From IBM Connect 2014: How to find the expert you need

Editor's note: This article is by Inbal Ronen, Research Staff Member for Collaboration Technologies and Social Networks at IBM Research - Haifa.
Inbal Ronen
How do you find an expert who can travel to a client site, speak the language, has experience solving customer problems, and possesses the technical knowledge to find a solution that can be integrated into the existing system? IBM Research debuted its expertise location tool to immediately find that colleague at the recent IBM Connect 2014 conference.

This challenge of finding experts, even within a single company, is endemic across all industries. Most companies have systems that identify and classify experts using some sort of searchable directory or database that includes a description of the person's role and the team they belong to. But these systems have little or no way of analyzing who else they know, or how they like to interact with others.

Without a specific system in place, employees are stuck with inefficiently hunting and pecking through personal acquaintances, networking, and email.

My team from IBM's research lab in Haifa, Israel showed how our expert location tool, based on the SociAl Network and Discovery (SaND) engine, can help find experts for any topic based on social media data such as: tags, communities, wikis, blogs, forums, bookmarks, and files. The solution also incorporates expertise related data sources, such as organizational skill repositories, education, and customer records.

The tool also allows users to view the reasoning or "evidence" behind the recommendations, so they can learn what makes the suggested individual an expert in the field. Other features include how to reach to the expert through shared connections, or the ability to configure the system to support specific organizational sources, and manually fine tune the weight of each source and relationship.

By incorporating social data from an organization, we can better analyze what our employees are passionate about, what they do best, and how to find the right experts for any job.

The Expertise Location tool is developed by researchers at IBM Research – Haifa, in partnership with the CIO team and other groups in Research. IBM employees can try out the tool at:

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