knowledge Taxonomy. Iknow used the American Economic Association’s Journal of Economic Literature Classification System for the subject matter taxonomy. Naseej translated the taxonomy into Arabic. Iknow also selected the Maknaz Expanded Thesaurus as the source for synonyms, homonyms, antonyms, and related terms. These terms will be added to the autoclassification tool to enhance the semantic value of the taxonomy.
    • Metadata Schema. Iknow constructed a composite metadata model for the CSD. The metadata model consisted of seven metadata categories and twenty-five metadata elements. Iknow’s metadata schema included definitions of the metadata elements, their data type and format, and other relevant descriptors, such as mandatory or optional, and single or multi-valued. Iknow also developed ten controlled vocabularies that are associated with specific metadata elements. For most of the controlled vocabularies, we prepared the lists of values in both Arabic and English.
    • Technology Solution Recommendations. Iknow collected, validated, and documented the business and technical requirements for the National Knowledge Hub platform. Based on these requirements, Iknow evaluated hundreds of commercial and open source software products. In the end, sixteen named software products were recommended for the Knowledge Hub platform. These products address all of the business and technical requirements that were identified and collected during the earlier work streams.
    • KM Governance Model. Iknow developed recommendations for the Knowledge Hub’s governance model, governance bodies, and responsibilities in the form of a RACI Matrix. Iknow recommended an Interactive KM governance model for the Knowledge Hub. The Interactive KM governance model will support the organization’s learning culture, which is required by CSD to become a thought leader in socio-economic development. Iknow recommended three types of KM governance bodies for the Knowledge Hub: a KM Advisory Committee, a KM Strategy Leadership, and a KM Operational Team. The duties and expectations for each governance body were described.
    • KM Business Process Descriptions. Iknow developed a comprehensive set of “future-state” business processes for the Knowledge Hub. Specifically, Iknow developed thirty-four individual business process descriptions and process maps for the knowledge management-related “future-state” business processes. These “future-state” processes were based on Iknow’s deep experience and expertise in the knowledge management domain.
    • KM Organization Structure and Job Descriptions. Iknow designed four levels of the Knowledge Management Department’s organization structure. Iknow prepared 25 KM-related job descriptions for the new Department. We also created the three-year Knowledge Hub Staffing Plan
    • Three-Year KM Implementation Roadmap. Iknow conducted a Portfolio Prioritization Workshop to propose, discuss, and refine proposed roadmap projects.

    The project’s deliverables and recommendations were well received by the Head of the Knowledge Hub, the President of the CSD, and the CSD’s Board of Directors. The Board of Directors approved the funding for the Implementation Phase and work will start in 2019.

    Project Summary No.

    Communities of Practice Site Redesign and Implementation

    Strengthening knowledge sharing in a global consulting firm

    A global management-consulting firm had a long-established knowledge management (KM) program. The firm’s primary knowledge repository was based on Microsoft SharePoint 2013 and it was the main collection and search location for project records and materials. The KM program had also deployed Communities of Practice (CoP) intranet sites, which displayed selected KM content for each sector/service line and provided other important CoP-related information.


    Iknow’s project approach involved three phases:

    1. Diagnostic Phase. Iknow conducted a detailed review of the current CoP sites and KM repository to understand the key usability and content management issues that need to be addressed during the project. This work included:

    • Review of previous user feedback.
    • Content audit, including types of content, the numbers of items displayed, and the static/dynamic split.
    • Extensive user interviews with all levels of firm's staff.
    • Review of current content management procedures for the CoP sites.
    • Technical review of how the current CoP sites were populated and administered in SharePoint, including the use of lists and libraries, Content Query web parts, and other web parts and menus.

    2. Design Phase. Based on the diagnostic work, Iknow proposed a new SharePoint architecture and page design template for the CoP pages, including the required SharePoint components and functionality. This involved the following main tasks:

    • Requirements definition, based on the diagnostic work, summarized in a document that was discussed with the senior management.
    • “Wireframe” design preparation with several navigation options for discussion.
    • A technical design document, summarizing the SharePoint features and functionality to be developed based on the selected wireframe design.

    Iknow’s recommended site architecture made use of SharePoint’s “managed navigation” and “term-driven pages” features:

    • Each site was based on a special “CoP” term set containing specified terms that had been copied from the main taxonomy.
    • Each page within a site was “term-driven” – meaning that it was based mainly on queries of KM data using a specific term from the site’s CoP term set.
    • The query-driven page content was organized into “tabs” based on different KM use cases (e.g., Selling, Project Delivery, Ideas, Research, People Search, and Projects) that were populated automatically with items that were tagged to the corresponding terms (topics and content types) and were flagged for inclusion on the site.

    In addition:

    • Each CoP site had a “search within site” feature that returned only items that were flagged for inclusion on the site.
    • The sites had a free text/image area to allow custom content and branding for each CoP.

    3. Implementation Phase. Working initially in a SharePoint development environment, and then migrating to staging and production environments, Iknow managed the development and deployment of the new sites. Activities included:

    • New site template creation – using the designs developed in the previous phase.
    • Content management process – working with each CoP to review content and select items for inclusion in the new sites, and reviewing tagging to ensure that content appears in the right places.
    • Content management tools – developing, testing, and deploying PowerShell scripts to facilitate batch tagging and content promotion based on CoP input from Excel sheets, as well as SharePoint grid views for rapid editing.
    • Testing – both internally in the team and with selected users, followed by remediation of any issues.
    • Documentation – for both new site creation and site administration.

    The new CoP sites were successfully deployed on schedule and received very positive feedback from the firm's users across practice areas and countries.

    The architecture and design has several advantages for future maintenance:

    • New CoP sites can be created very quickly by copying the standard pages from an existing site, editing them for custom terminology, and adding site navigation via the KM term.
    • New sub-sites can be created automatically by copying the desired term from the taxonomy – the sites are automatically populated by the page queries.
    • Changes to content tagging and best practice flagging are reflected immediately on the sites.
    • Items appear on the pages when they are tagged with the page term in any of the managed metadata fields. This ensures that content will appear on all relevant CoP sites.
    • CoP content managers use a well defined and proven process for periodic bulk review and updating of site content using Excel sheets or the SharePoint grid view.
    Project Summary No.

    Knowledge Management Strategy Support

    Executing on the USACE knowledge management campaign plan

    The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) is a major Command of the Army, with more than 37,000 employees. The USACE’s mission covers major public civil engineering projects in both the military (e.g., facilities construction/maintenance) and the civilian sectors (e.g., roads, bridges, dames, water protection).


    Over the course of the five-month engagement, Iknow provided support to the USACE in the following six areas.

    1. APQC Maturity Model submission preparation and support. Iknow worked closely with each of the 12 KMRs in coordination with the CKO to develop their maturity model submissions. Iknow served as a subject matter expert on the APQC’s KM Maturity Model, providing guidance to the KMRs as they collected data/examples for their submissions and providing feedback on their draft submissions. Iknow used these submissions to provide a preliminary assessment of the ratings achieved by each of the twelve divisions, along with recommendations for each to close any gaps relative to the Level 3 rating. Iknow worked with the APQC’s experts during the project.
    2. Expertise location LOE review and assessment. Iknow conducted a brief assessment of the expertise location LOE, by interviewing members of the LOE team, studying the progress made on their pilot projects, and reviewing two draft reports written by the USACE staff. From this assessment, Iknow authored a report containing a recommended strategy, roadmap, and immediate next steps. This report was delivered to the USACE’s Knowledge Management Leadership Team.
    3. Content and records management assessment. Iknow performed an assessment of content and records management at the USACE. The assessment covered content strategy, lifecycle management, technology platforms, taxonomies, and roles, as well as specific action items for the organization to pursue over the next 18-24 months. Iknow’s approach for conducting the assessment included stakeholder interviews; the review of existing documentation, policies and metrics; and demonstrations of several existing technology tools. One software product that was proposed for wide use across the USACE was an engineering project collaboration suite called ProjectWise.
    4. Knowledge management training. Iknow created a training strategy document for the USACE, covering the training requirements and proposed programs for both end-users (all off the 37,000 workforce) and KMRs (roughly 50-100 core knowledge management staff). Iknow also developed the “KM Familiarization” training programs for both of these stakeholder groups, in both PowerPoint and online formats. The online programs were created using LearnDash LMS, a plug-in tool that runs on WordPress sites; Iknow used LearnDash upon the request of the CKO.
    5. Preparation of Lines of Activity (LOA). LOA’s are defined as the lower level building blocks of strategy implementation. Iknow created a library of LOAs for Knowledge Management, which provide instructions and guidance to each of the divisional KMRs on the key activities they need undertake when leading their local KM programs. This library was created in Microsoft Word.
    6. General KM program support. Iknow also participated in many other activities in the KM program, including KM Working Group meetings, technology reviews, and ad hoc support as needed.

    Because of the wide range of topics and deliverables addressed in the contract, it was critical for the USACE and Iknow teams to communicate and collaborate effectively. Several key techniques included:

    • Use of Slack as an information collaboration tool. Slack was used as the primary mode of communications among the joint team, and generally replaced email. Team members used Slack to provide updates, ask/answer questions, and share informal documents. Team members knew they could find quick answers and an historical record of conversations. The team also used Slack’s private channel capability, for collaboration among subgroups.
    • Use of Asana as a master repository for deliverables and reports. Iknow’s project team as well as other consultants working for the USACE posted workplans, project updates, reports, and other deliverables in Asana.
    • Weekly team check-in calls. These calls were used to review the most recent deliverables, review progress, and agree on the next steps.

    The USACE CKO’s office used Iknow’s recommendations and deliverables to plan the next phase of their KM program implementation, including FY19 budget requests and the mobilization of staff. An immediate next step was to formally submit the Maturity Model package to the APQC for evaluation and ratings.

    Project Summary No.