5 Reasons Why New Product and Packaging Development Needs Their Own Knowledge Management System

Knowledge management (KM) systems have been adopted by both large and small companies.  Enterprise KM systems include Microsoft’s SharePoint, SAP, Oracle, IBM’s ECM, Docuware, Alero Technology, and Huddle.com.  These idea management software leaders provide companies with the advantages of centralized document storage, retrieval, management and backup. KM systems make information easier to find and access quickly, increasing sharing, collaboration, and capturing institutional knowledge.  Management consulting companies, such as Arthur D. LIttle (ADL), Newlogic, Accenture, KPMG, and Boston Consulting Group (BCG) are involved in the selection and integration of their clients’ knowledge management systems. These systems promise to lower cost, increase productivity, reduce redundant work, retain intellectual property, reduce time-to-market, and improve day-to-day decision-making.

However, there are five reasons why scientific R&D, consumer R&D, industrial designers, engineers and innovators shouldn’t use any of the enterprise knowledge management systems.

1: They Don’t Work with Visual Content:

KM systems are designed for the storage and retrieval of alpha-numeric data, such as spreadsheet, reports and documents.  These systems are text based and don’t have proper visual interfaces for creative professionals.  Searching for a sketch on an enterprise knowledge management services requires clicking through folders full of files, forced to take the time to open each one in a viewer, or even more slowly in it’s native program.  No enterprise systems provides an optimized image viewer to quickly scan through sketches, drawings and pictures in order to rapidly find what you were looking for.

2: You Can’t Collaborate:

Collaboration is a very important aspect of the design and innovation process.  Most KM systems provide the ability to share and make modifications to files.  But they don’t allow for true collaboration by collecting input and feedback.  What they’re missing is a way of providing constructive comments, suggestions for improvements or additional development (such as a patent or prototype) to a design concept.

3: Enterprise systems take too long to implement:

Implementing an enterprise knowledge management system is a slow and complex process that can take as long as a couple of years to complete.  Missed deadlines, and going over budget are common problems with KM system implementation.  Yet, design and innovation groups move quickly and are constantly evolving.  Often, by the time a knowledge management system is up and running, it’s likely the design/innovation group’s needs have evolved, and the KM system’s architecture may no longer be an efficient solution.  A specialized KM option for new product development departments can provide nearly instant implementation, allowing companies to nearly immediately realize their benefit.

4: They’re Difficult, Confusing, and Time-Consuming:

Knowledge management systems are rarely configured to meet the unique needs of design, engineering and new product development.  It can be challenging for innovative groups to get the attention they need to configure an enterprise-wide KM system to work efficiently for their process, work flows and project management.  Too often designers that use KM systems find that the system adds steps, consumes time, and increases costs.

5: They don’t work with suppliers and outsourcing:

Enterprise knowledge management systems are walled off to the outside world, designed to capture the company’s information.  Yet, new product development and commercialization often relies on outsourced suppliers.  A KM system for new product development would capture all company knowledge, including knowledge created by suppliers.

There are many reasons why designers, engineers, innovators and creative professionals still hesitate to use enterprise knowledge management systems.  Enterprise KM systems were never intended to address the unique needs of design, engineering and innovation departments, negating the efficiency and productivity advantages captured by other departments.  Product designers should use an enterprise content management and knowledge management system created specifically for their needs.  Visual search, meta-data, commenting, sharing, collaboration, in-line presentations, supplier integration and more is only available in one service developed specifically for new product development; www.innoanalytics.com


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