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Knowledge, a more perfect union

Last we met for our How to Cost Justify Your Social Knowledge Network Needs series, we talked about how disparate information silos can compromise an organization's productivity. Today, we're moving on to discuss how merging those silos into one repository can benefit organizations.

As CIO's and other information professionals are tasked with lowering costs, one obvious target is reducing the number of systems to manage information or reducing existing footprints and augmenting with lower cost solutions. Each system typically has recurring costs associated with annual maintenance or subscription fees, hardware support and IT overhead costs.

Selecting the right systems to consolidate can be a very difficult task. Focusing on those systems that are used in a redundant manner is one approach, and selecting those systems that are used inappropriately, where ROI is lower, helps narrow the selection further.

Reducing the footprint (i.e. number of user licenses or instance licenses) and augmenting it with a lower cost system to replace certain areas of functionality or workflow can be a successful strategy.

Consider a DM (document management) system used by a marketing department to manage workflows of pricing proposals, white papers, data sheets, etc. The consumers of the final, vetted artifacts are the company's sales force. Currently, the company uses its expensive DM system to both manage the workflows and archive the final product.

However, the sales force needs only have access to the final, vetted content. By reducing the footprint of the DM system to those users who extract the most value from it (the marketing department), and augmenting with a lower cost archival knowledge management solution, the company can lower its overall IT costs and still ensure the same or better productivity levels for its staff.

Table 1 highlights the cost savings that can be achieved through careful downsizing of an existing DM system footprint and redistribution of expenditures to a lower-cost social knowledge management solution. (Click to enlarge.)

Those workers that are the heaviest users of the DM system continue to have access, whereas those that are simply interested in the archival and information publishing uses of it are moved to the social knowledge management system. Productivity is maintained, but at a much lower annual cost.

SKN Value Prop: Consolidation of disparate information silos is key to lowering operational costs.

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