Innovation/Web 2.0 - The Global Human Capital Journal recently announced that IBM has a new consulting practice, "Enterprise Adaptability" services, which “aim to help global companies realize a quantum leap in workforce agility and collaboration by facilitating their adoption of social networks and Web 2.0.” The announcement also said the announcement “validates enterprise social networking.” I thought my colleagues and I at Fast Forward were doing that here but further validation is always welcome. To their credit, it does seem that IBM is going beyond putting new wrappers on existing technology, even Web 2.0 technology.
Here is a bit on what they are doing as reported in Innovation/Web 2.0. They put forth IBM’s SmallBlue and write that “this software analyzes IM (instant messaging), email and other digital knowledge artifacts to create synthetic profiles and social web models among people. By mashing up artifacts (profiles people create, papers, other deliverables) and triangulating with digital communications enables SmallBlue to automatically generate and manage a much clearer picture of a person's expertise and relate it to other people's.” To this advancement they add IBM’s recent experimentation with blogs, wikis, social bookmarking, etc, and their vertical market consulting experience.
Innovation/Web 2.0 refers to this as the Googlization of Knowledge Management, not a bad term. They as client examples they provide a Wall Street bank (I hope it wasn’t Bear Sterns). The use the SmallBlue app to quickly locate experts in the firm at time of needs as they are putting major deals together. This seems to be a much needed application these days. I remember in the mid-80s putting together a risk rating guide for one of the major banks that was losing its shirt in bad third world loans. We tapped into the expertise of the bank’s top people and put together a paper guide. The bank is still around but finding and putting those experts on the team through an enterprise 2.0 application makes a lot more sense that offering their advice through a training guide.
As Innovation 2.0 writes, it “vanquishes the bête noire of knowledge management, the necessity for humans to organically create and manage metadata around themselves and their work.” I am glad they explained the term so I did not have to look it up to know that I agree. This is one of the basic premises of enterprise 2.O. It creates accessible knowledge on the fly through various means, including the SmallBlue app. Kudos to IBM on this and thanks to Tomoaki Sawada for alerting me to it.
The IBM site provides a bit more on SmallBlue. There are four components:
SmallBlue Find to see a relevance-ranked list of people associated with any search term.
SmallBlue Net to get a view of the social network of the top 100 experts in any topic.
SmallBlue Reach for more information about a person, including a list of their latest blog entries, bookmarks or forum posts or to see which communities they belong to.
SmallBlue Ego -- to see your own connections, and through them, the number of other people you can reach.
Google would be proud of them. Perhaps they should consider some of the same extensions.