Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Case Study: The Siemens BeFirst Portal

Summary of Presentation at
Boston Knowledge Management Forum Symposium on Leveraging Knowledge.
What is KM 2.0? Is it real, or just vendor hype?

Jeff Cram, Co-Founder and Managing Director, and David Aponovich, Content Management Strategist, ISITE Design
The Siemens BeFirst Portal provides solid lessons in Enterprise 2.0/KM 2.0. Recognized as one of the best examples of how a large enterprise uses Web 2.0 principles in a business context, the portal connects 2,000 sales and marketing staff to collaborate, create, search and find corporate “approved” information assets and previously untapped “tribal knowledge.” The project was recognized by AIIM for its 2008 Carl B. Nelson Best Practice Awards; it was one of only three large-company projects nominated for recognition.
Jeff and David put on a show and tell for the enterprise 2.0 deployment that ISITE Design created for Siemens Communications Systems. They also plan to point out the mistakes as well as the successes in the project.

The company had thousands of sales and marketing people and their knowledge spread across the world and seven different languages. They need a way to share and a way to find the best knowledge and assets.

In planning the deployment they gave a lot of thought to the participants in the company. IN particular they found Forrester's ladder of participation by Charlene Li on social media to be a useful model. Rather than a business-to-employee model, they envisioned an employee-to-employee model. The vision was to capture the tribal knowledge, allowing employees to easily contribute and organize information.

They based the technology on Sitecore web content management, plus a Google search appliance and custom programming.

The platform has some high level taxonomy, largely focused on product lines. At the document level, there is an ability to rate and comment on the document. They also allow tagging of documents and other content. They found the need to identify content as HQ authorized content to separate it from user generated content.

They did some custom programming on top of the Google search to provide for faceting search. (Apparently the company had already purchased the Google search appliance.)

They found these cultural barriers to Enterprise 2.0
  • How can I maintain control of the content
  • How to convince stakeholders to give up control
  • How to deal with different countries and languages
  • How to ensure quality
The multiple country and language site posed some big challenges. They decide to have local country sites within the global site.

The other challenge (and big challenge for Enterprise 2.0) is reconciling a taxonomy with the folksonomy of user-generated content.

The more radical part of the project was the creation of the communities area. Anyone could create a community, make it open or closed and pull users in. These small communities and they information stored in them lived inside the larger portal. Therefore, the community content was also indexed as part of the larger portal.

1 comment:

  1. Now that's a speedy recap! Great summary of the presentation. Thanks for recapping the event like this.

    Jeff Cram
    ISITE Design


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