Following on from my blog yesterday about unstructured data, I have been trying to drill slightly deeper into related subject areas. You might, I hazard a guess, be tempted to think that I would immediately start looking into traditional content management solutions and trying to uncover whether IBM, Oracle, Accenture or Microsoft (or insert techno-behemoth of your own choice) have actually brought anything truly inspirational to market over the last 18 months.
Instead, I’m going to go down the web 2.0 route and ask whether social networking tools could possibly help bring structure and form to previously unmanaged data environments. The argument here is that if you can map social networks (in a professional sense) across the corporate network, then perhaps you can make untapped expertise among your staff base more visible. Next step here – you guessed it - reuse of knowledge assets.
But is this running before we can walk?
Only yesterday I was talking about “traditional” unstructured data i.e. voicemails, scrappy documents, video or other ragged data. This argument is a direct jump to a corporate communications system that would offer a big leap in workplace productivity. The reason I’ve written this blog is that I did find a company that claims to offer this solution. Trampoline Systems says its tools incorporate the social behaviour surrounding electronic information and that this is key to productivity gains.
I suppose this is like an internal corporate version of About.com as it has ‘discovery’, ‘knowledge pool’ and ‘live profile’ functions. I would also guess that it requires a certain amount of ‘buy-in’ from all employees. But what if it’s a great tool, but misused? What if it takes up too much time for particular key employees? What if people ask too many silly questions that they should know already if they had read the corporate handbook? I’m sure you can probably set controls – but it’s a relatively unproven type of solution at this stage isn’t it? Interesting stuff though.