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Cognitive knowledge management; adding intelligence to IT

Modern consumers are more sophisticated and demanding in their buying behaviour than ever before. Whilst some might hesitate to say they are more intelligent, they are certainly better informed and use smarter ways to buy.

In the brave new world of consumerism, the Internet of Things sees us connected at all times, with the average person in the UK using a minimum of three devices a day. Users expect to be able to move seamlessly from one device to another, without interrupting their workflows, and have been enthusiastic adopters of self-service applications.

Ease of use is the single biggest contributor to the modern customer experience. As consumers spend more time interacting with systems than they do people, the systems themselves need to become more intelligent and fulfil the roles traditionally reserved for humans, without adding friction to the process.

If this was 1986 rather than 2016 we would probably be referring to these systems generically as Artificial Intelligence, but things have moved on a little and the field of AI has grown up and given birth to a range of what we now call “Cognitive Technologies”.

Put simply, cognitive systems aim to provide a more natural and human-friendly means for people to interact with software applications.

Put simply, cognitive systems aim to provide a more natural and human-friendly means for people to interact with software applications.  They combine a range of advanced technologies, including natural language understanding, predictive analytics and machine learning

The objective is to let users talk to computer systems in their own language and have those systems interpret their request based on what they mean, not just what they say.  The system's response should then be intelligent, anticipating what actions would most likely provide the user with the outcome they're looking for.

This is a far cry from the approach taken by legacy knowledge management solutions, which are both simplistic in their interpretation of user needs and passive in their engagement style.  Old school knowledge management simply concerned itself with the identification, capture, storage, retrieval and sharing of information.

Typically, a traditional knowledgebase might provide a search box and an option to browse through a hierarchical repository of articles, but makes no attempt to anticipate the user's need or pre-empt their need to look for answers in the first place.

Cognitive solutions represent a reimagining of how people consume knowledge and interact with the organizations they deal with on a day-to-day basis.  Companies often get too focused on creating the right process for answering a customer’s question. They forget that, in most cases, the customer would prefer not to have to ask the question in the first place.

The goal of Cognitive Knowledge Management is to identify the information a customer needs before they ask a question and deliver that information to them in a concise, targeted way. One that can be easily digested, without interrupting their original workflow.

Modern cognitive solutions are brought to life through the mantra of understand, anticipate and improve.

  1. Understand what the customer is doing by analysing their behaviour, the pages they’re looking at, the journey they’ve taken or the question they’ve asked.
  2. Anticipate what information may be useful to them - based on comparing their behaviour to previous customers, or on explicit triggers such as visiting a contact page or starting to type in a search box.
  3. Continually improve the quality of the knowledgebase through understanding how it is (and isn’t) being used and providing actionable guidance to the owner on how to maximize its effectiveness.

This represents a revolutionary approach to knowledge management; leveraging big data, content syndication and cutting-edge analytics to deliver an excellent user experience.

The applications are by no means limited to the world of web self-service. Cognitive solutions are rapidly gaining traction within the contact centre as an agent assisted technology and are changing the way in which larger organizations manage their internal knowledgebase.

To summarize, Cognitive Knowledge is about making knowledge management intuitive, proactive, predictive, insightful and effortless.  Good help used to be hard to find, but with the addition of cognitive technology, now good help can find you.

If you would like to see cognitive knowledge at work, you can arrange a free demonstration here.

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