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Using social tools within the enterprise is a valuable thing. It lets people ask questions to a bigger audience than just those sitting within hearing distance of their desk.
I’ve discussed this in earlier posts (ESS (Enterprise Social Software) – user adoption, and Let’s share!). It’s incredibly valuable to be able to draw on the knowledge of others. That’s why it’s good to be able to ask questions. The answer given helps not just the asker, but can help others, and at the same time, others can add to the answer creating even more value.
Where I feel this all falls down though is that, often, there is no real way to capture that knowledge that came about from the questions asked.
And so, what happens, is that the same (or a similar) question is asked again. Maybe a year later, maybe two years later. And often because new participants in the conversation appear, and the original participants move on to new things.
End result – same question, asked again.
Is this bad? It certainly has an up-side…asking that question can create a whole new conversation, the outcome of which can enrich (once again) the knowledge of the participants, and allows for the building of new relationships, but this is not efficient. Essentially there has been no “forward momentum”.
Simple – a way to “capture” the knowledge. But further to that, a way to easily allow the knowledge to be retrieved. And not as part of a silo, but in a way that allows people to easily surface this knowledge in a “serendipitous” way. And by this, I mean, in a way that the individual doesn’t really have to think about. One central place where a click on a keyword, or the typing in of a natural question, will draw this information to the individual’s attention.
Has this already been done?
I think, in fact, that this has already been done…by Google. But this is outside the firewall. Now to get the same effect inside… And this is something that many large search companies (MS, HP Autonomy, etc) are working on. I’m curious how this will work out. The sooner we can grab answers to questions that people ask (and even the ones they don’t ask) we’ll stop asking the same question.
What’s your opinion? Are there already solutions that solve this problem? Do they work?