The increasing use of social business collaboration technologies such as Yammer and Jive is opening up opportunities within organisations to leverage the internal people network for knowledge. If I have a problem then I can ask the organisation if anyone has the answer, and quite often a conversation starts on the topic in question. If you listen to the words of CIOs at conferences, these technologies are starting to add value and are opening up the communication channels within organisations to allow and enhance knowledge sharing. However, whilst these technologies are working well in lots of companies, it is important to understand that they are only part of the solution.
The social tools are great for exploiting the people network, it’s surprising what people in the organisation do know if you ask them; we saw a recent example where a document was received in Mandarin and the office didn’t know who could speak Mandarin. Within 10 minutes of posting ‘Does anyone understand Mandarin’ on the collaboration tool they had five Mandarin speakers identify themselves. A request for information on Yammer in one organisation, following the Heartbleed security issue, identified previously unknown areas of exposure in the global business. So there is clear value to be gained from these collaboration tools, however, the challenge is what to do with this data once it is made visible. How do we leverage it in the future without asking the same questions again or having to search archives? How do we make sure that when people leave the organisation, the knowledge stays? How do we make the information succinct and accessible? This is where tools such as Essential come into play by providing a mechanism for capturing and integrating that knowledge in a structured way for future use. Tools such as Essential become the library for the information that the collaboration tools expose. By being clear on exactly what you want to store in the tools (don’t try and boil the ocean) and putting in processes for capturing the knowledge, you can marry the social business with more structured knowledge integration tools.
So, don’t just assume that social business collaboration tools are the answer to your knowledge problems; they are only part of the solution. It’s when you tie in tools such as Essential that you are on to something very powerful, as depicted below:-