Erik Evlinger has been a Product Owner for ComAround Knowledge™ for five years. ComAround Knowledge™ is an advanced Knowledge Management Software that is built on Microsoft technology and is KCS v6 Verified, which means it is verified in accordance with the best practice method Knowledge-Centered Service (KCS®). ComAround Knowledge™ is used by hundreds of organizations worldwide, including Disney Studios, Volvo Cars, Electrolux, and Marsh & McLennan. ComAround Knowledge™ is mentioned in several Gartner reports and ComAround was named Microsoft Partner of the Year 2019.
This article looks at Erik’s thoughts regarding his role as a Product Owner, Knowledge Management Software, and his vision for the near future.
Describe your role as a Product Owner at ComAround
I am responsible for prioritizing requirements from the market and our business, turning them into actionable user stories, planning product development, and communicating back to the market. I also have a strategic responsibility whereby I own the vision for ComAround Knowledge™ and for how our product aligns with the overall vision and goals for the company, ComAround.
What do you appreciate most about being a Product Owner?
I appreciate being part of the product development process, from ideas to finished feature, as well as working closely with our system development team, the business side, and of course our customers. In particular, I love seeing how ideas are turned into customer value.
What is the purpose of ComAround Knowledge™ and who is it suited to?
ComAround Knowledge™ is a Knowledge Management Software that is designed to help organizations work more efficiently by collecting and sharing knowledge, which ultimately saves them time and money. It’s also about helping our customers to accelerate their digitalization and deliver a great customer experience online that leads to increased sales and an overall shift to online. ComAround Knowledge™ is best suited to larger organizations where knowledge is used for an internal audience or for external customers within digital customer support. It’s a bonus if organizations have an understanding of the Knowledge Management process, but this is not essential. My colleagues at ComAround and I are all knowledge experts and assist our customers in setting up the process.
What would you say is the most important strength of ComAround Knowledge™?
The most important strength is how well ComAround Knowledge™ adheres to the Knowledge Management process and the method of KCS®, Knowledge-Centered Service. There are several strong features, such as the search, data, and language capabilities, which all come together to provide an outstanding piece of software for Knowledge Management. In addition, the openness of the software allows you to connect knowledge to wherever it’s needed. We don’t force the user to stay in our system.
How do you ensure that ComAround develops the right features for customer needs?
Firstly, we use the product vision to make choices about what to build and what not to build for ComAround Knowledge™. Our vision for ComAround Knowledge™ guides every new development project.
Our most important source of information is our customers. I communicate personally with our customers and prospective customers every day to find out what they want and need in order to succeed. We never start a large development project without having a strategic customer backing it up. I bring together smaller groups of customers to get their input at an early stage in the process.
Using data is a great way to make decisions. We analyze data from user interactions and navigation flows to identify patterns and behaviors that we can improve. We also use data analytics to see what features are being used the most in order to get an idea of where we should focus our development efforts.
Several customers are implementing chat bots right now to automate and improve customer support and service. How can ComAround help?
We’re seeing increased demand for chatbots from our customers and prospective customers. More and more organizations are launching chatbots and there is an insatiable need to feed these chatbots with relevant knowledge. Building a chatbot using the different frameworks and technologies from vendors like Microsoft, AWS, and Google is not too difficult, but the challenge is building a chatbot that offers value for its target audience. The key is to connect the chatbot to your KMS and your conversational AI and to data from the use of knowledge to make sure that it’s fed with up-to-date and relevant knowledge to make it smart. We’re involved in chatbot projects using all kinds of different technologies like Microsoft, AWS, and Google as well as a handful of smaller vendors, to help organizations get more value out of their chatbot projects by incorporating knowledge and data into the bot’s mind and vocabulary.
What is your vision for ComAround Knowledge™ in the near future?
My vision is to transform Knowledge Management from something you do, to something that is incorporated into everything you do. I meet many clients and people from different organizations that see Knowledge Management as a process owned by IT, but Knowledge Management is a central process that should be included in every department, through the whole organization. Using knowledge as a central component not only helps you to improve your employee and customer experience, but also gives you important business data that helps you rebuild and develop products and services without the guesswork.
Exceptional Knowledge Management is about automating the workflow that connects incoming questions with relevant knowledge and that tells you what knowledge you need to create or update answers to unanswered questions. This is where your personal expertise and knowledge are connected to the organization’s need for knowledge. It becomes a community where everyone is involved in the process and encouraged to contribute to the improvement of the knowledgedatabase.