Case Study: Maximizing Investment

Joel ConfinoNews1 Comment

Business Problem

When one of the world’s largest financial services companies needed to maximize its existing investment in knowledge management, it turned to Haydle.  This industry leader wanted to leverage its large Microsoft SharePoint installation in new ways.

Haydle was initially championed by an IT support team that was responsible for increasing developer productivity by rolling out new tools, build systems and common frameworks used across the organization.  The documentation for these new tools, builds, and frameworks was stored in hundreds of documents on SharePoint.  However when developers needed a quick answer to a specific question, the sheer volume of information often made it difficult to find the answer.

Developers would resort to asking and answering questions in email which started bogging down the support team.  Every week the same questions would be asked over and over.  Each question was answered one at a time for a single individual, but that knowledge was not captured for the organization.

To solve the deluge of email, a ticketing system was implemented so developers could only ask questions via the ticketing system and not via email.  The problem is that ticketing systems are really oriented to capturing lots of detailed information surrounding a particular problem, not quickly answering a question.  To create a new ticket, you need to fill out a lot of fields, and that is overkill just to ask a question.  In addition, the ticketing system’s search capability was not geared to finding answers to questions, so it did not function well as a knowledge base.

The main way people collaborate is to ask and answer each other’s question, yet none of the existing solutions were working well.  Document-oriented systems are great for storing document, but not for getting a specific answer to a specific question.  Email can get you a quick answer, but that answer isn’t captured for others.  Ticketing systems are geared for capturing a lot of information about a problem, and are generally too heavyweight for question and answer.

Haydle as the Solution

Haydle was brought in to solve the problem of, “I know someone in this company knows the answer to my question, but I don’t know who or I can’t reach them now and I need to get an answer quickly.”

The developer support team started using Haydle to answer questions.  At first developers still asked questions via email, but after a couple of weeks of reminders to use Haydle not email, it started to really catch on.  The support team wrote all of their documentation in SharePoint, so when a question was asked in Haydle, the answer was often a link to a document in SharePoint.  The problem was not that the documentation wasn’t there, it was that no one could find it.  However when the question was posed to the subject matter expert who wrote the document, they could provide a link to it.

By leveraging the wide reach provided by crowdsourcing, people were able to get answers very quickly — usually in less than 10 minutes.  Subject matter experts rated those answers so it was apparent which ones were the best answers.  One person stated that he put a little extra effort into his answers in Haydle vs email because he knew those answers would become permanently searchable.

Then Haydle started to spread organically to other groups.  An internal cross-team user’s group interested in the Selenium testing tool had been using a discussion board to answer each other’s question.  They switched to Haydle because it was a better way to get questions answered.  Other development teams started using Haydle to answer their own questions on various topics.  Still other teams started an internal recognition program for those employees who answered questions on Haydle recognizing the value of those subject matter experts.  Over the course of a year, usage doubled as more and more teams discovered and adopted Haydle.

Haydle integrated easily with the company’s existing single-sign-on solution so it is integrated seamlessly into the existing intranet and SharePoint communities.  A Haydle widget was added to SharePoint pages.  Now the company has plans to integrate Haydle into more knowledge management and collaboration systems so employees can ask and answer questions directly inside of various other applications.

Business Impact

Using Haydle, employees get a better answer faster which is good for them, and the knowledge gets captured permanently which is good for the organization.  Benefits include:

  • Information retention: Since rolling out Haydle, thousands of answered questions have been captured that otherwise would have been lost in email.  Additionally when contractors leave or employees move on to different assignments, a portion of their subject matter expertise is captured in Haydle.
  • Employee productivity: Employees have a better way to ask questions and engage with subject matter experts instead of endless searching through old emails.
  • Maximize existing SharePoint investment: Valuable information that was previously hard to find in SharePoint is now unlocked as subject matter experts link to it in Haydle answers.