ROI from Findability: How Knowledge Management Unlocks Business Value of Content Management

Content management systems (CMS) and processes offer businesses a scalable framework to create, store, publish, and archive content across intranet, web, and print channels. What they don’t do well is help employees and customers find the right content when they need it.

This “knowing-doing” gap in enterprise content can be bridged by CM solutions working in tandem with knowledge management (KM) solutions.

The “knowing-doing” gap in enterprise content

Enterprises that have invested in good Content Management tools end up with a well-implemented process for creating, reviewing, approving, storing, retrieving, and archiving digital content. Therefore, they have content to address most needs of their employees and customers somewhere in the CMS—the system may even “know” the answer to almost every inquiry from an employee or customer. However, the only part of the content management (CM) process that actually delivers business ROI (return on investment) is the retrieval process, whether user-initiated (reactive pull) or system-initiated (proactive push.)

Most CM tools, unfortunately, equate retrieval to search. Search, as an access method, does not work well in intranet content frameworks.

As a result, while these companies manage to reduce the cost of developing and managing content, they continue to struggle in delivering the right content to any user—customer, partner, supplier, or employee—at the moment of interaction. This “knowing-doing” gap usually stays unfulfilled.

The fate of CM (without KM)

Most Content Management investments, not surprisingly, are justified based on IT-driven lower total cost of ownership (TCO) benefits, whereas most Knowledge Management investments aim for business-driven higher ROI benefits.

Large organizations have invested heavily in Content Management technology and process, but not bothered to augment their CM investment with a complementary KM capability. They have large teams working on content creation, approval, and aggregation, who create a mountain of content that is available for the enterprise and its customers.

When we ask them what ROI they get from their CM investments, we get a surprised look. “CM is not about ROI, it is a required investment,” they say. “Every enterprise must have a CM strategy and process.” But they have never really thought about quantifying the business benefits of Content Management. Maybe, they are able to deliver better quality content to their audience. But they are not sure; they do know that they are able to manage content assets more efficiently.

When we persist and ask them, “Do you know how your employees and customers actually use all this content? Can they find the content they need? What content do they find useful? Are there gaps in what content they are looking for and what you are delivering?” they are convinced that you are a spy of the CFO, someone who wants to squeeze ROI out of an IT project.

The truth is Content Management is not meant to deliver ROI. Knowledge Management is.

Knowledge Management leverages Content Management content assets, while focusing on delivering measurable business benefits like improved first-call resolution rates, reduced training time, reduced escalation, and improved customer experience in the contact center, branch offices, website, and other knowledge portals.
Knowledge management system helps to find the answer in a mountain of content

Knowledge Management makes Content Management investment pay off

Knowledge Management delivers the all-important findability for a range of user types and inquiry types. It makes all the content investment (tools, people, processes) pay off in an organization. Especially mission-critical in customer contact centers, findability can unleash business value at the “moment of truth” in business-to-customer interactions.

Content is valuable only if users are able to get to it.

To make content accessible and available, KM solutions provide an array of access methods to match the combination of inquiry and inquirer types.

  • An expert user who wants to navigate through content much more efficiently could use power search, topic browsing, and bookmarks extensively.
  • On the other hand, a novice (and we are all novices outside our domain of expertise within any organization) could lean on guided help, driven by AI Case-Based Reasoning (CBR) and dynamic FAQs to get to the right answer.
  • And customers who are visiting the company website, may get to the same content through a friendly chatbot that can communicate in natural language.

Modern KM solutions also store and analyze usage (successful and failed sessions, user feedback, etc.) to provide adaptive feedback and automated suggestions through reports and triggered process workflows to content authors and access method developers. This dynamic feedback and measurement process helps keep the content fresh and focus authors on the most pressing user needs, determined through detailed access pattern profiling.


If Content Management is all about creating a warehouse full of well-developed content assets, then Knowledge Management is all about the merchandizing process for users to be able to get to the appropriate content and knowledge that they need when they need it—quickly and reliably.

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