Jason Shechtman

Ways to Find Relevant Data Within a Company

In most cases, when searching for information, the data we find is not relevant to the knowledge we desire.

“We are drowning in information but starved for knowledge.” – John Naisbitt [tweet this]

There is an infinite amount of information waiting to be discovered on the Internet, but when it comes down to specifics, it’s not so easy to find the appropriate data. Companies have internal databases, which store documents, but these files can be out of date or irrelevant. Internal knowledge is a source of information that is relevant, up to date, and easily accessible if using the right techniques. There are many ways to find the information you desire, but the question then becomes which are the best and most efficient ways to do so.

  • Embedded Search Engines

I’m sure almost everyone’s first stop when looking for information is Google or another search engine. We use these websites all the time to find information about almost anything, and it works regularly. Sometimes we find information that’s “sort of” relevant to what we need but not exactly applicable. If, for example, you’re doing customer support and someone asks a specific question about your company’s product, Google isn’t going to help you find that answer. You need a way to communicate with the entire company quickly. Internal knowledge is not always easy to find, and using embedded search engines won’t help you find data that is this specific and applicable. Companies also have internal search engines. Microsoft provides an internal search engine that runs through the companies documents, wikis, etc. The problem is that the documents and the information is out dated. Another factor with these internal search engines is that the quality of the engine itself are not top notch.

  • Peer to Peer

One of the most common tools for finding relevant information is by asking co-workers directly if they can help. This usually isn’t an easy task; it is more of a process. The first and most difficult stage is finding the co-worker that can actually help you with what you need. Then finding a suitable time for both of you to go over the problem at hand. The next phase is where it gets interesting. Once you’ve received the information you have to find out if it’s actually what you need. As I’m sure you can tell by now, this is not an efficient way of going about finding relevant information. As a new employee asking questions can become intimidating to do face to face. If this worker is a programmer, for example, and has faced some coding issues, he could go to a co-worker for advice. Like I mentioned earlier, he must first find that person who is capable of helping. While he is going around asking people, he is no longer working. If he had a way to just send out a question into a question and answer platform, then continue working on other things, he would get much more work done.

  • Collaborative Software

This is my personal favorite choice for finding relevant information. Senexx SolvePath for instance, allows you to access an online database, specifically designed for your company, that stores and structures all of the information that goes through it. This question and answer software has a specialized emailing service which integrates with your work email and records everything in an easy to find fashion. “Workers spend 61% of their day lost in emails and information”. [tweet this] This is unacceptable considering this time is wasted only because the data is not structured properly. Another reason why Solvepath is among the top tier of collaborative software is because it allows anyone to ask a question that automatically creates tags which finds experts within the company. These experts can then answer the questions with the knowledge and experience they have or attach documents that are relevant in answering the question.

To find the relevant information is not an easy task for most, but it can be simplified. Using the right tools like a question and answer platforms, that structures data, finds experts, and has the power to notify specific people, can drastically cut down the 61% of time wasted on searching through emails and information. Co-workers can provide relevant and up to date information better than any outside source. We need to utilize this technique by making collaborative software an import aspect of our company’s agenda.