David Viney’s article, “Intranet Portals - Collaboration Through Team Rooms,” at CiB discusses specific ways to maximize the corporate network for knowledge management which he defines as “the process through which organizations generate value from their intellectual and knowledge-based assets.”
Viney, author of the Intranet Portal Guide, categorizes knowledge assets as explicit knowledge encompassing everything that can be documented, archived and codified, and tacit knowledge which he describes as “the know-how contained in people’s heads.”
Sharing these assets among employees and departments, and even with other companies, will, according to the author, generate value and produce best practice. To encourage sharing, search technologies can be used to find explicit knowledge or documents while a “yellow pages” directory can be used to search for tacit knowledge or people with specific skills or experiences. To enhance the sharing of both explicit and tacit knowledge, Viney recommends collaboration through team rooms or “work group” technologies.
A typical team room can:
- Maintain a shared calendar recording team activities and deadlines
- Set up discussion forums to fully explore issues, with each forum having a moderator to start new discussions, invite people to join them, capture and structure discussion results before archiving the thread, and deal with abuse of netiquette
- Share documents with store/retrieve, security protect, version control and workflow functions
- Allocate tasks among team members with reminders in the calendar and, possibly, through email where there is email integration
Viney emphasizes that team room documents should be made accessible through the general portal search functionality to prevent the creation of information silos where only a few can make use of them.
He also encourages team members to maximize use of the general portal to visit all areas of the site, learn about other departments and teams, and gain a wider perspective.
This sounds like the makings of a true corporate community where a neighborhood is made more comfortable, dynamic and progressive when households scrupulously maintain their own turf while interacting and communicating extensively with their neighbors.