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Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Thoughts on the uses for an internal blog

I was talking to an old colleague this afternoon as I was helping her with regard to starting an internal blog within her organisation as a means of helping her disseminate legal knowledge that is regularly updated in a format that people would find useful rather than the traditional e-mail approach.

She asked me if I had a simple few reasons that she could cite and how it could be spread in other areas of the organisation.

I've always been of the view that a blog could be of use for project management especially for updates as to progress rather than using an e-mail process but also as a means of capturing some of the lessons learnt. I also feel that it is also highly useful where people are spread out across the firm and being bought together on a project that either is multi office either in the UK or potentially where a project is spread across time zones.

There was also an article last June at by CG Lynch providing a set of reasons why an internal blog should be started by the company and I provided the details to my colleague. However I feel that they are a good starting point and I list them below as a reminder for myself but also as a guide for my colleague.

Here are some Reasons to Start themselves:
  1. Your enterprise e-mail applications are not easy to search.
  2. Your e-mail is lost in the eye of the "cc storm."
  3. Ex-employees can take it with them.

    If it's in a blog it's there when an employee leaves and not lost when an e-mail account and all the information contained in that account is archived when that e-mail account dissolves on the company systems.

  4. Too much wasted time checking in with colleagues.
  5. Organizational openness and accountability.
  6. People might already be using them.

    I utilised a password protected blog at one firm to provide a proof of concept blog to senior management.

  7. I'd also like to add that it is important for people to have the ability to use within Internet Explorer 7 or an easy to use aggregator internally.

    This is so that people receive the signals that a blog has changed as well as the ability to tag any posts with internally relevant markers say for example in a law firm it might be say company law, takeovers, Europe so that people can search by tags.
Blogs aren't the be all and end all for knowledge sharing technology - the world is evolving and we can't be sure what new technology will come along - but I do consider that they are an interesting way forward and are a key element of any knowledge management strategy in a knowledge based enterprise.

It is important to remember though that these must support the business processes in a firm and aid the employees in that firm to do their job efficiently. We must also consider that there are other techniques that we can utilise - it all depends on the type of work being undertaken and what people feel works best for them. It must work for the individuals that work for the team as well as supporting the company and it's delivery of a service to it's clients.

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