20130711-155143.jpgA recent TED talk by Renny Gleeson on “the story of a page not found” got me thinking. When we land on a website’s “404 page not found” error message, we get upset and wonder why the website administrator would allow such a thing to happen. We also tend to expect that hitting the “send feedback” button will solve the problem in an hour or so. Unfortunately, this is not the case with finding knowledge within your organization, even after traditional knowledge management initiatives have ended.

Do you find in your day-to-day job, when you need information and knowledge, you end up going from application to application and then to Google, asking the same question, only to get results not relevant to your query? Sometimes, I just go to my friend Johnny – who knows everything – most of the time; but when even he doesn’t know, he’ll suggest I try the applications and website searches I’ve already tried. And then he’ll suggest I try Bill, who then tries Jane. And so on and so on it goes. (Knowledge management programs just don’t seem to work – and I would say it’s because knowledge can’t be managed.)

Why do we accept this? Why do we continue this inefficient, frustrating and wasteful cycle of search? We just go on our way and accept that we don’t have the information needed to complete daily tasks. Some studies even say that 40% of people pass on misinformation to give them a feeling that the task was completed. Is this the way to run a business? Is that the result of knowledge management?

In many cases, the information actually exists, but knowledge workers aren’t aware it exists or don’t know where to find it. Coveo helps organizations bring together the collective knowledge of your information ecosystem, so that contextual content can be found and used. And when something is not found, it can identify what is missing with confidence, allowing people to take action and fix the issue, versus simply ignoring it. Is this enterprise search or knowledge management transformation?

I’m taking a stand. Let’s stamp out corporate 404 – information not found. Are you with me?