Small businesses grow; as they do pockets of content end up being lost & forgotten, stored away in some obscure location only known by the original creator of the content. This content is doomed! This content cost the business money to produce yet so little importance is placed on harnessing it’s power and delivering it as knowledge back to the business for future consumption.

Knowledge loss due to poor content management is typical of a small business where staff growth starts stepping from less than 20 employees to bordering on 100. As this growth occurs, employees naturally start forming groups and start storing their digital works in a location where the content shares a common operational goal. People within these groups wage wars on file ownership, endlessly duplicating content. What seems like brilliant folder naming schemes at the time are quickly forgotten, locking potential knowledge away under layers of festering bad practices.

Consider the text content that precedes your current reading position in this post. Can you describe it accurately so that all future readers will know what it contains? Can you condense this description into an accurate directory path & file name combination? If I told you that my name was Fred, could you decide where this document could be stored?

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… yeah I might have thought the same. Turns out Fred’s supervisor Bill wants the document to be placed in the “Enterprise Data Storage” directory so that it can be easily found later.  Oh, you can’t find that directory, don’t you know anything?

Bill’s wife likes TLA’s and once had a discussion with him about the benefits of using TLA’s to shorten the length of directory paths… the document needs to go into the “EDS Facts” directory (sorry Queensland Health). But what should it be called? Well that’s easy, it needs a file name of “We need to implement this.doc”.

If it takes that much thought to originally classify a document into your content storage system, your business will never realise the value of it’s knowledge. If you are a business owner, this should scare you. Your business will be forever paying the wages of brilliant people who will be doing the same work as the brilliant person before them. Some businesses, especially those in the public sector, don’t realise this until it is too late. Imagine the effort duplication that happens when 70,000+ people attempt to collaborate on documents with an archaic served folder structure.

So back to the first block of text. What exactly is it all about? We need to define something to describe the text.

You already thought of some text to describe it? Description: Small businesses waste money by not harnessing their content. Knowledge Management is key to small business success.

There were some really key words in there right? Keywords: Knowledge Management, Content, Knowledge, Practices, Small Business, SharePoint.

And you shortened that description into a file name? Title: Structuring Content to Create Knowledge

That’s one way of getting it done, a natural classification system that allows the content author to tell a story about the knowledge that they are trying to pass on for future consumption; are these practices universally applicable?

To answer that question, how did you stumble upon this post? Was it luck? Did you go looking through Fred’s folders? No… you found an item amongst millions that was targeted to a specific audience for future consumption. This item was targeted through effective use of Metadata. This item is content turned into knowledge after being presented to you by a trusted source, your friend Google.

Once your business possesses digital knowledge it can start documentation of how this knowledge applies to it’s operations & practices.

But how do you even begin this process if all you have is documents stored on a file share? That’s where a product like SharePoint comes into play; but a product is only as good as the work that’s done configuring it.

If your business isn’t harnessing it’s knowledge we should talk. Email us or drop a comment below.