The Missing Link Between Connecting and Collecting

By Joel Confino Jun 9, 2015
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H​​ow readily accessible is the information in your organization?

According to knowledge management experts at the U.S. Army, 80 percent of the information in an organization isn’t written down anywhere. Instead, most of that information is considered “tribal knowledge”—data stored as expertise in people’s heads.

As the speed of business increases, employees are too busy to stop and write everything down. Increased speed results in increased complexity, which compounds the problem by creating more exceptional cases to deal with.

Forget standard operating procedures; most of us are working with “barely reproducible processes” said learning and development expert Jane Bozarth in her recent book Show Your Work (Pfeiffer, 2014).

Tribal knowledge is usually transferred in e-mail. Email allows an employee to connect with another employee, but it doesn’t collect that knowledge for the organization. Many other collaborative tools such as group chat, activity streams and message boards have the same limitation: They connect employees to each other and replace face-to-face communication, but they don’t collect and store the knowledge that results from that connection.

The most natural way to get information is to ask questions. Enter Haydle Enterprise Q&A (Question and Answer)—a new category of enterprise social business tools that combine connecting with experts and collecting knowledge.

Technology has had a significant impact on the need for education and knowledge transfer, according to a 2014 article in HR Magazine. People using social networking sites and the wider Internet find a wealth of information through social sharing. An Enterprise Q&A system is a community that connects those with questions with experts who can answer those questions. This model has been wildly successful on the public Internet with sites such as Quora, Stack Overflow and Yahoo Answers.

The ReadWrite.com website describes the Enterprise Q&A market as a young one. However, the Enterprise Q&A segment is part of the fast-growing social business software market, which is expected to double in size over the next five years to $8 billion, according to Haydle.

But how does it work? An Enterprise Q&A community provides the following advantages:

  • Crowdsourcing—Everyone can ask, answer and rate the quality of answers. By leveraging the wisdom of the crowd, you get a better answer faster.

  • Reach—When you ask a question via e-mail, you might be asking one or two experts. When you ask via Enterprise Q&A, you connect with many more experts, some of whom you may not even know. The system finds the best experts from across your organization.

  • Micro-Documentation—There are employees who would never write a line of documentation, but they will answer a question. Additionally you would never create an entire document just for a single sentence question and answer. Typically those answers end up as sticky notes on the side of a computer monitor. By collecting and organizing those bits of information in an Enterprise Q&A system, a mosaic of knowledge is created and retained.

    Remember: knowledge is only power if you can find it.

    Joel Confino is CEO and founder of Haydle, an Enterprise Q&A platform.

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