What If Your Best Expert Is Unavailable?

by | Mar 22, 2021

You would be surprised by how many companies, many of them household names in their industry, rely heavily on their subject matter experts (SMEs) to solve everyday problems. We know of a major manufacturer with dozens of factories worldwide and tens of thousands of employees that has only a handful of experts that are familiar with one of their core manufacturing processes. Some companies, with revenue in the billions of dollars, may only have ONE go-to person who knows everything about their critical processes and products.

There is much written about the exodus of experts to retirement. If your SME is in their 50’s, maybe you’re not so worried about that now (you should be worried-what if they get hired next week by your competitor?). But what happens when your SME gets sick? Or goes on vacation? Or is tied up on a customer project?

Knowledge bases have their own issues. Most of the other solutions that have been developed to address this problem seem to have one thing in common: They all involve interviewing SME’s and recording their answers in a knowledge management tool, or worse, in spreadsheets or something equally outdated.

Really? Today we can take pictures from the surface of Mars, but interviewing people is the best we can do for knowledge capture?

And once this knowledge is collected, if you want access to it, you have to search for what you’re looking for.  It’s one thing if you are working on some research project and need some arcane factoid…but it’s quite another if you are at one of your customers working on a broken machine where each minute of downtime is costing them a ton of money.

Or worse, when the downtime not only costs money but impacts many others exponentially. An example – I talked to a company involved in water treatment recently.  They sometimes get calls from operators of their equipment and the call starts with something like “If we don’t get this back up within the hour, the City of ____ will run out of water…”

Not the time to be searching through lengthy documents or articles from a knowledge base looking for a fix! Or waiting on an SME to get back to you!

RevTwo Navigator uses AI and machine learning to help people perform tasks or solve problems. Once your SME’s input initial content, it learns with use and gets smarter and smarter. It becomes your knowledge capture tool and can also be a repository for documents and other support or procedural materials.  It costs much less than one employee. And it frees your SMEs up to spend more of their time on the hard super engineering related issues that aren’t so common.

And Navigator doesn’t forget, take vacations, get sick or get hired by your competitor. And you don’t have to worry about it retiring…