Strategic Librarian

Using strategy to develop the law firm library.

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Mary Abraham on Why KM Needs Good Design

j0438675I truly enjoyed reading Mary Abraham‘s post on KM design on Above and Beyond KMWhy KM Needs Good Design provides steps to take toward good design and references some great writing from other bloggers as well. One of Mary’s points in the post is what design isn’t – it isn’t just how a product looks.

I like to think that the user-centered design that Mary writes about includes:

  • Requirements design – what is needed? 
  • Project design – how will you get from start to finish?
  • Architecture design – how will individuals interact with or navigate the KM product or what is the structure going to be?
  • Visual design – What will the look and feel be?
  • Staffing design – who will be part of the initiative?

For those who are interested:  The Creating the Successful Law Firm Intranet webinar series we (Nina Platt Consulting and Southerton Consulting) presented this year included a session on user-centered design.  It applies to intranets but the same principles can be used for KM initiatives whether technology is used or not.  After all, the intranet is just another KM initiative.


RivalMap : Competitive Intelligence Knowledge Management

I ran across a interesting web service recently named RivalMap.  It is a service that provides the following functionality (according to their website).

RivalMap is web-based collaboration software that gives companies a central place to share and address information about competitors and their industry. If your company spends any time watching competitors and their activities, RivalMap will make the management and communication of competitive information much easier and more effective.

After signing up for the free service that allows 3 users access with the ability to create unlimited workspaces, I set up a workspace for my own company.  The cost of the service jumps to $49 for 5 users, $99 for 10 users and $199 for 25 users.  Besides giving access to more users, the fee-based service provides storage for file sharing and SSL Security.  Enterprise licensing is available as well.

Upon entering the workspace, which I titled Competitors for lack of imagination, I was presented with a Dashboard that would later provide me a chart of competitors by threat level and the latest activity.  Other tabs on the menu which, stretched across the top of the screen, included:

Competitors: This tab allows you to create entries for your company and for any competitors you specify.  A sub-menu provides tabs for Competitors, Products, and Concerns.

  • Competitors – Create a posting for each competitor that includes name, website address, profile, concerns, clippings, notes, customers, and a SWOT analysis. 
    • Concerns are comments about specific threats the competitor may present. 
    • Clippings are articles or web posts worth noting. 
    • Notes are just that – free form notes about the competitor. 
    • Customers provides detailed records on the competitor’s customers including customer name, location, market segment, sales amount, date of sale, description of sale and website. 
    • SWOT provides the ability to list strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats faced by the competitor.
  • Products – Create postings for competing products including profile, product name, competitor name, product website, concerns, clippings, and notes. 
  • Concerns – Provides a listing of all concerns for all competitors and products providing the ability to list general comments and comments on how the concern will be addressed

Clippings: Described above under Competitors.

Notes: Described above under Competitors.

Customers:  Slightly different from the use of customers above, here you post information about your own customers.  After setting up market segments, you are able to create a post about each segment including notes, clippings, needs, and customers. 

  • Needs – Track segment needs designating them as:
    • Must-Have – a benefit/function that must be present, or the customer will be very dissatisfied
    • One Dimensional: a benefit/function that increases customer satisfaction as it improves
    • Attractive – a benefit/function that is not expected but highly satisfies the customer.
  • Customers – create a posting about each customer including the same information listed above.

Comparisons: This tab allows you to create a matrix that compares competitors by category and attributes.  For example, I could create a category of the services I offer and the attributes each service has.  I could then add competitors.  Following that, I would rate how my company compares to my competitors by category/attribute.  The following screen-shots demonstrate how the matrix would look. 



In addition to providing great information, each tab provides the ability to filter results in multiple ways.

This looks like a very useful service is that would be a valuable addition to any CI program.  One concern is that, like any knowledge management system of its kind, it takes team members willing to take the time to enter content.  The success in using the service will only come with commitment.  As for functionality, a reporting function seems to be missing.  This may be because I was using the free service.  You would definitely want to check that out before subscribing to the service.

 ~ Nina Platt