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Is this something you’ve come across?

You’re in a meeting with a client, but then something unexpected pops up, and you only have 10 minutes to resolve it. To do this, you need information. You know that it’s somewhere in the quality manual or your organisation’s knowledge base, but before you can find and open the document, your time is almost up. So you simply rely on what you already know, and remind yourself to check it better next time.

Why is everything still in documents hidden within the intranet, and only accessible using a computer?

Lots of steps are needed to reach just a small piece of information. In our rapidly-changing society, we are increasingly discovering how important it is for us to be able to consult information in real-time. Google allows us to search and find answers to questions in just a few seconds, without having to go through lots of different steps. Why then, do we professionals still have to do so much work to get to the right answer in our workplace?

Fewer documents, more content

Organisations invest heavily in providing information in quality documents, manuals, procedures and protocols. The aim is to avoid reinventing the wheel, repeating errors made by others, and wasting time by searching for information or expertise. To meet the information needs of their employees, organisations are going to have to offer more and more information in the form of content rather than documents. This is content that can be accessed via the social intranet on any device, anywhere, anytime.


It all seems very simple, and actually it is. It does mean that organisations must abandon outdated ‘document thinking’ in these areas. Look at things from the user’s perspective; what do they want to know, and how can you best offer this information? In fact, go a step further; give the user the opportunity to enrich the content.


Embrace developed a system for a healthcare client which answers this. About 1,200 documents from the knowledge database and quality manual, including protocols, work instructions and other quality documents, were analysed. Then around a hundred topics were defined which were frequently searched by users, such as hygiene, malaria, and leave. These topics were rewritten in frameworks (requirements that you must fulfil meet in your work), FAQs and answers, supplemented with a few documents. As a result, the organisation managed to reduce the original 1,200 documents to just 250. These were posted in the knowledge base on the social intranet. Each page has a knowledge holder, and the option to post responses. This gives everyone the opportunity to leave practical tips and responses to colleagues. The resulting dialogue allows everyone to make changes to ‘official’ documents. Everybody’s knowledge is available to all via the social section of the knowledge base.

So, what does it all deliver?

You’re in a meeting with a client, but then something unexpected pops up and you only have 10 minutes to resolve it. To do this, you need information. You grab your smartphone, type the theme you’re looking for more information about, or you ask a question. You are then directed to a topic page with the answer to your question, and you still have 8 minutes left to help your client.