Blog Post

A Step-by-Step Guide to a Unified System of Knowledge

Robyn Hazelton
June 2, 2022
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When customers have questions, where do they go for answers? More importantly, where should they go?

Most of the time, finding answers is complicated.

  • There is in-app learning to help customers onboard and adopt new product features. 
  • There are help articles for troubleshooting in-the-moment needs.
  • There are education platforms that offer in-depth education about the product and industry. 
  • There is how-to content on the blog. 
  • And maybe there is a community where people can crowdsource feedback and ideas or ask questions.

Typically, these various forms of educational content live across disparate platforms, managed by different teams. This disconnect creates a confusing experience for customers and employees.

Customers want their questions answered, but they lack charts that show what information lives where. 

Employees want to help their customers, but struggle to maintain content across disparate platforms while ensuring consistent messaging.

Today, more and more companies are thinking about implementing a Unified System of Knowledge to solve these pain points. 

What is a Unified System of Knowledge?

A Unified System of Knowledge is a digital solution that brings together support articles, marketing content, the learning management system (LMS), and other resources to help customers find answers and solve problems.
Information is centralized versus spread across disparate platforms. 

As an example, the Intellum organizational education platform (OEP) is a Unified System of Knowledge. Companies use it to centralize educational content and training for customers, partners, and employees.  

Developing a Unified System of Knowledge drives content consumption and improves the customer experience. As a result, companies who do this see business results like faster time-to-value and reduced churn. 

How to Develop a Unified System of Knowledge in 4 Steps

In a recent Underscore episode, Intellum leaders Greg Rose and Ruben Rabago shared four steps to develop a Unified System of Knowledge. 

We have summarized the information below. 

Step 1: Get Buy-In From Other Teams

When you start bringing together disparate platforms, you inevitably bump heads with other teams. Often, a land grab occurs: one team tries to own all of the content and platforms. 

But it is more effective to bring these teams together to solve a common problem: Customers can’t find the answers they need. Each team has a stake in customer outcomes, making it critical that everyone gets on the same page.

Start by opening a dialogue with all the siloed stakeholders (e.g., sales, marketing, product, customer success, support, etc.) to talk about convergence—coming together as one. 

Explain to stakeholders how developing a Unified System of Knowledge will help them achieve their goals. Getting their buy-in and avoiding the land grab trap is critical in bringing these platforms and content together.

Step 2: Adopt a Customer Education Methodology 

Often, content creation is reactive. A customer runs into a problem or experiences a moment of friction, and you create content to help them move forward. 

As you grow in organizational maturity, you need to be more proactive about content creation. You must zoom out from the problem to identify all high-impact content your company should create. 

Leveraging the Intellum Methodology™ can help your team align on an approach that maximizes your output and outcomes. 

Here’s what adopting the Intellum Methodology could look like when building a Unified System of Knowledge: 

  • Analyze learning needs and connect to business goals.
  • Identify the segments and personas in your audience accessing this content.
  • Determine which existing assets are useful and where new content is needed.
  • Consider how you can repurpose content to meet different needs (e.g., step-by-step instructions in a help article, in-app module, etc.).
  • Organize content to support discoverability, personalization, and the flow of work.

Step 3: Start Small With One Content Initiative

Building a Unified System of Knowledge is a marathon, not a sprint. Developing the system will take some time. You don’t have to create it all at once. 

Identify one internal initiative with a clearly defined metric (e.g., an upcoming product release). 

Then use the Intellum Methodology to align on the following: 

  • What educational content do you need to create for the release?
  • Who are you creating the content for?
  • Why is this content necessary?
  • Where will the content live?

After you deploy the content, measure the impact it had. Did the initiative drive support ticket deflection? Feature adoption? Some other metric?

Identify areas where you can make incremental improvements to the process as time goes on.

Step 4: Expand Your Efforts 

Once you’ve seen success in one initiative, it’s much easier to get buy-in to scale the process. 

Share early successes. Help stakeholders across the organization see the value of aligning teams and building out a Unified System of Knowledge. 

You might find it helpful to leverage third-party data to show the value of developing a Unified System of Knowledge. Bring in quotes and stories of other organizations that are adopting this approach. Share data about the impact of unified customer education programs.

Beating the drum about your efforts will help keep stakeholders excited and engaged as the process evolves.

Bring in the Right Technology to Support Your Goals

Combining different learning modes to match different learning intents often results in a heavy tech stack. Companies struggle with linking learning destinations together; they expend extra resources to build a “storefront” to house all of them in one place for learners.

We built Intellum to help education leaders like you combine these efforts—without the cumbersome, disparate tech stack. Our platform provides you an easy way to deliver courses, live and on-demand video, knowledge base, social learning, and community—all in a single destination. If you’re interested in learning how we can help, reach out to start a conversation.

About the Author

Robyn Hazelton headshot
Robyn Hazelton
Vice President of Marketing and Growth
Robyn is the VP of Marketing and Growth at Intellum and helps to ensure that every interaction an individual has with the brand is as awesome as possible. An experienced and trusted leader with a history of consistently impacting revenue, she's always talking about funnel management and biased toward action.