All successful businesses, big or small, have one thing in common – Extensive business knowledge. In big organizations this knowledge can reside in entire teams, or units. In small organizations such knowledge is restricted to the people who founded the business, and maybe a few key employees that drive company strategy. In either case, scaling and sustaining organizational growth might be difficult, if the knowledge discovered, collated, and curated by the team is not stored for future reference. And that is why it is important to have Knowledge Repositories.
Before going any further, let us understand what knowledge means to a business. Business knowledge is a sum of skills, experiences, capabilities and expert insight, which you collectively create and rely on, in your business.
Knowledge can exist in many forms, but can be broadly categorized into:
- Tacit knowledge – Personal know-how or skills rooted in experience or practice (Eg. Skill, Competency, Experience).
- Explicit knowledge – Articulated knowledge recorded in documents, memos, databases, etc.
- Embedded knowledge – skills and understanding locked in processes, products, rules or organizational culture (Eg. Informal Routines, Codes of Conduct, Organizational Ethics).
Your understanding of what customers want, combined with your workers’ know-how, can be regarded as your knowledge base. Storing, searching, accessing and using this knowledge in the right way is together known as Knowledge Management (KM).
At its core, KM has important implications on decision making in an organization. Effective KM supports the process of decision making and strategic planning and makes it possible to create, transfer and apply knowledge at different levels in a coherent and productive way.
All of this is sounds great, and we can look up to major organizations such as Microsoft, Amazon, etc. for how they manage knowledge. However, implementing this in small businesses might create some challenges.
To do it right, a small business should
- Start with thorough research to find the right tools for knowledge management
- Implement these tools, without shying away or getting intimidated by new technologies
- Thorough documentation goes a long way in Knowledge Management such as developing SOPs and guidelines of workflow.
- Lastly, simple creative measures such as mentorship programs and discussions ensure effective flow of knowledge sharing and develop awareness amongst employees.
All the efforts of Knowledge Management are pointless if it is not safeguarded and backed up. A surprisingly unsettling statistic shows that 60% of companies that lose their data will shut down within 6 months of the data disaster. In addition to replacement time and irretrievable data, catastrophic data loss can destroy client confidence, leading them to take their business elsewhere. Retrieving the data requires an embarrassing explanation, and lost data could even lead to lawsuits.
Given the risk loss of data poses, it is important for every business to have a reliable backup solution. If your business has physical servers, backing up these entire systems are critical. As a small business owner, this should not be a big task once you have a proper plan. Backups can be created using two basic methods: file level and image level. File level is perfect for backing up files and folders on your file server. Image-level backups are perfect for when you want to protect an entire system at once. Backups can be done in full, incremental or differential manner. A right backup strategy would also include backups such as Cloud Backup, Encryption of Data In-Transit, 3-2-1 Strategy, and Testing Backups.
Knowledge Management helps you run your business more efficiently, decrease business risks and exploit opportunities to the fullest. So, treat and safeguard your organizational knowledge as carefully as you would a sack of diamonds. Because it is every bit as valuable or more.
HTTPS (HyperText Transfer Protocol Secure) is a protocol for encrypting information and then exchanging it in a secure way.
With HTTPS if anyone in between the sender and the recipient could open the message, they still could not understand it. Only the sender and the recipient, who know the “code,” can decipher the message.
The computer at each end uses a document called an “SSL Certificate” containing character strings that are the keys to their secret “codes.” SSL certificates contain the computer owner’s “public key.”
The owner shares the public key with anyone who needs it. Other users need the public key to encrypt messages to the owner. The owner sends those users the SSL certificate, which contains the public key. The owner does not share the private key with anyone.
The app focuses on making things simple, so companies that have never done learning before this can also get started in no time.
Game-based learning platform QuoDeck has announced the launch of learning app builder QuoDeck Express.
Targeted at small and growing businesses, including startups, QuoDeck Express allows these businesses to participate in the mobile learning revolution that the industry has witnessed over the past few years. The company aims to sign up over a million users within the next 12 months.
“We observed a significant increase in demand from small and growing businesses, as training has become a critical function for business growth,” said Kamalika Bhattacharya, co-founder of QuoDeck. “These companies need to leverage technology to impart training and connect with their employees,” she added.
‘Express’ was conceived as a product to help companies become better places to work. “Learning is often cited as one of the reasons people move between organizations, so there is a tangible benefit that products like Express can drive for small and growing businesses -from higher productivity and revenues to lower attrition and faster onboarding,” she said
The app focuses on making things simple, so companies that have never done learning before this can also get started in no time. Not only can they add their existing content through presentations and videos, but can also use games and themes to make them interesting.
QuoDeck is currently supporting learning at over 35 global companies including Unilever, Star India, eBay, SBI Life, Aditya Birla Group and Axis Bank, and has close to half a million learners on its platforms. The Express platform offers nearly all the major functionalities of a full-fledged LMS – Design customization, story creation system, learning games library, quizzes, and surveys and reports.
The global e-learning market, valued at over $200 billion, has seen a couple of large shifts that have led rapid growth, – a shift in device to mobile and a growing proportion of millennials and generation Z in the workforce. In India alone, this trend is evident with over 45% of the workforce being between 25-39 years of age, providing a huge opportunity for the right training product.
By Rica Bhattacharyya, ET Bureau
This article was first published in The Economic Times
One of the major challenges HR and L&D professionals face is getting the employees to get interested in the learning programs. Games or rather game-based learning can help here. This article will focus on how a company can market its so-called boring learning programs and make them interesting.
Using Games To Market Your Learning Program
Getting your employees interested in your learning program is a herculean task. You won’t find a lot of people coming up to you and asking about your next eLearning course. Why should anyone? It’s not the next iPhone. Or the next Avengers movie.
So, the solution here is not just creating the most engaging course ever, but also making it sound like it is as interesting as the next iPhone or the next Avengers movie.
Now imagine these 2 scenarios:
Scenario 1: You’re standing in a meeting room and you say this—Raise your hands if you want to go through my next eLearning course!
Scenario 2: You’re standing in a meeting room and you say this—Raise your hands if you want to play my next learning game!
Which announcement would generate more curiosity? A game would definitely have the upper hand. As a planet, we play 3 billion hours of games every week. Why not use this to transform your training program into the next iPhone!
Games As A Medium For Marketing
Games have been used for marketing for years now. Go to the Play Store and search for ‘Justice League games’ and you will know what I am talking about. Games are exciting, competitive, and provide an immersive experience.
The first thing you should do is move to game-based learning. Stop thinking about your course in terms of a presentation with images and tabs. Think of it as a game, where the learner must find the hidden treasure or kill the demon, and the learning content will help him achieve this objective. Add a storyline and let the assessments appear in the form of learning games. Now you have an engaging and exciting game-based learning course ready. Is that all? Target achieved? Not at all. This is just the beginning.
Think Like A Marketer
Stop thinking about your course as a learning manager and start thinking like a marketer. You’re no longer marketing a course, but an exciting game. Get your marketing department involved as well. How would you go about it? Plan your marketing campaigns in 2 phases:
Phase I – Pre-Launch Campaigns
Start with a teaser campaign with catchy copy, like ‘The Lost Treasure. Coming soon!’. Send out emailers or put out posters with cryptic messaging. Plan this for a week or two before your course launch and start attracting eyeballs. Make sure you use game-related visuals or theme to put this out. They have to connect back to your game so your audience can relate to it when you reveal your course.
Have you seen these short videos featuring the characters from the popular game—Clash of Clans? Here’s one of them. These entertain you and generate curiosity about the game. Create short videos like this and share with your employees. These will help you with the much-needed virality. You don’t have to create rich animated videos like this, but you can create simple ones. There are a lot of tools out there which can help you get these created or one of your training partners can help you with this.
Quiz Contest Using Learning Game
A lot of products offer samples to provide a first-hand experience to the customers. It is one of the most effective strategies. Create a quick learning game which you have used in your course and plan out a quiz contest using the same. Reward the top players with vouchers or certificates to encourage word-of-mouth publicity. Plan this as a trailer and inform your players to watch out for the larger game.
Phase II – Post-Launch Campaigns
Leaderboards And Rewards
Once your learners start playing your course, monitor it, and look out for the early adopters. These are the first ones to access your course. Reward them for this feat. Do create a leaderboard featuring the top 5 or 10 players. Share this within the organization to recognize the top players.
Have you ever bought a happy meal from McDonald’s? Remember the free toy which you got? It is one of the major reasons why people buy a happy meal. Giveaways have a huge recall value and do encourage virality. See if you could plan for a small giveaway, like a keychain or coaster which features one of the characters from the game.
Remember, just because you have put a lot of effort to create the best eLearning course, does not mean others would be interested in it as well. You have to communicate it in a way which your audience would find it interesting. So, put your marketing hat on and get started!
By Deepak Gawas, Head- Partnerships at QuoDeck
What is the right Equity sharing for a startup?
If anything, it is low. The key promoter should typically be holding 60-70% prior to external equity infusion. A 40% stake will dilute him down to indifference levels with any kind of funding coming in.
Let me also make a thought clear on this. The key promoter is not one who gets his position for coming up with an idea. He had to be taking maximum risk in the business. In terms of lower salary, efforts put on a daily basis, leading fund raising efforts, ability to do multiple roles and above all promoter responsibilities including being responsible for statutory risks like being legally accountable for things like permissions and liabilities. Ideas are cheap, living them expensive.
Advice aside, here is some hard number feedback for you. The employee pool at 20% is high. The norm is 6-9% typically. Also, 10% is too high or too low for business alliances, depending on what kind of alliances you are talking about. Provide for a 15% investor pool instead for some angels, if you are looking to tap them.
Typically, such complicated equity distributions are done once you have a business which is operational so my advice would be to not burn much additional time on iterating it. Rather think about the business. If it succeeds, 5% is a huge amount to own.
By Arijit Lahiri, Co-Founder of QuoDeck
As India celebrates its 72nd Independence Day, Yahoo Lifestyle reached out to seven women to ask them what freedoms Indian women are still fighting for today.
Ep69: Arijit & Kamalika, Co-founders of QuoDeck – Meet the husband & wife team disrupting the traditional learning industry…One game at a time!
Both share great insights on life as an entrepreneur. The setbacks, the fun, building a team. Getting out of the comfort zone. Management styles, Quitting corporate life after 15 years and how they first met! So please enjoy the show.
To listen to the Podcast.
Service-driven startups like cab hailing apps, e-commerce apps, delivery and logistics enterprises, etc. thrive on very specific yet highly competitive ecosystems.
Most startups work towards the one thing which matters most – Survival. In the crucial early years, startups are consumed by solving critical challenges like getting their product/service off the ground, creating differentiation with consumers, hiring the right team and raising capital. Most times this leaves no bandwidth for anything else and lower order priorities like training usually take a backseat – and, rightly so. Most startups can do without structured learning for a very long time, and instead, driving a culture of ‘figuring it out’ and self-learning can help teams remain cutting-edge and current. However, if you are a particular type of startup, then learning is actually quite critical to the success of your business model.
1. Startups with large field forces
Startups that depend on a large field force to either sell or deliver their product/service to customers, need them to be knowledgeable and be skilled at selling. But, with large field forces come issues such as high attrition and the need for training their replacements faster. As a startup, balanced on the thin edge of efficient capital consumption and delivering a world-class brand experience to customers, these costs can prove very dear.
Startup founders typically, expect field force managers to teach incoming employees on-the-job or through 1-2 day-long classroom sessions, to equip them with all the knowledge regarding the product/service, its differentiation, processes, and skills related to selling and issue handling. That can be a lot to absorb in such a short time span! However, what startups don’t realize is that the willingness to commit this time to train may differ from manager to manager as may the ability to train, resulting in a lopsided field force where some are trained to deliver better than others. And one of the fastest ways to kill a brand is inconsistent brand experience with customers.
Such startups can benefit enormously from having structured learning and onboarding programs, that incoming field force is mandatorily required to go through in their initial few days. With advancing learning technology, such structured programs are now delivered with ease through mobile devices with micro-learning that is consumed on-the-go. Ultimately, the cost of such a program is offset by the benefits of consistency of brand experience resulting in growth and scale.
2. Startups who run an ecosystem
Service-driven startups like cab hailing apps, e-commerce apps, delivery and logistics enterprises, etc. thrive on very specific yet highly competitive ecosystems. Features such as one-day delivery, pick-up & drop services, returns, and home trial add enormous pressures on logistics teams in startups. Conversely, the differentiating factor is not always the product/service itself, but the quality of hospitality and customer care provided, which is actually delivered by the ecosystem.
Compared to the previous type of startup, the need for training this ecosystem comes from two fronts – Process and Brand Experience. Ecosystem partners deal with both major stakeholders involved – with the startup (seller) and the customer (buyer). Understanding processes which may include critical aspects like authentication, cash handling, timely delivery and pickup, returns etc. is imperative for ecosystem partners. And every partner of this ecosystem doubles up as a brand ambassador, therefore they need to understand the brand experience they are supposed to deliver.
If such an ecosystem is at the center of a startup’s business model, then founders need to ensure that the ecosystem represents and communicates the brand experience founders have envisaged. This, however, cannot be done quickly and is a long-term process. Startups need to analyze the role of each partner, design training programs accordingly and ensure the same is communicated to them on a regular basis.
3. Startups with complex product/service offerings
Startups with complex product/service offerings such as technology products, fin-tech or medical tech have a unique requirement. Their offering is typically based on a thorough understanding of the domain and the issues with existing products/services, which can be sometimes fairly complex subject matter. Not only historical context, it is important for such companies to keep abreast of the advances and latest developments in their domain. Sometimes, the requirement can be as simple as knowing new regulations in the industry that affect your product/service.
As such startups grow and hire, whether it is sales and marketing, product development, Operations or HR, translating this context and understanding is important and needs to be done continually. Such startups would benefit from building up a repository of knowledge that is available for reference or learning as needed.
This article was first published on BWDisrupt