This article appeared previously on CreditUnions.com. However, based on the author's insights and the topic's relevance we are reprinting the article for readers who may have missed it.
In today’s networked world, organizations that wish to reap the benefits of
material improvements in efficiency must set up a new model for managing the
collective intelligence about their organization. The first step is grasping
the concept of centralized, collective intelligence.
Collective intelligence about an organization is traditionally stored in the
brains of its employees, and in static documentation such as policy manuals,
procedures, and marketing declarations. In most cases, both employees and customers
have to rely on the recall power of other people, since finding and absorbing
what is available in static records is often inefficient.
In today’s competitive environment, organizations who can quickly deliver intelligence
to their employees and customers have a competitive advantage. First, it is
far easier to train employees on how to find information than how to retain
information. Second, digital intelligence allows an organization to create self
service transactions with the marketplace. Conversations about the organization,
completing transactions, or capturing the marketplace have become electronically
enhanced, so that the message reaches further and costs less in investment and
Until now, most efforts to digitize intelligence have been limited to one department
or situation at a time, without an overall strategic foundation for all organizational
interaction. A web site reaches out to the marketplace, intranets are designed
to reach in to employees and examiners, and data processing systems store intelligence
about processing transactions. New concepts about self service are forcing the
coordination of these different sources, to give customers a better insight
into why and how they should do business with one organization versus another.
Organizations that take a strategic approach to centralizing and digitizing
all corporate intelligence can achieve gains over organizations that use a piecemeal
approach. A strategic approach often involves redesigning and setting new goals
for resources, tactical approaches, and the long-term view of the company. Obviously
this is not an easy task. Start by evaluating against the following standards:
- The Content: How much corporate intelligence has been collected as digital
- The Flexibility: Can the intelligence be delivered in a way that responds
directly to the situation at hand?
- The Network: Is the intelligence centralized so it can be used at all customer
- The Usage Rate: Is the intelligence presented in a way that it is trusted,
so that it is actually used?
These standards require plans for how to build and judge content that represents
the company’s vision, policies, procedures, and marketplace value. Content must
then be organized so that it can be delivered in response to variable situations
and conditions—like an interactive conversation, rather than just reading a
book. Networks need to be developed to have the greatest possible reach, and
testing and monitoring tools should be in place to evaluate and guarantee usage.
Tools and resources will be required to make this strategy a reality. Every
day new resources enter the market that help organizations move forward on these
What about your organization? Do you still rely on information that is static
or stored mostly in the experiences of your employees and leaders? Can you afford
to rely on intelligence gained through historical methods that are more expensive
to use than what your competitors are using?