The online encyclopedia, Wikipedia, has proven the value of the world community contributing to an instantly searchable world knowledge base. The same technology can be applied to the company community: each individual sharing strategic tips directly related to company interests that are then instantly searchable.
Each employee can share, using Microsoft Sharepoint Wiki Pages, those unique hints, tips, tricks, and knowledge that they feel could be of the highest value to other employees: how-to's and shortcuts in company software packages, learnings from pilot projects (successful or not), links to fantastic resources, etc. This growing knowledge base then becomes an instantly searchable, global resource for the entire company.
Occidental of Elk Hills, Inc. just recently, October 15, 2008, started a rollout of Wiki page use at its Elk Hills, CA, USA properties. There are over 300 employees at Elk Hills and its Wiki Home Page received over 1500 hits in its first day, with multiple employees contributing multiple articles. Employees are already talking about time-savers they have learned and applied. A second presentation was demanded by those that missed the first. The rollout has generated a buzz of excitement and interest that we will be encouraging into the indefinite future.
The significance of a corporate knowledge base can be major: high-tech professionals not spending hours figuring out how to do what someone else has already figured out and documented, support personnel not having to answer the same questions over and over again but having only to point those asking to steps already documented, employees learning time-saving tips that they may never have learned or thought of, professionals no longer wasting time searching for results of other trials or having to reinvent the wheel. Time is money. Knowledge is power. Applying Wiki technology to corporate knowledge returns time and knowledge to the workforce leading to bottom line benefits and powerful corporate growth.
Employee knowledge represents a huge database of information. Companies train employees constantly to grow their knowledge. Employees research new information on their own and add to their personal knowledge database daily as they grow their own experience. Experienced employees are asked by the less-experienced for help on the "how-to's" of their job assignments. Certain other employees simply stumble upon, or figure out, unique tips and tricks to do their jobs more effectively. Some employees implement a system to keep track of all the things they are learning. Scribbles are made in some notebook; electronic document(s) are created and saved; hierarchical trees are implemented on a disk drive somewhere. How does a company begin to take advantage of such a wealth of information? One possibility is implementing a trend that is currently exploding on the Internet: the idea of individuals sharing their knowledge with each other in a variety of unique ways: YouTube, Wikipedia, Experts-Exchange, Google, Twitter, etc.