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Transforming a Global Company's Knowledge Management Capabilities

About this Client

Large, global tech company — part of the Fortune 500 — with an international, decentralized internal Operations team. 

Headquarters: California, with a global footprint

This client contacted FireOak to assess their existing internal knowledge base and recommend ways they could improve it. 

Global tech knowledge base

The Client's Situation

Our client, a Fortune 500 technology company with a global presence, faced significant challenges with their internal knowledge management system that the Operations team relied on. Their existing document library, built on an outdated on-premises version of SharePoint, had become a complex and frustrating tool for employees worldwide. The library contained over 1,000 items, including policies, procedures, process flow diagrams, checklists, templates, and forms critical to the organization’s operations. However, the content was difficult to navigate, maintain, and often outdated or duplicative, making it challenging for staff to identify the single source of truth for a particular procedure. The clunky, outdated technology had failed to keep pace with the company’s evolving needs and modern features, hindering productivity and efficiency.

FireOak's Approach

To address the client’s knowledge management challenges, we initiated a comprehensive engagement following our proven methodology. We began with a thorough discovery process and current state assessment, analyzing content from the existing document library, conducting interviews with nearly 50 staff members globally, and performing a hands-on evaluation of the current platform. This assessment revealed a combination of people, process, and technology-related issues that needed to be tackled.

From a technology standpoint, we prioritized leveraging platforms already in use within the organization and accessible through existing licenses, ensuring scalability as the company continued to grow. However, we recognized that technology was only one aspect of the solution. Equally important was addressing internal operations to support the new knowledge base, establishing clear procedures, roles, responsibilities, and expectations for the knowledge management team and subject matter experts involved in content validation and maintenance.

Our approach focused on reconceptualizing the content to enhance discoverability, usability, and accessibility for staff, while simultaneously redesigning the associated processes, procedures, and governance necessary for long-term sustainability.

Transformative Results

Following the initial engagement, FireOak was re-engaged to assist with the implementation phase. Despite the client’s deep technical expertise, their internal team tasked with building and maintaining the new knowledge base faced capacity constraints. To expedite the development process, we contributed by creating initial wireframes, developing the information architecture (including a new taxonomy, categories, and site navigation), and building the new SharePoint Online infrastructure for the knowledge base. Additionally, our team of curators rewrote, clarified, refreshed, and enhanced each article added to the new knowledge base. 

By collaborating closely with the client, we successfully launched a fully-functional initial version within six months, followed by substantial content updates a few months later. We transitioned all day-to-day operations of this critical resource to the internal team in less than a year from the start of the development work.

The results have been remarkable, with staff reporting high satisfaction, subject matter experts actively keeping content up to date, and the new knowledge base being mobile-friendly and highly usable. We gathered extensive data indicating success, along with positive anecdotal feedback from teams worldwide.

One of the most significant technical enhancements was the implementation of an on-the-fly language translation tool, which automatically translates content into all languages used by global teams. This tool alone has saved the organization thousands, if not millions, of dollars in manual translation costs. Updates to pages are now instantly available in multiple languages, eliminating the previous lag and inconsistencies between English and translated versions. With over 1,000 articles in the knowledge base, keeping translations in sync manually was unrealistic. This solution has effectively addressed a major pain point for our client.

Ultimately, this engagement exemplified the importance of addressing the people, process, and technology aspects of knowledge management initiatives. By taking a holistic approach and working closely with the client, we successfully transformed their knowledge management capabilities, enhancing productivity, efficiency, and global collaboration.

About our clients

FireOak Strategies serves all types of clients, but we specialize in working with nonprofits, private sector companies, international organizations, and higher education. 

Start the conversation

Reach out to schedule a time to talk. After we understand what you hope to accomplish and what problems you’re trying to solve, we’ll put together a custom proposal and work with you to get started on your consulting engagement. 

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