Enterprise Expertise Management Systems and Organizational Reality

4 thoughts on “Enterprise Expertise Management Systems and Organizational Reality”

  1. Luis, thank you for such an extensive commentary!

    Please note that other reviewers have reported that, in some organizations, existing hierarchies do, in fact, prevent the free flow of communication that an ideal expertise management system requires to operate. Not all organizations are ready for their organizations to be “flattened” it would seem!

    I agree that “user nominations” are a good source for adding to a list of “experts.” But one has to start somewhere. One might begin with the nominations by managers of people in their departments they consider to be experts and this should be supplemented by other sources.

    Whether nomination by automated tools (say, one that analyzes network communication and content patterns) would work consistently is a good question. I would still like to see human oversisght to the process.

    I am not sure I understand your comments about “community.” At any given time an individual will belong to many different groups of varying levels of transience. Some groups will be purely social, some will be work related, and some will be a combination of the two. I’m not sure I understand the relationship between an informal group that might form at the office or the factory, and whether or not a real “expert” within that group exists.

    Maybe what you are saying is that people tend to call the people they trust first; I would argue that this may be an inefficient way to find an expert if the group you belong to does not possess the expertise you are looking for and youve exhausted the people you now to call first. The hypothetical example I presented in my paper was a situation where the people closest to the user were not sure who the expert might be, and only when that determination was made was the expertise management system consulted.

    Perhaps you could say that an expertise management system is useful precisely in those situations where you don’t know whom to call!

    I’m not sure I understand your comment about email. Of course what you’d like to do is look up an expert and immediately call that expert and assume that expert is qualified and available, but that won’t always be the case, especially in large distributed organizations that cover many time zones. Email in this situation has the benfit of the ability to be integrated with workflow management and database tracking that will allow for various helpful automated procedures to be implemented, the most critical of which are (a) a record of an accurate description of the need for the expert and (b) help in capturing an evaluation of the quality and performance of the expert’s help.

    But this brings us back to the initial point — if you can’t solve the problem yourself, you seek out someone who can help. In those situations where your frinds and co-workers can’t help, what’s wrong with a little technological support?

    Again, thank you for taking the time to comment. You have given me much to think about as I work on my “white paper,” wich I am tentatively titling “Requirements for an Enterprise Expertise Management System Process.”

    – Dennis

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