Shawn Callahan of Anecdote, pty has an interesting white paper on how blogging can be used to enhance the performance of a sales and service organization. Connecting People with Content (pdf) describes how in-house technical experts could keep blogs that highlight the latest releases, competitor activities, interesting problems, etc. Sales and field staff would use aggregators to monitor the flow of topics.
Organisations are still jumping to the conclusion that they absolutely need a ‘knowledge repository' to successfully harness employee know-how. While a database (let’s be honest with ourselves, it’s just a database) can be an important part of a knowledge solution, by itself, it’s typically an expensive waste of time. This white paper provides an alternative approach where content generated by subject matter experts (SME) creates new social networks, which in turn can provide useful pointers to content held in the ‘knowledge repository.’ People access the database at points recommended by the subject matter expert in context of the seeker’s current need. It’s a type of social indexing. While the paper takes a sales force application area, the solution is widely applicable.
This idea that new social networks appear because of the content is very interesting. Once you get posting and reading of the content, people get a better feeling for what is happening in their areas of interest, and when they have problems they know who has been writing in that topic area. People can then communicate based on their shared knowledge. This would be compared to a dry document repository that contains the information but much less in the way of context or a feeling of freshness. Similarly, expert databases give you who-knows-what, but generally not how they know it (context). It must be said, of course, that blogging doesn't automatically give you context, and context can show up in other ways.