1. Provide tools within current workflows: Rather than pulling consultants away from their main tools (e.g. PowerPoint, Tableau), firms
are integrating new solutions to fit into current workflows
2. Seek performance: Consultants need to effectively find knowledge pieces; firms are heavily investing in search solutions, tuning
them to their specific needs and operations
3. Focus on security: Regardless of potential productivity gains,
content security is a gate-keeper and all solutions must comply with
strict standards that may preclude cloud solutions
While central to the digital movement, content systems struggle to unleash the value of PowerPoint assets
At all the firms we spoke with, knowledge is captured in PowerPoint files and, with most firms, stored
on SharePoint. Large firms had a central team responsible for knowledge curation and smaller organizations
simply spread the responsibility to their consultants.
However, SharePoint and other content management
systems (CMS) provide a general solution that fails to
amplify the value of PowerPoint slides.
CONSULTANTS OFTEN COMPLAINED:
1. Searching the CMS simply took too many clicks and broke their
workflow. Just navigating a CMS is cumbersome
2. Flipping through PowerPoint files to find a specific slide is extremely tedious and akin to finding a needle in a haystack
3. Text-based results are hard to navigate, especially when PowerPoint content is visual by nature
The changing consulting operating model and the
sheer volume of PowerPoint content heighten the urgency of solving these pain points. Our estimates suggest
that firms have over 20 curated slides per employee—a
20,000 employee firm would have about 500,000 curated slides. When running a pilot with 100 consultants,
we also found that users had an average of 40,000 slides
on their computer. Five users had upwards of 200,000
slides and two had over 500,000 slides.
While SharePoint and other CMS may not be designed specifically for PowerPoint content, they remain
central to consulting operations and won’t be replaced.
As such, a solution must fit tightly, be purpose-driven,
and augment the value of traditional content systems.
Slide-level search can unlock the value of Power-
Point knowledge and seamlessly fits within the themes
of digital knowledge transformation
Solving for the consultants’ complaints leads to a
slide-level search solution that digs into PowerPoint
files to reveal the individual slides that best match what
the user is looking for. These solutions can search across
your entire repository, from the firm knowledge source
to your local folders, and locate specific slides. Typi-
cally, the content of each slide is searched along with
any metadata associated with it (e.g. industry, function).
Searches return preview images of slides that best
match your search terms. This gives the user the opportunity to scan the results and quickly and efficiently
decide which slides best meet their needs.
These slide search or slide library solutions can fit
within the digital transformation themes:
Slide search solutions can be browser-based but they
tend to be cumbersome to use, which ultimately impacts
adoption. Ideally, the tool should work within Power-
Point allowing users to search, preview and then insert
slides into their presentation with a single click.
Many consulting firms have dedicated a significant
amount of energy into their CMS and knowledge curation process. As such, slide-search solutions more seamlessly connect with a CMS, retrieving slide content and
available metadata all while respecting KM processes.
Search relevancy is the most important factor. While
scanning through preview images is more forgiving
than text, users still need to find their slide within the
first 10 to 20 results. Typical enterprise search technologies can achieve this: word stemming (e.g. run vs running), synonyms, Boolean operators, weighing different components. However, ML and other AI techniques
may further improve search relevancy.
While the shift to cloud is not new, large firms will
prefer an on-premise slide library solution, allowing
them more control over their valuable knowledge assets. Vendors need to provide an on-premise offer, but
also need support processes in place to manage software
update and change requests.
From single sign-on to content abuse mitigation, slide
search tools also need to align with consulting security
measures. Connections to authentication systems must
allow users to be assigned to groups to control access.
Strong solutions will fold into content download counters
that ensure employees are not abusing their access.
With slide search, consulting firms and consultants
are maximizing the value of their knowledge assets
and driving productivity.
Kartik Sundar is a former consultant from Bain & Company’s Atlanta and London offices. He is now a co-founder at TeamSlide,
a PowerPoint-focused slide library and search solution.