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        March 9, 2020 15:41 - Image: Timo Volz

        Most companies have systems which provide detailed information about their key operating assets – the state of their equipment, the volume and age of their inventory, etc. But when it comes to their ‘most important asset’ – their people - few companies have a detailed understanding of the skills and expertise that reside in the organisation. Many organisations have invested in Human Capital Management systems but the data in these systems is often incomplete, out of date and provides only limited insight into the specific skills and capabilities that each employee offers.

        Since releasing the WhoKnowsAbout management consulting search application in 2017, a number of organisations have asked whether the technology we have developed could also be used to map expertise within their organisation.

        Examples of the types of opportunities that companies have identified are:

        • A major corporation wanted to reduce their expenditure on external consultants by being able to create internal ‘SWAT’ teams with the required mix of expertise; a detailed internal skill map would support the assembly of these teams.
        • An organisation was seeking to develop an internal knowledge management system. They recognised that a system based on identifying internal experts who can be engaged as mentors/guide on a particular topic was potentially much more efficient than seeking to codify that knowledge in a document library (it also recognised that much of the most valuable knowledge is tacit and difficult to document; better rather to engage directly with the knowledge owner).
        • A Professional Service firm wanted a system to quickly identify the best staff to include on client proposals/service teams based on their previous experience and topic knowledge
        • An Executive Search firm wanted a better way to search its internal library of more than a million CVs to find high quality recruitment candidates

        As we have worked on these opportunities, we have resolved a number of technical challenges:

        • We have learned how to ‘ingest’ and process data from a wide range of internal data sources including existing Human Capital Management systems and key working documents (email, project reports, etc).
        • We supplement this internal data with public biographical details, drawing on the processes that we developed in our initial mapping of the management consulting industry
        • We have created industry/company specific ontology of skills/expertise, allowing expertise search to be conducted in the ‘language of the company’. We now have a skill/topic vocabulary of more than 50,000 terms with algorithms in place to automatically expand this vocabulary with minimal intervention.
        • Building on our earlier work by which we scored expertise in the management consulting industry, we have developed efficient algorithms to rank expertise within the company. Each employee is ranked against each topic area. Through inference, we can also identify employees who are likely to have a nominated expertise despite not having specifically identified it in their biographical data. (This could support a chatbot that would ‘interview’ employees about areas of likely additional expertise)
        • We have developed a simple ‘Google like’ search system that allows users to search their company for individuals with specific expertise. The system returns a ranked ‘short list’ of individuals from within the company who have relevant capabilities. (we can also supplement this with results from the consulting industry in the event that additional external expertise is required).
        • We can do all this behind your company’s firewall ensuring that all employee data is kept secure and never leaves your protected network.

        If your organisation needs to improve its understanding of ‘what you know’ please get in touch with us. We offer a practical solution that can quickly provide you with a detailed understanding of the skills within your organisation.


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