If you are planning to buy an ILS or KM system, or want to migrate/upgrade, you need to think about your organizations’ needs both strategically and tactically in order to select the right platform. Here are 20 questions to ask yourself that will help.
While there are lots of synergies between and ILS and a KM system, there are strategic and tactical questions/issues that are particularly relevant to each. Below are 10 KM related questions and 10 ILS related questions that can serve as thought starters.
- Want to leverage the wisdom of your end user crowd?
• If so, you might need social sharing capabilities
- How many data silos, uh, repositories do you have?
• A single venue for access to all of them would be powerful
- Would you like to help users spend time finding, not just searching?
• Discovery tools move you beyond search and retrieval
- Need help securing organizational support for KM initiatives with metrics and user data?
• Embedded reporting and analytics via a dashboard are key
- Do you need to be more aligned and integrated with existing IT initiatives?
• Perhaps SharePoint connectivity and robust import/export capabilities are a priority
- Are you trying to offer both structured access and discovery?
• Classic information management techniques still have an important place
- How about a searchable request tracking database …sound good?
• Get away from reinventing the wheel and be more efficient
- You know it’s somewhere …but can you find it?
• Federated search and discovery breaks down the walls
- What’s the name of that practice expert and what office is she in?
• Nontraditional uses for KM tools connect people with people
- Have thirty minutes to get from zero to KM?
• Implementation doesn’t have to take months—and it shouldn’t
- Are you being asked to do more with less?
• Powerful functionality doesn’t have to cost a lot; hosted solutions can help
- Do you need to manage non-traditional content types?
• Systems that help you organize and deliver multimedia are more important than ever
- Are you managing a large library with a small staff?
• An ILS that empowers you to customize and administer it yourself is a must
- Are you building a sustainable library that will adapt to end users’ changing needs?
• Leverage classic capabilities in new ways; a flexible ILS opens up new possibilities
- Do you know which resources are most and least used?
• Built in reporting helps at budget time or with contract negotiations
- Would you like to eliminate workflow hiccups?
• Look for purpose-built workflows that fit library needs right out of the box
- Do you need a full MARC cataloging interface?
• Classic library tools still have an important role
- How about enabling end users to spend less time searching, more time doing?
• Look for built in search tools that are intuitive and easy to use
- Are you getting the most from your online resources?
• Metrics down to the user and specific content level are illuminating
- It’s midnight in NY; 1 p.m. in your Tokyo office. Do you know where that book is?
• Multi-location libraries need a union catalog – a great use for write once, read many
There’s a lot to think about when you are managing an organization’s information and knowledge management needs. If you’re considering an ILS or KM platform and any of the above questions are relevant to your situation, ask potential vendors if they can help you answer them. We’re betting that will get you down to a short list—let us know!
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Knowledge managers should be active in communities and at conferences, learn from others, gain perspective and apply good ideas to their own programs.
Best practice knowledge management (KM) requires seeking user feedback and continuous implementation, iteration and improvement
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