EK’s Year in Review – 2023

As we open this new year, I’m happy to have an opportunity to reflect on 2023 and summarize some of EK’s key successes and milestones. For the tenth year in a row, EK grew, adding new customers across the public and private sectors, expanding accounts, and achieving more impact for our clients across an array of services and solutions. We’ve begun 2024 with the largest backlog of signed contracts in the company’s history, actually doubling last year’s previous record, and have just completed a momentous hiring surge, with another around the corner.

Our ability to deliver for our clients has never been stronger, with an enviable collection of global subject matter experts having joined the organization and new investments in internal training and development bearing fruit, we’re successfully delivering on some of the largest and most complex KM transformations, learning and content development initiatives, and knowledge graph and enterprise AI programs in the world. As other organizations are scrambling to jump on the artificial intelligence bandwagon, we’ve literally written the book on the confluence of knowledge, data, information, and technology as the foundation for enterprise AI, relying on our years of successful projects in the space to deliver enterprise-level solutions for our clients.

As I’ve done each year since starting this annual entry, I’ll use EK’s six guiding principles to further discuss the year in review.


PeopleOur number one asset is our people. We invest in them and ensure they possess the knowledge and resources to serve our clients to the highest degree possible.

There is a very clear and specific reason that our first guiding principle is People. We are where we are because of our team, their expertise, their unique personalities, and the relationships they’ve forged with each other and our clients. Of course we have a slew of methodologies, benchmarks, and other proprietary materials we rely on to deliver, but at the end of the day (and the year, in this case), we rise because of our team. Ensuring the team is set up for success, feels valued, and chooses to grow with EK is my most important responsibility as CEO. 

In years past, I’ve talked about many of the elements we’ve put in place to support our team. We’ve maintained and expanded all of the unique elements I’ve discussed in the past. Our continued learning benefit of $3,000 per year per employee was used at a higher rate than ever before, we added new modules and metrics to our year-long onboarding program called Kamp EK, and our Lifelong Learning benefit of $1,000 per year for non-work related development was used for some very cool new purposes including yoga, building a drone from scratch, landscape architecture, horseback riding, wine tasting, guitar lessons, and figure skating. The very best employees are those with a passion for learning, and EK’s support for that is an important and actionable way we demonstrate how we value our team and their unique interests.

In the office, we hosted yoga classes, massage days, pop-up juice parties, liquid nitrogen ice cream, wine tastings, and cocktail/mocktail making competitions. We also ran a few friendly competitions, ranging from a group-based steps challenge, a basil growing competition, a hydration challenge, and Know Shave Knowvember, all of which we translated to charitable giving from EK to a small collection of philanthropic partners. In total, we made nearly $30,000 of donations, yielding a real impact for our chosen organizations.

One notable addition to our cadre of programs this year was the creation of our Learning Cohorts. We recognized that our growth, coupled with the very unique expertise we possess, created a wonderful opportunity to further invest in the skills development of our team members. We already run a myriad of structured, more formal learning around a broad array of soft and hard skills, but we chose to supplement that with a less structured, more social learning opportunity. I first ran an eight-month long Learning Cohort on all things KM Strategy, Design, and Implementation. Meeting weekly, we actually used Making Knowledge Management Clickable as the loose teaching guide, covering a chapter per week, which I think was made more palatable when supplemented by the bottle of a good Napa Cabernet Sauvignon I brought each week. Leading that cohort was one of my favorite recent experiences, and it inspired additional Learning Cohorts led by others at EK on the topics of Project Management, Solution Architecture, and Ontology Design. The informal style of these sessions is a great match for our culture, and they’re a great way we’re modeling good KM behaviors and techniques of knowledge transfer and sharing as well.

As a result of these programs and our strong foundation and culture, EK was recognized by Inc. Magazine as one of the best workplaces in the United States for a fifth time! Below, I’ll share more about our national and global recognition, new wins, and other successes, but this win is always particularly meaningful to me as it is based on an anonymous survey of our employees, mirroring that the hard work we all put into making EK a great place to work, and for our people to thrive, continues to pay dividends.


Thought Leadership – We serve as leaders in the industry, sharing our knowledge and expertise, guiding the development of Agile knowledge and information practices, and supporting the community.

We hit a major milestone with our knowledge base this year, publishing our 500th article over the summer. The knowledge base includes a wide range of blogs, white papers, case studies, slide presentations, videos, and podcast episodes, all of which are free and open on our website. Collectively, they represent one of the deepest repositories of knowledge in our field. Our podcast, Knowledge Cast, was named the number one KM podcast for the third year in a row. At KMWorld, we tied last year’s record, delivering twelve separate presentations, including case studies alongside our clients at ASML, Ulteig, and Intel. On top of our longstanding presence at KMWorld, over twenty EK employees spoke at over a dozen different conferences across the fields of KM, Learning, Content, and Data this year. That was yet another record for us and a particularly notable one as it demonstrates the breadth of our talent.

Our knowledge base, conference speaking, podcast, book, and bevy of experts all helped to secure new recognition from the industry. Again this year, KMWorld and Info Today recognized EK as one of the 100 Companies That Matter in KM for the ninth year in a row, as well as one of the AI 100: The Companies Empowering Intelligent Knowledge Management for the fourth year in a row. 

I’ve said for many years, I firmly believe that we are developing the next generation of leaders in the field(s). Though I always hope our people will choose to stay at EK forever, I’ve also been really proud to see that those who do choose to leave are consistently being hired for their next dream career positions, often going to very senior government posts, in-house to lead or build a department, or even to start their own company. It is always a bit melancholy to see an EK’er transition to alumni status, but seeing the amazing next opportunities we’re generating softens that blow. Our success in attracting new talent at all levels, including new established thought leaders and published authors, has also been an exciting counterbalance you’ll hear more about in the year to come.


Transparency – We communicate clearly and openly, ensuring the highest level of quality and accountability for our company’s management, in our service to our clients, and with respect to our colleagues.

Our commitment has always been to run EK as an open book, sharing company goals and performance with all employees at every level. That means sometimes we’re delivering bad news when we miss a target or hit a snag, but in those cases we’re doing it together and also collectively working to address the challenges and learn from them. 

This past year we commenced a multi-stage reorganization to better accommodate our growth and successfully serve our clients. We call this EK 2.0, clearly a misnomer as we’ve gone through a myriad of changes in our nearly eleven years in business, but it felt right, given some of the major efforts and enhancements we planned and executed (and EK 14.0 just doesn’t have the same ring). One of my favorite days of the year was convening the entire company to discuss the reasons for the reorganization, explain all the moves, discuss the value of each component, and address any concerns collectively. We haven’t completed EK 2.0 by a fair stretch, but I am really proud of how the organization has helped us change and grow together as part of this.

As we’ve successfully moved to a remote-hybrid setup post-Covid, we’ve also updated our standard knowledge sharing and communications tools and practices. We’ve continued our bi-monthly all-hands employee knowledge share, where we discuss company goals and achievements, new wins, greet all new hires, and have employees present on new learnings or innovations, and added smaller breakouts and coaching sessions to check in on projects, staffing, and leadership, ensuring we’re arming our employees with the ability to lead and have a strong voice in the organization. Along with the cohorts, the one-on-one coaching I’ve picked up with some team members has become some of my favorite hours of each week.

We’ve also built upon our in-person traditions, coming together at key moments of the year for our Annual Winter Gala, Summer Pirate Ship Cruise, and Holiday Purple Elephant. This last year the Gala was particularly special, as we rang in June 11, 2023, the official 10-year anniversary of EK’s foundation at the Renwick Gallery of the Smithsonian American Art Museum, decked out in our finest. We preceded these in-person ceremonies with in-person strategic planning sessions, live training, and other opportunities to celebrate our collective successes.


Partnership – We partner with our clients, building meaningful relationships founded on a sustained commitment to mutual success.

The word “Partnership” was chosen very carefully when we first crafted our guiding principles in 2013. It expresses our vision to be true consultative partners and trusted advisors to our clients, rather than generic order takers. Though we’ve grown to deliver enterprise-level initiatives and offer the complete lifecycle of knowledge, information, and data management services from strategy, to design, through implementation and operations, that commitment to real partnership has remained a constant for us.

Many of you might have seen the messaging we put out in the fall to signal a major recruiting effort. The need for this recruiting push was driven by our successful partnerships, with EK’s marquis clients choosing to not just continue their work with us into 2024, but selecting us as their chosen trusted partner, asking us to do more with them, and committing to larger and more impactful engagements that reach the highest levels of the organizations. Moving beyond the financials, 2023 was another year where many of our clients chose to co-present with us at conferences, and still others, like the European Central Bank and Green Climate Fund chose to recognize our work online and unprompted, again demonstrating that they view us as true and longstanding partners in the same way we do towards them.

Our successes in building these long-term partnerships mean that we’re able to support the professional community in new and exciting ways. This past year we joined the EDM Council, a global data management association, in order to exchange and contribute to trusted and shared data management frameworks and industry standards to shape the future of data and analytics. In addition, we sponsored a number of conferences including KMWorld and the Midwest KM Symposium. In 2024, we’re sponsoring the launch of a new conference in Europe, Knowledge Summit Dublin, which I’m particularly excited to participate in and speak at. 

These successes also mean an impact on the greater community. I already detailed our philanthropic contributions this year, but I wanted to note in particular the fact that we crossed the threshold of $100,000 contributed over EK’s history to the Wolf Trap Institute for Early Learning Through the Arts. It is exciting to think that because of the work we do with our great clients, a lot of kids in this world have gained access to arts and music education they otherwise would have lacked. 


Integration – We provide our customers with the full range of EK’s expertise, integrating all of our services and resources to ensure the most significant business value.

Back in 2013, we chose the concept of Integration largely to express the coming together of our different areas of expertise. Over the years, we’ve assembled an incredible team of experts with backgrounds in Knowledge Management Strategy, Knowledge Transfer, Data Management and Governance, Information Management, Content Strategy and Assemble, Learning, Taxonomy and Ontology, Knowledge Graphs…the list goes on and on. This alone is unique, but more than just bringing these experts together under a single roof, we’ve fostered a community of collaboration and kindness where they’re working together, learning from each other, and blazing new trails in their individual fields based on the ideas and learnings from their colleagues. 

As EK has grown, and of particular note in 2013, an additional meaning of integration has come into focus for us. When I consider the common thread between all of our services, it is this idea of integrating information to eliminate silos across an organization. All of our services, all of our people, and all of our projects are, at their core, about integration and connections. We’re using semantic layers to integrate different types of data, information, and knowledge across the enterprise, adding context, and ensuring that collective material is more actionable and easier to find. We’re connecting people and the knowledge they hold so that it may be retained by the organization and leveraged more effectively for collaboration, innovation, and learning. Increasingly, we’re integrating all of an organization’s knowledge assets and enhancing them with context and meaning in order to drive an organization’s AI initiatives. This is what we’ve always done, it’s always been a part of our mission, but that common thread is clearer than it’s ever been.

To feed this continued integration of our services and leadership in the combined fields driving AI, we organized all of our Knowledge, Information, and Data Management services under a single sector. We’ve always held that considering all of an organization’s knowledge assets collectively hold the greatest value for the organization, but increasingly, that is also translating to delivering solutions that bridge these gaps. Though the move would’ve been met with skepticism even five years ago, it is a natural progression of how we’ve been operating and expresses the manner in which we’ve always approached Knowledge Management: as the complete continuum of knowledge assets.


Energy – We share our enthusiasm with our clients and colleagues, leveraging our excitement to achieve meaningful change.

In the midst of a burst of growth, new clients, and new team members, and having just closed out our tenth year of sustained growth, I don’t think I’ve ever been more enthusiastic about the year in front of me. The energy we bring to our clients and colleagues is what drives me to do more at EK and ask, “What’s next?” with excitement and enthusiasm.

On behalf of Enterprise Knowledge and the EK Group, I thank you for your partnership and wish you a wonderful 2024!

Zach Wahl Zach Wahl Expert in knowledge and information management strategy, content strategy, and taxonomy design. Zach is passionate about forming and supporting high-functioning teams and facilitating results-focused outcomes with his clients. More from Zach Wahl »