According to extensive research, one of the top 5 challenges of Knowledge Management is identifying topic and resident experts and capturing their knowledge. As the organization grows, leaders feel the need to identify experts for two main reasons.
The first one is to promote the share of their unique expertise. This is especially important in the modern business world where expertise that is not properly captured often ends up in competitor’s hands. In order to identify this valuable knowledge, management needs to learn what and where it is before it leaves for competition …. or retirement. In fact, according to Harvard Business Review, the next anticipated wave of almost 700 retirements would mean the loss of over 27,000 years of experience.
The second one is identifying who the “go-to” person is for a particular area of expertise. Let’s consider the launch of a new product in Asia, while you may think that the topic expert is in the global initiative team sitting in the US, your knowledge management platform may reveal that the real subject matter expert is in your Singaporean office. The inability to find the right resident expert implies unsolved problem, new ideas never getting executed and employees feeling both underutilized and underappreciated.
If your company does not want to end up like NASA Manager who confessed in March 2003 that “if we want to go to the moon again, we’ll be starting from scratch because all of that knowledge has disappeared” and understands the importance of capturing the subject matter experts, Elqano effortlessly captures all your company´s expert knowledge and classifies it using Artificial Intelligence technology. Based on information that is uploaded from each use, Elqano will be able to surface recommendations of people (i.e. experts) who talk about a particular topic often.
It will help employees find the right information and the right person instantly instead of shouting questions into the void of public channels. Moreover, leaders also need to address another fundamental question once all the knowledge it captured: How can we efficiently spread the useful expertise across the whole organization? Research at Critical Knowledge Transfers found that “managers often don’t know what they have lost until after the expert leaves — and by then; it may be difficult to recover”. This is the point at which having in place a smart knowledge platform becomes useful. Specially since the price tag associated with knowledge losses was estimated to be as much as 20 times the more visible, tangible costs of recruitment and training.
Elqano—in the form of organizational coordination—can get that local knowledge into wider circulation. The far-flung communities that make up the entire network of employees need an organizational support to help them share local expertise around the world. Traditional knowledge platforms work as databases: organizations fill them with tips and data, and nobody uses them. Why is Elqano then any different? The answer in this case is that it’s different because of how the data is judged to be useful. Most such databases, like most business processes, are forced by management in a top-down approach and as a result, managers fill them with what they think will be useful for the employees they manage. However, its utility is limited because most inputters fill the databases with their own ideas of what’s useful and do not have the visibility to see what the organization as a whole needs. In How to Capture Knowledge Without Killing It” John Seely Brown and Paul Duguid stated “Often what one person thinks useful others find flaky, idiosyncratic, incoherent, redundant, or just plain stupid. The more a database contains everyone’s favorite idea, the more unusable it becomes”.
Elqano is designed to get past that problem by establishing a process to help capture best practices: it pushes only the most relevant information and updates to each employee and allows employees to comment, give tips, and tag an expert on a particular topic. In this way, documents are constantly redefined and optimized. As a result, employees using Elqano know that the information—and the platform as a whole—is relevant, reliable, and probably not redundant. The method of reward for experts to share their knowledge is not monetary since this will encourage quantity rather than quality. Elqano uses a similar recognition set up as how the sharing of scientific articles work. Most scientists don’t get paid for scientific articles. Good articles however, earn them status among their peers and thus, become known and respected for careful and reliable results. Elqano enables the organization to perform at its best level and fuels business growth.