Knowledge Dispersal & Loss

As companies grow, the knowledge within the company has a strong tendency to disperse across office, department, and even geographical boundaries, making it increasingly difficult to access and use. In addition, many organizations worldwide are experiencing an aging problem as their 'baby-boomer' workforce retires. The issue is so serious, that the U.S. Department of Labor refers to it as the “Demographic Cliff”. As aging staff retire and leave the organization, their expertise retires with them, causing working knowledge attrition and a potential knowledge loss disaster unless changes are in place to manage their knowledge.

“These are things that no business can afford – particularly in the current tough economic climate.”


When unable to tap into in-company expert knowledge or access expertise leaving the company with retiring staff, problems go unsolved, new ideas never get imagined, and employees are at risk of being underutilized. These problems can be addressed with 'Expertise Location Systems' (ELS), which can effectively provide access to knowledge wherever it resides, both in-house and externally – and that could mean the difference between profit and loss and ultimate business success or failure.

Expertise Location Systems

Expert Location Technology fosters the effective utilization of the full range of knowledge held by an organization, and is able to support access to both explicitly documented knowledge and tacit knowledge held by individuals. There are many scenarios where someone might seek out an expert as a source of information to complement or replace other sources, such as documents and database:

  • Access to Non-documented Informationnot all information in an organization can be explicitly documented.
  • Specification Needthe information users need to solve problems is often not well specified and requires a dialogue with an expert to precisely identify it.
  • Leveraging Expertisethe time and effort required to find information can be reduced by using experts to filter large volumes of data.
  • Interpretation Needusers may be unsure about the meaning of data extracts, and require expert assistance to interpret it and place it in the correct context.

data wall

data volume

Expert Location System Benefits

The benefits acruing to organizations that implement solid ELS procedures include:

  • Retain control of all business activities, regardless of scale
  • Locate experts within the organization and enable them to collaborate
  • Build a culture of accountability
  • Eliminate the threat of communication breakdown and duplication of effort
  • React to changes more rapidly through timely delivery of relevant data
  • Identify knowledge gaps within the community
  • Integrate multiple collaboration tools and expertise repositories
  • Understand the knowledge community

All this, of course, translates into measurable improvements in attracting and maintaining customers, reducing time-to-manufacture and time-to-market, reduced staff training costs, competitiveness, and overal viability as a business entity.