1 May 2004
Dr. Moria Levy
A designated content expert, also named a subject matter expert is a worker who holds professional knowledge which answers a knowledge need in the organization. The designated expert serves a central component of every knowledge solution implemented in the organization on the subject (insight database, template management community, etc). The expert's training is performed during his/her day-today work and includes receiving background regarding Knowledge Management as well as relevant KM tools and in depth learning of the specific professional field.
As mentioned above, there are several different formats of a KM process in which the expert plays a central and active roll. In each of these formats, there is a detailed definition of the expert's role:
In-depth learning of the knowledge subject.
Staying updated on developments, both local and global.
Familiarity with competing technologies/methods in order to review the relevance of the approaches currently implemented in the organization.
Business intelligence regarding the competition's activity on the subject.
Responsibility for a rich and updated portal/website containing all existing documentation on the knowledge subject.
Collecting and feeding in content and initially editing them in their relevant content areas.
Answering the questions received from different factors in the organization; if required, the answer will be reviewed by external sources and/or forwarded to other knowledge holders in the organization.
Actualizing the knowledge:
Locating knowledge among friends and developing an appropriate solution.
Filtering and processing knowledge learned in steering committees and thinking groups and recommending implementation of knowledge in the right places.
Lecturing in frontal meetings at different organizational units.
One must pay sufficient attention to the process of choosing and appointing the expert since not every person with an expertise is suitable in practice to be assigned as content expert. In every organization, it is recommended to define in advance a professional profile which will serve as a perquisite for picking an expert.
The profile can consist of several layers:
The professional layer, requiring: proven professional advantage in the field of internet access (or accessibility) and long term knowledgebases in the organization.
The personal layer, including traits such as: curiosity regarding learning and expanding knowledge, readiness to share knowledge with others, the capability to sort documented knowledge items, Ability to allocate time for concentrating the knowledge subject, horizontal view of the organization's needs.
Managerial layer: according to the organization's requirements.