Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Google - the next player in contact centre knowledge management?

I was looking through some material about Google Docs today as I'd been asked if any of it might be relevant to a customer I was working with.

The thing that stuck me was that while Google Docs probably weren't suitable (yet), the implications of the Google's search capability could be quite profound in the area of contact centre knowledge management. There's been speculation that Google could go in this direction for a while (see, for example, the UK technology site ZDNet writing in 2006) and obviously if knowledge management is seen as a search function then Google is an obvious answer.

Importantly, knowledge management in call centre is not just a search function. It can be about information categorisation, business processes and making available information other agents have learnt from experience. Yet none of these are things Google can't do or won't be able to do in the near future. Furthermore, the Kana and eGain type of application with a separate knowledge management database and proprietary approach to knowledge classification looks in danger of being made redundant but web 2.0 ideas like wikis and the ever increasing use of XML tags for data.

Despite this, I'd still recommend clients to look at knowledge management applications as a solution for specific issues. Where they white-label the contact centre for example (so agents handle many different processes depending on which brand they are representing) or where web-chat or e-mail is a consideration and knowledge management can provide an element of scripting and agent assistance. In these examples though, knowledge managment is providing more value than just a searchable repository.

Google isn't there yet, but I would not be surprised if knowledge management experienced the same trends as the rest of the application sector and a bout of consolidation.


Elizabeth Marsh said...

Hi Alex,

I'm researching best practice in call centre intranets and am on the look out for companies who may be interested in participating (they get the report in return for participation). I just wondered if you've come across anyone on your travels who may be interested?

Kind regards,
Elizabeth Marsh

Alex said...

Hi Elizabeth,
I haven't recently been asked much about call cnetre intranets (though knowledge management & e-mail response have been recent areas of considerable customer interest). I will ask some of the customers I'm dealing with and point them in your direction if they're interested.

Best wishes,