What CIOs should do now in the crisis

The art of making perfect use of existing knowledge

Paul Caspers, CEO

The importance of knowledge in modern companies and organisations is growing explosively. Knowledge has mutated into the fourth production factor and is crucial for the overall value creation of many companies. However, despite many efforts at digitalization, getting hold of documented knowledge and using it effectively for fast and correct processing of business tasks is still an extremely arduous undertaking. Particularly against the background of a crisis with increasing importance, especially with regard to mobile access to knowledge, it is time to tap the source of business know-how hidden in mountains of documents—in a way that is appropriate to the task. With an appropriate IT strategy, CIOs can achieve two goals with one measure, namely significant cost savings and an acceleration of knowledge-based processes.

The processing of business tasks in companies today usually requires more or less extensive research. The required knowledge is typically not to be found in a single document but scattered in several documents on countless pages. It is stored and updated in a rapidly growing flood of documents of internal and external origin, whereby the documents are still managed in different formats in separate carrier systems. Although knowledge searches—whether for standards, import-export guidelines, safety regulations, guidelines, product manuals, support requests, instructions or whatever—are an integral part of the daily work of many people in companies, searching for and compiling the required information is still extremely time-consuming and laborious despite all the digitalization measures and advanced IT systems:

  • Users must search in several systems ("silos").
  • The documents stored there are available in different formats.
  • As a result of a search, all systems in the world will only return long lists of documents found. These documents—in individual cases comprising hundreds or thousands of pages—must be opened in the appropriate application and then laboriously searched further for relevant content. But if you are looking for knowledge, you are not looking for documents—but for answers to your questions.
  • Mobile—as it is becoming increasingly important today and especially now (in the home office or on the road), this knowledge provided in this way is certainly not. The loading of countless complete documents from the result lists often overtaxes the available line capacities. And even then the handling of original documents on smartphones is extremely complicated and impractical. What does not work well within a company becomes a complete show stopper in a crisis, when mobile access to knowledge is increasingly required.

So what is needed to overcome these problems outlined above, what is required for a seamless and effective exploitation of the documented knowledge available in the company? The requirements for a sustainable solution are:

  • Single Point of Truth: This refers to the preparation of documented knowledge in a way that allows easy access via a central portal. Knowledge has to be made available for all end devices in an optimized way, so that a standard browser is sufficient for access, as easy to use as a "big Kindle", with which I have all important contents available for immediate consumption, just like in a digital library. No silos, no starting of applications, no changing of user interfaces and application logic.
  • Mobile knowledge: Intelligent knowledge access must be possible on the move, content must be provided in such a way that it can also be conveniently consumed via Smarthone and at low bandwidth. In the best case, content should even be available offline.
  • It's time for answers: The most important point in all this is that search queries in the age of artificial intelligence must no longer be answered with stupid document hit lists. It's time for answers! Today, state-of-the-art AI technology makes it possible to answer search queries with a complete compilation of all important and relevant information. Modern systems provide complete, immediately usable and deeply linked excerpts for every research, with all information from any number of documents that are needed to complete a task.
  • Preserving knowledge: And there is another point that needs attention because the baby boomer generation is currently in the process of leaving our companies. Software can only be used to tap into existing knowledge in people's minds if it is documented in some form and then made accessible using suitable technologies. For this to happen in practice, however, this "contribution of knowledge" must be simple and effortless. For example, by simply releasing my local or wherever in the course of time collected documents and records for processing by a smart "chatbot for documents" with a click.

A solution with these features would have the following benefits:

  • Massive cost savings: The effort required to search for documented knowledge is reduced by more than 90%, per user—per search and on a daily basis. Extrapolated over the year and for the entire company, this results in enormous savings in the form of working time, which can then be better used for the actual tasks.
  • Less license costs: In some cases considerable license costs can be saved. This is because not every user needs access to all DMS/CMS and not every user needs complex applications for just reading content.
  • Fewer mistakes: An immediately usable complete compilation of all important information for a search also helps to avoid expensive errors. With long document hit lists, it is easy to overlook important information because you usually do not have the time—to search through all documents.
  • Acceleration of knowledge-based processes: If answers to questions are always delivered quickly and completely, operational processes are accelerated. The customer is served more quickly, the delivery arrives earlier at the shipping department, the product is finished in less time, and service is provided more quickly and satisfactorily. More output, faster reactions, higher quality ... what more could you want?
  • Learning organization: And if people can contribute their own knowledge simply by having a system process their collected documents at the push of a button and then learn from them and build knowledge bases - then the problem of retiring baby boomers, fluctuation and also the tapping of the knowledge of existing employees is also solved in principle.

A corresponding technology was created in recent years with the product Theum.

Theum® is AI-based software for easy access to documented corporate knowledge. Theum delivers everything important for any research in seconds - precisely extracted and clearly arranged in an immediately usable answer.


In the current crisis, companies do not want to undertake major transformations or introduce complex new systems. They focus on cost savings and the smooth operation of mission critical systems. But our economy not only has to save - it has to get better. After the crisis, nothing will be the same as before the crisis. Here, too, the solution described above fits the picture well:

  1. The introduction of this solution does not require any changes to existing systems, processes or applications.
  2. The system does not need to be trained - you only have to tell it once - where the content to be processed is located for defined subject areas.
  3. Users do not need to be trained. All that is required is the ability to use a browser.
  4. The system can be introduced "topic by topic" and then grow evolutionarily. This reduces complexity and risks.
  5. The system can be installed "in house" in your own data center or in the company's own cloud.
  6. And last but not least, the system helps to continuously save costs and massively accelerate knowledge-based processes.

Die in der Region Stuttgart ansässige Theum AG entwickelt KI-gestützte Software für einen intelligenten und wirksamen Zugang zu dokumentiertem Unternehmenswissen. Die Theum Software lernt aus Dokumenten und liefert zu jeder Recherche in Sekundenschnelle alles Wichtige - präzise extrahiert und übersichtlich zusammengestellt in einer sofort nutzbaren Antwort.

Theum wird von Unternehmen und Organisationen weltweit erfolgreich für das Wissensmanagement rund um Richtlinien, Normen, Verfahren, Dokumentationen, Ratgebern, Projektakten, Fachmitteilungen, Studien, Serviceinformationen, Risikomanagement u.a.m. eingesetzt.