As a professional services firm of over 170 employees, we have a huge knowledge base. This knowledge base is spread over two dozen cities in eight states. Accumulating this knowledge in a centralized location can be a challenge. And this knowlwdgebase is built over time as our professionals seek knowledge from other professionals.
Employees are so familiar with email and it is so efficient that it is very, very difficult to change that habit. If someone has a question, they email it to an email group and get several responses within the hour. It just works.
The problem is that this knowledge base that is created is trapped in users' email. It is not accessible to the whole company, new hires do not have the benefit of it., and there is no searchable database for all this knowledge.
The biggest challenge to change that I have experienced is habit. It takes 30 consecutive days to develop a habit. Change that requires a user to perform daily is fairly easy. Change that does not require daily use is much more difficult. A knowledge base is something that is accessed and referenced once or twice a month. So to change the habit from email to a new web site such as discussion board, wiki, or LinkedIn group is daunting. Training a very busy group of professionals on a new web site makes it even more daunting. Furthermore, if it’s harder to use and slower, it’s not a worthwhile change.
We needed a service that provided posting and commenting via email, security, and a searchable database. Posterous is built on posting via email and provides the solution we needed. Here’s how:
- Signup for Posterous by simply sending an email to post@Posterous.com.
- Create new Posterous such as mygroup.Posterous.com.
- Enable the group feature. This enables you to use company logo and group description instead of your mug and profile.
- Add contributors. Contributors can post by sending an email to email@example.com.
- Enable password protection.
- Instruct users how to subscribe via email. They will receive daily updates.
- Add firstname.lastname@example.org to the email user group.
When you send an email to Posterous email, it is immediately posted to the web. Subscribers receive an email with the posts and can click a link in the email to comment. For example, a investigator sees something in the field that he is unfamiliar with. He emails a photo of the finding to Posterous with his question. Users receive an email notification and comment on the post.
We don’t have to form a new habit. We can use the engrained, tried, and true habit of email.