08 November 2010

Can you find the experts in your organization?

The people finder functionality (we call it who-is-who) is the best visited part of our intranet. If you need a phone number, an email address or a job title it works just fine. But what if I would like to find an expert in, let’s say, project management. Sure, there is the advanced search (who uses advances search nowadays?), but I would rely on the fact that the project management experts filled in their full profile (who does that?). Well, with any luck they might have, seven years ago, when they joined the company, but I bet you that they either didn’t bother at all, or –in any case- never updated their profile (who updates their profile on the intranet?).

Behold, the biggest problems with Who-is-Who, People Finder, Company Yellow Pages. They do the job for us, but only partly.

A few weeks ago I had two very inspiring meetings with people who both addressed this issue in a very interesting way. My first meeting was with a representative of Yammer, the internal microblogging company that is slowly conquering the corporate world. She outlined the plans for expansion to me, and she stressed that Yammer will keep the conversation between people as the core of their business model.

The second meeting was with representatives of a Dutch start-up called GuruScan. They developed a very interesting tool to find experts. Their tool ensures that profiles are updated, cleverly harnessing the strength of social networks. One example: others can designate me as an expert in internal communications. Now, it is one thing if I make that claim, but it is so much more meaningful if others say I am. Check it out, part of their website is in English. So far this has been the best effort I have ever seen in tracking people’s expertise within a company. Interestingly enough the basic idea was once developed in the company I work for: Océ, but that is not the reason I mention it here, merely a strange coincidence.

I am convinced that the key to dealing with information overload is in social media. People will connect to other people to get to the information they need. Yammer and Guruscan have a very interesting philosophy about it, and I think that as internal communicators we need to facilitate the connection between people in our organizations. I challenge you: can you find the experts in your organization? If you do, please let me know how, and don’t hesitate to share your stories on Yammer, Socialcast, Guruscan, or any other tool that can help me find experts!


  1. Hi Jan,

    Thanks for mentioning GuruScan in your post. A brief note: a large part of our website is available in English. Just click on the English flag at the bottom of the page.


  2. Thanks for pointing that out to me Dion, sorry I missed it. Maybe move the flag up to the top of the page? Or maybe I am just a lazy reader. I altered my blogpost accordingly.