Knowledge Business
A global community of knowledge-driven organizations dedicated to networking, benchmarking and sharing best practices leading to superior performance.
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Electrolux's Approach to Knowledge Sharing    [Date Added : 03/29/2012 ]
If content is king, then most organizations eventually come to recognize that they are servants to information and knowledge. Despite sophisticated servers and storage devices crammed with terabytes of data, relatively few companies are adept at harnessing the content and knowledge found throughout the enterprise.

Achieving success is not easy. There's no single tool or software package that can capture, store and manage all the content and knowledge that resides in computers and people. There's also no single way to share information and content among employees and with customers and business partners.

Knowledge management (KM) and enterprise content management (ECM) aim to provide content, expertise and knowledge where and when they're needed. ECM can take many forms, including collaboration tools, Web- or server-based file- and document-sharing technology, social media systems and more.

One company that has fully embraced the concept is Electrolux, the world's second-largest manufacturer of appliances. The company - based in Stockholm and with 50,000 employees spread across 60 countries - has turned to KM to share key content across half a dozen business units, including its Frigidaire and Eureka brands. "We realize that we can work smarter together than apart," says Ralf Larsson, director of online employee engagement and development.

In 2009, Electrolux identified a need to move away from what Larsson describes as a "traditional, corporate-driven" approach to sharing content and knowledge. It turned to Microsoft SharePoint as well as IBM's Connections, Lotus Notes and Sametime software, so that employees could access content and collaborate on the fly through an intranet, online communities and microblogs. More than 100 portals now exist, including 1,100 collaboration spaces with upward of 8,500 members.

Electrolux also uses the platform for onboarding new hires. Employees use the system to learn about job functions and the company by accessing an array of content. In the past, updating content was complex and somewhat unwieldy. Today, authorized human resources managers and others can share insights, collaborate and rewrite content on the fly.

In addition, community members - typically top managers - can respond to questions posted by the company's CEO or another high-ranking executive. This serves as a way to spark new ideas and innovation. Says Larsson: "We're seeing open dialogue and knowledge sharing in areas as diverse as R&D and customer service."

(extract from "Knowledge and Content Management: A Foundation for Business Success," by Samuel Greengard, Baseline, March 12, 2012. Copyright 1996-2012 Ziff Davis Enterprise Holdings Inc.)
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