Could AI be the answer to unlocking corporate knowledge?

Miriam Reichmuth

The 80: 20 rule of corporate knowledge  

About 20% of a corporations’ knowledge is well documented, indexed and archived and can be easily accessed through Knowledge Management (KM) tools.

Lew Platt, former CEO of Hewlett-Packard, once said “If only HP knew what HP knows, we’d be three times more productive.”

Since then, Businesses have invested huge amounts of money and resource capturing and storing this information, But, even after all this focus on KM over many years, only a minor fraction of the companies’ knowledge is readily accessible. 

So what about the remaining 80%? How to get your hands on it?

This knowledge is wrapped up and safely stored in the minds of the employees. They bring it with them when they’re hired, pick up some more while they’re with you, hopefully share some before they leave and finally, take everything with them when they go. 

This is nothing new, most businesses recognize the potential and attempt to access this knowledge. Forums, social networks, employee profiles, chat rooms, news feeds, intranets, and so on are all helping to connect employees and topics together to encourage problem solving and collaboration. All are good, all are helping but, are they really making the headway businesses want and need? Are they delivering the 3 times higher productivity Lew Platt was speaking of? In reality, no.

Because, at the end of the day, an employee wants to be able to get immediate answers when a problem arises. This is exactly where Artificial Intelligence looks to be making a difference.

Enter AI and Self-learning algorithms 

With artificial intelligence starting to make impacts on many aspects of our lives, one of the most exciting fields the algorithm nerds (soon to be superstars) are working on is the capture of corporate knowledge.

I’ll ask you to imagine a corporate brain, one that automatically learns the knowledge and experiences of all employees, in turn creating a prediction engine that directly connects individual questions with identified experts allowing for rapid problem solving and efficient collaboration.

You’ll be pleased to know these corporate brains already exists. They’ve started to grow and continue to do so every day with every interaction, creating detailed knowledge maps of entire businesses.

Furthermore, all questions and answers are stored so no question needs answering twice, new joiners have access to expertise without knowing anyone and, knowledge remains long after experts have left the organization.

Unsurprisingly, it hasn’t taken long for these organizations to put their corporate brains to good use. Whether they’re using it to identify experts and knowledge gaps or to retain valuable knowledge before it leaves the business, it looks like AI will change their 80:20 rule of corporate knowledge forever.

I guess we’ll see if Lews’ 3 times more productive is possible.

Learn more about AI and corporate brains.  

Related posts
Harnessing the power of experience
Biology and business - a perfect symbiosis