There was a time when if you wanted to collaborate, the only way to do it was either walking over to someone and having a conversation, or perhaps you could call someone’s “secretary” and leave a message. Then we got voice mail. Then we got email. We’ve been trapped in an email world for over a decade now, but it seems that the next shift is finally happening, and it is happening quickly.
In the early years of email, Lotus Notes occupied a leading space in collaboration. Not only did Notes provide the ability to send messages and collaborate, but Lotus Domino, the engine behind Notes, allowed for the creation of some pretty sophisticated database, forms and workflows. With all of this, it comes as no surprise that many organizations are still on Notes since they have so much legacy database sitting there that the conversion would be enormous.
However, even with that, most organizations have been using Microsoft Outlook for at least a few years now. Collaboration has been the domain of email for so long now, and primarily that of MS Outlook and SharePoint that we have significant amounts of knowledge sitting in these systems. Within emails that have huge amounts of passive and untapped knowledge and SharePoint databases that are usually not indexed for future state technologies.
Organizations are quite underway for implementing Web 2.0 communication tools and for much of it, HR has been at the forefront (or at least involved) in these implantations. Through these communications, we can mine data to get new insights into competencies and talent.
I mentioned Lotus Notes before because we’re going to have the same problems moving off of MS Outlook and SharePoint as we did moving away from Notes. The next stage is already upon us with Web 2.0 collaboration tools such as text, IM, wiki, and blogs. Not only are these categorized for indexing, but users can self tag knowledge, creating whole new taxonomies that more easier for mass consumption and not limited by corporate understandings. But we have a decade of historical knowledge and collaboration data that is possibly lost, without any hope to be tied into our talent data. Because these communications were never intended to be converted into useful metrics on our talent, we’re looking at a complete loss of any usability for it.
I’ll admit that I’m not sure anyone else is on the same page as I am, that all these Web 2.0 communications are ripe for use in talent measurements, let alone converting all of our past emails and legacy collaboration databases. However, it’s important to recognize at the very least that all of these methods, both legacy and future state, hold significant amounts of high quality information about our talent.